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.