Sago Alternatives

Chestnut dioon

Chestnut dioon (Dioon edule) in the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens.

The king sago was long considered a low-maintenance landscape plant and was widely grown throughout Florida, but many sagos have been severely damaged by a pest called cycad aulacaspis scale. If you recently lost one in your garden, consider planting a sago alternative.

Two great choices are chestnut dioon and Ceratozamia kuesteriana, since both can be grown statewide. These cycads have evergreen, palm-like fronds and resemble the king sago, but they aren't as prone to the pesky scale.

Two suitable palms include the slow-growing windmill and radicalis palms.

Some of these plants prefer full sun, while others like a little shade. Check with your local garden center for availability. These plants may be a little harder to find, but they're definitely worth the effort.


UF/IFAS Publications

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