· Brent Wilson's Answer
· Hi Heather,
Not sure if you're planting the Sago palm in the ground or in pots so will give advice on both ways. If you're in USDA Hardiness Zone 8A, I would recommend planting this variety of palm in containers so they can be brought indoors for the winter. Freezing weather can cause damage to or kill Sago palms, especially by late freezes in spring that occur after a warm spell.
PLANTING IN THE GROUND
Sago palms are easier to grow in the ground than in pots however, as I mentioned previously, in Zone 8, they can be damaged by freezing winter temperatures. The best time to transplant one from a container to the ground is during winter or early spring, however they can be planted almost any time of year. Consistently moist soil can be a problem so pick a location that provides well-drained, preferably sandy soil. High areas or mounds are the best place to plant them. In clay or more dense soils, add and mix in some sand to the soil removed from the planting hole. Dig the planting hole about twice the size of the container or root ball of the plant. Remove the plant from the container and set it in the hole making sure the top edge of the root ball is slightly above ground level to allow for settling. Pull your backfill soil mixture around the root ball in the hole, tamping as you go to remove air pockets. Then water thoroughly. Do not water again until soil becomes almost dry.
PLANTING IN POTS
The Sago palm prefers growing in deep pots so pick a large one that's at least 16 inches deep. It does not like wet feet so prefers quick-draining soil. Make sure the pot has drainage holes. If not, drill a few holes in the bottom of the pot. For soil mix, maybe use a cheap grade bagged potting "soil" or top soil rather than a potting "mix" (these hold water) and add in some sand. Just make sure the soil drains fast and doesn't stay consistently wet or moist. I'd also put an inch or so layer of gravel at the bottom of the pot. When planting, the root ball should be a half inch or so beneath the top rim of the pot. Water after planting and then only when the soil has almost dried out.
Hope this info helped,