How to Grow and Care Sago Palm Plant Care & Growing Guide 2022

How to Grow and Care Sago Palm Plant Care & Growing Guide 2022

The Cycas revoluta, our protagonist today, is one of the rarest and most primitive species today. Different names know it, but one stands out above the rest: Palma del Sagú.

Its name may confuse you, as it is not a palm tree “to use,” although it has similar characteristics and does not belong to the same family.

It stands out for its ease of cultivation and its appearance.

Today, we will show you what Cycas revoluta is and its most important characteristics. In addition, we will explain what care it will need to develop properly and in all its splendour.

Shall we start?

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What is Cycas revoluta?

Scientific name   Cycas revoluta

Common name   Cica, Sago Palm, Japan Sago, False Palm

 Class   Cycadopsida

 Family   Cycadaceae

 Gender   Cycas

 Species   Cycas revoluta

 Source   Species native to southern Japan, specifically the Ryukyu Islands.

Of Asian origin, Cycas revoluta is synonymous with rarity, toxicity and beauty. It is very old; it is known as a living fossil. It appeared before the dinosaurs!

This plant belonging to the Cycadaceae family is usually cultivated as an indoor plant since it does not tolerate low temperatures. In Spain, however, it is very given to growing outdoors, thanks to the mild climate of the coastal strip and the Mediterranean area.

It is perfect for decorative use.

What are their characteristics?

The cica is slow-growing, symmetrical in development and with a very low trunk when young and taller as the years go by, thick and hairy. This species can develop up to 7 meters in height, but for this, they must spend a whopping 100 years!

The Cycas can repeatedly branch, having consequently left multiple heads.

And speaking of leaves, this plant supports a crown/rosette of dark green leaves, very shiny and capable of growing up to 150 cm if the ideal conditions are given. They are perennial; they remain green throughout the year, even in the dry season.

Its foliage is very similar to that of a palm tree. Hence They are often confused.

And the flowers?

The circa is a dioecious plant or, in other words, there are male and female specimens. The former has pineapple in its centre, and the latter develops a kind of yellow-orange seed/bump.

They lack ornamental value.

If something stands out about the plant and the main reason it is used for decoration, it is its leaves.

In addition, it is also very popular because it is a very rustic species and easy to maintain, but we will show you this in the next section.

How to Grow and Care Sago Palm Plant Care & Growing Guide 2022

Uses and toxicity

The coca is a plant that grows very well indoors, so it is often used as a home’s decorative element. But, although it is very popular, you should know that it is extremely poisonous, both for pets and for people.

All its parts are toxic, especially the seeds that adorn it.

In case of ingestion, symptoms appear after a few hours: vomiting, weakness, diarrhoea, or dizziness. Your pets are the ones most at risk, as the plant seems leftover to them.

If you have been nibbled and observed any symptoms or strange behaviour, we recommend that you go to a veterinarian.

The care that Cycas revoluta needs

The circa is a species that does not need much care as it is very rustic and long-lived. But just because it’s low maintenance doesn’t mean you don’t have to pamper it from time to time.

As with other species, a series of cultivation conditions must be met to develop the best. Do not worry about their care. We will explain the basics in detail below.

  Location and light 

As we have mentioned before, it is a plant that can be grown indoors and outdoors. However, it prefers a location indoors, as it does not tolerate the cold.

If you live in the Mediterranean area, you are in luck. The circa grows splendidly throughout the coastal strip due to the mild climate that exists in the region. If not, we recommend you keep it inside.

Regarding light, this species prefers to be in full sun, as long as the temperatures are not very high. In case it is too hot, you will appreciate semi-shade.

Indoors, place it near a bright window, protect it from drafts and avoid very dry or hot environments at all times.


The circa is a very rustic plant capable of withstanding certain periods of drought. Consequently, its risks should be moderate, never in excess, as it does not tolerate flooding.

The soil in which you plant it should drain the irrigation water well.

Add water when the substrate is dry and increase watering in summer. In addition, about the dry environment that we told you about in the previous section, spray the foliage from time to time to avoid high temperatures.


It is recommended to fertilize the CIA using a special liquid fertilizer for green plants during the spring.

If you have any questions, go to a garden centre for advice. When it comes to fertilizers, it is better to do nothing than do something wrong.


The ideal is to use a mixture of garden soil, peat, and sand when planting. With this type of substrate, you will achieve good growth, slow but good.

Make sure the soil drains the water well.

  Diseases and pests  

Although very rustic and hard, the cica is not exempt from being attacked by mealybugs. Old acquaintances of this blog, these insects are located on the underside of the leaves and feed on the sap.

They can also cause the appearance of bold fungus.

If you want to know everything about the cochineal, you will find everything you need to know about it in one of our posts: characteristics, remedies, etc.

