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I Protected My Sago Palm: The Insane Story of Its Survival!

Nature retrieves what it conceives, but when it comes to my love, I never drawback my feet to wage war against it.

It may sound funny, but I have been building my love for Sago Palm on the castle of lies.

However, it still stands strong in my garden for almost 15 years now!

Image represents developing female cone of Sago Palm
Just look at my Palm. She is almost 15 and growing strong day by day!

For a plant to be this long in any garden, it must have its own story of survival, don’t you think?

Also, you shall find this heroic tale no less than a safari once you read about it!

Mystery Behind Sago Palm: Solved?

Sago Palms are way more different than most people encounter to call them. 

All the normal palm trees produce flowers and are different from Sago Palms. We call this “taxonomic confusion” in botany.

In simple terms, people have misunderstood Sago Palms as normal palms.

But here’s the twist, Sago Palms don’t even belong to the flowering plant family!

Instead, they are non-flowering plants called “Gymnosperms.”

Image represents new fronds or leaves of Sago Palm
The ‘palm’ in its name and the leaves’ actual palm-like structure often confuse people.

They are called “Palms” because of their large fan-shaped fronds or leaves that look like the leaves of normal palm trees.

Besides, it gets even more confusing once Sago Palms start producing flowery cones.

Sago Palm Flowers: What Are They?

Slowly, it might be getting clear to you that everything about the Sago Palms is just hearsay, isn’t it?

But be prepared to get even more muddled as we get to their flowers!

Sago Palms retain flowers, but they are not your typical colorful and fragrant blooms that you can gift your wife or girlfriend!

They are large and have different shapes depending on whether you have a male or a female plant.

Besides, the flowers are technically called “cones,” and both the male and female plants bear them atop.

Image represents female cone of Sago Palm
Ball-shaped cones of female Sago are always the most intriguing things about the plant. Just look at it!

But the Palms produce the flowers only at specific times of the year. The male produces elongated cones, while the female has spherical ones, which are roughly the size of a basketball.

They are late bloomers, giving rise to flowers once in three to four years from April to June.

I am telling you this because I have a female Sago Palm, and she is the pride of our home!

She is going to bloom this year, and I can’t wait to show it to you guys.

How I Acquired A Sago Palm?

Looking back, I have to recall one fine sunny day when she first arrived at my home as a gift.

My uncle, who lived in Mississippi, to redress our financial condition and soothe our home environment. 

And guys, it did its miracle right from the start to bring out the best in our family.

But the plant definitely took its time to grow, and it was not until ten years after it became a proper showpiece for our garden.

Sago Palms take a good 12-13 years to mature and bloom for the first time.

Image represents developing female cone of Sago Palm
The female cone of Sago Palm takes 3 to 4 years to bloom. This one here is just maturing and will flower in a few months.

So, the plant also teaches you the value of patience, don’t you think?

However, the most difficult part came later as the Sago grew.

To be honest, I was excited to see whether it would be a girl or boy, and it’s difficult to know this until the plant bears its first flower.

Even I was unaware that Sago Palms come in pair. This is because Sago Palms grow individually as Male and Female plant!

To my surprise, the plant became my little love and was slowly expanding her leaves. 

Unfortunately, my mom suddenly grew as this story’s main villain, and the situation slowly headed south!

Sago Palm: Then vs. Now

She was so small then. It seemed like yesterday my dad first planted her.

Now she is almost 3 feet tall and has 4 to 4.5 feet long leaves.

However, sometimes she stings a little like all Sago Palms due to the many spiky leaflets.

Image represents the spiky leaflets of Sago Palm
Sago Palm has spiky leaflets with pointed ends. So, beware, as they sting a little if you love them too much!

Maybe she’s a little frisky about the special treatment she rarely gets nowadays.

Since Sago Palms love bright sun with partial shade together with moist and well-draining soil, I am trying my best to make her at home.

To make this happen, I have guided my mom to amend her soil with homemade organic fertilizer. 

We give organic meals thrice a year to keep her full – once in early April, once in early June, and once in early August. 

She needs a drink once in 5 to 7 days, but since Sago Palms can tolerate drought, we keep the soil simply moist around her.

With all this nurture, she thrives well and grows new fronds yearly.

Image represents developing fronds of Sago Palm
She was growing a new set of leaves a few months back.

