Sago Palm Turning Yellow: How to Save When Dying(Care)

Sago Palm is generally green and similar to pine trees with a trunk of over 9 feet height and ferns are over 2-5 feet makes it a beautiful garden attraction.

Why is My Sago Palm Turning Yellow?

Leaves of Sago Palm Turning yellow due to Inadequate watering, Low in fertilizer that provides nutrients. Sago Palm Yellowing could indicate Deficiency in N-P-R or magnesium or majorly affected by the heavy rainfall or low light conditions. Sago palm yellow leaves might be a cause of Too much fertilizing or location disturbance.

These Sago Palm are slow growing perennial plant trees that live for many years and Cycas revoluta caring requirements are minimum. It adds the beauty in your garden area outdoors and they need partial shade to grow. USDA hardiness zones are 9 and 10 for our sago palms.

Actually those ferns or leaves don’t generally turn yellow , if in previous months you have changed its location then reverting the location means the light it was getting there is perfect for growing. Also Sometimes changing the watering schedule may give it a hard time to adjust as overwatering is still a concern for our sago palm trees.

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Sago palm turning yellow

You may have the similar question on “why is my sago palm turning yellow” then take a closer look whether your sago palm yellow fronds may be suffering from fertilizer rich soil that provides nitrogen, magnesium and potassium. Each deficiency has a sign where sago leaves can be seen yellowing.

Generally Sago palm older leaves turn yellow but most likely it’s nitrogen deficiency that does change its color. If your palm tree fronds are green from the sides but the middle layer is green then it is due to magnesium deficiency. Sago palm fronds turn Yellow with most parts becoming dull and loose green pigmentation than its potassium deficiency.

Already yellow sago palm fronds are hard to recover but you can stop this problem from affecting the newer growth using well nutrient rich fertilizer specially made for palm trees. Once you start fertilizing the liquid in growing seasons your sago palm may form new fronds that are dark green and healthy. Also If you decode the problem just by looking at sago palm fronds then you can apply that particular deficiency nutrient like potassium, nitrogen or phosphorus to your palm tree. Once fertilizer begins to work and shows results new foliage will likely give green leaves.

here are the full details of 7 reasons why sago palm turning yellow:

Yellowing Sago Palm Due to Insect Infestation (also known as Plant Scale)

One reason why a sago palm may turn yellow is due to an insect infestation, specifically plant scale. An insect called a plant scale adheres to the leaves and stems of plants and extracts the sap, which results in yellowing and other harm. Use insecticidal soap or neem oil to destroy the insects as a fix for this. It’s crucial to properly follow the directions and completely treat the afflicted regions.

Soil Nutrient Deficiencies Equals Leaves Turning Yellow

Deficient soil nutrients are another reason for the yellowing of sago palm leaves. The leaves might become yellow if they are deficient in important elements like nitrogen, iron, or magnesium. This may be fixed by adding a fertilizer made especially for palm palms that includes these vital elements. Overfertilization should be avoided as it may have negative effects.

Too Much Fertilizer

While fertilizer is required for a healthy sago palm, too much might result in the leaves yellowing. Overfertilization may harm roots and leaves with chemical burns that result in yellowing and other problems. In order to fix this, flush the soil with water to wash out extra fertilizer and give the plant time to heal.

Sago Palm Sunburn

The sago palm is a sun-loving plant, but too much direct sunlight may cause sunburn and yellowing of the leaves. Move the plant to an area with less direct sunlight or give shade during the warmest hours of the day to fix this.


Since sago palms are cold-sensitive, freezing temperatures may harm or even kill them. The leaves of a sago palm may turn yellow and finally die if exposed to cold weather. This may be fixed by relocating the plant to a warmer area and watching it heal.

Over Or Under Watering

Yellowing of the leaves of a sago palm may result from over or under watering. Root rot, which may cause the leaves to turn yellow and drop off, can be brought on by too much water. On the other side, insufficient moisture might result in the leaves drying out and becoming yellow. Make sure the plant is receiving the appropriate quantity of water, which is normally once per week or when the top inch of soil is dry, to fix this.


Finally, disturbances to the plant, such as repotting or transplanting, can cause yellowing of the leaves. This is because the plant is adjusting to its new environment and may experience stress. To fix this, allow the plant time to adjust and provide it with the proper care and nutrients it needs to recover.

