When Do Sago Palms Grow New Leaves?

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By Bryan Peters

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Sago palms, also known as the Cycas revoluta, are not palm trees but rather a cycad; cycads are primitive plants that do not flower but produce cones.

These sago plants look long, glossy, and stiff, and their fronds look like a combination of ferns and palms. Sago plants are slow growers, so after you plant them, you shouldn’t be quick to want to cut their leaves or prune them. But when do sago palms grow new leaves?

For the branch of a sago plant to fully mature, it can take up to 40-50 years as it is said to add about an inch every year. In this article, we will explain the growth pattern of these sago palm trees in detail. 

When Do Sago Palms Grow New Leaves?

Due to the coarse and rough stem or trunk on the sago palms, they can only be able to grow just an inch per year, but it differs, depending on the species you would be getting. It takes about 40-50 years for sago palms to develop well-grown side branches and more modified leaves and other tree parts. 

However, you can speed this up a little by applying the right fertilizer infused with lots of nitrogen during the early summer. If you do that, you will realize a sudden flush of leaves in the late summer in tropical regions.

How to Speed Up Leaf Growth on Sago Palm Trees

1. Pruning 

Pruning Is a maintenance habit that needs to be adopted for the healthy growth of sago palms. Pruning is the cutting off the excess growth tips on your sago plants which would likely be blocking a lot of other plants from receiving adequate sunlight.

Although pruning is good, you can do the plant more harm than good if done incorrectly. 

You should ensure that you use good pruning shears because if you use a saw, you can leave a huge scar there, affecting the growth rate of the leaves in that affected area. You should ensure that you prune out only affected brown and yellow leaves and excess leaves from your plants. 

You can be able to archive this by ensuring that you cut away the dead leaves from the base of their point of attachment to be a tree trunk and not the whole trunk out. In addition, you should ensure that you do not remove healthy plants when pruning because these plants help photosynthesize food from sunlight. 

So, if you cut off lots of these green leaves, you would reduce the rate at which the plants can provide food and energy to cater to themselves. Likewise, if your plant develops knobby stem growth from the main trunk, you can cut it off to prevent branching. 

Why Should We Prune?

The discoloration on leaves is a significant reason why pruning occurs. Cold weather conditions kill some leaves on the sago palm plants during the winter or even cause yellowing or decaying of these plants. 

Yellowing of plants results from the manifestation of certain pests like the scale insect; in that case, pruning is advised. Another reason why leaves turn yellow Is due to overwatering.

Therefore, you should ensure that you do not overwater your sago palms, and even when you do, ensure that it is planted in a well-potted plant so the excess water can flow out. 

So, if this is your case, you can prune out these leaves gently and wait for new ones to emerge. The appearance of a new flush of leaves usually takes about 2-12 months for them to grow and develop fully. It all works with a principle, the warmer the climate, the faster these new leaves emerge.

See Also: Should I Remove Sago Palm Pups?

Frequently Asked Questions 

How Do I Make My Sago Palms Grow Faster?

Although there is a limit to the growth of the sago plants, you can ensure that they thrive and are steady by planting them in well-drained soil, infrequently watering because they are drought tolerant, and adding fertilizer supplements only a few times in a couple of months to prevent improper growth. 

Should I Cut the Yellow Leaves Off Sago Palms?

It would be best for you to trim your yellowing sago plants instead of cutting them off because even as they are sick, they are also drawing nutrients. If removed immediately, they can cause the plant stunted growth and make it susceptible to infections. 

Can I Speed Up the Growth Rate of My Sago Palms?

For your sago plant to attain a height of about 10-12 ft at least, you have to plant it under favorable conditions like; 

  • Ample sunlight
  • Proper temperature and humidity
  • Adequate pruning
  • Extensive root growth also

When planted indoors, the plant’s growth would reduce because the root would not be able to maximize its growth capacity, limiting the growth. So, when you plant your sago palms indoors, it would take a minimum of 5 years before they can grow 2 feet tall.

This limit is not very healthy for the plant, but it is worth it if you want to enjoy its elegance inside your house. When planted outdoors, your sago plant could reach 1-2 inches. 

How Long Does It Take for Sago Palms to Grow New Fronds?

These sago palms grow their leaves instead, which only happens once a year. So if your sago plants are going to flower, they do not produce new leaves. Unfortunately, not all sago plants flower yearly, even when they are old enough, so you should read you for them to grow about just a cone of leaves yearly. 

What Would Happen When I Cut Off the Green Leaves from Sago Palms?

When you cut off all the green leaves from your sago palms, they won’t die, but then, they would not be able to make as much food as it usually does from the sun, and this is the part where you come in. So you would have to spend a lot on the fertilizers and feed and watering of the sago palms until they can produce their leaves and start working again.