But this is not always the case.

Remember, I told you above that my mother is somewhat the main villain in this tale? Now, this is where I first stepped in to protect my Palm!

Me and Sago Palm vs. Everyone Else!

My fight for the Sago Palm may not be written down in the pages of history, but it surely is a brave one!

There have been three instances where my mom, sister, and an out-of-the-family person deliberately conspired to uproot the Sago Palm.

But I managed to fend off them every single time.

Want to know how I did it? Let’s begin with the first scenario!

Scene 1: Duel with Mom

Look, first thing right off the bat, I love my mom, but I could never let her harm my plants.

Moreover, the Sago Palm has taken so much time to grow.

I have personally given it all my sweat and tears from time to time to keep it thriving.

However, the more it thrived, it made my mom insecure as she thought that it was occupying so much space in the garden.

Image represents Sago Palm growing new leaves
My mom says she is invading the space in our garden. I say she is just getting along. What do you think?

She had other plans of uprooting it and transplanting new plants in their place.

Her plan was not as half-bad but not permissible either, from my side.

So, I lied about the Sago Palm, that it is listed among the endangered species, and even the slightest injury could buy us a one-way ticket to prison.

Thankfully, this trick worked, and the Palm made it!

Scene 2: Sister vs. Sago Palm

My sister was also somewhat against the Sago Palm.

However, her problem was the simplest excuse that I had ever heard for removing the plant.

When my dad first planted the Palm, he chose an east-facing location in the garden. 

East-facing receives bright morning sunlight in summer and winter. Also, the Palm was behind another plant, so it received dappling sunlight.

But that region of the garden is also the place where we hang our clothes to dry.

My sister could have dodged the plant around and minded her business.

However, she grumbled with me about it because pointy leaflets used to poke her while hanging the clothes to dry.

Once I told her about the prison stuff, she had been quiet ever since!

Scene 3: Wrong Place But Right Time

It was the time when our house was undergoing reconstruction a year back.

To fit the construction materials, workers wanted to uproot the Sago Palm and create a space.

The leaves also had grown so much at the time that they were disturbing the construction work.

So, I thought of a plan. It was quite some time since the Sago Palm needed a cut.

Since the fronds were also somewhat damaged and going to fall off anyway, I took sterilized pruners and began snipping the lower leaves.

Image represents trimmed leaves of Sago Palm
Sago Palms love occasional trimming so that they can relieve themselves from leggy growth.

Within minutes, the plant was trimmed to a new look!

However, I accidentally got the chance to prune the plant since it was a favorable time to do so.

The growth was also getting leggy, and the leaves were drying off.

If you own a Sago Palm, autumn is naturally the right time to trim the plant to keep it in shape.

Current Update on the Situation

After the entire hardcore skirmish, all I can say is that the Sago Palm is doing fine now!

So, my long haul ultimately has paid off. I saved the plant!

I have to remain away from my home most of the time, and I personally could not be around to monitor things.

But my mom and sister have promised me that they shall keep an eye on the Sago Palm when I am away.

Image represents mealybugs attacking Sago Palm fronds
See those small, white, and cottony growths on the leaflets? Those are the bugs that have been bugging her!

Recently, I got the news that mealybugs are pestering my Palm.

So, I told them to spray a homemade insecticidal solution on the plant to relieve it from pests.

The progress is on the way, and I shall update you guys soon about it.

Besides, there’s good news, too. My Palm is going to have babies!

Image represents pups or offsets for Sago Palm
Small pups or offsets can be used to grow a happy Sago Palm family!

My sister updated me that little offsets or pups are forming at the base of the stem.

Soon, I shall have a small Sago Palm family with me. How cool is that?

And now, since I have additional helping hands, I won’t even have to fret about my plant.

I am sure my Sago Palm will do great as she has two well-adept hands to take care of herself!

Wrapping Up!

Although Sago Palms are a bit of a laggard, you can’t help but quickly find an emotional attachment with the plant in no time once you bring them home.

Like all plants, they require basic care requirements and regular checkups for pests and diseases.

Who knows, from all the love, it may even bloom faster for you!

I hope that my tale about the Sago Palm may inspire you to love the plants even more, and in the near future, I expect to read a Sago Palm story from your side, too.

Happy Gardening!

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