Yellow/brown branches on sago palm

Asked March 8, 2019, 10:34 AM EST

Hello, I have a sago palm that I purchased in Myrtle Beach, SC about 7-8 years ago. It has done fine until the last few months when 4-5 of the bottom branches have turned yellow/brown and those branches have lost some of its needles. In winter, the palm is inside in a south facing window which gets plenty of light. It is outside in spring/summer. The rest of the plant looks fine. I only water it when the soil feels very dry. I have cut 2 branches from the palm, but don't know if I should continue to do that with the other yellowish branches.

Carroll County Maryland

1 Response

Your light sounds good. During active growth, which is most of the time, it should be watered moderately. Soil should be completely soaked at a watering. Then the top 1/2 " of soil can be allowed to dry out before the next watering. If it has a rest period (usually the result of inadequate light), then it can be watered only enough to prevent drying out.

It may be that your sago palm is not getting enough water, since it is in a good light location and seems to have many leaves. Cut off completely dead leaves. Let others remain. This plant may only put out as little as one new leaf a year, so you want to be conservative about removing them.

They also require fertilizer. Apply a liquid fertilizer once a month from early spring to early fall.