Care for the Sago Palm Bonsai Tree


The sago palms are very popular plants for bonsai. Because they are so resilient, many home and garden centers sell sago palms. Although many traditionalists may not consider the sago a true bonsai because they require almost no styling, keeping one miniature through root trimmings is a very good introduction to basic bonsai care. Sagos are ideally suited for a Chinese-style bonsai landscape. By using driftwood, sand and rock, you can create a beautiful miniature landscape.

Step 1

Break apart and remove any rocks glued to the surface of the dirt. A small hammer works nicely for this. Most sago palm bonsais sold in home and garden shops have rocks glued to the surface. These rocks will kill your tree.

Step 2

Check the soil. Bonsai need well-draining soil with a good mix of organic material, rocks, sand and soil. If the soil looks and feels like regular potting soil, replace it with a good, commercial bonsai soil.

Step 3

Replace the glued rocks with loose aquarium gravel. Natural colors usually look better with a bonsai than dyed rocks.

Step 4

Give your sago adequate light. Sagos can thrive in anything from full sun to partial shade.

Step 5

Give your sago palm adequate water. If you have placed it in full sun, it will require more water than in partial shade. Check the moisture of the soil regularly by feeling the soil. Water the tree as soon as the top half inch of soil has become dry. When the soil feels dry, water thoroughly and deeply. In most cases, sago palms only need watering once a week.

Step 6

Fertilize your bonsai regularly with a weak organic fertilizer. By using an organic fertilizer, you avoid problems with root burn. A good way to fertilize your bonsai is to mix a good fish emulsion to between one third and one half strength and use this weak fertilizer for watering.

Step 7

Prune dead or dying leaves from your sago palm with a pair of concave bonsai pruners. Remove the tree from the pot once every two years and trim the roots by a half or two thirds.

Things You'll Need

  • Sago bonsai
  • Hammer
  • Bonsai soil
  • Aquarium rocks
  • Concave bonsai cutter
  • Organic fertilizer


  • Joe Bonsai: Sago Palm Bonsai Care
  • All About Bonsai: Bonsai Palm Tree - A Sago Palm
  • Eastern Leaf: Sago Palm

Who Can Help

  • eHow: Care for the Sago Palm Bonsai Tree
Keywords: bonsai care, palm bonsai, sago palm

About this Author

Christopher Earle is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colo. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, The Associated Press, the Boeing Company, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, Active Voice, RAHCO International and Umax Data Systems. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota.