How to Transplant an Indoor Potted Sago Palm Tree

According to most American plant owners, the main reason behind their newly found love for plant parenthood is the cheap therapy looking after a plant can offer, which wonders for their minds and mood. 

As per a recent study, spending just fifteen minutes caring after a house plant can significantly reduce a person’s anxiety and stress and enhance their mood, productivity, and presence at work. 

Moreover, another extremely popular reason people decorate their households and office spaces with multiple indoor planters is their undeniable beauty and aesthetic appeal.

Usually, plants purchased for this reason have relatively easier and low-maintenance care routines. Their owners do not wish to indulge in the regular looking-after process and instead simply want to give their space a refreshed and revamped look.

The Sago Palm tree is one such indoor house plant that is incredibly tolerant, one of the easiest to manage, and is usually purchased for its bold and dramatic visual appeal.

The Sago Palm Tree

Known and globally demanded for its exceptional resilience, the Cycas Revoluta, commonly known as the Sago Palm tree, is a popular plant species with attributes that are undoubtedly second to none.

Characterized by its stunning deep green feather-like leaves that grow on symmetrical fronds out of a dark brown chunky trunk, the Sago Palm tree’s leaves and trunk can be pretty sharp and should be handled with care. 

With unmatchable tolerance and a tremendous inbuilt fight that allows the planter to survive and thrive without much water or attention, the Sago Palm tree is perhaps the one indoor planter that can outlive you and your children. 

This means that before the first humans got to witness the incredible beauty of the Sago Palm tree, ancient dinosaurs were already enjoying its refreshing company. 

Known for growing an incredible ten-foot tall height indoors, a well-treated Sago Palm tree that is allowed to live in its ideal conditions will survive over a century and can even last for nearly two hundred years.

Hence, if you are someone who simply cannot or does not want to spend their time looking after an indoor potted planter, the Sago Palm tree is ideal for you.

Feel free to travel for work or with friends, with the assurance that you will return home to an evergreen and healthy Sago Palm tree. 

However, although the Sago Palm tree is an extremely slow grower and takes nearly fifty years to reach full maturity, it can sometimes outgrow its pot or vessel.

Usually, repotting is not required for multiple years; however, if signs of an overgrown planter or an enlarged root ball are apparent, it is best to transplant and report the indoor Sago Palm tree into a larger and more suitable vessel.

Continue reading to learn more about the common signs that indicate an indoor potted Sago Palm tree’s pending transplant, along with the complete process of how a successful Sago Palm transplant or repotting can be done.

Let’s get started!

The Common Signs that Indicate an Indoor Potted Sago Palm Tree’s Pending Transplant

As mentioned above, a Sago Palm tree is an extremely slow grower that usually takes an entire year to grow a single, healthy frond.

Due to this, a Sago Palm tree is usually transplanted once every two to three years, during the early springtime.

However, despite the slow growth rate, a Sago Palm tree’s monstrous strength and build are not one to be challenged.

Instead, if a pending transplant is neglected, this mini palm tree’s enlarged and extremely powerful root ball can completely crack and break its pot.

Hence, if you care to see your indoor potted Sago Palm tree grow to maturity, keep an eye out for the following signs of a pending transplant:

  • If the chunky and woody trunk of your Sago Palm tree is almost as thick as the width of the pot itself
  • If the Sago Palm tree is planted inside a plastic pot, and the pot’s sides are deformed or building outwards
  • If the Sago Palm tree is planted inside a ceramic, terra-cotta, or clay pot, and you can notice cracks forming on the pot’s surfaces
  • If the roots of the indoor potted Sago Palm tree are growing out of the pot’s drainage holes
  • If the entire indoor potted Sago Palm tree keeps falling sidewards due to its tall height and the pot’s narrow base

The Step-by-Step Process for Successfully Transplanting an Indoor Potted Sago Palm Tree

You need not worry about a transplant soon if you just got a young single-frond indoor potted Sago Palm tree.

However, if your Sago Palm tree has been sitting at your home for quite some years, a successful transplant can be incredibly beneficial to the plant.

