Sago Palm Care

A Complete Guide to Growing Sago palm

Sago Palm-sago-palm-care
Sago Palm

The sago palm is a popular plant that is used in many garden projects and designs, these plants are among the family of cycads and are said to be dated back as far as the time of the dinosaurs which is a very long time ago. The king and the queen sago is unique in appearance and can really highlight your garden and landscape areas.

These palms can be grown both in and outdoors. The sago palm produces feathery foliage and cones that adds to their attraction, the trunk of the sago palm is thick with thorns or spears which can deliver a very painful experience so care should be taken when handling them. This palm is a slow grower so much patience is needed but its slow growth makes this palm a must because it is low maintenance.

But how do we grow and care for these garden beauties that have made a name for themselves? if you are interested in knowing then stick around as we take a closer look at adding the king and the queen sago palms to our landscapes and gardens.

Things you must know

Here are a few things you must know in order to have success with the sago palm

Planting Location

Sago palms perform best in an area that is partially shaded although it can withstand the sun, however, the fronds (leaves) may become scorched because of the sun’s heat.

Soil Type

The soil type should be well-drain soil such as sandy soils. The use of incorporating organic matter will help to condition the soil to hold the right amount of moisture.

Watering Methods

Although the sago palm is considered to be a drought-tolerant plant once it is established it is good to keep the soil somewhat moist not waterlogged because sago palms hate wet feet which will encourage root rot.

Fertilizing Methods

Fertilize your sago palm with a slow-release fertilizer during the growing season. If your sago palm has yellow leaves using chelated iron will offer some help. Before using chemicals read and follow the manufacturer’s label because the label is the law.

Garden insect pests of the sago palm

These are the garden insect pests to watch out for.

  • Mealybugs
  • Whiteflies
  • Asian cycad scale


Mealybugs have a fuzzy waxy coating that is white. What this garden insect pest does is suck the plant’s juice, the secretion of the mealybug is known as honeydew. This honeydew is a sugary substance that encourages black molds to form known as sooty molds which will not only make your sago palm look unattractive but this black mold can interfere with the plant’s production process by which they manufacture their food.

The use of insecticidal soap will bring these bugs under control. Before applying chemicals read and follow the manufacturer’s label because the label is the law.


Whiteflies are tiny white insects that can also cause damage to the mealybug. To know if your sago palm has whiteflies shake or tap the leaves. When disturbed whiteflies will dislodge from the tree but will quickly return reattaching themselves. The use of insecticidal soap will bring these garden insect pests under control.

Asain cycad scale

The Asain cycad scale can become a real threat to your sago palms, these garden insect pests suck the juice from the plant which is not good for the plant’s health. These scales are either grey, white, brown, or black. The Asain scale will infest the entire plant including the roots which spells trouble if not dealt with immediately the entire plant will die.

In extreme cases, it is best to remove the plant completely and dispose of it. Treat Asain cycad scales with horticulture oils every couple of days or as directed by the label.

Diseases of the sago palm

  • Root Rot

Be careful not to overwater your sago palm because these plants are known to be drought tolerant. Signs of rot root include soft trunks and yellow leaves.  Allow the soil to dry out somewhat between watering or remove the plant if possible to an area that has good drainage along with applying a fungicide may offer some help.

Ideas where to install the sago palm

Here are just a few ideas where to install these garden beauties

  • The sago palm can be used as a specimen plant or stand-alone plant
  • Can be used as a centerpiece in your garden area
  • Looks great installed on either side of your front door
  • Can be planted alongside a fenced area
  • Can be installed alongside a wall
  • Does great planted along garden walkways?
  • Can be placed in a container and the container can be placed on your porch or patio

Container grown sago palm

The sago palm can be grown from containers making it a great addition to your overall garden design. When growing sago palms from containers the containers should be large enough for your palms to sit comfortably. The soil type should be well-drained soil, to improve drainage, and the water-holding capacity, the use of compost or an organic soil mix will help to condition the soil.

The container should have drain holes to allow the excess water to drain, place the container in a partially shaded area. Fertilizer and water as stated above and treat for garden insect pest as stated earlier.

Growing sago palm on the interior

When growing the sago palm on indoors follow the same as when growing sago plan from containers as discussed earlier. The container should be placed near a south or west window to receive bright indirect sunlight. The containers should also have drain holes to allow the water to drain and a saucer to collect this water.

If the leaflet turns brown you may need to check the humidity level, If it is discovered that the humidity needs to be adjusted mist the leaves with water or purchasing and using a humidifier will offer help. Fertilize your palm once a month from April-October with a quick release or liquid fertilizer.

Additional information

1. It is reported that sago palms are poisonous to humans and pets so keep these plants out of the reach of children and pets.

2. Sago palms take more than 20 years to reach maturity.

The final word

The sago palm is truly a unique palm that can bring that wow into your interior plant scape and garden areas. The sago palm has been around for some time and has made a mark among garden plants. If you are in the market for a palm that can give that impact along with that tropical look then the sago palm is the plant for you. So get a taste of the topics by installing a sago palm into your garden or landscape area.


Signup Today for Our Newsletter to Receive Up to Date Information on Herbs and Other Gardening News in the Industry.


About the author

+ posts

Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.