Plant Newbie with Sago Woes.

Discussion in 'Outdoor Tropicals' started by Derbo, Jun 7, 2007.

  1. Derbo

    Derbo Member

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    I have a concern I'm hoping you folks could help me with. It should be noted that I'm a total newbie when it comes to caring for plants.

    Last Fall (I think), I was given two Sago Palm basal offshoots by a friend, and those offshoots were put in the same pot, and rooted.

    Until recently, I haven't paid very much attention to the plant... or any plant, for that matter. My girlfriend took care of them.

    About a month ago, I noticed a green fungal growth between the two basal offshoots, and figured it was possible that the soil was contaminated, as the fungus could have hyphae down to the bottom of the pot.

    So, I opted to jump into the darkness and try to save the plant... even though I'm still not 100% sure if it needed "saving"

    I repotted the plants in a fresh pot of soil after gently rinsing off the roots. careful to elevate the offshoots to the level I wanted them at after the potting was done while I carefully packed soil in their root network. I immediately watered the soil, and packed it, and ever since have been watering the pot every day or two - after the soil has dried (it has a drainage hole at the bottom of it, and the California sun is pretty warm throughout the day). It's getting direct sunlight on it throughout the entire day, and I am confident that the root systems of both offshoots have taken root again.

    However, the majority of their leaves (2 our of 3) are loosing their chlorophyll, it seems.

    The picture of the plant is down below.

    As you can see, the most vertical of the leaves is doing fine, but the second leaf on that same offshoot is pretty much due for a dirtnap, and the single leaf on the second offshoot has been yellowing more and more every time I take care to examine it (once every 3 days or so). The hairy projection on top of the 2-leafed offshoot (I'm assuming this is some sort of apical meristem) has not grown a single millimeter in the last 6 days despite them all being extremely sunny.

    I feel that I'm eventually going to lose the offshoot on the left, and that the one of the right's growth is stunted by my transplant.

    Should I not be as concerned as I am?

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to something I could do to help the health of either plant?

    I'd appreciate any thoughts.
     

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  2. Sunset Cycads

    Sunset Cycads Active Member 10 Years

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    It is probably the stress due to repotting. Have they always been in full sun? I would give them filtered sunlight while they are getting established. You will probably lose the yellowing leaves but just cut them off and new leaves should emerge. Make sure you are not overwatering as that will cause root rot. Cycads are very slow-growing, so do not be alarmed by that. Be patient, and I'm sure you will eventually be rewarded with a new flush of leaves.
     
  3. Derbo

    Derbo Member

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    thanks for the reply.

    Yes, they have always been in the sun, because I felt that (more nutrients > less nutrients) if it's yellowing.

    I'll take it down so that it's mostly shaded now, though, if you're thinking that'll help.

    I don't think I'm overwatering, but I reckon I could be. I will generally stick my index finger down to the first or second knuckle t test how dry it is. If I feel dampness, I don't bother - if my finger tip'ss dusty when I pull it up, I water the plant.

    It there a better way to test the hydration of the soil?
     
  4. Sunset Cycads

    Sunset Cycads Active Member 10 Years

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    The finger test is fine. It sounds like you are doing everything right. As I mentioned, it is probably just stress for repotting. I'm sure a new flush of leaves will come on soon and then you'll be up and running.
     
  5. Neofolis

    Neofolis Member

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    Cycads, particularly the flushing varieties need a lot of food. Unlike many plants they are usually safe to feed even immediately after re-potting. I don't know how much or how often you are feeding them, but a good cycad fertilizer would be a good investment. Removing those existing leaves may also encourage them to flush and I doubt they are photosynthesizing that much in their current state anyway. I would have said not to move it out of full sun. If it was happy there before, re-potting shouldn't change that. Insufficient light will cause any new flushes to become very stretched, but, if you have already moved it, I would only introduce more light very gradually.

    Cycads are usually very tough and when they are stressed they just become dormant, often for very long periods, but when the conditions are right, they will flush again, even if they have been dormant for years.
     
  6. Derbo

    Derbo Member

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    Great. Thanks for the input, guys. I've since clipped the more dead of the three leaves,.

    I figure I'll feed them more, and if I'm noticing no change by next Spring, I'll clip them to encourage flushing.

    Appreciate all the advice.
     
  7. Derbo

    Derbo Member

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    Wanted to post a follow-up as a thank you to those that offered advice... it all helped.

    I moved the offshoots into another pot, and - months later - they're flourishing.

    Cheers.
     

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  8. Plant Newbie

    Plant Newbie Active Member

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    Hi,

    I recently bought 2 sago palms. They came in a pretty wooden container (pots sit inside container) but I'm wondering if I should replant them? They are pretty big plants and I don't know if they should be planted deeper into the pot??

