Houseplant Care Tips

Various Houseplant Care Tips Including Watering and Lighting Requirements.

Houseplant Care Tips

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Sago Palm Care

Sago Palm

Common Name: Sago Palm
Scientific Name: Cycas revoluta
Lighting: Moderate to Bright Light
Water: Low

The Sago Palm is characterized by its plastic like foliage. The green, feather-like branches of the Sago Palm make it a great addition for any room. This houseplant is a great plant to start out with for beginners. The most interesting thing about the Sago Palm is that it really isn't a palm. It is a Cycad. Sago Palms (cycads) are a group of plants that lived during prehistoric times. Cycads are a long-lived group of plants so with little attention your plant should last a very long time (many years).

The Sago Palm prefers bright light, but will also tolerate moderate levels as well. Try to keep the plant near light or else new growth will dramatically lean towards the light. It also is a good idea to turn the plant slightly every couple of days to keep the plants shape.

You should allow your Sago palm to dry out in between waterings. If you are successful at growing cactus, watering this houseplant can follow the same schedule. Their watering also should follow according to the amount of light they receive. If it is placed in an area with lower light levels, you may only need to water it every couple of weeks. If matured foliage begins to yellow you are probably over watering the plant.

This houseplant is pretty hardy. It doesn't seem to have a real temperature preference and do not have any humidity requirements. During dry months, a daily misting may add some extra lift to your plant. The only downfall to this houseplant is that they are extremely slow growers; so do not be discouraged if your plant doesn't appear to be growing.

One downfall to this gorgeous palm, is that it is poisonous to animals and humans. Like so many other plants, it is included in the list of poisonous houseplants.

Please share your comments and experiences with other readers.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't ever throw away a "dead" sago. I was able to obtain a "dead" sago. After cutting off all the fronds, I placed it under a plant light behind other plants. I had forgotten it until a month or so later when I noticed new green furry shoots comimg out. Cold weather will brown these palnts out, but they put out new fronds pretty quick once they warm back up.

9:54 AM  
Blogger drayas said...

Thanks for the tips!

10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had a sago plam for about 2 years and every time new leaves start they turn brown and die without ever opening up. What am I doing wrong?

2:53 PM  
Blogger drayas said...


Are the new leaves coming from the center of the plant? Your palm may be lacking some nutrients. Try giving it some houseplant food once a month and see if that corrects the problem.


12:10 PM  
Blogger Sunshine168 said...

I have a sago palm for about 6 months...the leaves are turning brown/yellow and I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. I keep the plant inside becasue of the high wind and extreme temps where I live. Have any ideas on what I should do?

10:55 PM  
Blogger drayas said...


Are you properly watering the plant as recommended above? Also, try giving it some houseplant food once a month.


2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My black-thumbed sister in law received a sago palm as a gift. She gave it to me when it had turned brown and stiff, asking if there was any way to revive it. I trimmed off all the dead fronds, and fortunately there were four small green ones left. The bulb was "sealed" into its container by a layer of small stones glued together like a hard mat. After chipping them away, I discovered about 2" of water in the bottom, which I poured off. I'm letting it dry out now in a sunny window. It seems much happier already! Any other suggestions-soil, container size, etc?

1:20 PM  
Anonymous sunshine said...

My Sago Palm is starting to turn brown at the bottom of the fronds. I'm not over- or underwatering it and am giving it plenty of sunlight. It's in my house by a big glass patio door and its been really cold lately so would that have anything to do with it turning brown? I'll try to post a picture of it soon. Any suggestions???

3:01 PM  
Blogger drayas said...


Does your patio door / window it's near get quite cold? If the plant is getting exposed to a cold draft, that could be the cause.

-- drayas

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I've had a Sago Palm for about 9 months now and it seems to be doing quite well. It is sitting in an East/West Bay window and I water it once a week regularly. I have noticed that it produces some beads of sap that have crystalized and just sit on the palm fronds. Does this harm the fronds and should I remove the beads of sap?

3:08 PM  
Blogger drayas said...

If you can easily remove them with say rubbing alcohol then go ahead.


11:45 PM  
Blogger JadedJenny said...

Are the droplets of sap that the plant produces harmful as well? I noticed mine is producing some droplets.

Also, are there any recommendations on transplanting or how much space a sago needs?

