Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta) Indoor Care, Propagation and Common Growing Issues

Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta) is a popular slow-growing, drought-tolerant plant which bears an attractive dark-green rosette of stiff arching foliage.

The leaves are a deep semi-glossy green and reach a length of 20-60 in. long.

Sago Cycad leaves grow out into a feather-like rosette up to about 3-5 ft in diameter. The leaflets are stiff and have strongly recurved or revolute edges.

The trunk is characterized by a thick coat of fibers and can branch several times to produce multiple heads of leaves.

Though distinctly palm-like, it is not a true palm but belongs to the family Cycadaceae.

Sago Palm, Cycas revoluta

Botanical name: Cycas revoluta
Synonmy: Cycas aurea, Cycas inermis
Family: Cycadaceae
Common name: Sago Palm, King Sago, Sago Cycad, Japanese Sago Palm


Cycas revoluta also called Cycas aurea or Cycas inermis is native to Southern Japan including Ryukyu Islands and grows best in sandy, well drained soil with some organic matter.


Japanese Sago Palm matures at the height of 2 ft. The leaves can reach a length of 20-60 in. long and a diameter of about 3-5 ft.


All parts of Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta) are toxic to both pets and humans if ingested as indicated by ASPCA.

The seeds contain the highest level of the toxin cycasin which causes gastrointestinal irritation and liver failure.

Where to Buy

Would you like to add Sago Palms to your collection? They are available online at Etsy.

Cycas revoluta Care Indoors

Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta) requires medium to bright light with some direct sunlight, average warmth and humidity and moderately moist, rich, well-drained soil coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.

Cycas revoluta needs regular pruning to keep it neat and tidy. Repotting is only necessary when the plant becomes pot-bound. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions.

Sago Palm, Cycas revoluta


Water Sago Palm liberally during the growing season while allowing the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings and keep the soil moderately moist.

Significantly, reduce watering during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Avoid soggy soil and wetting the crown as it can lead to crown and stem-rot disease which results in the eventual loss of the plant.

Light Requirements

Sago Palm grows best in medium to bright light with some direct sunlight. It can also tolerate direct sunshine.

Rotate the pot regularly to ensure the Sago Cycad receives light on all sides for uniform growth.

Japanese Sago Palm can also grow under grow lights where the natural lighting is not adequate. Check out these full spectrum grow lights on Amazon.

Temperature and Humidity

Average warmth of 18-270C with a minimum of 100C is ideal for Sago Palm. It is tolerant to cold temperatures provided the ground is dry.

Average room humidity is ideal for Sago Palm. It has no need for high humidity. Mist the leaves occasionally and wash them by splashing water from a hose or a spray bottle to minimize pests infestation.


Feed Sago Palm with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing period to promote a lush growth.

Do not feed during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn.

Potting Soil

The best soil for Sago Palm should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.

Cactus and Succulents soil is ideal as it drains easily and does not hold excess moisture. Buy quality Cactus and Succulents Soil from Amazon.


Repot Sago Palm during the growing season only when the plant has become pot-bound as it doesn't like to be disturbed.

Use fast draining soil that is rich in organic matter and a pot that has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy. Take a look at these Pots with Drainage Hole on Amazon.

To control the growth of the Japanese Sago Palm, grow it in a small sized pot to prevent it from becoming too big.


Pruning Sago Palm involves frequent removal of any dead fronds to maintain the plant neat and tidy. Cut the fronds at the base with clean sharp pair of pruning scissors while taking care to avoid injury as the leaflets are sharp-pointed.


Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta) can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from seed or offsets (pups) from mature plants.

How to propagate Sago Palm from seeds

Sago Palm seeds take several months to germinate and achieve adequate size for transplanting. The seeds contain toxins therefore wear gloves when handling.

Soak the seeds in water for a day to soften the outer husks. Remove the husks and sow the seeds about 1-2 in. deep in moist, free-draining soil.

Place the set up in a warm, well-lit place and maintain the soil moist through out until germination takes place.

Allow the new Japanese Sago Palm to be well established before transplanting after which routine care can begin.

How to propagate Sago Palm from offsets

Carefully seperate the offset from the mother Sago Palm by cutting with a clean knife or scissors. Ensure the offset has some roots.

Pot the offset in moist, free-draining soil and place the set up in a warm, brightly-lit shaded place.

Maintain the soil moist through out until new growth emerges in the offset.

Allow the new Sago Cycad to be well established before transfering it after which routine care can begin.

Sago Palm, Cycas revoluta

Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta) Common Problems

Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta) problems include yellow leaves, browning, brown leaf tips, leaf spots, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.


Common pests in Sago Palm are Spider Mites, Scale Insects and Mealy Bugs. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it with appropriate products like neem oil or, insecticidal soap among others.

Yellowing leaves

Yellowing leaves in Sago Palm are caused by underwatering. The plant requires that it be watered thoroughly until water comes out through the drainage holes.

Keep the soil moderately moist during the growing season and slightly moist during the cold period but never allow the soil ball to dry out completely.

Leaves turning brown

The lower leaves in Sago Palm may turn brown and droop due to age. Remove the aging brown leaves by cutting and not pulling.

If leaf browning is general and accompanied by rotting the cause is soggy soil and wetting of the crown. This is an indication of crown and stem-rot disease.

Discard the affected plant as it will not recover and avoid wetting the crown in future. Water the plant from the bottom in the future and always ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

Leaves dry and shrivelled

Overfeeding Sago Palm will result in dry and shrivelled leaves. It is a slow grower which does not need frequent feed feeding. Feeding it every four weeks is adequate.

Regularly flush out accumulated salts from the soil by running a stream of water through the soil until the water comes out through the drainage hole. Repeat the process several times.

Brown leaf-tips

Underwatering Sago Palm is the cause of brown leaf-tips. Water the plant liberally until water comes out through the drainage holes.

Maintain the soil moderately moist while allowing the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings but never allow the root ball to dry out completely.

Brown leaf spots

Overwatering or sudden decrease in temperature due to cold draughts are the causes of brown leaf spots in Sago Palm. Remove the affected leaves, reduce watering and protect the plant from cold drafts like windy windows and doors, air conditioning units and others.

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