How to Take Care of a Sago Palm

Gardenerdy Staff Nov 8, 2018
Sago palm is a hardy plant that requires minimum amount of care. Read on to know more about sago palm care.
Although called a palm, the sago palm belongs to the family Cycas, which includes plants that are living fossils. The name stems from the fact that fossilized remains of Cycads have been found that date back to millions of years. While some species have become extinct, others have thrived till date with little change.
One such member of the cycad family is the Cycas revoluta or the sago palm as it is more commonly known. These plants are very easy to grow, and taking care of them is easy even for those who are new to gardening.

Caring Tips

Being a very symmetrical plant that supports a crown of leaves spreading in all directions on a thick rough trunk, the Sago palm is a popular choice for ornamental plants. These are one of the easiest plants to grow that require minimal care.
✢ This plant can bear a wide variation in temperature, ranging from 15 to 110°F. However, it is important to take care that the plant is not exposed to frost during its early years, as this may damage its leaves.

✢ As far as light is concerned, the tree prefers the shade, but it grows well in bright light as well.
✢ One should be careful while watering this plant, as it doesn't tolerate excess moisture. For optimum growth, provide well drained soil. Water logging can cause root rot to set in, hampering the plant growth and also cause it to die. It's important to allow the plant to dry between successive watering. Humidity needs for the sago palm from dry to wet.
✢ Though a good option for landscaping, it can also be considered to be grown in containers. If planted in the landscape, water the plant when the soil is dry. If in a container, let the soil dry fully. If the plant gets sun in morning or afternoon or if the temperatures are high, water it weekly. Once the plant is set, it will bear drought conditions well.
✢ For complete information on how to care for sago palm, one needs to be aware of yellowing of leaves, which is a common problem of the cycad. Old leaves of this tree turn yellow to brown, and then finally fall off as part of the plant's measures of conserving nutrients.
However, yellowing of new leaves indicates nutrition deficiency. This problem can be handled by providing a feed of fertilizer, like palm food, to the plant. To minimize such problems, provide fertilizer to the plant once every six weeks during the entire growing period.
✢ Another point to remember when one sees yellow fronds is that the discolored leaves should not be removed, specially the lower ones, as this may worsen the condition by accelerating yellowing of younger leaves. Hence, refrain from pruning sago palm unless it is meant to remove the brown and dead leaves.
✢ Although a hardy plant, it is susceptible to scale infestations, which are a common problem with most houseplants. They suck the sap from their host, robbing them of important nutrients. If left unchecked, this can cause death of the plant. One easy way of getting rid of scale infestations is to locate and hand pick these insects.
Some insecticides also work well against these insects. Try to coincide the spray schedule with the crawler stage of the insects, when they are most vulnerable to insecticides.
✢ Sago palm is highly poisonous to humans as well as animals, and its ingestion might lead to vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even death in severe cases. So, take care to keep your pets and children away from these plants, as they seem to find it very palatable.
Sago palm care is not a very demanding task. However, there is another fact to consider for those who love to see their plants grow quickly and it is that the sago palm is an extremely slow growing plant. In most cases, these trees add only about an inch or two every year. So, even with the best care, do not expect your plant to show a growth spurt.