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How to Take Care of the Sago Palm Plant

By Ann Johnson ; Updated September 21, 2017
The sago looks like a palm tree.

The sago palm is an ornamental evergreen resembling a palm tree. In spite of its appearance, the sago is not a palm and belongs to the cycadaceae family. This is an ancient plant group which was around before the dinosaurs, over 200 million years ago. The sago palm can be deadly, especially to pets who chew on its leaves or pits. Although lethal, edible flour can be made from parts of the plant. Originally from Japan, the sago palm is easy to grow, prefers well-draining soil and tolerates temperatures from 15 to 110 degrees F.

Place the sago palm in full sunlight or partial shade.

Apply water to the soil to irrigate, after allowing the soil to become practically dry. If new leaves are developing on the sago palm plant, don’t allow the soil to completely dry out.

Remove leaves that become brown or yellow to encourage new growth. Use clean gardening shears.

Fertilize the sago palm using a slow-release fertilizer, or blood or bone meal. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer label and don’t begin fertilization until after the plant has been established for at least four months.

Allow the cone that develops in the center of the sago palm plant to break away naturally. Some gardeners remove the cone for aesthetic purpose. While removal won’t harm the plant, the process can cause accidental injury.

Cover the crown of the plant with a frost blanket during severe winter weather.


Things You Will Need

  • Gardening shears
  • Slow-release fertilizer
  • Frost blanket


  • Over-watering can kill the sago palm plant.

About the Author


Ann Johnson has been a freelance writer since 1995. She previously served as the editor of a community magazine in Southern California and was also an active real-estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University, Fullerton.