Is it a palm, is it a cycad? If you are not sure, you’re not alone. Palms and cycads are commonly mistaken for one another, but in defense of anyone who might fall into that category, it doesn’t help when the name of a cycad is Sago Palm!
The only true connection between a palm and a cycad is they are seed plants. Although the two are unrelated, they are both prehistoric plants that can be traced back millions of years.
Palms typically have slender trunks with no branches and a leafy bunch on top. As palms grow, leaves encircle the stem at the base and leave circular scars around the trunk.
Alternatively, cycads have two rows of leaves along a stem that uncoil from the trunk. Generally, the trunk of a cycad is stocky, and they also have little or no branching.
To Prune or Not to Prune?
For palms or cycads that may have been damaged by the recent back-to-back freezes in the Houston area, avoid pruning until new growth appears. And when you do prune, only remove sections you’re confident are dead, damaged, or diseased. Cutting green fronds can weaken the plant and threaten its overall health.
Once palms are pruned, they are very susceptible to fungus, so you should spray copper sulfate that will work as an effective fungicide.
If you have a Sago Palm, or any cycad, that looks like it’s in bad shape, check the center cone to see if it looks soft and fuzzy. Also, if you see green fronds growing from the center, the plant is not entirely dead. You can apply ColorStar fertilizer made by Nelson Plant Food to your cycads now to help with regrowth.
For more information about palms and cycads, stop by the Garden Center to visit with our expert staff or call 281-354-6111.