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Japanese Sago Palm

Cycas revoluta

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Japanese Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta) at Echter's Nursery & Garden Center

Japanese Sago Palm

Japanese Sago Palm

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Japanese Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta) at Echter's Nursery & Garden Center

Japanese Sago Palm foliage

Japanese Sago Palm foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  6 feet

Spread:  5 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  (annual)

Other Names:  King Sago, Cycad, syn. Cycas miquelii


A very symmetrical plant with leathery leaves that resemble feathers; trunk is very low to subterrannean in young plants, but lengthens with age; very slow growing, and may eventually branch; a beautiful accent or container plant

Ornamental Features

Japanese Sago Palm features showy spikes of tan flowers rising above the foliage in mid fall. Its attractive large narrow pinnately compound leaves emerge chartreuse in spring, turning green in color the rest of the year. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Japanese Sago Palm is a multi-stemmed annual with a shapely form and gracefully arching foliage. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.

This plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and should not require much pruning, except when necessary, such as to remove dieback. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Japanese Sago Palm is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Mass Planting
  • Rock/Alpine Gardens
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Japanese Sago Palm will grow to be about 6 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 5 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 2 feet from the ground. Although it's not a true annual, this slow-growing plant can be expected to behave as an annual in our climate if left outdoors over the winter, usually needing replacement the following year. As such, gardeners should take into consideration that it will perform differently than it would in its native habitat.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in sandy soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This species is not originally from North America, and parts of it are known to be toxic to humans and animals, so care should be exercised in planting it around children and pets.

Japanese Sago Palm is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its height, it is often used as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Accent  Massing  Rock  Garden  Container 
Flowers  Foliage Color  Texture  Bark 
Ornamental Features

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