Growing sago palm from seed

Learn How to Grow Sago Palm in this article. Growing sago palm is easy, it is a beautiful ornamental plant and can become an excellent specimen in your home and garden.

Cycus revoluta

This post is dedicated to cycus revoluta, which is also called as ‘sago palm’. For more information, see this article.

Common name: Sotetsu, sago palm, king sago, sago cycad, Japanese sago palm

Family: Cycadaceae

USDA Zones: 8 – 11

Propagation Method: Seeds, pups

Difficulty: Easy

Soil Type: Slightly acidic to neutral


Native to Japan, cycas revoluta is not a true palm tree (Arecaceae) this slow and low growing ornamental plant is actually a cycad. It has shiny, dark green, feathery leaves which can grow upto 150 cm. (60 inch) long. Its leaves spring from a kind of short and stocky trunk, formed as scales.

The plant contains reserves of water to use during droughts. The cycads live very long life without any difficulty.

Sago palm propagation

You can propagate sago palm from seeds or from lateral shoots. In both the cases, the process is slow and germination rate is low, so it is better to buy a plant from nursery.

Requirements for growing sago palms


Sago palm can be grown in full sun but performs better in area with shade in afternoon.


When plant is actively growing water sago palm moderately. Do deep watering, moist the soil well in each watering session but let the soil to dry out between this. During the period of dormancy (when the light is low or in winter) water sparingly.


Sago palm prefers sandy, well drained neutral soil with pH level around 6 to 7. Even so, it can be grown in wide variety of soils it is best to grow it in potting mix formulated for palms.


Sago palms are grown outside in subtropical and tropical climate without much care. Below USDA Zone 9, care in winter is needed. Plant can withstand 14F (-10 C), below this temperature damage occurs.


Sago palm requires nitrogen rich fertilizer such as of N-P-K (18 – 6 – 8 ) with trace elements to maintain its lush green crown.
Look out for magnesium deficiency like yellowing upper leaves and frizzle top. Spray with one tablespoon epsom salt mixed in one gallon of water if necessary.


Repot your sago palm plant when the trunk covers 2/3 surface of soil. Generally in every 2 or 3 years.

Pests, Diseases and Other problems

  1. Sago palm is relatively disease free plant but due to poor drainage, problems like root rot and crown rot can occur. To save the plant, ensure good drainage and treat rotted parts with fungicide.
  2. Young plants are more prone to pests than adults. Some common pests that attacks it are scales, mealy bugs and thrips. For a pest free sago palm, keep the plant healthy and spray with pesticides if it is infected.
  3. The malformed leaves are due to lack of light or excess of water. To cure this, increase interval of watering and place your plant in more sunny spot. Whereas, yellowing and drying of lower leaves is nothing but probably a natural disposal of older leaves.

Cycas revoluta (Sago Palm) seeds

Centuries old Cycad species from Japan & Korea which makes a dramatic impact on any garden with its lush, green shuttlecock effect leaves. Also very happy as a houseplant where it will not outgrow its space. Mature plants are hardy to -8C, young plants will need winter protection with a fleece jacket.
Hardy Cycad (Hardy to -8C when mature)
Height: to 4m, smaller indoors
Position: Full sun in well drained soil
Packet of 5 seeds


Sow at any time of year.
Pre-sowing Treatment: Soak the seeds until the seed coat splits (this can take several weeks or even months) changing the water every few days preferably in a heated propagator, or on a sunny windowsill or above a radiator.
Sowing Instructions: When the seed coat splits, place in small pots of moist seed compost mixed 50:50 with vermiculite. The seeds should be half buried lengthwise with the split just visible at soil level. Place in a propagator or cover with a polythene bag and place in any other warm place (eg. on a windowsill above a radiator). Palm seeds often make a large root before a shoot so carefully check seeds regularly. When a root appears, pot up individually into 9-11cm pots. Germination can be erratic but should take place in 1 – 3 months.

Growing Instructions: Grow the seedlings on, re-potting as necessary and protect from frost for the first couple of winters. Harden off completely before planting out in a sunny, sheltered position away from strong winds which can tear the leaves. Protect with bubble wrap and/or a fleece jacket for the first few years and in very cold temperatures.

Learn How to Plant Sago Palm Seeds the right way and grow this popular houseplant famous for its feathery foliage and easy maintenance!

The Sago Palms (Cycas revoluta) are not real palms. These tropical and subtropical low-growing plants belong to the Cycad family. Native to the warm climates, these palms are usually grown as houseplants. Though sago palms are grown through cuttings, you can also propagate them by seeds as well.

Sago palms or King sago palms are exceptionally slow-growing plants, producing only one new frond each year. The sago palm needs five-six years to attain a full pot size of 2 feet. If you’re wondering about how to plant sago palm seeds, then this article is going to help you a lot!

How to Propagate Sago Palm from Seeds

1. Selection of Sago Salm Seeds

You can obtain sago palm tree seeds from a nursery or collect them from flowering trees in early fall. Always wear gloves before touching a sago palm, as all parts of the plant are toxic. Its fruit has a similar size, similar to a walnut, with an orange or red color. To check which seeds are pollinated, place them in a bowl of warm water. Seeds that begin to float (as they lack endosperm, necessary for reproduction) discard them. Pick seeds that sink in water, as they are good for use.

