How to Plant Sago Palm Trees


The sago palm (Cycas revoluta) is not an actual palm tree but a cycad, an ancient palm-like species more closely related to pine trees than palms. Sago palms are evergreens with stiff fronds that grow upward and outward. These cycads have non-branched trunks and typically grow up to 10 feet tall. Sago palms grow best in tropical, subtropical or warm temperate climates with little to no frosts or freezes.

Step 1

Plant your sago palm in spring or early summer. Select a planting location that has very well-draining and slightly acidic soil. Don't plant sago palms in low or constantly wet areas, because they are extremely susceptible to root rot.

Step 2

Dig a planting hole for the sago palm that's the same depth as and twice the width of the root ball. Carefully remove the sago palm from the nursery container and place the root ball into the planting hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball is at the same level as the surrounding ground surface.

Step 3

Backfill the planting hole with the displaced soil, gently firming down the soil around the root ball with your hands. Water into the soil deeply and thoroughly to soak the soil around the root ball and eliminate any air pockets.

Step 4

Spread a 3- to 4-inch-thick layer of organic mulch on the ground around your newly planted sago palm to control weeds and regulate soil moisture. Spread the mulch on the ground to cover at least the entire canopy area of the sago palm, but keep the mulch about 2 inches away from the trunk.

Step 5

Create a berm or ridge of soil around the edge of the root ball area. Water the sago palm once each week when rainfall is less than 1 to 2 inches during the first four to six months after planting it. To water the newly planted sago palm, simply fill the ring inside the soil ridge and allow the water to drain into the soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't plant your sago palm tree near sprinklers or irrigation systems used for lawns or water-loving plants. Maintain the mulch ring around the sago palm to avoid injuring the trunk with landscaping tools and equipment.

Things You'll Need

  • Sago palm
  • Shovel
  • Garden hose
  • Organic mulch
  • Slow-release palm tree fertilizer


  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Cycads in the South Florida Landscape
  • Clemson University Extension: Palms & Cycads

Who Can Help

  • University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension: Sago Palm
Keywords: sago palm tree, plant sago palm, grow Cycas revoluta, grow sago palm

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.