Cycas revoluta - aka "Interesting palm tree"

I did a search on Cycas revoluta and the picture looks exactly like what we have here. I have read that it only needs infrequent watering and good sun. I had been having Carol water it every morning. Should I tell her to calm down, or is it good for the little guy since it is just a small chap. I am totally new to growing ANYTHING, and would really like this thing to live because I carted it thousands of miles to give it to my lady love. Please help
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Back off on the water; let the soil dry out, or nearly dry out, between waterings. Unless it is severely root bound, watering once a week is probably plenty.
Also, unless your home is really cold (below 50 degrees), it's not necessary to keep it on or even near the heater. Cycas revoluta is not a true tropical plant; it's more of a subtropical plant. Normal room temperatures are fine. Having it on the heater shouldn't harm it, though, unless the top of the heater is actually hot. Can you keep your hand resting on the top of the heater while the heater is on? If so, the plant is fine. It it's too warm for your hand, it's probably too warm for the plant.
You can keep this plant indoors as a houseplant all year if you like; just keep it near a sunny window.
Alternatively, you can move it outdoors, or on a porch or balcony, when the weather warms. Just gradually acclimate it to the increased sunlight over a couple of weeks. Outside, it will tolerate light levels from mostly shaded (dappled light or only a couple of hours of direct light per day) to full, all day sun. But if it's very hot and dry in the summer, partial shade (morning sun, afternoon shade) is probably best. It will need more frequent watering - possibly as often as daily - when it's outdoors in the summer heat, so check it more often.
Regardless, you will have to move it back inside next fall - young plants can be killed by temps in the 20s; even large mature plants will be killed by temperatures of around 10 to 15 degrees. Unless you move somewhere much warmer than Illinois after college, you'll have to keep it inside every winter.
By the way, don't be alarmed if it does not grow at all for months. Cycas revoluta grows in flushes, generally 2-3 times per year; it appears unchanged between growth flushes. (Those "small shoots coming out of the base" you are seeing right now are the early stages of a growth flush.) As long as the mature fronds stay a nice deep green between growth flushes, it's happy.
As long as you keep it in decent potting soil, I wouldn't worry about feeding it. If it shows signs of nutrient deficiencies, or if you just really *want* to feed it, get some palm fertilizer or slow-release houseplant fertilizer, and follow the label directions carefully. If you're not sure how much to use, use less! Only feed in spring and summer, not after midsummer, and don't feed in fall or winter.
Unless you have a very large house, in ten years or so you'll have to find a new home for your "small chap" as it then will be several feet across and weigh as much as you do! Down here in FL we just plant them outside and let them gradually take over a corner of our yard. :-) But I guess you'll have to find a hotel or business which wants something big and "tropical" for its lobby.
Good luck, Laura
P.S. - Buy a plant next time, OK?

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