Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Care for a Saga Palm

By Bridget Kelly ; Updated September 21, 2017
The sago palm is prehistoric.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.


Things You Will Need

  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer
  • Insecticidal soap
  • Iron rebar


  • Do not use fertilizers labeled for palm trees. Select a fertilizer labeled for use on cycads.


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

About the Author


Based in the American Southwest, Bridget Kelly has been writing about gardening and real estate since 2005. Her articles have appeared at Trulia.com, SFGate.com, GardenGuides.com, RE/MAX.com, MarketLeader.com, RealEstate.com, USAToday.com and in "Chicago Agent" magazine, to name a few. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing.