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Thursday, 21 April 2016

Is there something wrong with my cycad?

Cycad - Cycas revoluta (Sago Palm)

I'm a bit worried. More than a bit actually. My Cycad (C. revoluta) is not looking so well. Above is a picture taken last winter, July 2015, and he was growing in leaps and bounds for the past year.

Over the past couple of weeks, however, I've noticed the branches flattening more and more, totally exposing the centre, which is usually hidden by all the leaves. Could it be dying? Maybe too much shade? It has been under this Celtis africana for 10 years now. The tree has obviously grown much bigger over the years, giving much more shade.

Or could it be a female getting ready to flower? Or maybe a male ready to produce a cone? But Sagos are like people... reproduction takes two - a male and a female. In late spring, a mature male Sago produces a golden cone, shaped like a giant pine cone which may grow over 2' tall.  A female produces a huge golden flower which slowly opens when it is fertile, then closes, and begins to produce viable seed if pollination from a male sago was successful.

I read somewhere that most Sagos must be at least 15-20 years old before they are mature enough to bloom, and they also must be well established in the garden or landscape. Usually they will have a 10" - 14" (30cm) diameter trunk and a leaf spread of 5' - 6' (2m).  My Sago is now 10 years old and still has no trunk.

I've been considering digging him up and moving him to full sun or planting him in a big pot, but apparently they do not bloom in a pot. And disturbing him by transplanting him means it will take a long time for him to get "established" again.

One website says, "Sagos grow in full sun, but adapt to outdoor shade or an indoor area which receives bright light or a few hours of morning or afternoon sun." And mine does get afternoon sun, more so in winter.

Every spring, my Cycad would produce new leaves, but this past spring (Sept 2015) there was nothing.

Can anybody help? If you have an explanation, I'd love to hear from you.


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