Updated: July 2, 2023

The palm sago plant (Cycas revoluta), also known as the King Sago Palm, is a popular ornamental plant prized for its exotic appearance and low maintenance requirements. However, yellowing leaves can be a cause for concern among palm sago owners. In this article, we will explore the potential reasons behind the yellowing of palm sago plant leaves and discuss some remedies to restore their health.

Nutrient Deficiency

One of the most common reasons for yellowing leaves in palm sago plants is a nutrient deficiency. The palm sago plant requires a balanced diet of essential nutrients to thrive, including nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and trace elements. A lack of these nutrients can lead to poor leaf health and yellowing.

To address nutrient deficiencies, it is essential to provide the palm sago plant with a suitable fertilizer. Look for fertilizers specifically formulated for palm trees or cycads. These fertilizers typically contain a balanced mix of essential nutrients required by the plant. Follow the instructions provided on the fertilizer package for application rates and frequency.


Overwatering is another common culprit behind yellowing leaves in palm sago plants. These plants prefer well-draining soil and are susceptible to root rot if left in soggy conditions for an extended period. When the roots become waterlogged, they are unable to absorb oxygen properly, leading to nutrient deficiencies and yellowing leaves.

To prevent overwatering, ensure that your palm sago plant is planted in well-draining soil. Avoid using heavy soils that retain water for prolonged periods. Additionally, make sure that the pot or container has drainage holes to allow excess water to escape. Water your palm sago plant only when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.


While overwatering can cause yellowing leaves in palm sago plants, underwatering can also be a contributing factor. Insufficient water supply can lead to drought stress, which manifests as yellowing and wilting leaves. However, it is important to strike a balance and avoid overcompensating by overwatering, as mentioned earlier.

To determine if your palm sago plant is underwatered, check the soil moisture regularly. Stick your finger into the soil to a depth of about an inch. If the soil feels dry at that depth, it is time to water your plant. It is important to note that underwatering should not be confused with the plant’s natural cycle of shedding old leaves, which may also cause yellowing.

Temperature Stress

Palm sago plants are native to tropical regions and thrive in warm temperatures. Exposure to extreme cold or hot temperatures can induce stress in these plants, leading to yellowing leaves. Cold drafts or sudden temperature fluctuations can be particularly harmful.

If your palm sago plant is exposed to cold drafts or extremely low temperatures, consider relocating it to a more suitable location. Protect the plant from frost by covering it with a frost cloth or bringing it indoors during winter months. Similarly, shield the plant from intense heat and direct sunlight during summer months.

Pest Infestation

Pests can also contribute to the yellowing of palm sago plant leaves. Common pests that affect these plants include scale insects, mealybugs, and spider mites. These pests feed on the sap of the plant, causing damage and stress that can manifest as yellowing leaves.

Inspect your palm sago plant regularly for any signs of pest infestation. Look for small insects or their eggs on the undersides of leaves and along the stems. If you notice any pests, treat them promptly using organic insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils. Follow the instructions provided on the product label for safe and effective application.


Yellowing leaves in palm sago plants can be attributed to various factors, including nutrient deficiencies, overwatering, underwatering, temperature stress, and pest infestations. It is crucial to identify the underlying cause and take appropriate action to restore the plant’s health.

By providing the palm sago plant with a balanced fertilizer, ensuring proper watering practices, protecting it from extreme temperatures, and addressing any pest issues, you can help your plant regain its vibrant green color and thrive in your indoor or outdoor space. Remember to monitor your plant regularly and make adjustments as needed to maintain its overall health and beauty.