Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sago seeds

Posted Friday, February 22, 2008

Meet my "Big Guy." This is my biggest Sago palm, cycas revoluta. He's a beautiful specimen, and he's got lots of pups (which I'm happy to share if you are willing to brave getting them OUT!) My Dad had a long battle with him one day when he didn't want to give up any pups, but I'm glad to say that Dad won and the Sago was none the worse for the wear.

My neighbor has several Sagos, but she has both male and female specimens. And a week ago, she gave me 4 seeds from her female plant. (The cluster of seeds is an amazing sight if you haven't ever seen it. I'll try to get over there and get a picture for you.)

So, I soaked them for several days, and today I removed the outer shell of the seed to prepare them for planting. I'm thrilled that they floated in the water, which is the sign that the seeds have been pollinated and will grow. The outer shell was remarkably thick, but relatively easy to remove with some gloves (the shell is a nasty orange substance that will stain your hands) and my thumbnail.
Now they will sit in a cool damp place to dry out and then I will rehydrate them (seems odd to me, but that's what you're supposed to do.) And then they are planted - sideways of all things. not with the point up or down, but on its side.

I have a big new bed into which two of these babies are going to go soon, along with a variegated agave that another neighbor passed along to me. This is the bed behind our iron fence that doesn't really get watered. I have pots close by that I drag the hose out to water daily, so I can give them a drink periodically, but they will prefer it on the dry side. I'll be adding some other native grasses and xeric plants to the bed as well.

12 comments:

Christine said...

I love it when gardeners share. Hows your nasturtiums? Did you get them replanted?

kate said...

Growing Sago Palms outdoors is just plain cool to me. It was interesting to see the seeds of them ... I'll be looking forward to seeing them grow up!

Diana said...

Christine - I did NOT - but I swear I am doing it tomorrow! I did uncover them and water them well. I think that helped because they were getting moldy. Ewww...they are better now. I'm going to post a picture of them this weekend...they are so pathetic!

Kate - Aren't those Sago seeds something? I can't wait to watch them grow up, too. They are so darned expensive, it just adds to the thrill of trying to grow them myself.

Brianna said...

I'm thinking of planting a Sago myself...and I'd never seen Sago seeds before. Thanks for posting pics. :)

Diana said...

Well, Brianna - I have 4 seeds and I'm only planting 3, so you are welcome to have one since you're here in town! I was so glad to learn that they are hearty to about 20 f -- so much for all those years I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to cover the huge ones in 30f and gale fore winds! I think the smaller, younger ones may need a little more protection, but the bigger ones are really pretty hearty in our area. Let me know if you want a seed (and I can always get more, too)

Libby said...

Hi Diana!
Thanks for stopping by Aurora Primavera. EatPrayLove is so fun, you'll love it. It's got humor, inspiration, and lots to think about.

Layanee said...

Diana: How cool is that! Sago seeds! I will just have to watch yours grow until I get a greenhouse that is! I love that plant. It says 'tropics' to me!

Diana said...

Thanks, Libby - I can't wait to read the book. And I love the leaves behind the title on your blog. I've been trying and trying to get an image behind mine!

Layanee - are you usually colder than 20 for very long in the winter? I thought you had a green house -- your gallery of garden photos is simply beautiful. I'll keep you posted on the sago progress.

Anonymous said...

dear diana, how are your seeds coming along? i'm curious because i've read that floating seeds are NOT what you want. i currently have a seed-filled sago. i put some seeds in water and because they floated, i threw them out. i have tons more, though, so hoping your info is correct!

Diana said...

Anonymous - I don't know yet. I let them dry out and have yet to get to planting them. Sort of a false start, but I am rehydrating them this week and hope they will go in the ground and take off for me! I hope I didn't get that backwards about the polllination. Cross your fingers!

Chii Rising said...

Hello, love the article but just wanted to point something out for you: when the seeds float, it means they WON'T sprout, not the opposite. This is true for any type of seed. Seeds that float are not viable & will not grow; seeds that sink are mature. Good luck!

Chii Rising said...
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