Should I cut yellow leaves off sago palm?

Cutting Yellow leaves off from sago palm is necessary to make sure no infections and diseases are born around it. Pruning sago palm leaves that are yellow is not recommended and you should only cut those fronds that are badly damaged, infected and mostly look brown or black. Trimming lower leaves or fronds that are not developed properly can affect your sago palm that result in more pest attacks, so cutting off sago plam’s black dead leaves every year could bring new life to our palm trees.

After Cutting those dead fronds from sago palm it’s time you should fulfill your plant needs as whenever a palm tree has deficiency they definitely show symptoms like leaf yellowing, browning, curling and various other. Most of your palm trees might be suffering from manganese sulfate deficiency and to revitalize your palm you need to give them palm food or fertilizer that are rich in these nutrients.

This manganese sulfate comes in 5lbs, 10lbs and 20lbs bags and even for smaller palms you can purchase a 1lb pack according to your need depending on how big your sago palm is.

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Manganese Sulfate Monohydrate 1lb

Manganese Sulfate Monohydrate 4lb

Manganese Sulfate Monohydrate 55lb Bag

With that you can try giving them fertilizer that has all 3 major nutrients like phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen that are basically called plant food fertilizers. It enhances and rejuvenate the sago palm deficiency compound, after providing them this type of plant food you may see some changes in your palm tree.

Consider cutting off sago palm fronds that are curling or floating downward and look old; they are just absorbing the nutrients from soil that should be reaching to new leaves. Also I would not recommend doing heavy pruning of sago palm ferns. It will impact your tree’s health. 

How do I treat yellow leaves on my palm tree?

Doing a soil test is the method possible to figure out what essential nutrients are missing in our sago palm diet. Soil test kit available to check Potash, Nitrogen, Phosphorus and pH with the easy steps that are beginner friendly.

Once you find the result of tested soil or use a local expert to guide you, Now blend the missing nutrients and use a powerful fertilizer or the particular palm food that may give a boost to your soil.

Giving proper fertilizer every year in the growing period of sago palm can benefit your plant for long term growth. Just remember the season and schedule your time to do it. It is fertilized once every 4 weeks or 3-4 times in 12 months.

Sometimes Yellow leaves on sago palm can be treated using proper watering, pruning and timely fertilizing. It doesn’t require expertise. It’s the basic thing if you see bad growth immediately remove it as this avoids any infestation of pests.

Root rot occurs because of fungal infection and can be resolved by adequate watering and if it is not solved it can impact the overall palm tree growth.

Sometimes direct sunlight can burn the leaves that may turn brown which invites pests to further damage your plant. So keeping them in a place where it is comfortable. 

How do you keep sago palms from turning yellow?

Schedule watering and fertilizing can keep the sago palm fronds from turning yellow. Yellowing occurs due to nutrient deficiency in sago palms but many trees and plants turn yellow due to overwatering and wet soil that can be a care issue or soil problem on the owner ‘s side. Notice the leaves if it turns yellow, water is too much or your soil is exhausted and there is no nutrients left so fertilize it before all leaves turn yellow in sago palm.

Fertilizer like slow release works best for palm trees and if you give it every year then you might not get this problem again. Leaves do get old so they do turn yellow then brown it’s the natural process we can’t do anything. You can test the soil also to identify the real problem in sago palm fronds.   

How do you revive a dying sago palm?

Sago is the toughest and robust palms out there and can be revived by pruning 1/3 of its fronds. Wait You may think “am i joking” No, They will grow again once you cut off half of the leaves in sago palm tree.

Cut back from the inside until you see its head pruned 1/3 and some leaves will be there to provide support to the palm tree so it can be saved. It will grow nicer and better than before and it might be healthy you never know. These are quite strong so never estimate them.

Sago Palm Turning Yellow
Dinesh Valke from Thane, India, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sago palm turning yellow in summer

Manganese insufficiency may cause your sago palm turning yellow. Manganese, an important plant nutrient, is lacking in sago palms. When they die, the youngest leaves get dark and frizzled. Sometimes leaves or berries are smaller. Several reasons may cause leaf yellowing.

