How Often to Water Sago Palms

Sago Palms are majestic plants that do well in indoor situations. They don’t need too much water, but you should stick to a strict watering schedule if you want them to remain healthy and happy.

Here is everything you need to know about Sago Palm watering needs.

When Do Sago Palms Need Water?

Plant owners should always learn how often to water sago palms. They just need little watering throughout the growing season.

When leaves are ready to sprout, the plant needs water for extra energy.

Plus, each week or two, the plants need to get a thorough watering if the climate is dry.

Watering the sago palms must be done carefully. Create a 2-4 inch (5-10 cm) tall berm (a pile of the earth) in a circle around the palm, about 12 inches (31 cm) from the trunk.

This is important; otherwise, the water can be trapped just above the root ball.

As a result, they are enabling it to flow directly downward through the drainage holes. Water should be poured into the berm’s interior chamber and allowed to drip down. Continue till the soil’s upper 10 inches (31 cm) are soaked. Let the soil completely dry out between each watering.

Sago palm plants that have recently been transplanted have somewhat varying water needs. Keep the sago palm’s root ball continuously wet during the initial four to six months of development to establish it properly.

After that, please slow down and let the soil dry naturally before watering it again.

Which Water Type Should I Use?

For seasoned gardeners, this is a sensible factor to consider, but when newbies hear about various sorts of water, they are sometimes perplexed.

The choice of water for house plants may significantly impact how happy and healthy they are in the long run, as well as how much maintenance they need.

In an ideal world, you should constantly use rainwater, which benefits the plant’s health because of its cleanliness.

Most plant owners will instead rely on filtered water, which has been purified of any dangerous compounds and minerals.

Distilled water, sometimes known as “baby water,” is acceptable for use.

To simulate raindrops, you may sometimes add a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to the distilled water.

On the other hand, tap water is quite detrimental to plants.

While the sulfates or iron in the sediment of the water can moderately damage the plant, fluoride, and chlorine can burn the skin with chemicals.

Let tap water sit overnight before using it to let the chlorine gas evaporate.

Putting tap water through a Brita or Zero Water filter will remove minerals, pollutants, and microorganisms while reducing other negative impacts.

Additionally, never use water that is too cold since the roots of plants might be shocked.

Watering Technique for Sago Palms

Like most popular indoor plants, Sago’s palms benefit best from a mix of the finger approach and soak-and-dry.

Check the soil’s moisture level with the finger; water it gets dry 2-3 inches below the surface.

Water your plant carefully and gradually until it leaks out of the drainage pores.

Not only will this guarantee that the soil is adequately saturated with water, but it will also drain away different mineral salts that may later turn the soil hazardous.

You may understand why a sago palm prefers this strategy by imagining it as flushing a toilet while you are standing in it.

If there is a drip dish below the cycad’s pot, empty the pan after letting the plant rest for around half an hour to verify that all the excess water has been drained.

Do your utmost to prevent the palm from submerging for any longer than is required since doing so puts it at risk.

Watering Routine for Sago Palms

Sago’s palms are thought to be only marginally drought-tolerant. However, this does not imply that you should slack up on your watering regimen.

Among the most critical aspects of plant care is a proper watering schedule. They want to be damp but not drenched. Root rot may result from excessive use of water.

Sago palms may grow in environments with an annual rainfall of about 9 inches.

Maintaining a regular routine is crucial during heat waves and droughts. Water it every two to three weeks to keep it wet.

When grown as indoor plants, sago palms require more regular watering. It would help if you watered the palm every two to three weeks throughout the growing season.

Decrease watering to once a month during the colder months. Before watering, make sure the soil’s top layer has dried off.

Always stick a finger into the soil to check it since Sago’s palms deteriorate from over-watering.

Optimal Drainage for Sago Palms

Excellent drainage is crucial when caring for and watering sago plants in the workplace.

A plant will experience stress, root rot, and water retention if the soil is excessively thick.

Sago palms grown in pots do well with the well-draining soil mixtures for succulents and cacti available at garden centers and nurseries.

It performs well when you make a handmade mixture of two parts perlite or sand, one-part peat moss, and one-part loamy soil.

Overwatering and Excessive Water Use Risks

The sago plant is very susceptible to overwatering, unlike most cycads.

Monitor the soil’s water content as soon as you see sago palm leaves are yellowing, and then wait until the soil has dried to a minimum of 4 to 5 inches down without watering it once again. 

If such symptoms continue, you might need to perform an urgent transplant into the new soil.

To provide a greater buffer zone, some additional material, like gravel, perlite, or coarse sand, to the pot’s bottom.

Yellowing leaves are a risk, but it’s not the biggest one. If not treated right away, root rot can harm the sago palm.

Additional Sago Palm Light Care Advice

Sago palms like robust and direct light to grow. When planting outdoors, location is a crucial factor. The leaves will wilt and burn if it receives too much direct sunlight.

The optimal growing conditions for the plant are areas with dappled sunshine. Sago’s palms require about 4-6 hours of indirect sunshine daily when kept as indoor plants.

Fertilizer and Soil

Such plants don’t have a lot of soil preferences. But there are several things to remember if you would like a sago palm to prosper. Sago’s palms need soil that drains properly.

They like nutrient-rich, sandy, somewhat acidic soil (5.5-6.5 pH). You might add some new sand or compost to get the ideal mix. Plants in containers will thrive well with palm mixtures.

With Sago Palms, fertilizing is not a vital step. In particular, potted plants may be utilized to promote vitality and growth. There are several choices if you decide to fertilize.

During the growing seasons, use a water-soluble fertilizer that has been diluted once (April-October). Or you may amend the soil after every two to three months using a slow-release fertilizer.


Sago’s palms require minimal trimming since they grow slowly. Sometimes, leaves will pass away, and they need to be removed.

When removing them, ensure they are brown and dried out. It would help if you didn’t pluck yellow leaves. These leaves are still alive and consuming nourishment despite how they seem.

With disinfected pruning shears, trimming must be done towards the conclusion of the growing season. Cut any “fruit” or wilted stalks during pruning.


In USDA zones 9–10, they produce attractive landscaping plants. They make excellent potted plants outside of these zones.

They are tropical plants, so remember that they aren’t highly resilient. Low temperatures—below 30 degrees Fahrenheit—cannot support sago palms.

Such plants are simple to cultivate outside in their chosen environment.

When cultivating a Sago Palm indoors, there are a few considerations. Maintain humidity levels above 50% and temperatures between 65 and 75 F.

The sago palm requires additional humidity if the leaf tips are brown. Spray the plant multiple times a week with fresh water to raise the humidity levels.

Alternately, set the jar on a water-filled pebble tray. To prevent root rot, ensure the pot’s bottom is not in contact with the water.

Diseases and Pests

Sago’s palms seldom experience pests or illnesses. Mealybugs, scale, and spider mites are potential problems.

Massive infestations are not a concern since neem oil, an organic pesticide, should work.

Before using, carefully read the instructions.

The only disease you should be concerned about is root rot. To prevent it, check the soil drains adequately.


Sago’s palms are poisonous to both people and animals. The majority of the cycasin produced by the plant is found in the seeds.

However, most plant components are toxic, and consumption may result in symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, convulsions, liver failure, and even death. Ingestion symptoms often show up within 12 hours.

Watch for bruises, bloody stools, and nosebleeds in animals.

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Final Thoughts

Sago Palms are truly beautiful additions to an indoor space. Now that you know how often to water Sago Palms, you can maintain their health and happiness for a longer time.

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