9:26 AM  
Blogger Mercedes said...

ok, so i have a sago i bought about a week ago from walmart. i've looked into it and its shooting out new fronds right now so i know i cant repot it but should i when the leaves have waxed over? who knows how long its been in that pot. oh, um whoever posted the comment about the sap on the leaves, isn't that a sign of asian scale? it can kill the plant. they had a problem with it in florida a while back, they found an organic solution. putting coffee grounds around the base of the sago kills the asian scale, gives the plant a boost of nitrogen that it needs during growing season, and maintains the nuetral ph that it loves. you get pounds of it for free at starbucks.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Lola said...

We recently bought a small Sago Palm. It was so perfect you could hardly tell it was a real plant. We set it on a small table in front of a window where it receives indirect sunlight. It has sprouted three fronds that are threenns times as long as the other fronds. It now looks funny and misshaped. Any suggestions?

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have a sago with new growth. the plant shot out 8 stems from the center 30 " long and then they never got green. They are a yellow with a lime green center of the stem and with the tips are turning brown. What is up ? Did I kill the little guy ? I water when the dirt is dry ?

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have had a sago palm on my desk at work for approximately three months. I have fruit flies reproducing in the rocks around the plant. What would be causing this and how can I get rid of the flies without killing the palm.

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I'd be interested in finding out more about the centre shoots that don't seem to grow into real leaves. This seems to happen a couple times a year. So far I've just pruned them back.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Dean said...

Do I clip long growth from a saga polum to keep it small or just let it grow? I need some tips on transt planting this tips of plant in to a biger pot. Can any one help thanks

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Kenneth German said...

I bought a Sago Palm about a month ago from Home Depot. It was in a shallow square pot and has small
pebbles about 3/4 inches deep. When I bought it there were 5 long stems coming from the center. They
looked different from the Sago's leaves. More fern-like. I am concerned because the little curly "leaves" are turning brown. I feel I should trim them to the base, but I don't want to hurt the plant. Is this what is
supposed to happen or is it because in the store they
were not getting any sun. I am also concerned that the pot may be too small. It looks like a Bonzai tree as it is and it's lovely, but should I move it to a larger pot?
I had another about a year ago and it did well and then the "bulb" rotted. I really would like to make this one flourish. Thanks for any help you can give.

8:38 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I have a giant sago in my home and I was watering it the other day when I noticed little brown spots all on the underside of the leaves. Are these bugs?? How should I go about this? Also 2nd question; There are several off shoots, but they have gotten quite large and look like they are part of the plant. How would one go about digging those up to transfer to another pot without hurting the mother plant?


1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a small sago palm with 4 shoots. When do I have to repot ?


1:19 PM  
Anonymous Mz. Cornett said...

I've had my Sago Palm for about 9mo. It sits in front of my drafty window & gets very little sunlight. Its been in the same spot since I got it & now the fondare completely yellow. I've maintained it as directed... So what could I possibly be doing wrong? Also, when re-potting does the bulb stay aboveor below the soil?s

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

brown spots on the underside of the leaves of your fern or palms are just " the SEEDS " Go figure :)

9:52 PM  
Anonymous tcloyd said...

I live in Kentucky and have a Sago palm I've had for several years. I winter it inside and take out on the deck in the spring. This year when I took it out I fetilized it and when it started putting out a new set of fronds. It put out several new rows of fronds and is looking great. Recently new fronds have popped out of the soil about an inch or so from the cone. Should I prune these off? If I dug down to where these attach to the cone would I find pups I've heard referred to that I could start new plants with? Please advise.

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in Florida amd i'm wondering what is the most productive way to plant an 18 inch seed cone?

4:21 PM  
Blogger All About Henna said...

some tenticles are becoming lite brown and dry please tell me what I am doing wrong I love this plant I hope I am not killing it :(

6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just bought a sago palm, it comes in a small pot. I was woundering do I need to transplanted to a bigger pot or do I wait til it grows some?

4:26 PM  
Blogger bart154 said...

got a sago a few months ago, it has been kept in full sun in a conservatory. it now looks withered. i have been watering lightly once a week, is this too much or not enough? Any help or tips please.

3:29 PM  
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4:43 PM  
Blogger Pascale said...

I have a new Sago Palm that came with a brand new sprout coming up in the middle of the plant. The sprout got wilty and now has dried out. I don't know what I've done wrong - I watered it when it came home because it seemed dry, then again about 10 days later. It's not overly wet, it gets lots of sunshine, it's not overly cold...What did I do?

10:16 AM  
Blogger Tom Paine said...

What kind of plant food are you talking about? How much? How often?
The palm's new growth went total brown, is it the soil?

