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How to Care for Sego Palms

By Kelsey Erin Shipman ; Updated September 21, 2017
Sego palms are one of the oldest living plant species on earth.

Sego palms are cycads, a group known as “living fossils." Also known as sago palms, their species is one of the oldest living plants on earth, and have remained unchanged for millions of years. Because of their hardiness and ease of care, they are increasingly popular in household landscaping projects. Both male and female sego palms only reach 5 to 10 feet in height, with a full canopy. With the proper care, you can grow a healthy, happy sego palm that lasts for many years.

Plant your sego palm in full sun. These trees are slow growers, but do best in full sun and well-drained soil. The proper location will have ample space for your sego palm to stretch out horizontally.

Water your palm regularly. Sego palms do best in humid environments and need lots of water to grow. Water a young palm once or twice per week until it is well established. In periods of drought, soak the base of your palm with a hose at least twice a month.

Fertilize your sego palm. Use a slow-release palm fertilizer four times a year for best results. “Palm Special” labeled as 12-4-12 or 13-13-13 is commercially available throughout the United States. It usually comes in the form of pellets that you bury around the base of the tree.

Do not prune your sego palm. Palm trees recycle nutrients from old fronds back into the core of the plant. Fronds fall off naturally and usually do not require removal. If you must prune, only remove the fronds hanging below a parallel line to the ground.

Apply mulch around the base of the tree. Sego palms benefit from a 6-inch layer of mulch applied a foot or so around the base of the tree. This keeps the soil moist and keeps weeds away.


Things You Will Need

  • Fertilizer


  • Sego palms are cold-hardy plants that can withstand temperatures as low as 15 degrees F. If temperatures dip below 15 degrees F, insulate the roots and branches of your palm by wrapping them in plastic.


  • Puncture wounds in palm trees never heal. Do not nail signs or lights to the trunks of palms.