Fungal Growth in the Sago Palm Tree [Causes & Solutions]

For anyone who finds great joy in caring for their indoor house plant species, the unexpected and premature death of a plant can be quite upsetting.

Since most indoor plant species are usually more sensitive to their external atmospheric and living conditions than most outdoor plant species, helping these plants survive to maturity can be quite challenging.

However, if you do not have the expertise, experience, resources, or time to dedicate to an indoor plant’s well-being, you should invest in a low-maintenance plant that is easy to manage and keep alive.

While some succulents and snake plants are well-known and loved for their high resistance, no indoor planter comes close to the prehistoric Sago Palm Tree, which has survived and existed since the dinosaurs’ time.

The Sago Palm Tree

Highly demanded for its exceptional tolerance and extremely long lifespan, the Sago Palm Tree is naturally adapted to living in many different weather conditions.

American Plant Exchange Live King Sago Palm Tree, Japanese Sago Palm Tree, Plant Pot for Home and Garden Decor, 6" Pot

With an expected lifespan of more than a hundred years, the Sago Palm Tree has the unique ability to retain its undeniable beauty, tall height, immunity, and resistance throughout its lifetime.

However, if the Sago Palm Tree is infected by fungal growth, its ability to grow, remain green, and stand upright will be affected.

Although its condition will worsen rather slowly and will not always be easy to notice; however, after prolonged neglect, preventing its death will become almost impossible.

Hence, if you have an indoor potted Sago Palm Tree and you want to see it reach an impressive height of ten feet, you need to keep an eye out for fungal infections.

Continue reading to learn in greater detail about what may cause a fungal infection in a Sago Palm Tree pot and how fungus affects a Sago Palm Tree’s health and lifespan.

Moreover, the article also highlights what you can do to treat your Sago Palm Tree’s fungal infection.

Let’s get started!

Top Causes of a Fungal Infection in a Sago Palm Tree

As mentioned above, the Sago Palm Tree is a plant rarity that has existed since the time of the dinosaurs.

Dating back to nearly three hundred million years ago, the remarkably unchanged Sago Palm Tree is no less than a living fossil for today’s plant enthusiasts.

Hence, a plant that has managed to survive the age of the dinosaurs and many tremendous global changes will undoubtedly have no problem living and thriving inside your home.

Fortunately, the extremely simple and low-maintenance care routine of an indoor potted Sago Palm Tree means that you can travel, leave your plant unattended for weeks, and still come home to a lush green mini palm tree.

However, if there is anything that could directly affect an indoor potted Sago Palm Tree’s exceptional tolerance and resilience, it is a fast-growing fungal infection that will destroy and attack the mini palm’s most sensitive organ; its roots.

Some of the potential causes of a deadly fungal infection in your indoor potted Sago Palm Tree are as follows:


The Sago Palm Tree would not have made quite the reputation for itself if a lack of water was enough to kill it. Hence, you can leave your ancient min palm tree unattended without water for a month and return to a healthy and strong Sago Palm Tree.

However, although underwatering your indoor potted Sago Palm Tree can be quite alright, prolonged and frequent overwatering can cause the plant to die prematurely.

Ideally, a healthy and growing indoor potted Sago Palm Tree must be watered once every seven to ten days.

However, if the Sago Palm Tree is watered more frequently, or if a large water bottle or jug is used to water it each time, a possible fungal infection might occur.

Excessive Moisture in the Air

At times, a fungal infection occurs even when the caretaker is sufficiently conscious about not watering their indoor potted Sago Palm Tree beyond its requirements.

This happens when the external atmospheric conditions are too humid. As the excess moisture settles inside the potted Sago Palm Tree’s soil, it gets sufficiently dampened.

When the caretaker continues to water the already damp soil, a medium that encourages and harbors fungal growth is created.

As a result, the fungus begins to destroy and eat away the roots of the Sago Palm Tree, eventually resulting in the plant’s imminent death.