8:29 PM  
Anonymous katrina12 said...

well my name is katrina and im 13 years old, i just got my sago palm yesterday, they watered it before i got it, so about when is the next time i should wter it?

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HOW & WHEN do you transplant a Sago
in to a larger pot.My new one seems
root bound!!!

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My son has a sago plant and it is growing really well. We want to know is the fruit that grows poisonous or not. We know the seeds are poisonous, but is the whole fruit deadly as well. Thank you.

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can u tell if a sago is dead?

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have two sago palms one sprouted in the middle the other has not but has growth around the entire base of the plant and the middle of the plant you pull the shoot's out quite easily is the plant dead it is august

5:08 AM  
Anonymous Rob said...

i left my sago palm plant outside all summmmer ,now its getting cold so i want to bring it in but i noticed it has white oval powdery looking bugs on the back of the leaves,i tryed spaying soap with neemoil, it didnt work any suggestions?

4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sago palm grows huge and odd shaped leaves.i do not over water or gits plenty of sunlight.

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Paulette said...

I was given a sago palm,it has 2 pups and of course the paren plant. I live in SC so it's warm. I took it out of the pot to plant in my yard and it was so root bound I think it was choking it's self. My question is, the leaves that were on the parent plant were mostly brown so I trimed them. The pups are green,will the parent plant be ok, and will it be ok to leave the pups on it? I check on it every day hoping I will see new groth..Help..

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Tina372 said...

I just purchased a Sago Palm,It is very root bound, What is the best type of soil mix to use for repoting my new Baby it is about 1 and a half feet tall

9:03 PM  
Blogger Nihal Adsul said...

I was just gifted a Cycad by a friend. It is just a small pod with only 3 shoots. Thanks to your writeup, I think I'll be able to take good care of it.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Ingo said...

What is the difference between the Revoluta and the Thourassi

2:55 AM  
Blogger guster said...

This is what I know about this plant:

1. Don't overwater it or the fronds will get yellow/brown (so the soil has to be well draining - sandy).

2. Don't overfertilize it or the result will be as above.

3. If it gets too cold - the result will be as above.

4. When it gets too much sun - the result will be as above.

5. It really likes to be rootbound, so when transplanting just use only a slightly bigger pot.


4:38 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

does the plant give off any airborn poisons? will it send out poison or does it need to be touched for one to be affected? i can keep my dog and any children from touching it. it is on a nightstand, is being within three foot from it for eight hours considered dangerous?
it is such a cool looking plant i had to have one, however it is not so cool to die for! thanks ed

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have the cycas for 2 years and it looks great but there is no a single new leaf.Can anyone suggest what is going on?

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Roz said...

Our Sago palm has white flakes/spots that can be removed, are these bugs, if so how do we get rid of them.

4:36 AM  
Anonymous Roz said...

Our Sago palm has white flakes/spots that can be removed, are these bugs, if so how do we get rid of them.

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Should these new stems be removed or will they turn into leaves? I have two sago plants (3) shoots are growing from one about two feet tall what do i need to do about this? Another question can these be planted outside?

8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a majesty palm plant and the tips are turning brown and I would like to know is it the AC that could be doing it and can you tell me what can I do to keep my baby health and make it grow nice and pretty.I also have the pieces that are in the middle are those the ones that are going to open up. Yes this is my first time dealing with this kind of plant I just couldn't leave it in the store. Someone please help me.

7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you have white fuzzy like bugs on your palm it is most likely a mealy bug and the best home remedy for bugs is to dust with cinnamon and water in on the soil.

11:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a sago cycad and two of it's old leaves are going yellow. It has never done that before. I give the plant a good amount of water and it gets lots of light where I put it outside. Please tell me what it wrong with my Sago Cycad, the person who owned it before didn't have any problems with it. Thank you for any help!

10:35 PM  
Blogger NLap said...

Hoping to find some help for my Neanthe Bella Palms! They have been growing perfectly for two years. I moved them into my kitchen for better heat once the cold cooled the rest of my house this winter. About 2 weeks later I noticed that literally overnight they began to die! Some leaves are wilting and dieing so fast they are still green, while others are getting white dots on them, a speckled look. I checked for mites and mildew and it doesn't seem to be either, nothing comes off and it appears to be the lead itself. I know I have very hard water from my tap, and I live in Lancaster PA so probably a lot of fertilizer contamination. Any advice? Please and thank you!!

4:37 PM  

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