Sago Palm Turning Yellow – Ultimate Guide

When we grow Sago Palm, there is often a problem or two, and that is when we wonder what is wrong with it. If your Sago Palm Turning Yellow, in this article you will find out what is wrong and how you can solve it.

Sago Palm is a plant that has been on the planet Earth for millions of years, specifically, about 300 million years. Despite its slow growth, or perhaps because of it, Sago Palm has been able to adapt better than other plants to different climates, both hot and cold. But like all life, it is also not free from dangers and threats.

Sago palms are an ornamental tree that is native to the tropical regions of South America and Asia. They can grow up to 50 feet (15 m) tall and have a trunk diameter of about 2 feet (60 cm). The leaves are large, green, and fan-shaped.

The Sago palm is one of the few plants that can tolerate temperatures as low as 40 °F (4 °C), and it can grow in a wide range of soil types. It also requires little water once established. These plants are not recommended for planting in the far north or south because they will not survive freezing temperatures.

Why is My Sago Palm Turning Yellow?

Why is My Sago Palm Turning Yellow? If you suddenly notice that your sago palm is turning yellow this may be due to many species of mealybugs, the most common being the cottonybug, which is the one that, in turn, most affects ornamental plants. They appear on the underside of the leaves, and when you touch them, you notice that they have a very soft touch. Their body is very fragile, so I recommend that you wear gloves, so you don’t end up with stained hands.

They favor warm and dry weather, so you will see them mostly in summer. But they can be easily treated either with natural insecticides such as Neem Oil or kerosene oil or with chemical insecticides such as Dimethoate 40%.

Important: It can also have mealybugs in the roots. Water from time to time with water to which you will have added the indicated dose of insecticide to prevent or combat them.

cottonybug sago palm
Sago palm leaves turning yellow due to insect attacks.

Sago Palm Leaves Turning Yellow

This happens when we have bought a plant that was in a greenhouse protected from direct sun, and we have put it directly in a very exposed area. Quickly the leaves in the center turn yellow and the whole plant can turn yellow in a matter of a few days. This is one of the main causes of Sago Palm Leaves turning yellow.

Sago palm leaves turning yellow, What to do? In this case, it is necessary to protect it from the direct light with a shade net or, if we have it in a pot, to change its place, and to accustom it little by little to the sun, beginning in winter when the rays are less direct. Every day we will expose it a little more and more to the sun so that it has time to get used to it.

Sago Palm Yellow Spots

Sago Palm yellow spots appear, especially after the first cold winter outdoors. Although it can withstand frosts down to 25 °F (-4 °C), it has to adapt little by little. It is not necessary to do anything, since it will put out new green leaves that year or the following year.

However, sago palm turning yellow could also be due to a lack of potassium, so it is recommended to fertilize sago palm with potassium-rich fertilizers between spring and summer (Order it here). Learn more about sago palm fertilizer.

Potassium and nitrogen deficiency will cause chlorosis in the sago palm. We recommend fertilizing to avoid yellow leaves on the sago palm. We recommend our article about Nutrient Deficiency in Plants.

Miracle-Gro Shake 'N Feed Palm Plant Food, 4.5 lb., Feeds up to 3 Months
  • Contains magnesium, iron and manganese to grow lush palms, cyads and tropical plants
  • Prevents yellowing and curling of fronds
  • Feeds up to 3 months
sago palm leaves
Sago palm yellow spots due to cold winter or frost.

Sago Palm Yellow Tips

If it is only the tips, it is usually due to a lack of ventilation. Sago Palm yellow tips are a common problem when we place them inside the home. To avoid it, it is important to keep it, whenever possible, outdoors or in a ventilated room.

We must also keep in mind that if we place the sago palm in a very cold area, the sago palm turning yellow. Remember, the sago palm is a tropical plant and does not resist much cold.

Sago Palm Leaves Turning Yellow (Lower Leaves)

If your Sago Palm has yellow lower leaves, it can be mainly for two reasons: overwatering or underwatering. The plant should be watered about twice a week in summer and every 4-5 days the rest of the year. When watering, the soil must be soaked well, so that it reaches the roots, otherwise, the leaves will start to turn yellow.

In case we do not know if it needs water or not, we can check the humidity by digging a little in the soil if we have it in the garden, or introducing a thin wooden stick to the bottom of the pot to see if it comes out with a lot of substrates adhered which would mean that it is wet, and therefore it is not necessary to water.

What to do if we have over-watered? The ideal is to cut off the yellow leaves, and not to water until the soil or substrate has dried out completely. To help it further, we can water it with powdered rooting hormones. This way it will emit new roots.

cyca yellow leaves
Sago palm leaves turning yellow due to excess or lack of water.

Conclusions on the Sago Palm with Yellow Leaves

In conclusion, we can say that the sago palm turning yellow for several reasons, and they are the following:

  • Sago palm turns yellow due to attack by insects such as mealybug or cottonybug.
  • Exposing a sago palm to direct sunlight will cause the sago palm to turn yellow. It is best to expose it to the sun gradually.
  • Sago palm also turns yellow due to freezing, which will cause its leaves to burn and turn yellow. Remember, it is a tropical plant.
  • If we have our sago palm in a place with little ventilation, we will also have problems with yellow leaves due to the lack of good ventilation in the environment.
  • Too much or too little water in the sago palm will also cause the sago palm to have yellow leaves.

As you can see, all these problems that cause the sago palm turning yellow have a solution and are not difficult to identify.

We hope you can fix the problem of yellow leaves on your sago palm tree and if you have any questions about what may be happening to your sago palm tree do not hesitate to contact us through the contact form.

About Henry Morgan

We are the Morgans, Henry, and Julia, both agronomists from the University of Michigan, where we met. We are experts in putting our hands in the soil and developing organic foods and improving production processes for decades. Likewise, we have worked for companies such as Mondelez International, BASF, Monsanto, etc. currently in our role as science writers for as well as advisors in promoting large scale food growing in urbanized areas. In this website, we share what we are most passionate about, gardening and farming. Enjoy and see real photos on our website.