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Sago palm turning yellow

San Antonio, TX

My sago bottom leaves are turning yellow. I cut those yellow leafs off and the next leafs also turn yellow. How do i get my sago turning green again?

Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

are they getting enough, or too much water?

San Antonio, TX

Ive been watering about 1 once week.

Acton, CA(Zone 8b)

You can always cut off all the leaves, dig it up, and check the roots/bottom of the caudex for rot. If it's really moist down there, that's a good possibility. If it is rotting, cut off the bad part, let it dry out a week and apply rooting hormone to it. Then plant in perlite and leave for a year... once rooting again, replant it.

Oak Hill, FL(Zone 9b)

No need to dig it up, I can tell you exactly what it is, it needs Mangenese Sulfate, not to be confused with Magnesium sulfate, you can get it at wal-mart, throw a couple handsful on every few months.

Tampa, FL(Zone 10a)


If you are worried about minor (trace) elements there is a product that many garden centers carry, usually for citrus here in FL because we grow so much. It is called chelated minerals and it can be a dry powder or liquid that you mix with water. It will work the fastest. Usually Texas soils are not deficient, especially if you have black clay, but it is worth a try and can't hurt. You might want to try feeding your Sago some miracle gro or its generic. Sometimes yellowing is caused by lack of nitrogen, but I would guess that is not your problem. Try both! If it has been raining a fair amount you might want to skip the watering for awhile and if you are having a dry, hot TX summer try flooding irrigation. Put the hose out there and really soak that baby. Also take a small part of the leaf off that is yellow and turn it over, under a magnifying glass and look for bugs or damage from them.

Thumbnail by DaleTheGardener
Bluffton, SC(Zone 9a)

I wouldn't water it all. I have a few big sago and I have them in sandy soil in a relatively dry area. It just grows no care at all no problems. Everytime I see a problem with palms it seems to always be to much water.

San Antonio, TX

So, Do i cut the bottom leaves off that are yellow and add the mangenese sulfate. or Do i leave the yellow leaves there and add the mangense sulfate so it can turn green again?

Javea, Spain(Zone 10a)

Hi Deb

Its not always easy to know just how much water your plant is getting as it also depends on factors like your local rainfall and type of soil and whether the plant is in competition for water from others around it. You say you have watered it once a week, but you don't say how much you give it. Maybe it should be a longer drink but less often.

I live in a mediterranean climate and it is pretty hot and dry right now.

Our Sago palm has started to go yellow on the older leaves. Interesting about the water issue because almost a year ago, as a water saving measure, we turned off our irrigation and are now watering all the plants that need it by hose from a well. So *these* yellowing leaves are certainly not due to rot.

Didn't think to water the Sago as I though it was drought tolerant. Today I admitted that it isn't as drought tolerant as I thought!!!!! I have cut off the yellow fronds now and given it a good soak. Of course it could survive under watering to a degree but we don't want our precious plants to merely survive we want them to thrive and look great.

It has never been fed as I presumed it got all the nutrients it needs from the good old earth. Am I wrong? Or is it only container grown ones that need feeding?

Palm Bob - I don't doubt that your method works for a rotting stem but it sounds a bit drastic to do all that digging up if it is a simple matter of under watering or lack of trace elements?

Acton, CA(Zone 8b)

Agree. Out here in California it is NEVER due to lack of trace elements. Our soils have too much clay to ever be lacking in trace elements (in a plant that is in the ground at least). But lack of water is a common problem. Overwatering is also a common problem, though, especially if planted in heavy clay (common out here). Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference (soils can be really dry on top, but 6" down mud)... if you are SURE it's not overwatering, just remove the leaves you don't like and keep on going.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Would you ever recommend just cutting off all the leaves on a Sago that isn't doing well and letting it settle itself down and start all over again? I'm not happy with the look of the pups that are growing right now, and think I might want to cut them all back, repot to clay pots. Please advise. Thanks.


Acton, CA(Zone 8b)

That is rarely a problem... cut away! Just be sure they don't get TOO dried out in their clay pots.

27596, United States

Hi Deb.
I'm carmex in nc. i just purchased a sago in feb. from home depo. it was too cold to plant in ground , so i just left it in the pot from home depo and put in my garage. and is still in the pot. i did not know i could leave it outside here in our climate in the winter. so i'm waiting. it is in outside now . all i have done is water it about every2 weeks, but it drained right out. when i bought it it had some blue crystals at the base. some kind of fertliizer i guess. but it is going strong. i will be planting it soon. we are so suppose to have a freak frost this sunday pm. i'm to afraid to plant it until i am sure it is ok. i have a client that has one , for about 7-9 years in a pot. two winters ago they forgot to briing it in and it turned all yellow. in the spring they clipped of all the dead . and about 18 more beautiful branches they now, just nature take it course, and is beautiful.
Thanks to all , for all the tips!!!

Los Angeles, CA

I have a cycad with a rotted roots that I have trimmed off and planted in perilite. How often do I water the pot?

Central Texas, TX(Zone 8b)


I'm about an hour and a half from San Antonio and I hardly ever have to water my Sagos and there doing well.

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

I water mine every three to four days in San Antonio and when the summer gets really hot every two to three. That is the same for all my cycads and most of my palms.
I do use Tom Broome's cycad fertilizer and a store bought fertilizer for the palms. A lot of plants will do fine with out it but do outstanding with it. I'd rather have the outstanding.

Bear in San Antonio

Sinking spring, PA(Zone 5b)

I don't see where anyone has mentioned cycad scale. Has anyone seen that in Texas? I was reading an article by Tom Broome, here is the paragraph- "Infected plants from Miami-Dade County nurseries have been sent to many areas of the United States by chain stores. People have seen infected plants in Alabama, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, South Carolina, Texas, and many other areas in Florida. From what I understand, there are parts of Hawaii that have infestations just as bad as in Miami. "

Anyway, of course being that I am in South Florida when I hear the general sago is turning yellow that is the first thing I think of..........may or may not be worth mentioning in this case.

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

I saw my first case in San Antonio about three months ago (the plants had just come from Houston area nursary. So far my plants have not been affected.

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