Sago palm, kungi palm
This majestic slow-growing Japanese cycad is the easiest to cultivate, with mature plants usually hardy enough to stay outside in mild gardens given good drainage and protection from harsh frosts.
A prehistoric architectural wonder, it relishes a bright position and juvenile plants are ideal for a conservatory or sunny window.
Cycas revoluta is native to Southern Japan. It is also cultivated elsewhere as one of the sources of ‘sago,’ a starchy staple food consumed by some communities in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. This is the origin of the common name Sago palm, which is a bit of a misnomer since this is not actually a palm!
The scientific species name ‘revoluta’ comes from the Latin word for ‘curled back,’ referring to the distinctive arrangement of the leaves. In Urdu speaking areas, this plant is known as the kungi palm, meaning ‘comb.’
Care & Size Guidance
Outdoors: Make sure to give Cycas revoluta protection (such as with fleece jackets) during colder winter months. Juvenile plants are better kept in cool bright positions indoors in the cooler months until eventually they are developed enough to withstand milder winters protected outside. Whilst mature plants can become large multi-branched specimens, this happens at a glacial pace over a great many decades.
Indoors: During the active growth period, when new fronds are pushing through, we recommend that you not move the plants position or change its rotation. If you do, the needles can rotate and harden in misshapen and twisted positions.
Once the active growth period has ended (which usually lasts for about 2 months) the plant can be moved without any problems.
Cycas revoluta as a Houseplant
Cycas revoluta may have been around for millions of years, but only recently have people adopted it into their homes as a houseplant.
Indoors the Sago Palm can thrive and make for a stunning centrepiece. Make sure to place it in a position with indirect and some direct sun and water well in the hot summer months.