    Thanks for any suggestions!
     

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  9. Sunset Cycads

    Sunset Cycads Active Member 10 Years

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    Those look like very nice sago palms (Cycas revoluta). Tip them out of the pot and if they look very rootbound, repot them into a pot about two inches wider all around. But only if they are VERY rootbound because cycads like to be crowded in their pot and will suffer if there is too much soil that cannot dry rapidly. Use a very quick-draining commercial mix such as cactus mix (or see my web site for a cycad potting soil recipe). Do not plant them any deeper than they are now, as the caudex (trunk) is supposed to be on top of the soil. Let the soil dry out between watering, as they detest being water-logged. Congratulations on your new collection!
     
  10. Plant Newbie

    Plant Newbie Active Member

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    Wow, thanks for all the help! Sounds like you are very knowledgable regarding sago palms!
     
  11. Sunset Cycads

    Sunset Cycads Active Member 10 Years

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    Cycads (which is what sago palms actually are) are my passion. They are so fascinating. They were the food of the dinosaurs, and have survived unchanged for over 250 million years. Although sago palms are relatively common nowadays, they are the only commercially propagated cycads, and the remaining 300 or so species are among the rarest plants on Earth. Some species look totally different from sago palms, more resembling bamboo, but they also bear cones -- all cycads are conifers. I could go on and on. These are very unique and unusual plants
     
  12. edleigh7

    edleigh7 Well-Known Member

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    G'day Sunset Cycads....we have a number of cycads that are commercially propagated over here in Australia. We have Macrozamia and Lepidozamia (especially L. peroffskyana) and they are getting more popular all the time. Possibly because they are natives and are quite drought tolerant, once established.
    I'm surprised to hear that you don't have Zamia furfuracea commercially available over there, as it is native to Mexico. They are also very popular over here.

    I know you know your cycads, I thought I would just update you as to whats happening over here : )

    Ed
     
  13. Carol Ja

    Carol Ja Active Member 10 Years

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    I have a couple of Sagos outside all year around, they put off a new flush of fronds every late July early August. they seem pretty hardy all things considered, and the ground that these were in, isn't particularly great, not really well draining or full of nutrients.
    I swear I'm not trying to abuse them, just find them pretty resilient to torture.
     
  14. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    Sagos (Cycas) are indeed tough plants, except that a southeast Asian scale insect has been spreading worldwide and causing severe damage. In Florida, some communities (including mine) have lost most of their Cycas plants, including some impressive old specimens.

    Fortunately, our one native cycad, the coontie (Zamia integrifolia or Z. floridana) is easy to grow, while a number of other species have become easy to get at nurseries (especially the "cardboard palm", Zamia furfuracea), which can grow into a multi-stemmed clump. I have a beautiful young Z. variegata in the yard. It's a rain forest species from Guatemala. A number of Dioon species from Mexico and Central America do well here, and likewise Encephalartos from Africa.

    Southern California is likewise a great place to grow cycads, and there are some impressive collections in public gardens.
     
  15. Plant Newbie

    Plant Newbie Active Member

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    Hi all,

    I noticed recently that the tips of the leaves of my potted sago palms are turning brown... also there are brown spots on some of the leaves :( I recently re-potted them (month ago). What is this a sign of? Is it underwatering??

    Thanks, Roanna :(
     

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  16. Sunset Cycads

    Sunset Cycads Active Member 10 Years

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    Zamia furfuracea (commonly known as 'cardboard palm') is available in the United States but only rarely in Canada, which is only starting to learn about cycads. My plants enjoy the summer months out on the patio. I bring them indoors for the winter months, and they thrive in the warm, dry indoor conditions -- which resembles the climate of their native Mexico.
     
  17. Sunset Cycads

    Sunset Cycads Active Member 10 Years

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    The one large brown area looks like physical damage to the leaves -- were they bent back perhaps during transit?

    Over-watering is usually more of a problem than under-watering. Newly purchased plants will undergo a transition period where they are getting used to the changed conditions between the greenhouse where they were raised to whatever growing conditions they now find themselves in. Even if you lose the first set of leaves, the plant will flush again and the new leaves will be acclimated to the new conditions.

    Just remember that cycads are like any deciduous tree and will lose their old leaves and flush new ones.
     
  18. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    I suspect that quite a few Mexican highland cycads would be happy living outdoors in the summer in coastal BC, then near a sunny window indoors. Some of the Dioon species, maybe?

    As a beginner myself, I'm finding that a lot of cycads do very well in Florida, with steamy summers and dry winters.
     

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