Nutrient shortages, waterlogging, cold damage, and acidic soil are the main causes of sago palm yellowing. Overwatering or underwatering might cause yellow bottom leaves. Sago palms enjoy dry conditions and should be watered twice a week in summer, depending on temperature and humidity.

Then, evaluate the soil’s pH, which should be between 6.0 and 6.5 for sago palms. Adjust pH as necessary. Manganese supplements in the soil will boost the plant’s health. check out best manganese nutrient for sago palm from here.

If the sago palm is overwatered, let the soil dry up before watering again. If the soil is excessively dry, water it more often but maintain appropriate drainage to prevent waterlogging.

If you see spider mites or scale insects, spray the plant or cut the leaves. Avoid potassium-rich fertiliser, which may yellow the fronds.

Sago palm yellow leaves fertilizer

Yellow leaves on your sago palm may indicate a nitrogen, magnesium, or potassium deficit. Overwatering, bugs, and soil acidity all cause yellow leaves. Troubleshooting a yellow-frond sago palm:

Nitrogen deficit may cause yellow fronds on sago palms. Plants need nitrogen to thrive and create chlorophyll. Slow-release nitrogen fertiliser may increase the sago palm’s health.

Magnesium shortage may yellow sago palm fronds. Slow-release magnesium fertiliser helps keep sago cycas fronds green.

Potassium and nitrogen deficit may induce sago palm chlorosis and yellow leaves. To prevent sago palm leaf yellowing, fertilise with potassium.

Overwatering causes yellow sago palm leaves. Avoid overwatering the sago palm. Water the plant at 75% soil dryness.

Spider mites and scale insects may cause yellowing. Insecticide or manual leaf removal are options.

here is the best balanced fertilizer that has all 3 important nutrients such as nitrogen, magnesium and potassium for palm trees.

Soil Acidity: Sago palms need a pH of 6.0–6.5. Adjust pH as necessary.

Fertilize, prune, and provide adequate sunshine to prevent sago palm fronds from yellowing. Sago palms flourish with minimum care, but they still need it. Consult a nursery or gardening specialist for sago palm care tips. Your sago palm may thrive for years with appropriate maintenance.

Sago palm fertilizer homemade

Sago palms homemade fertilizers that many homemaker and gardeners use:

  • Coffee Grounds: Coffee grounds may nourish sago palms. Plants need nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium from coffee grounds. Coffee grinds may be mixed with other organic elements and applied to the soil surrounding the sago palm.
  • Bone Meal: Organic fertiliser prepared from broken animal bones rich in calcium and phosphorus. Slow-release fertiliser feeds sago palms over time. Gardeners may add bone meal to the soil or straight to the plant’s base.
  • Blood Meal: Animal blood is another nitrogen-rich organic fertiliser. It supplements fertilisers and boosts plant health. Slowly decomposing blood meal feeds sago palms.
  • Epsom salt includes magnesium and sulphur. It promotes healthy sago palm development. Epsom salt may be dissolved in water and applied to soil or mixed with organic materials by gardeners.
  • Banana Peels: Potassium and other nutrients in banana peels assist sago palms. Banana peels may be chopped up and buried around the plant or mixed with other organic materials to make a natural fertiliser.

Sago palms benefit from numerous natural fertilisers. To locate the finest DIY fertiliser, gardeners might experiment. For optimal results, follow fertiliser application instructions.

Sago palm turning yellow after freeze

Sago palm owners experience yellowing fronds or leaves due to Nutrient shortages, overwatering, underwatering, and cold freezing weather may make your sago palm yellow. Sagos’ leaves become yellow in cold weather because their roots can’t absorb nutrients as properly. Frozen leaves may become yellow or brown. Wait until warmer weather.

Nutrient deficiency is a typical cause of sago palm frond yellowing. Sago palms should have deep green foliage, and yellow leaves may indicate a nutritional deficit. Here, the sago palm needs nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.

Sago palms may yellow from overwatering or underwatering. Overwatering may damage roots, preventing the plant from collecting nutrients. Underwatering dries and yellows the fronds. It’s crucial to balance the sago palm’s water demands.

Wait for warmer weather if your sago palm has turned yellow from cold temperatures. Covering the plant with a blanket or sheet prevents frost or freeze damage.

