Plant Diseases/sago palm


i have had this outdoor sago palm for about 10 yrs. it in in a very very large pot and it has  been
healthy, the last row on plant always would turn yellow after a long time, then i would see a new
sprouts at the top, when it began to grow large enough i would trim off the bottom yellow row.

this was the way it grew and stayed beautiful fro all these years. suddenly all the rows started too
yellow, and i saw a large acorn shaped yellow soft looking and soft to the touch begin to grow.
i have been watching this process  for many months now and it has grown to at least over a
ft tall and 8 or 9" wide.  there are three healthy rows of palm below the big yellow head, i cut off
several of the very yellowed rows. nothing seems to be growing anywhere on the plant. could have
it reached a type of end of life? the place i bought it from said it had also lived outdoors and they
had it for many many years. i assume that makes it old?

does my description tell you anything that can help me know what is going on with it. it is the only sago palm in my yard, i also live up hill from the ocean in calif, LA. by at least half mile.
i hope you can advise me. thank you pepi

Dear Pepi, You have a sago palm that is in bloom!  It is actually extremely rare for them to bloom while in a pot, so you must be doing a lot right by this plant.  Since you say that the cone is over a foot tall, then you must have a male.  When it is fully ripe, the pollen will be ready to pollinate female sagos if any are in the area.  It is also very common for blooming sagos to lose many and sometimes all of their leaves while blooming, but don't worry, they will grow back.  You might want to give it a bit of extra fertilizer at this time, but be careful not to overdo it.  I suggest you do nothing, except take lots of pictures.  They don't bloom until they are at least several decades old, and they don't necessarily bloom every year.  Your sago will probably bloom every two or three years from now on.  So don't worry, it isn't at the end of its life.  It's just trying to start new life.  When the cone is spent, you can simply break it off at its base, or it may just break off naturally.  Enjoy!  Melissa

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Melissa Johnston


Plant diseases, landscaping, tropical plants, roses, herbs, plant care, grafting, horticulture, plant identification, anything about plants I can likely answer.


35 years experience in various plant businesses, 1984 Certified Texas Master Gardener.

Master Gardener Association of Texas charter member

none as of yet, but I have a plant q&a book I am in process of submitting.

Magna cum laude graduate of Texas A&M, 1978

Awards and Honors
Plant growing awards, highest grade for Texas Master Gardener graduates.

Past/Present Clients
Past member of and was very highly rated. Owned landscape company in the past, Almost Paradise, and was very successful despite little equipment, no help, and no advertising. Lived well for two years until 9/11.

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