Sago palm is a species of gymnosperm from the family Cycadaceae. It is native to Japan. Although the plant is named after and looks like a palm, it actually a cycad i.e. a plant which has evolved little since the dinosaur age and is also known as a "living fossil". It's one of the oldest plants that you can now grow as a houseplant. The name Revoluta refers to the way the leaves revolute or curls back towards the ends.
It is a slow growing plant so does not require constant re-potting. All parts of the plant are poisonous to animals and humans so keep the plant out of the reach of children and pets.
Sago palm, like most houseplants, should be grown in bright light but should be protected from direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves. If growing indoors, you can provide it with artificial light. Too little light can hamper the growth of the plant.
Long, shiny, dark olive green pinnate fronds arise from a woody stem known as caudex. Fronds grow upwards for about a foot and then arch over. The plant does not have actual flowers. Female sagos look like they 'flower' while male sagos bear 'cones'. Flowering season is in spring.
The plant can withstand fairly long dry spells. Although Sago palm does not require frequent watering, the plant should not be allowed to completely dry out. One of the main concerns should be over-watering as it could lead to root rot. Water the plant and then wait for the topsoil to dry out before watering again. You can cut back on watering during the winter months.
A well-drained, loose soil should be used. Add in organic material and farmyard manure to make it nutrient rich.
Indoors the average height of the plant is about 2ft to 4ft. It can grow larger if grown in a garden.
Fertilize using an 18-6-18 liquid fertilizer mixed with water. You can feed monthly during spring and cut back in the winters. Always make sure to water the plant before fertilizing to prevent fertilizer burn. Do not overfeed the plant as that might cause the leaves to die.
Usually, the plant remains free from pests and diseases. Occasionally it can get affected by mealybugs or much more damaging scale. Treat the plant immediately to prevent damage. Spray it with insecticidal soap spray or neem oil.
The plant is perfect to be used as a centrepiece whether it is in your garden or indoors in a container. Light the plant from below using spotlights to create a dramatic effect of shadows on the walls and ceiling.