How To Care For Sago Palms

by johnah on November 2, 2020

Sago Palm is one of the most popular tropical plants in our gardens. They are easy to grow and they provide us with a good source of food during the cold season. However, if not cared for properly, sago palms can become pests and even cause damage to your home or garden. Here are some tips on how to care for them:

1) Do Not Use Insecticides On Sago Palms!

The main reason why it is so important to avoid using insecticides on sago palms is because they will kill the plant itself. If you do use these chemicals, make sure that you have a back up plan in case something goes wrong.

You don’t want to lose all your hard work just because of a mistake made by someone else. Also, remember that insects cannot tolerate high levels of sunlight, so keep out any lights that are shining directly onto the palm trees when applying pesticides.

2) Do Not Over Water Your Sago Palm Trees!

Over watering your sago palm tree will result in death. Make sure that you only water your sago palm trees once every two weeks.

Don’t let them get too dry either; never allow them to go completely dry. When they start getting dry, remove the soil from around them and place it into a plastic baggie or other container until the next time you need to water them again. You can also just water them once a month if you feel like doing so.

3) Do Not Over Prune Your Sago Palms!

Some people will tell you that you should prune all the dead and dying leaves off of your sago palms, but this isn’t completely necessary. Sago palms are pretty hardy plants that can usually handle dying leaves.

If the dead leaves are not blocking sunlight from reaching other leaves, then just leave them be. It’s really up to you if you want to prune your sago palms or not.

4) Do Not Prune While The Sago Palms Are Wet!

Sago palms are very particular about how they are pruned. They do not like being pruned when they are wet.

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Always wait until the sago palm tree is fully dry before trimming any branches off of it. You can avoid this problem altogether by trimming your sago palms during the wintertime.

As you can see, caring for sago palms is not as hard as it seems. You just need to make sure that you do it right if you want the sago palm tree to live a long and happy life.

If you need help with sago palm fertilizer, then I suggest that you hire a professional to take care of this for you. It will be well worth it.

This is a forum post that was written by a guy named Keith H about his experience with Sago Palms. He talks about how he almost killed his sago palms through over-watering (and over-fertilizing).

If you are trying to figure out how to care for your sago palm tree, then it may be helpful for you to read this post.

Caring For Your Sago Palms

Your sago palms probably came with a “care guide” but you shouldn’t trust what the people at the home store tell you. They’re just going to tell you to buy everything they sell, which isn’t always good for your plant(s).

This is how I took care of my sago palms and they were the healthiest ones I’ve ever seen!

Soilless mix: I bought some kind of soilless mix that you water every 5-7 days. I bought the largest size they had at the home store (50lbs) and had it spread out evenly around all 3 of my palms.

Sunlight: They need a lot of sun, so try to put them somewhere they’ll get 8 hours or more of direct sunlight daily. If they’re inside, a window sill will work just fine as long as there’s no obstructions (such as curtains that could block the sun).

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Fertilizer: I bought a time release fertilizer that you put around the base of the plant. It comes in a cylinder and has granules that are the same color as the soil.

I used the recommended amount on the box and spread it evenly around all 3 palms. It says on the box that it’s good for up to 3 months, but I always start noticing the effects of it wearing off after 2 months, so I’d try to renew it every 2-3 months.

Watering: This is the most common problem people have with their sago palms. OVER-WATERING!

Most people actually think they’re under-watering, but it’s very easy to over-water these plants. A lot of people just water whenever the soil feels dry, but you should only water your sago palm when you start to see the bottom of the container. Also, a good way to test if your sago palm needs water is to grab the container (carefully, so you don’t get any soil on you) and feel how heavy it is. If it’s very heavy, then there’s still plenty of moisture in the soil and you don’t need to water it yet.

I have found that sago palms like low humidity, so I keep the container uncovered (except when it’s windy outside) so that the humidity can escape. Otherwise, you can get a glass or plastic top at your home store that will fit your container perfectly and prevent moisture from escaping.

One last thing about watering: These palms don’t like wet feet. Always make sure that the container is NEVER sitting in water.

This is why it’s best to keep it on a tile floor or a carpet, but not on a wooden floor. Wooden floors tend to sweat and if your container is sitting on one, it’ll slowly start to seep water out of the floor and into your container.

If you follow those instructions, you should have a thriving sago palm!

Here’s a photo of my sago palms right before I moved out. I didn’t do anything special to prepare them for the move, I just dug them up like any other plant.

I had potted them in some random containers I had lying around (like the one under my desk) and then put those in a larger box. They arrived at my new house in great condition! In fact, I only needed to re-establish them in a larger container and they’re good to go.

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I hope I’ve inspired you to try your hand at growing one of these wonderful plants!

**Note: If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I’ll be happy to help if I can.

Happy Growing!


I’ve received several questions recently about how to take care of these plants, so I’m going to put all the information in here in case people need it.

Light: They like a lot of sun, so a window sill would be a good place to keep them. Just make sure they don’t get too much sun, as this could burn the leaves (keeping them in the shade during the hottest part of the day is a good idea).

A little sun is good, but any more than that and you have to be careful.

Soil: I’ve found that regular potting soil works just fine (you can buy this at any home improvement store or garden center). You don’t want the soil to be too wet and you don’t want it to be dry (like I said above), but most potting soils have the right balance.

Water: This is a little tricky. You want to water your plants when the soil gets dry (imagine that), but you don’t want to over water them.

Over watering causes root rot and kills plants, so it’s important to not overdue it (it’s also important to not underwater them). The best way I’ve found to know when to water them is to lift the container up with your palm (so you’re holding it, but it’s not sitting on your palm). When you do this, the pot should feel fairly heavy, like it’s filled with a lot of soil. When you lift it up and feel that it’s light (or even feels a little bit lighter than it did), that means you need to water it. If it feels heavy, then it doesn’t need water. If it’s in the middle (like a little bit lighter than it was when you first got it), then you can give it a little water to be safe, but don’t over do it. If it’s really light (like a lot lighter than it was when you first got it), then it needs water (obviously).

So that’s about it for the how to take care of them part. Remember, they like a lot of sun and small amounts of water.

Good growing!


I’ve gotten several people asking me about the types of succulents they can and should put in their terrariums. I can only go off of my experience, but here it goes:

How To Care For Sago Palms on

I personally have had success with these three types of succulents: Haworthia (both varieties), Crasularia, and Echeveria (I think that’s how you spell it).

These are the only succulents I have any experience with, so I can’t speak for other types, but I’m pretty sure most varieties of succulents will work. There are a few factors that will determine what you can put in your terrarium:

Size – Some plants simply get too big for the space you have (for example several of the Echeverias I got kept dying because they literally took over the entire container).

Sources & references used in this article:

The sago palms and other food plants of marsh dwellers in the South Pacific Islands by J Barrau – Economic Botany, 1959 – Springer

The composition of pith from the sago palms Metroxylon sagu and Arenga pinnata by E Wina, AJ Evans, JB Lowry – Journal of the Science of Food …, 1986 – Wiley Online Library

Using remote sensing to map the distribution of sago palms in northeastern Mindanao, Philippines: Results based on Landsat ETM+ image analysis by JR Santillan, MM Santillan… – The 33rd Asian …, 2012 –

Sago palm toxicosis in dogs by L Fatourechi, LA DelGiudice, N Sookhoo – Compend Contin Edu Vet, 2013 –

An overview of sago industry development, 1980s–2015 by FS Jong – Sago palm, 2018 –



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