This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

September 2, 2013

The best place to plant a sago palm in Phoenix, Arizona

Sago palms (cycas revoluta) do well in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Some do better than others, and like real estate, it's all about location, location, location.

Whenever I see a sago palm out in the middle of someone's front yard, facing the blazing sun, I just want to get out my guitar and sing a sad song. Luckily, I don't. But if you've seen sago palms that are all horrible and sunburned, and thought that they wouldn't do well in this climate, think again. They just can't stand out in the "fires of hell" all day.

So, as you look at your property, here at the best places to plant your sago palm.

• Along an east-facing wall of your house. Keep it about six feet away, to allow it room to grow. Your house will give it shade from the nasty afternoon sun. If you have a tree nearby, even better. In the Phoenix area, you can't have too much shade for a sago, as long as it's outdoors.

• Under the shade of a tall tree. Not the best option, but at least it will be protected from the heat of the noon-day sun.

• On a shaded patio in a pot. Sagos don't mind having their roots crowded, and can grow in the same pot for decades. Get one this is just a bit too big, put some rocks on the bottom, fill with fast-draining soil (like the kind for cactus) and water it only in the summer.

And there you go. If you don't have anywhere to plant your sago except out in the blazing sun, don't do it. Plant a beautiful agave.
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