Cycas (pronounced see-kas) comes from the Greek name for palm which is related to its distinctive cone or palm like appearance. The Cycas, whose everyday name is the Japanese sago palm, is a common sight in many warm countries around the world, especially Japan and makes an unusual and ornamental plant when grown indoors.
Cycas revoluta is one of the most popular and easily cultivated cycads and the one most commonly seen in tropical gardens and inside homes. With attractive foliage and an adaptable nature, they are popular and well-suited to pots.
Best suited to warm areas, the Cycas responds well to sandy, well-drained soil and a degree of bright light if potted and kept indoors. They dislike the cold so should be well looked after in the winter months, especially if grown outdoors, as they are not very tolerant of frosty conditions.
The plant is easy to grow, but is very slow to develop. It usually grows a leaf every one or two years. New foliage is extremely delicate and requires time to become more hardy so it’s important not to re-pot or disturb too much during this bloom period.
There are around 95 species and the best-known, Cycas revoluta, is often referred to as “Sago Palm” or “King Sago Palm” because of its appearance. Most species are symmetrical and characterised by thick glossy leaves and a thick trunk.
Ensure good quality soil is used when potting as the plant thrives with a good mineral mix. Leaves becoming yellow are often a sign of poor soil disagreeing with the plant. Water carefully but take care to avoid soil becoming too dry, especially when new leaves are coming out. Again the colour and condition of the leaves is a visible indicator of any neglect and such leaves should be removed.
Did You Know?
Some species are extremely toxic to humans and animals when ingested so care should be taken when selecting a variety. On a milder scale, some people find some other varieties to be mildly irritant.