Hence, to successfully transplant and repot your indoor potted Sago Palm tree into another, more suitable vessel, follow the detailed step-by-step process below:

1. Remove all Dead or Faded Leaves from Your Sago Palm Tree

Whenever you plan on transplanting your indoor potted Sago Palm tree, use this opportunity to take a pair of pruning shears and give the planter a healthy trim that not only lightens its overall weight but also gets rid of all dead and faded leaves.

Doing so improves the appearance of the entire Sago Palm tree, makes the handling process much easier, and also encourages new leaf growth.

2. Use a Garden Hoe or Shovel to Loosen the Sago Palm Tree

Once your indoor potted Sago Palm tree is well-prepared for the transplant and is relatively easier to handle, proceed towards loosening the plant from the pot.

Use a garden hoe or small shovel, and dig deep into the Sago Palm tree’s soil from the sides. Ensure not to penetrate the home right next to the trunk, as doing so might damage and cut many healthy roots.

Once the hoe or shovel has dug deep into the pot’s base, begin moving it around the soil to loosen the Sago Palm tree’s entire root ball.

3. Carefully Remove the Sago Palm Tree from its Pot

Once you are positive that the garden hoe or shovel has successfully loosened up the entire Sago Palm tree’s root ball, proceed towards removing the entire mini palm tree from its small pot.

If your Sago Palm tree is too heavy or tall, you might need another person to complete the transplant with you. Moreover, since the trunk of a Sago Palm tree can be quite chunky and prickly, use garden gloves while handling the planter.

Finally, to remove the mini palm tree from its pot, slightly tilt the pot to the side and slide out the entire tree along with its root ball.

4. Examine the Sago Palm Tree’s Root Health

Although this step is not critical to a successful replanting process; however, it can be quite beneficial to the plant in the future.

Since you will not be digging out your Sago Palm tree for the next many years, it is best to use this opportunity to examine the root heath.

Place your Sago Palm tree’s root ball under running water and use a soft-bristled brush to further remove any dirt or soil.

If you spot any dead or decayed root bits or pieces, use the pruning shears to trim them off to encourage new root growth.

5. Arrange a More Suitable Plant Vessel for the Sago Palm Tree’s Repotting

Now that your indoor Sago Palm tree is out of its previous vessel use the older pot to choose the new one.

Ensure that the new vessel or container you select for repotting the Sago Palm tree is larger, taller, and more spacious than the previous pot to allow the growing Sago Palm tree the space it needs for the next few years of root expansion and growth.

Moreover, a pot with a larger and wider base will also give the tall Sago Palm tree the stability it needs to remain upright and not fall sidewards.

Furthermore, ensure that the new vessel has additional and wider drainage holes to offer effective drainage for the higher soil capacity.

6. Fill the New Vessel with a Well-Draining Sago Palm Tree Potting Mix

You must fill out the Sago Palm tree’s vessel with a highly-nutritious potting mix rich in peat moss, pumice, and sand.

This combination will give the Sago Palm tree the nutrients it needs to grow and allow effective drainage that helps prevent root rot.

7. Transplant the Sago Palm Tree into the New Vessel Containing the Mix

Finally, transplant your Sago Palm tree onto a three-inch deep potting mix, and fill the remaining container with the rest of the mix till it is only one to two inches away from the container’s top.

8. Pat Down and Press in the Soil Around the Sago Palm Tree’s Trunk and Roots

Use your hands to pat down and press in the soil around the Sago Palm tree’s trunk and roots to help stabilize the tall tree and release unnecessary pockets of air.

9. Water the Transplanted Sago Palm Tree

Lastly, water your newly repotted Sago Palm tree, and place it near a window that allows indirect sunlight to reach the mini palm’s freshly trimmed leaves.

Sago Palm - Live Plant in a 6 Inch Pot - Cycas Revoluta - Beautiful Clean Air Indoor Outdoor Houseplant

Final Thoughts

If you notice cracks forming in your indoor potted Sago Palm tree’s ceramic pot, you should transplant the tree into another larger pot to give it the space it requires to grow. Not only will doing so help protect the mini palm tree’s roots from getting smashed against the pot’s inner walls, but it will also encourage a faster and healthier overall growth rate.

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