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Cycas revoluta

Cycas revoluta

Common name sago palm
Family cycadaceae
Life cycle evergreen shrub/tree (Z9-10)
Flowers none
Size 3-10'
Light sun-part shade
Cultural notes well drained soil

Tropical cycad native to southern Japan. Its foliage (which is very prickly and gives me a rash, by the way) is very attractive, a nice deep green almost without blemish. the plants are slow-growing, producing new fronds just once a year. It's commonly grown outdoors here, with large specimens on display outside schools and businesses, so it's generally hardy. Sure enough, ordinary mild Houston winters don't bother the plant at all, and our specimen came through the first hard freeze to hit our Houston garden, in January 2018, although with significant damage. It wasn't so lucky in the second, more severe, hard freeze, a week-long event (winter storm Uri, February 2021). After the freeze, I cut back the fronds which had gone brown, expecting new growth to emerge from the center as it previously had – but nothing came back from the main plant. Not sure why - other, larger specimens around here have survived, while ours grew in a relatively sheltered location. However, in the second half of June I noticed a tuft of new growth, not from the main plant but a few inches away; a week later, a second offset pushed up. And then, finally, after another couple of weeks some new protofronds erupted from the main mama plant. Goes to show that gardeners need to be patient.

sago palm
Cycas revoluta growth pushing up in mid-March...
sago palm
...a week later. Invasion of the body snatchers!
Cycas revoluta
Late May 2021 – still no new growth after the big freeze, so it seemed safe to assume it was a goner...
sago palm
...but in late June, new growth a few inches from the base...
Cycas revoluta
...and in early July, lo and behold, the main plant shows that it lives

In our garden, this plant grows in the following areas: back fence border, rock garden zone

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