Cycad (Sago palm) & winter

Hey,
I got a nice cycad this spring and it's doing really well right now on my patio, 13 new leaves came out this week (so fast!). Can these guys survive freezing in winter? I live in Dallas, we get a few freezes every winter. I would not like to bring it inside my apartment with all the bugs that might live in that huge pot, also its kinda big! But I'd hate to lose it, its such a great plant...
thanks
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On Fri, 22 Jul 2005 01:43:24 GMT, "Rattus The RAT"
wrote:

I live in Zone 7b South Carolina. I bought a few small Cycas revoluta (Sago Palm) last year to see if they could handle my climate. Almost all of them died over the winter, and the three that survived haven't put on any new leaves.
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As an update, I looked at the largest of my three surviving Sagos today, and it has a throw of 8 leaves coming out from the top.
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How small were they? You might have had better luck with larger plants (assuming that they had been grown outdoors in a location that gets some winter frosts so that they would not be so shocked by your climate). But then you would have had a much larger $$ risk, since the big ones are pricey.
Also, 7b's a pretty marginal zone for cycas revolutas. Were the three that survived in more protected locations than the others?
Just curious, Laura


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Most of them were just small ones no bigger than a baseball across the long axis. Paid around $3.00 each for them in bulk on Ebay. They were rootless and leafless, and each put out only 1-2 leaves before the winter. Two that survived were from that group, and not only did they live through the winter, they never even lost their leaves, even though they were iced over at times. They were given the same conditions. All of those were still in plastic pots. The third one that survived was a larger, more expensive one that had maybe 20 leaves on it when I bought it. I had put it in the ground to see how it would do (even though I have red clay soil). It survived (though half of the leaves died) and is now, as I mentioned, putting on new leaves as of now.

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Wow, I'm impressed the two little ones survived if they were that small and in pots, too! But plants are living things, and even in the same species some individual plants are just tougher than others.
If you decide to you need to keep them in pots indefinitely because of your clay soil, you could try sinking the pots into the ground in the fall and pulling them back out in the spring. Make sure they are in a spot where water won't pool in the hole and rot the roots. This won't prevent foliage damage, but it will protect the roots and help the plants survive.
Alternatively, each fall you could wrap the pots in a thick layer of mulch/straw/hay contained with plastic or fabric (be sure water drains readily out of the bottom of your "package" - you don't want to trap water in there and rot your plants). This will insulate the roots somewhat.
Or, you could bring them into your house/garage/shed on the coldest nights.
Whether they are in pots or you plant them in the ground, try to locate them on the south side of your house or somewhere else protected from north winds (such as on the south side of a fence, a stand of trees, or even a tall hedge) - it will make a lot of difference.
Good luck, Laura

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in

No, they're very tender despite the tough look. In a pot, they really can't handly anything below 45 F., and would appreciate never seeing below 50 F.
--
David J. Bockman, Fairfax, VA (USDA Hardiness Zone 7)
email: snipped-for-privacy@beyondgardening.com
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My experience is that they are much hardier than 45F, even in pots.
I live in NW FL, Zone 8b. We get frosts and freezes here every year; most years the coldest temps we get are somewhere in the mid-upper 20s, but some years they go as low as the lower teens.
Sago palms (Cycas revoluta) are grown *everywhere* around here. I've got several myself (some dating from 1992-1993), which I have *never* protected from the cold. In the coldest winters, some or all of the foliage dies (turns brown). We simply prune off the damaged foliage and they sprout new leaves in the spring. In mild winters, the foliage usually takes no damage at all.
Some people protect their especially nice (heavily branched and full) sagos from all frost - but they do it for strictly cosmetic reasons.
But don't take my word for it: http://ag.arizona.edu/pima/gardening/aridplants/Cycas_revoluta.html
http://www.floridata.com/ref/c/cyca_rev.cfm
http://www.junglemusic.net/palms/cycas_revoluta.htm
http://www.sunpalmtrees.com/Cold-Hardy-Palm-Trees-Sago-Palms.htm
These are planted in the ground. Plants in pots would be more susceptible to cold, but they can still take much more cold than 45F.
My mother, who lives several miles north/inland of me, kept several outside in 3-gallon pots for about 3 years. Their only protection was provided by the oak tree they sat under. None of them suffered any lasting harm (just some frond damage), despite temps in the 20s each winter.
Also, the local plant retailers sell them year-round here. They leave the potted sagos (1 gallon size and up) outside, unprotected, except during the very hardest freezes. I've shopped many times after a frost or freeze and seen row upon row of healthy green fronds soaking up the sunshine - very cheery on a cold January morning.
Yes, Dallas winters would kill a potted sago. The OP should plan on bringing it inside each winter. But I think he can safely leave it outside until just before the first frost, not just until the nighttime temps drop below 50F.
Laura
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David, Wrong, while some did freeze out in temperatures below 17F, this cycad and many palms will survive a freeze what matters are the lengths of time below freezing. I manage over one thousand in Las Vegas....
On Fri, 22 July 2005 11:03:08 GMT, David Bockman

