How long until seeds?

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

My female Sago got pregnant in she just keeps getting bigger every day. How long does it take to procreate seeds?

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noonamah, Australia

If you look very closely into that cone you should see the seed forming along the edge of the megasporophylls. They'll be like tiny beads that will keep getting latger until they're bigger than marbles. If pollination was successful they'll be viable. If they're still tiny it'll be quite some time before they reach maturity.

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

Well my boy sago is about 5 feet from her.....and with all our wind and bugs and such she should be ok.

I used to be able to see these small cream colored seeds inside. Then she closed up tight and has just gotten bigger and bigger and has flattened out the fronds even.

How long is "quite some time"?

noonamah, Australia

Whatever you do don't hold your breath, LOL. I haven't specifically watched Cycas revoluta, but other species of Cycas at least 6 to 8 months. In the other thread Geoff (palmbob) mentioned a friend of his produced seed on a large scale. Maybe he knows specifically for C. revoluta.

She's probably closed up to protect the seeds. The species I have don't do that so probably have some other form of protection.

Gregory, TX

May is when sagos do their thing. :-)

The flower opens, hopefully gets pollinated, then closes. During the summer and fall, the seeds will start growing and getting larger. Generally, best to leave them on the plant as long as possible in the fall, and even into the winter months (December and January) unless Austin is going to get a hard freeze below 15 degrees (the lower limit of most Cycas revoluta). Then go ahead and harvest the seeds.

The tricky and hard part is removing the red or brown skin... put them all in a big bucket of water and let them soak a few hours. If any float, they won't be viable, so thow them away. Sinkers will be good seed. We used a small concrete mixer with rocks in it to remove seat coats, but not everyone has one of those laying around! Some people have been known to drop the soaked seed on a rough concrete surface and roll them around with shoes. We've hand removed the coats too.

After the seed has been cleaned, spread out to dry and then store them until March. Plant them and you should see new shoots by the 4th of July. Sometimes sooner.

If you have a bunch of them (and it looks like you will), buy a small kiddie wading pool, drill 1" holes in the bottom about 5" apart, then line the pool with several layers of newspaper. Top it with some well draining potting soil, coarse sand, or perlite - potting soil mixture. Water it thoroughly and place the seeds about 4" apart... press into the soil until you can barely see the top of the seed. Water the pool again. Then only water when the pool becomes somewhat (but not completely) dry. Locate the pool in a place that gets semi-shade... no direct sun, but not complete shade. Under a big tree often works well.

Once the seedlings have 3 or 4 leaves, you can carefully dig them out and put into small 6" pots. Sagos can be a really fun project!

noonamah, Australia

If you take them when they start to colour up before they dry out the outer layer is easy to remove. (By the way, cycads don't have flowers, they're part of the non-flowering plant group.)

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

I'm not sure I want to go into the Sago growing business. We already removed over 20 pups from the plants and spent 2 years potting them up as they grew. There are more pups this year as well. Maybe I will call a grower to see if they would like them.

Does anyone know when the Mama plant will go back to normal?

Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9b)

If by normal, you mean fronds. It should have a flush of fronds next spring, or whenever that normally happens on your sago. Though, after a sago matures, it will usually alternate a cone and fronds annually.

P.S. If you want to give away some of your seeds, I'll send a self addressed package with money for shipping.


Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

dave - I found a local nursery to take them, but D-mail me and I should be able to get you some. There will be LOTS.

Also, are you saying every other year we will go through this??? I don't like that......can we do birth control?

Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9b)

That's what I'm saying, and as far as I know it's not possible to spay a plant. With birth control you would continue getting a cone though it wouldn't be fertile. Understand that my understanding if coming from a nonmedical and nonfemale background. ;) IMO a mature female is quite attractive.;) I'll d-mail you about seeds.


Acton, CA(Zone 8b)

you can lop off the cone if you don't like it... sometimes my friends mature Cycas revolutas produce cone after cone after cone without any flushes in between.. .and sometimes they do the opposite. ANd remember, just because you female may have a ton of seeds, does not mean they are fertile. Sago palms produce seeds every time they cone, but only if there is a male very close and you happen to have something that brings the pollen onto the open female cone will there be fertile seed. See below what my friend does to get fertile seed... by the way, the male cone has to be open, too, at the same time... something that does not always happen (sometimes they open a few weeks to months apart, and then no way to get fertile seed).

This message was edited Aug 13, 2012 3:47 PM

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