Cycas revoluta need leaf removal?

New growth coming out…should i remove the old leaves of main trunk? also the plastic container in foreground is size marker 6" tall and 4" diameter. Thank you

Cycads will have leaves yellow or deteriorate with age. I don’t remove them unless they are unsightly. I’m not aware of these being styled as bonsai due to their singular growth pattern. They do look nice in an oriental pot.

thanks for the reply… actually Cycads/Sago have been styled more as bonsai “secondary” plant and often styled as a clump. You can refer to John Naka Bonsai Techniques II. My goal is to promote the growth of the ‘pups’ growing at base and lower part of the trunk. Thank you.

Are the lowest leaves supporting pups now or are they simply growing from the trunk? Am curious if leaving them will help encourage pup development - I don’t know what, if any, techniques can help with pup development.

Totally unrelated, but there’s a fantastic cycad section at Ritsurin garden in Takamatsu, Japan:

Hi Jonas…thanks for reply…and the pic of those Cycads at Ritsurin Garden…wow!.. the lower leaves are not connected to the ‘pups’ growing at the base or on the trunk…my intent was two-fold…a-give more light to the pups and b-try to get the new leaves coming out in full sun so they stay a bit smaller and possibly curving downward…g
living in So.Italy and Florida cycads were everywhere so brings me back to my youth!..or my OG days as you would say!..hahaha…this specific cycad came from a bonsai grower in Clovis probably in 1983…lived in Houston…then it went to Florida for a few years and came back to NorCal 20years ago… to look as a proper OG is it should probably go into a deep flowery Chinese pot - as David suggested- but lets see how it goes…given the long history with this one i will probably keep it or give to one of my children…Thank you!

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Ha! I checked a few resources and didn’t see anything about encouraging pups. I’d likely remove those lower leaves just to make it easier to enjoy the trunk.

Kind of amazing what a history the tree has had in the last forty years!

Hi Jonas…ok…will take the oldest row of leaves off…(and vacuum all the deodar needles off hahahaha)…thanks for the encouragement… yes…this one has nice old history…wish i could recall name of the family in Clovis that owned the nursery…Thank you

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Here is Cycas revoluta with main trunk trimmed…hope this brings a bit more light to the pups…larger one on right has new growth starting… there are many very small ‘pups’ on the trunk…will try to get a closeup of those…

Thank you


I have no experience with this plant; but I do have many agaves in pots that kinda grow similar (pups a lot). But I have some questions…

What is the goal for this plant? To get more pups and make it multi? Or, keep it single plant/trunk?
What do you do when more pups show up?
Cut them all off, or cut the big main plant/leader off while leaving the small pups (for taper perhaps, or size management since they grow fast/big), or other reason?

My last round of maintenance for my foxtail agaves, I just added more soil (it was low) and also cut off all the pups so the overall plant looks cleaner with a single trunk/plant and doesn’t crowd out the pot with too many pups.
Wondering if I am doing the right thing and I have no idea how to maintain a potted agave.

Edgar…thanks for the reply and questions…main goal for this plant is to continue to encourage the growth of more “pups” to create a clump look. There are 2 large ones growing at the base visible in the photo posted…but many more growing from the trunk that are visible (barely) in these close ups of the trunk…one frontal and one from right side…the second pic shows new flush of growth for this small one as well.

they are very slow growing…the main trunk is well over 40 years old. the small growths on trunk take long time to start leafing out…the smaller one on right side in pic “pups B” started growing at least 5-6 years ago and has had just 1 flush of leaves- actually only 1 leaf!
Re: agaves…I do have a very dwarf growing blue agave which makes huge number of pups and i have repotted it once or twice splitting it up…but i do encourage the tight ‘clump’ look…the larger of the plants in the clump may be 5 inches tall…it is time to re-pot so will post pics of it to see if it is similar to the ‘foxtail’ agave. Thank you


Good morning
the attached images are not bonsai but may shed some light on your questions.
pups at the base [in the ground] will develop into individual plants. they can be chopped off and potted or planted in the ground. they will begin to flush new growth next season.
the attached sagos [20 years in ground] were blocking the views at 8ft wide by 8ft tall. in previous years i had cut back the pups or removed as separate plants. this year I allowed them to grow knowing that i was going to do some thinning of the main plants. Got lucky with the male plant on the right…it was pushing two additional pups further up the trunk. these are only three weeks old!
I am not sure if additional new pups will develop further up the main trunk but it will be fun to see what develops.IMG_1771


Gotta say, this thread has made me interested in Sagos (after looking it up, I see it is a slow growing and small palm tree).

I’ve never been interested in palm trees before and also know nothing about them; mainly because some grow much too big and tall, and also they are seen everywhere in my neighborhood/street/area (SoCal), different kinds - tall skinny +100ft, medium 20-50ft (date palms?), small 8ft tall (I assume the 8ft ones on my street are sagos now… always thought they looked nice like fans whenever I passed by them).

Anyways… I’m attracted to them now, for their small size and slow growth.

Mike…Thank you for posting the pics!..very cool…are you in SF Area by chance? love the clumping feature in the last couple of pics!..exactly my goal with mine. Thanks

they are fun and actually pretty varied group of plants…but they are not palms and not ferns… while often confused with both.
Look for another group of closely related plants the Zamias which are smaller and grow in Mexico through the caribbean and south Florida… also quite long lived like other cycads. Thank you

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I am in El Dorado Hills in the Sacramento foothills.
Glad you like the pics and good luck.

cool…know the area fairly well…used to pick grapes just up the hill from you…Thanks

I see someone selling pup-cuttings on CL for $15. Thinking of buying a couple if I can get him down to maybe $7-10 per pup-cutting.

Are Sago pup-cuttings easily rooted in pots?
If yes, how many months in shade from when I first start/plant them in pots?
And, how many months in pot until roots are very well established?
Lastly, how many months in pot until I can transplant them into the ground?

Oh, also, is it okay to plant the Sago 5-6’ away from (North of) next to my garden/in-ground Ume? My Ume is still a young one, 2" trunk, lanky and only 6’ tall. But, I am assuming it will grow taller and may shade the Sago a little (since the Ume will be 5-6’ away from it, South of the Sago).

Just wondering if 5-6’ distance is enough.
Since the Ume is deciduous though, the Sago should get full sun from the low winter sun in the South.


Edgar…unfortunately cannot answer your questions as have not experimented at all with trying to root cycads…sorry…

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Curious on this too… are Sago pup-cuttings always the same sex as the parent plant? (ie: does a male parent always = male pups?)

This morning, I ended up buying seven 2yo seedlings on eBay for only $30 shipped!

Of course, there’s much bigger, older ones on CL for $35-75+ …but that’d be expensive if I bought 3-7 of them for the garden.

Any tips when I receive the seedlings? (these will be my first Sago)
What size pot should I pot them in when I receive them? (1gal or 3gal or 5gal)

Should I place them in shade for a while to acclimate/avoid-shock? (how many months?)

How often should I water them? (let surface dry out a little b/n waterings, just like any other plant?)

How long will it take to become decently large (as in, 3-6’ wide… since I know they only grow 1” in height per year), and also big enough to plant in ground?

I’m excited to get them!
It’s always extra nice to get something that will be a lot easier to grow in hot & dry SoCal, like conifers. (J maples and azaleas are difficult, tricky and finicky here… and always keeps getting eaten by rats, lol).

[pics are from seller’s ad… I might update with real pics when I receive them]

Very cool!..i would probably use relatively small growing pots and would suggest you keep in shade until they acclimate…especially since it is July in SoCal…
and the #$%^&*()RATS eat everything!!!
Good luck…

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