2. Cleaning Sago Palm Seeds

Soak the seeds in water for 24-hours, as they’re are wrapped with a fruit wall, which should be taken off before planting. If you find it hard to remove the coating, submerge them again for a longer period. To prevent bacterial growth, wash the seeds in a solution (10-parts water to 1-part bleach) and clean them with water.

3. Planting Sago Palm Seeds

Plant the seeds in well-drained, sandy soil, using a 4-inch diameter container, sowing them sidelong in the soil. Retain one-third of the seeds above the soil and level it by tamping. When done, moisten the soil with water. Lastly, cover the pot with a plastic wrap to maintain the moisture.

Sago Palm Seeds Germination

Sago seeds start to germinate in the temperature between 70-100 F (21-37 C). Maintain the moisture of the soil during the entire germination phase. You can also place the pot on a heating mat to supply a constant temperature. The seeds will begin to germinate in about one to three months. When they do, remove the plastic wrap and move the pot to a warmer place with 75F (23 C) temperature.

Transplant the plant to a large container, when you notice at least three to four sets of leaves emerging. Though young palm seedlings do not need fertilizer in the beginning growth stage, but start nourishing the plant with a liquid fertilizer when it reaches its active growth phase.

Also Read: How to Grow Sago Palm in a Container

Sago Palm Seeds

Sago palm seeds are orange colored seeds that are found in the fruit of the female sago palm. These seeds, on germinating, produce beautiful garden plants called sago palm.

Palm trees have an aura of attractiveness of their own. But contrary to its name, sago palms are not exactly palm trees. Though they resemble palm trees in their appearance, these actually belongs to the family Cycad and are plants. Their botanical name is Cycad Revoluta. Originally found in Japan, the sago palm can now be seen in various countries. These palms are quite popular as landscaping as well as indoor plants.

Though these plants are usually grown from pups (seedlings are known as pups), which are available in nurseries, its seeds can also be used for the same. The sago palm can also be grown as houseplants in homes as well as offices, and is a hardy plant that grows very slowly (a few inches per year)–so you need to be patient if you are planning to grow these from the seeds.

Planting Process

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The sago palm tree can be grown from saplings or seeds. However, before you plant the seeds, you have to prepare the soil and check if it is viable to grow the same.

  • The seeds of the sago palm are usually reddish-orange in color and feature in the size of walnuts. Before planting the seeds, you must check for the viability of the seeds, in order to produce healthy plants.

  • Take a large bucket and soak these seeds in it. Some of the seeds may float on the water. Remove these seeds and discard them as they are not likely to germinate.
  • Let the seeds soak in the clean water for approximately two days for the outer cover to soften. Changing water, twice or thrice in a day, will prevent fungal growth on the seeds.
  • Once the seeds are completely soaked, remove their outer cover with the help of a peeler. But make sure you wear gloves before you get to the task of peeling the skin, since the seeds contain certain toxins that may cause harm. Dry the peeled sago seeds for about two to three days before planting them.
  • Next, prepare a pot with a starter mix, which consists of coarse sand, peat moss, and perlite. This allows excess water to drain off and yet keep the soil moist. The indoor sago palm is a smaller variety of the sago palm and grows well in pots.
  • Place the seeds into the soil, with their flat sides facing upwards. Do not bury the seed completely into the soil, but keep a part of it exposed. With the help of a sprayer, water the seeds and press them deeper into the soil.
  • The pot should be kept in a shady place till the seeds germinate and let out small shoots. It may take approximately five months for the germination process. Once the leaves appear, transfer the germinated seeds to a larger pot.
  • It can take another eight to nine months for the roots to grow. Place these young plants into a larger pot, till the roots develop further. It will take three to four years. After the plant has reached a height of one foot, transfer it to the garden. Choose a bright, sunny place with well-drained soil, to plant the palm.

Planting sago palms in your yard will have an effect of a tropical place and make your house look more beautiful. With proper care and nourishment, you can enjoy the beauty of this plant for many years to come.

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Accelerating germination time for sago palm seeds

Q. Is there a method to accelerate the germination time for sago palm seeds? Two seeds I planted required more than a year to sprout.

— J.M., Missouri City

A. Sagos, Cycas revoluta, are not palms, but members of the Cycad family. They do not bear flowers to produce seeds, rather they bear cones. The male cone appears on one plant, and the female cone is found on a separate plant. The sago female cone develops across the center head of the plant and is a fawn-colored fluffy-looking ball. The male cone is upright in the center of the plant. Sagos produce cones one year, leaves the next.

You can propagate sagos from offsets from the mother plant or from fertilized seeds. Clean and store seed in a cool place before sowing and allow them to age about three months. If you have old, dry seeds, soak them in water for 24 hours.

Sow seeds in moist sand in pots deep enough to accommodate a long root. When sowing, avoid burying sago seeds. Simply press them into the soil surface so that about a half of the seed is still above the surface. Keep seed pots warm.

Germination may occur in two or three months.

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