A Fungal-Infected Neighboring Plant

Another common reason for an indoor potted Sago Palm Tree to get infected by fungus is when it is placed next to an already infected neighboring planter.

This can happen at your home or the nursery you bought the Sago Palm Tree from.

Since fungal spores are usually airborne and can easily be transmitted to a neighboring pot, any moisture in your Sago Palm Tree’s soil might harbor an infection.

Poor Drainage Plant Vessel

Finally, the last possible reason for a Sago Palm Tree to suffer from a fungal infection is when it is potted inside a poor drainage vessel.

If the drainage hole under your Sago Palm Tree’s pot is too small or blocked, or the shape of your palm tree’s pot affects and limits the water’s movement, the chances of water accumulating inside the pot increase.

As a result, any fungal spores will quickly get the opportunity to settle and reproduce, eventually leading the Sago Palm Tree to its end.

How Does a Fungal Infection Affect a Sago Palm Tree Health and Lifespan?

Usually, a Sago Palm Tree is well-adapted to survive almost all kinds of atmospheric changes and conditions. However, if a fungal growth is ignored for too long, the mini palm tree’s premature death becomes a real possibility.

This is how it happens:

  • When an uninformed person makes the mistake of watering their indoor potted Sago Palm Tree more than its requirements, that excess water fails to be absorbed by the roots.
  • Since a Sago Palm Tree will only take up the amount of water according to its absorption capacity, all the excess water will settle and accumulate inside the palm tree’s pot.
  • If nothing is done to remove the standing water, any airborne fungal spore will get the opportunity to settle on the moist soil and start reproduction.
  • Since damp soil conditions are ideal for fungal growth, it will take only a few days for the fungus to grow to the palm tree’s roots.
  • Once the fungus grows over the walls of the mini palm tree’s roots, the roots will start to rot and die.
  • Since fungus feeds on dead plant matter, the root decay will only further accelerate the fungal growth and only worsen the matter.
  • With very few or no healthy roots left behind, no more water or micronutrients will be absorbed and taken up by the entire Sago Palm Tree.
  • Eventually, as the palm tree continues to be deprived of water or essential micronutrients, it will get severely dehydrated and no longer have the strength to remain upright.
  • When nothing changes and deprivation continues, the Sago Palm Tree is eventually pushed to its early death.

What Can Be Done to Treat an Indoor Potted Sago Palm Tree’s Fungal Infection?

The Sago Palm Tree is a popular choice for people who either do not want to worry about their indoor plants dying too frequently or do not have the time or desire to focus too much on an indoor planter.

However, even though having a Sago Palm Tree at home means that you can relax, travel freely, and worry less about your planter’s health, it is still important to inspect the mini palm’s condition and health every once in a while.

Usually, if an indoor potted plant suffers from a fungal infection, one can easily spot the green, yellow, or white fungus growing on the soil’s top layer.

However, to check whether the fungus has just started to grow out or has already spread to the bottom, one has to dig up its soil.

If you can spot a fungal growth happening in the top layer of your indoor potted Sago Palm Tree, the best tip is to add a manufactured or natural fungicide to the soil.

However, if you inspect the fungus to have reached the Sago Palm Tree pot’s bottom, this is what you need to do:

  • Carefully dig out and remove the Sago Palm Tree from the soil
  • Wash its roots underwater
  • Trim and prune any dead and rotten roots, bits, and tips
  • Refill another pot with a fresh and clean potting mix
  • Finally, repot your Sago Palm Tree
Fungal Growth in the Sago Palm Tree

Final Thoughts

Although the Sago Palm Tree is known for its exceptional tolerance and long lifespan, a prolonged fungal infection can easily cause your mini palm to dehydrate and die.

Hence, if you can spot a fungal growth affecting your Sago Palm Tree’s health, add a natural fungicide to its soil or repot it into another fresh potting mix. If you own a Sago Palm Tree in the USA and are looking to keep it happy and healthy for a long time, the tips mentioned in this article will help you take care of your plant.

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