Acts of creation are ordinarily reserved for gods and poets. To plant a pine, one need only own a shovel. -- Aldo Leopold
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....and need some lessons in checking my grammar before posting...ouch!
On Fri, 22 Jul 2005 15:47:27 -0700, Tom Jaszewski

Acts of creation are ordinarily reserved for gods and poets. To plant a pine, one need only own a shovel. -- Aldo Leopold
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I lived and gardened in Dallas for 6 years. Sago palms are not hardy there. Most winters have night temperatures in the 20's for a week at a time, and can have temps in the single digits for 8-10 hours at a time. They are not reliably hardy and very expensive in that part of the country. A one gallon sago sells for about 20 dollars in a discount store.
So, it isn't wrong. 7b is not the same on Long Island, as it is in Texas. And what you said is the key, how long do those average low temperatures last. Sago is not reliably hardy, based on this, in Dallas.
On Fri, 22 Jul 2005 15:47:27 -0700, Tom Jaszewski

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On Sat, 23 Jul 2005 14:06:58 GMT, Bourne Identity
temperatures given by David were 45-50F, wrong!
After reading Dallas historical temps, it's likely C. revoluta could be used in a microclimate....
"Temperature range is from 15 to 110 degrees F (-11 to 42 C). Temperatures in the high teens may frost-damage leaves which may turn yellow or brown. Remove these to reduce stress on the plant and encourage new leaves in the spring. If temperatures fall below 15, the sago may die, however, as long as the trunk and leaf crown is hard wood, it should recover. If the trunk turns soft, your sago may be damaged beyond recovery. Our field of sago palms survived 11 degrees, a century low in South Texas, however large live oak trees planted throughout the "sago patch" provided some protection. We removed all the damaged leaves and the sagos grew new ones the following spring. " Acts of creation are ordinarily reserved for gods and poets. To plant a pine, one need only own a shovel. -- Aldo Leopold
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On Sat, 23 Jul 2005 08:00:20 -0700, Tom Jaszewski

I think a big point you may be missing is that these are considered to be specimen plants and for that application are not practical to use as a foundation specimen or in a design because they are not reliably hardy in Dallas, TX. It indeed would not be worth the money or time investment you'd need to make in the landscape.
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wow, um... I made an error, I apologize. My comments were made from personal experiences raising Cycas revoluta in shallow containers both in Chicago and here in northern Virginia.
--
David J. Bockman, Fairfax, VA (USDA Hardiness Zone 7)
email: snipped-for-privacy@beyondgardening.com
  Click to see the full signature.
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On Sat, 23 Jul 2005 19:26:31 GMT, David Bockman

Wow, um, not outside you didn't.
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wrote:

wow, um, who are you to tell me where and when I raised my Cycas?
--
David

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On Sun, 24 Jul 2005 15:11:42 GMT, David Bockman

wow, um, just say I'm wrong and my experience in Chicago and WV is very limited....BTW you were completely off base with this advise!!!!
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On Sun, 24 Jul 2005 15:11:42 GMT, David Bockman

Because, um, you are not truthful. Um.
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On Fri, 22 Jul 2005 01:43:24 GMT, "Rattus The RAT"

No, as the others said, you live in USDA Zone 7b, and depending on where you live you could be in 7a but either way, sago palms are not hardy there.
I live in south central Texas and they survive here, but a few winters ago we had a frost which lasted 10 hours and did some in.
V
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