How to Stop Sago Palm Leaves From Turning White?

Sago’s palms have been in this world for a long time; right from the Mesozoic era, they have witnessed the rise and fall of dinosaurs and then multiple human civilizations. The subtropical palm originated in the southeast of Asia.

However, today it is planted in many households across the US, especially in areas in the hardiness zones above 8, such as Florida.

The Sago’s palms are also known as the Cycad palms. Even if the Sago’s palm doesn’t have any other shoots that branch out of it, the symmetrical tree may grow a new frond yearly.

Despite its sluggish development, the Sago tree can grow to a spectacular height of nearly 10 feet in the air. Its robust, dark brown stem and pointed, wonderfully polished, deep green feather-like leaves can increase the aesthetic vibe of the room.

However, just like an eclipse stopping the sun’s light and tampering with its beauty, the Sago palm’s aesthetic appeal is also destroyed by its leaves turning white or the white spots appearing on the fronds.

Common Issues with Sago Palms

Although a Sago Palm Tree is incredibly resilient and tolerant, occasionally, it might suffer from extended poor soil conditions or unfavorable external atmospheric conditions that harm its growth.

Even while a neglected Sago palm tree might not perish too quickly, it will not have the chance to reach its full potential for size and height.

As a result, you should be concerned about your indoor Sago palm tree’s health and living conditions if it exhibits any of the following symptoms:

  1. The leaves have turned yellow or brown, lost their glossiness, and are more frizzled-looking.
  2. The leaves curl inward and fall off, and no new leaves or fronds exist.
  3. Fungal infection or insect infestation can be seen in the soil of your sago palm tree.
  4. The entire Sago palm tree is drooping sideways.
  5. Finally, the Sago palm tree has not grown in the past year.

Why Do Sago Palm Leaves Turn White?

Due to the plant’s age, most home planters find it mysterious. These people may become worried if the plant displays a trait they weren’t expecting, such as white powder or white spots on the fronds.

Since this is only the plant’s pollen, it is usual to notice some white powder on the male cone.

As previously stated, small white dust on the male cone is irrelevant. However, white spots on the plant apart from the cone are most likely Scurf or a severe scale infestation.


Fronds occasionally develop Scurf, a kind of organic dandruff, when they are young.

On adolescent plants, this Scurf looks like little white pimples that could be extended. It may look just like Keratosis Pilaris or Chicken skin on the human body.

Scurf, which resembles to scale on Sago’s palms, is ugly but entirely normal and will ultimately flake away as the leaf ages.

How to Check For Scurf?

By carefully extracting a small amount of white with a sterile scalpel and inspecting it under a microscope, you may determine whether the white spots on the Sago plant are either scale or Scurf.

Scurf looks like dandruff or something you might anticipate if your skin becomes very dry.

In contrast, scale insects will appear waxy and sometimes have a fuzzy appearance.

Scale Infestation

There are dozens of different varieties of scale insects, including the armored scale insects, which prey primarily on plants that have flowers. However, some can also attack gymnosperms (plants that cannot flower but produce seeds, like conifers, cycads, and cacti).

Although others are agile and can even fly, some insects generate a thick, waxy coat to shield themselves from hunters and pesticides.

A scale insect type known as mealybugs is so widespread that it is classified as a different kind of parasite than other insect species.

Scale insects act as one of plant kind’s vampires by sucking the sap of palms. For instance, the Sago scale is typically the cause of the yellowing of the Cycad palm leaves.

The pressure from the initial plant piercing propels sap into their system. This is referred to as honeydew, along with their excrement.

White scale gradually robs your Sago plant of vitality; however, its honeydew draws in fungi, particularly sooty mold and powdery mildew.

In the same way, ants will use the honeydew as feed and treat the scales like livestock to keep them safe from enemies.

It becomes evident that finding tiny white dots on the palm is a strong reason for concern when considering that the Cycad scale, like Cycad aulacaspis, is a severe issue in greenhouses and, therefore, can effectively kill your Cycad palm.

How to Get Rid Of The White Scales?

Sago’s palms have white dots that are white scales, so getting rid of these insects can be challenging.

The wax coating that protects these insects from harm makes it difficult to destroy them.

The condition of your Sago plant depends heavily on how you care for them. It won’t be simple to remove Sago plant scales by merely fanning them off.

This happens due to their preference for hiding in the palm’s roots or inconspicuous crevices.

An Organicide or horticultural oil, a substance comprised primarily of 95% fish oil, can be used to spray those pests.

It is advised to sprinkle the plant anytime between once every week and once every three weeks. In the fourth week, you can then water the plant.

Pruning the affected areas will assist you in getting rid of the infection. Next, apply paraffin to every part of the palm.

These oils work because they cover the scales’ surface, which causes them to suffocate. It would help if you sprayed it on both the top and bottom portions to get rid of them.

Spray the entire mixture over the Cycad palm plant after mixing three teaspoons of oil and three mugs of water. Don’t neglect to spray the stem and the leaf’s undersides too.

Apply this remedy at least two or three times every day. Each time after five days, the treatment should be applied.

How to Naturally Stop Sago Palm Leaves From Turning White?

Sago palms’ scales can only be removed with a lot of perseverance. Although some effective approaches need more patience, the plants ultimately benefit from these. Here are some natural methods to stop Sago palm leaves from turning white.


The Cycad Palm should first be pruned to remove scales. Pruning takes longer when the infection has spread all over the plant. Use sterile equipment and a sack that is adequately secured before pruning. Once the trimming is finished, remove the pruned portions far from the palm and discard them.


You will need to remove excess scales from your Sago’s palm with either your nails or some other instrument if there is a large number of them.

However, this only removes away the scales you can see, so you’ll need to find additional ways to stop them from growing.

Rub Alcohol

You can rub the plant’s leaves with a cotton ball dampened with isopropyl alcohol. This will eliminate any extra honeydew residue and eradicate the scale.

To ensure that the scales have indeed been totally eliminated, repeat this procedure in a week.

A Bug to Kill A Bug

A beetle and a wasp are now being investigated for treating Sago palm scaling. They would effectively lower numbers in a non-toxic way because they are natural hunters. Sadly, these aren’t readily available in stores.

Treatment of the Sago palm scale typically involves persistence. Don’t forget to spray frequently; else, the pests will come back in force.

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Concluding It All

The Sago palm tree may be the best choice if you’re looking for a drought-resistant indoor houseplant that can keep its beauty and health through extended periods of neglect.

Sago’s palms have white scales rather than dots. These white scales are little insects that drain the plant’s sap. However, they are challenging to get rid of because they are skilled at concealing themselves.

However, you may eliminate them by using insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, or pruning. We hope this information about how to stop Sago palm leaves from turning white and the reasons for white spots will help you take better care of your plant.

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