How to grow Sago palm from seed
How to grow Sago palm from seed

The incredible, yet stunning looking sago palm is so unusual in shape and design that it almost looks unreal. Both visually and literally prehistoric, species of sago palm can be found across much of the subtropical and tropical regions of the world. However, should you require one for the garden they can be expensive, so growing sago palm seed can be a far more sensible option.

Before you plant up your sago palm seeds, place them into a bucket of water. Mature seeds, which have a bright orange or red color, will sink, while immature or infertile seeds will continue to float. Dispose of any seeds that float as these are unlikely to germinate.

How to grow Sago palm from seed
Sago palm seeds
To help encourage successful germination, scrape the outer coating of the seeds with a sharp knife. The seed coat of the sago palm is very hard so scraping it - which is known as scarification - slightly weakens this outer coating, enabling moisture to penetrate into the seed. Wear your garden gloves when performing this activity, as the seed coat is poisonous.

Sow sago palm seeds in large modular trays, or pots, using a good seed compost such as John Innes seed and potting with the seed half out of the compost. Place your newly planted sago palm seeds into a heated propagator an optimum temperature of 70-75F (20-25C), or failing that a warm windowsill out of direct light.

Germination can take 1-3 months, so try to keep the compost moist but not over wet. They are very slow growing at first, and the last thing you want to do is over-water. When you sago palm seedlings are large enough, pot on as required into 5in and finally 8in pots.

Remember that sago palms are not fully hardy and while they are small provide a temperature of 5-10C (40F-50F) throughout the winter. Do not allow them to suffer cold damage as they are unlikely to survive.

Planting sago palm seeds outside

Of course, sago palms are not terribly hardy, even in the southernmost parts of the United Kingdom. However, they can be successfully grown outdoors in both Georgia and Florida. Select a warm location that does not receive any direct sunlight.

How to grow Sago palm from seed
Sago palm seedlings
To begin with, dig a series of shallow furrows into the soil. The furrows should be about 1 inch deep and 18 inches apart.

Place the individual seeds in the furrow. The pointed ends of the seeds should be oriented horizontally.

Space the seeds 12 to 24 inches apart,you will find that this spacing will make it easier to transplant the seedlings later on.

 Lightly cover the seeds with soil or sand.

It is not necessary to tamp the soil into place. Water the area thoroughly, but do not saturate the soil.

How to grow Sago palm from seed
Mature sago palms
Continue watering the seed bed on a regular basis, never allowing the soil to dry out completely.

If your seeds are viable they will begin to emerge in three to six months.

Continue to water the the seedlings for another one to two years.

The sago palm is a slow-growing plant and it may take that long before the seedlings develop a root system large enough and strong enough to allow successful transplantation. Once established you should have a stunning specimen which can only improve as time goes on.

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