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Sago palm magnesium deficiency

Sago palms have problems including fading leaves due to Nutrient shortages, especially magnesium and nitrogen, cause sago palm leaves to yellow. Manganese aids photosynthesis, enzyme activity, and nitrogen metabolism. Sago palm manganese shortage begins with yellow dots on young top leaves and proceeds to yellow or brown leaves. Young leaves may be twisted and tiny. Untreated plants perish.

Manganese sulphate applied to the soil or sprayed on leaves weekly for three months will fix sago palm manganese deficit. Manganese sulphate should not be confused with magnesium. Garden centres and internet retailers sell manganese sulphate.

In addition to manganese shortage, your sago palm needs a balanced fertiliser. Sago palms want a balanced fertiliser with a greater nitrogen-potassium-phosphorus ratio. Overfertilizing may harm roots and scorch leaves. check out the best balanced fertilizer here.

Sago Palm Care

Sago palms are simple to maintain, although they do need certain growth conditions. They like sandy, wet, well-draining soil that is acidic (5.5–6.5). Although they may thrive in either full or partial sunlight, they like direct, strong light. It is advisable to keep them out of direct sunlight as it may scorch and burn their leaves. Keep sago palms away from air conditioning vents and chilly breezes since they like a warm, humid, and indirectly light atmosphere.

Sago palms are slow-growing plants that, when cultivated indoors, require five or more years to attain their maximum height of around two feet. They feature a dark trunk with a plump, textured crown of stiff, feathery leaves. The glossy, deep green leaves are a beautiful accent to any interior or outdoor setting. Sago palms are a great addition to any container garden and are also great for growing in soil.

Sago palm health depends on regular watering. Water the soil if it starts to dry out a little at the top since it is best maintained wet. Root rot, which may significantly destroy your plant, can be caused by overwatering or watering at the incorrect time. When the soil starts to dry up, or around once per week if there hasn’t been at least an inch of rainfall, outdoor sago palms need to be watered.

Although sago palms typically need little maintenance, they do have certain unique requirements. In order to maintain their optimal growth, fertilize sago palms twice a year, in the spring and summer. You should take care not to overfertilize them, too, since this might harm the plant. Keep sago palms away from your pets since they are poisonous to both cats and dogs.

About Sago Palm

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The sago palm (Cycas revoluta), a well-liked perennial shrub of Japanese origins that is commonly grown as an ornamental plant worldwide. Despite its widespread name, it is really a form of cycad, one of the oldest plant species, which has existed since prehistoric times and is not a genuine palm tree.

Sago palms have long, green, fluffy leaves that give them a tropical look. They are rather low-growing plants. Under perfect circumstances, they may reach heights of 8 feet and widths of 12 feet. Sago palms need well-draining soil that is damp but not wet, and they like acidic soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. They are versatile to a variety of growth environments since they can endure both full sun and partial shade.

When cultivated indoors, the sago palm is a slow-growing plant that takes many years to attain its maximum height of around 2 feet. It may be cultivated inside as a houseplant or outside in the garden and is a pretty simple plant to take care of. Sago palms only seldom need to be pruned to remove damaged or dead fronds.

The fact that sago palms may be either male or female and have the accompanying sexual organs is one of their distinctive characteristics. The sex of a sago palm cannot be determined until it is mature, which might take many years. While female sago palms produce seeds that resemble huge cones, male sago palms create cone-like structures called strobili.

Sago palms are sometimes referred to be living fossils since they have existed for millions of years. Growing them in homes with pets or young children should be done with care since they are poisonous to people and animals if consumed.

Final Words

I Hope you found all the answers in this article about “Sago Palm Turning Yellow” and one thing is sure that tough plants can be revived if care is done properly. So I am damn sure you guys will save your sago palm and make it happy again.

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Amelia Clark

I'm Amelia Clark, a seasoned florist and gardening specialist with more than 15 years of practical expertise. Following the completion of my formal education, I dedicated myself to a flourishing career in floristry, acquiring extensive understanding of diverse flower species and their ideal cultivation requirements. Additionally, I possess exceptional skills as a writer and public speaker, having successfully published numerous works and delivered engaging presentations at various local garden clubs and conferences. Social Profile: LinkedIn  YouTube  Pinterest Facebook