Sago Palm


A Sago palm, Cycad, is not really a palm at all; and although it resembles a true palm, it is not even a close relative. These plants are a type of gymnosperm and relatives of conifers and gingko trees. Cycads, often called “living fossils,” are one of the oldest most primitive plant families and have not changed very much in the last 200 million years. A Sago palm has several common names such as King Sago, Sago Cycad, and Japanese Sago Palm.  An interesting fact is that although these plants produce nuts, they never produce flowers or fruit. The only Sago palm sold as an indoor plant is the Cycas revoluta.

Sago Palm Description

A Sago Palm has a very rugged trunk 1”- 12” (2.54cm – 30.50cm)  in width depending upon the age of the plant. The trunk is topped with stiff, somewhat narrow, long, arching fronds that grow in a circular or rosette pattern. Be careful to avoid being stuck by the sharp, needle-like tips of the fronds. This is a very elegant, slow growing plant and often produces only one new frond per year. Although outdoors a Sago palm can reach a height of 6ft. (1.8 m), indoors a mature Sago palm, after five or six years, is still only about 2ft – 3ft tall (.6m-.9m).

Quick Care Tips for a Sago Palm

This plant grows well indoors if you keep a few things in mind.

Sago palms need bright, indirect light but no afternoon sun.

Be careful not to over water or the plant can quickly die

Use  a sandy soil that drains quickly.

A Sago palm likes to be warm and grows better in high humidity.

A Sago palm is toxic to cats, dogs, and humans. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonous in Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants.



My Sago Palm Finally (After Many Years) Produced Pups. Now What Should I Do?

First remove the pup with all of its leaves & roots. Set it aside for a week so any cut areas can dry out. Gently plant the pup in a small pot of loose quick draining soil or cactus mix; 1/2 the trunk should be below the soil level. Water well. Almost all of the soil should be dry before you water again. Place the new plant in a bright area in your home or a shady area outside. Be patient, it may be several months before any new leaves appear.

My Sago Palm Just Sits There and Doesn’t Seem to Get New Leaves. Should I Feed It More?

Sago Palms are very slow growing plants . They do not constantly add new fronds. Sagos do eventually produce what is called a “flush” of new leaves. This is called a “break”. These new leaves are very fragile and easily damaged during the first few weeks. Feeding it more will only burn the existing leaves.

The Leaves on My Sago Palm Are Turning Yellow. What Am I Doing Wrong?

Yellow leaves on a Sago Palm are usually due to a watering problem or too much fertilizer. Old fronds turn yellow from too much water or too much plant food. New fronds start to turn yellow when the soil is lacking in certain nutrients or from too much plant food.