How to Care for Sago Palm


The sago palm (Cycas revoluta), also known as Japanese sago palm, is not actually a palm at all but a cycad. These plants are sometimes called living fossils because they are believed to have been in existence during the Mesozoic era more than 100 million years ago. It is an extremely slow grower, taking up to 50 years to reach its maximum height of 12 feet. The sago palm can survive temperature dips as low as 13 degrees F and is hardy in USDA zones 8 through 10.

Step 1

Dig a hole twice the width and the same depth as the container the sago palm is growing in. Mix 3 to 4 inches of organic compost in with the loosened soil. Add 3 to 4 inches of coarse sand to heavy soil to improve drainage.

Step 2

Place the plant into the hole at the same level it was growing in its original container. Firm the soil with your hands to remove any air pockets. Water until the soil feels very moist, but not drenched. Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of bark mulch around the plant.

Step 3

Water when the top inch of soil feels completely dry. Sago palms do best when they receive an occasional thorough soaking as opposed to frequent small amounts of water.

Step 4

Apply a treatment of granular slow-release fertilizer around the plant once each spring.

Step 5

Remove any dead or damaged leaves as necessary.

Step 6

Examine the sago palm regularly for signs of pest and disease. If a problem is suspected take an affected leaf to your local extension office for treatment advice.

Tips and Warnings

  • The sago palm is poisonous to both humans and pets.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Organic compost
  • Bark mulch
  • Granular slow-release fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • Sun Palm Trees: Sago Palms
  • Floridata: Cycas Revoluta
  • Plant Care: Japanese Sago Palm
  • Learn 2 Grow: Cycas Revoluta Care and Maintenance
Keywords: sago palm, japanese sago palm, sago palm care, cycas revoluta, sago plant

About this Author

Annita Lawson has been working as a freelance writer since 2004. Her work has been published in various web and print outlets, including The Dabbling Mum, A Virtuous Woman, and Pediatrics for Parents. Lawson is pursuing an Associate of Arts degree at Southeast Kentucky Community College. She enjoys sharing all that she has learned about parenting, healthy eating and living a frugal lifestyle.