Cycad species

  • Cycas
  • Zamiaceae
  • Encephalartos longifolius
  • Encephalartos woodii
  • Encephalartos friderici‑guilielmi
  • Encephalartos altensteinii
  • Encephalart

Palm trees species

  • Foxtail palm
  • Date palm
  • Trachycarpus fortunei
  • Queen palm
  • Sabal Palm
  • Cocos capitata
  • Areca palm
How to Grow and Care Sago Palm Plant Care & Growing Guide 2022
How to Grow and Care Sago Palm Plant Care & Growing Guide 2022

17 Common Poisonous Plants


Members of the  Lilium spp. They are considered highly toxic to cats. Although the poisonous component has not yet been identified, it is clear that very small intakes of the plant can cause serious damage to the kidney.


Ingestion of  Cannabis sativa by companion animals can result in central nervous system depression and incoordination, vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling, increased heart rate, and even seizures and coma.

Sago Palm 

All Cycas Revoluta are poisonous, but the seeds or “nuts” have the greatest amount of toxins. Ingesting just one or two seeds can have very serious effects, including vomiting, diarrhoea, depression, seizures, and kidney failure.

Tulip / Narcissus bulbs 

The parts of the  Tulipa / Narcissus spp have toxins that can cause severe gastrointestinal irritation, drooling, loss of appetite, central nervous system depression, seizures, and heart abnormalities.

Azalea / Rhododendron 

Members of  Rhododenron spp.  They have grayanotoxins, which can cause vomiting, drooling, diarrhoea, weakness, and central nervous system depression in animals. Severe azalea poisoning can ultimately lead to coma and death from cardiovascular collapse.

Oleander – sago palm

All parts of  Nerium oleander are considered toxic. They contain cardiac glycosides that can cause serious effects, including gastrointestinal tract irritation, abnormal heart function, hypothermia, and even death.

Castor Bean – sago palm

The poisonous cause in  Ricinus communis is ricin, a highly toxic protein that can cause severe abdominal pain, drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive thirst, weakness, and loss of appetite. Severe cases of poisoning can result in dehydration, muscle spasms, seizures, fits, coma, and death.

Cyclamen  – sago palm

Cyclamen contains Cyclamen, but the highest concentration of the toxic component is usually located in the plant’s root portion. If consumed, Cyclamen can cause significant gastrointestinal irritation, including severe vomiting. Deaths have also been reported in some cases.

Kalanchoe  – sago palm

This plant contains components that can cause gastrointestinal irritation and those that are toxic to the heart and can seriously affect the heart rate.

Yew  – sago palm

Taxus spp.  It contains a toxic component known as taxine, which causes central nervous system effects such as tremors, incoordination, and shortness of breath. It can also cause significant gastrointestinal irritation and heart failure, resulting in death.

Amarillis A  – sago palm

Common garden plant and popular at Easter, the Amaryllis species has toxins that can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, anorexia, and seizures.

Croco Saffron – sago palm

If pets ingest  Colchicum autumnale, it can result in oral irritation, bloody vomiting, diarrhoea, collapse, damage to multiple organs, and bone marrow suppression.

Chrysanthemum – sago palm

These popular flowers are part of the Compositae family, which contain pyrethrins that can cause gastrointestinal imbalance, including drooling, vomiting, and diarrhoea if eaten. There may also be depression and loss of coordination in some cases if a significant part of the plant is consumed.

English Ivy – sago palm

Also called common ivy, glacier ivy, needlepoint ivy, honey ivy, and California ivy,  Hedera helix contains triterpenoid saponins which, if eaten by pets, can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation and diarrhoea.

Lila de la Paz (AKA Mauna Loa Peace Lily) sago palm

Spathiphyllum contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, severe burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue in pets that ingest it.

Potos  – sago palm

Potus (both the  Scindapsus and  Epipremnum ) belong to the Araceae family. If chewed or ingested, this popular houseplant can cause significant mechanical irritation and inflammation of the oral tissues and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract.

Schefflera  – sago palm

Schefflera and  Brassaia actinophylla contain calcium oxalate crystals that can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, severe burning, and irritation of the mouth, lips, and tongue in pets ingest it.

How poisonous is a sago palm?

Cycad Sago Palm is extremely poisonous to both humans and animals if ingested. … Clinical symptoms of ingestion will develop within 12 hours and may include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, seizures, liver failure, or hepatotoxicity characterized by icterus (yellow coloration), cirrhosis, and ascites (fluid in abdomen).

Do sago palms need full sun?

* Sago palms are adaptable with respect to light, temperature and humidity. They do well in either high or low humidity and in temperatures ranging from 15 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. They grow in full sun as well as partial shade, and they do fine in bright indoor areas with just a few hours of daily sunlight exposure.

Is sago palm a good houseplant?

It does best in bright spots, and sago palm can take direct sun on its foliage when grown as a houseplant, even in hot summer areas. Water sago palm when the top inch of the soil dries out. This drought-tolerant houseplant doesn’t need a lot of water, so take care not to overwater it.

How tall does a sago palm get? Sago Palm

genus nameCycas revoluta
plant typeHouseplant Shrub
height3 to 8 feet 8 to 20 feet
widthFrom 2 to 12 feet
foliage colorBlue/Green
How to Grow and Care Sago Palm Plant Care & Growing Guide 2022

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