How to Care for a Saga Palm


The sago palm (Cycas revoluta) is not a palm, but a cycad that has been on earth since the age of dinosaurs. Native to subtropical areas of Japan, the slow-growing sago palm takes up to 50 years to reach its full height of 10 feet. Because of this, a mature sago palm is quite valuable. Hardy to USDA zones 9 to 11, grow your sago palm in partial shade to avoid sunburn on the foliage.

Step 1

Water the sago palm when the top 2 to 3 inches of soil are dry.

Step 2

Spread a 3-inch layer of mulch around the sago palm, keeping it 3 inches from the trunk.

Step 3

Fertilize the sago palm three times between April and September. Use a 24-7-8 fertilizer containing magnesium and micronutrients at the rate suggested on the package.

Step 4

Inspect the sago palm frequently for signs of scale (brown stripes or spots on the foliage) and mealybugs. Use insecticidal soap sprays to manage pests.

Step 5

Protect your sago palm from thieves. Healthy, mature sago palms are worth a lot of money and disappear frequently from residential landscapes. Insert 3-foot lengths of iron rebar, 2 inches apart, around the plant. The rebar should be pounded to the soil, or just beneath it. Extension agents with the University of California assert that the sago's roots will eventually wind around the rebar, making it difficult to remove the plant from the ground.

Tips and Warnings

  • All parts of the sago palm are poisonous if ingested. Keep children and pets away from the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer
  • Insecticidal soap
  • Iron rebar


  • Floridata: Cycas Revoluta
  • University of Illinois Extension: Sago Palm Cycas Revoluta
  • University of California, Davis: Sago Palms in the Landscape
  • Clemson University: Palms and Cycads

Who Can Help

  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: grow sago palm, sago palm care, growing cycads

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations worldwide. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing.