Care of Sago Palm Trees


Sago palms (Cycas species) are not actual palm trees but cycads with palm-like fronds. Sago palms can grow up to 10 feet tall and wide, but they usually grow 3 to 5 feet tall. The sago palm tree is a slow-growing plant that grows best in USDA hardiness zones 8 through 11, tolerating winter temperatures down to only 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Sago palms are low-maintenance, drought-tolerant and easy to grow.

Step 1

Water your sago palm deeply with the garden hose to thoroughly soak the soil around the roots two or three times per week during the first four to six months after planting it. Keep the soil evenly moistened but not waterlogged, and water the sago palm deeply once per week when rainfall is less than 1 inch after the plant is established.

Step 2

Feed your newly-planted sago palm with a slow-release palm fertilizer applied on the ground around the outside edge of the root ball. Wait two to three months after planting the sago palm to fertilize it, ensuring that new growth has emerged.

Step 3

Feed your established sago palm with a 12-4-12-4 NPKMg (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium-magnesium) palm tree fertilizer during April through September, following the instructions on the package. Spread the fertilizer on the ground to cover the entire canopy area evenly, keeping the fertilizer away from touching the trunk.

Step 4

Spread a 2- to 3-inch-thick layer of organic mulch on the ground around the sago palm to cover the entire root area. Keep the mulch about 2 to 3 feet away from the trunk.

Step 5

Prune away any completely dead or severely damaged fronds from the sago palm, using pruning shears to cut them back close to the trunk. Remove only the lower fronds.

Tips and Warnings

  • Watch out for discoloration and deformation of the sago palm's leaves, which usually indicates a deficiency of micronutrients like magnesium and manganese. To correct this problem, apply a palm tree fertilizer containing these micronutrients.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Slow-release palm fertilizer
  • 12-4-12-4 NPKMg fertilizer
  • Organic mulch
  • Pruning shears


  • University of Florida Cooperative Extension: Cycas Revoluta
  • Clemson University Extension: Palms & Cycads

Who Can Help

  • University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension: Plant of the Week--Sago Palm
Keywords: sago palm trees, sago palm care, grow Cycas

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.