How to Care for a Sago Palm

How to Care for a Sago Palm

Despite the common name, the sago palm is not a palm tree. These beautiful low-growing and tolerant plants featuring long green leaves are cycads. Cycads are a group of ancient tropical and subtropical vines that usually thrive from the trunk that does not branch out ever. It develops nuts but never flowers or fruit. Sago palm is native to hot regions of southern China and Japan.

Light Requirements

Sago palms love bright, indirect sunlight. Ignore locating your plants in direct sunlight. The hot afternoon sunlight will wilt and burn its foliage during the summertime, and too much shade will result in thin leaves and an unhealthy plant. When sago palms are grown indoors, select a bright east-facing, west-facing, or south-facing window to provide them with enough sun. You can move your indoor plants outside in hot weather as long as their pot is in dappled light.

Soil needs

Sago palms are not overly selective about the soil, as long as they get good drainage. A proper sandy soil that is somewhat rich in quality organic matter and slightly acidic soil to neutral soil is best. For container-bound indoor plants, a soil potting mix made for palms or cactus will be suitable for your sago palms.


Sago palms come with some drought resistance, but they like a mild amount of moisture in their soil. Water whenever their soil seems dry to your touch, and make sure never to overwater your palms to the point of damp soil. Slightly decrease watering when your plants are not actively growing during winter.

Temperature and Humidity

Your sago palms mostly prefer warm, humid environments. They can hardly tolerate cooler temperatures; however, frost will damage your plant’s foliage, and temperatures under 23 degrees Fahrenheit can probably kill your entire plant. When grown indoors, save your sago palms from any airflow and drafts from heating and cooling vents as extreme temperature fluctuations will damage your whole plant.


Fertilise your sago palms monthly throughout their growing season (such as spring to fall) using a liquid fertiliser with an 18-8-18 (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) ratio, mixed depending on the prescribed amount on the package directions. According to package instructions, you can also feed your plant with a slow-releasing fertiliser about two to three times in its growing season. To calculate the quantity of fertiliser, you will need, assume you will require about 1 1/2 pounds of your sago palm fertiliser for every 100 square feet of the ground. If your sago palms are planted in clay, a less porous medium, you will want half the amount of that fertiliser. It's ideal for fertilising your plant right before a rain shower, which will distribute your plant food.


Only prune your sago palms when their leaves have become entirely brown. Keep their yellowing leaves undamaged. They might not appear pretty, but they’re still absorbing some nutrients for your plant. Removing their yellowing leaves may spur more yellowing and worsen your plant's health. Use sterilized hand pruners or pruning to cut damaged leaves as close to their trunk as possible.

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