How to transplant sago palms

Written by marlene affeld | 13/05/2017
How to transplant sago palms
Sago palms prefer a warm, sunny location protected from frost. (Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Native to Japan, Sago palms -- Cycas revoluta -- are one of the longest-living and the slowest-growing of all the palm tree species. Often called "living fossils," sago palms only grow 1 inch in height and diameter each year. Well-adapted to pot or container planting, sago palms are used as hardy houseplants and accents in the landscape. Often referred to as "parlour palms," the hardy sago palm can be purchased from tropical nurseries or online plant vendors.

Locate a container or spot in the landscape that anticipates the sago palm's growth. Sago palms do not like to be transplanted and will live for hundreds of years in a relatively small space. Sago palms prefer to be root bound; they do best in containers only 1 to 2 inches larger than their root mass.

Remove the plant from its old container or planting site. Don't disturb or damage the root mass.

Replant sago palms slightly above the soil line. The soil line is the point where the palm tree's trunk was level with the soil in its old pot. Create a mound of soil 1 to 2 inches high at the base of the trunk so that water drains away from it. Sago palms do not do well in any type of depression that can trap moisture. If additional soil is required to fill the container, use a mixture with a 1-to-1 ratio of sand and potting soil. Do not overwater. Leaves will turn yellow from excess watering.

Remove old and yellowed leaves from the base of the plant by cutting them with a sharp knife or pruning shears. Cut the leaf 1/4 inch from the trunk.


Do not over fertilise sago palms. They will quickly turn yellow or die from excess fertiliser.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not over fertilise sago palms. They will quickly turn yellow or die from excess fertiliser.

Things you need

  • Container (optional)
  • Sand
  • Potting soil
  • Sharp knife or pruning shears

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