July 5, 2015
How sago palms grow - flush
In spite of their common name, sago palms (cycas revoluta) aren't really palms at all. They just kind'a look like them. And the way that they grow is a little strange, too. So if you have one that has lost all of its leaves (usually caused by transplanting bare root) don't panic. What you are waiting for is a flush.
Sago palms, like all cycads, don't grow continuously, like palm trees. They send out a bunch of leaves, usually only once a year, in a big hurry. It's actually fun to watch!
The sago palm that I planted here last September looked more like a fire plug than anything else for months and months (it's July now). And then a few days ago I noticed a tiny bit of green appearing - that's a flush!
If you've transplanted a sago palm and it seems to be doing nothing, don't worry. Cycads grow very slowly, except when they're putting out leaves, at which time they grow so fast it's ridiculous. Then after the leaves have grown (a flush), they settle in and wait until next year.
When you see your sago palm start its flush, that's the best time to be sure it has plenty of water (it's been raining here in the Phoenix area, but I've given it a bit more water anyway). I also add a little bit of Miracle-Gro into the water and water generously, especially on the emerging leaves.
By the way, keep in mind that the fronds will be several feet long, and while they're not sharp like a cactus or an agave, they are spiny, so it's best to plant them away from where people might bump into them.
Posted by Brad Hall