The sago palm (cycas revoluta) looks like a palm and is called a palm but it isn’t really a palm, it actually a member of the cycad genus and it has been around since dinosaurs walked the earth.
It really is a fascinating bonsai and that is why it deserves its very own sago palm bonsai tree for sale article with an extended care guide.
This bonsai can definitely survive some adverse conditions and that has helped it survive so long, which makes it a great choice for an indoor bonsai beginner or expert or as a thoughtful gift for someone who maybe doesn’t have a bonsai hobby yet.
The sago palm is actually native to Japan where it has a reputation for being incredibly durable and practically indestructible.
This is one of the lowest maintenance bonsai trees you can find, so what have you got to lose?
When you buy a sago palm bonsai you will own a really cool looking bonsai that has the appearance of a mini palm tree and it is a great houseplant or outdoor plant you really don’t have to put much effort into caring for.
- A practically indestructible variety for bonsai
- Has been around since dinosaurs walked the earth
- Easily adaptable to grow indoors or outdoors
- Looks like a palm and it’s called a palm, but it’s not really a palm
(There are affiliate links in this blog post, and if you click any of the affiliate links and buy the products, I’ll earn a commission. However, this will never affect the price you pay.)
How poisonous is a sago palm?
Yes, the sago palm is extremely poisonous so if there is anyone or anything in your household that you think may be tempted to have a nibble it’s a bad idea to own one of these plants.
If you touch your sago palm bonsai you have nothing to worry about but you should definitely wash your hands afterwards.
If you have children you should avoid this plant because if it is ingested it can actually cause diarrhea, nausea, and in extreme cases liver failure.
Cats do as they please, like nibbling plants, so if you have a cat as part of your family you may want to avoid this plant because liver failure would be a likely outcome, especially if it has nibbled the seeds.
Most dogs are trainable so you could get a sago bonsai if you have a dog, and are sure it won’t eat plants. Dogs are larger than cats so they have a higher survival rate however out of dogs that do ingest the sago palm 50-75% of them don’t survive.
Do sago palms need sun or shade?
The sago palm is one of the most versatile plants you can find and possibly the most versatile bonsai when it comes to light requirements.
The sago palm will easily adapt to growing as an indoor or outdoor plant which means it can survive in a wide range of light conditions.
Whether you want to grow your sago palm bonsai in the yard where it gets full sun all day every day or in a bright room with no direct sunlight shining on the plant or somewhere in-between maybe like a windowsill this plant will adapt and thrive.
Depending on how much light you get your sago palm will determine the shape of the leaves that grow…
- Low light and the sago plant will produce long leaves
- Bright light and the sago plant will produce shorter leaves
Like all plants you should rotate the sago palm ¼ every day when you grow it indoors, otherwise the leaves will grow towards the light source and look unkempt.
If you want more light you should check out my article on cheap Led grow lights.
What temperature can sago palms withstand?
For the sago palm to have managed to survive from the age that dinosaurs walked the earth you can be assured that it can withstand an incredibly wide range of temperature variations.
If you keep your sago palm bonsai indoors then you have absolutely nothing to worry about when it comes to the temperature because i doubt your household temperature will get anywhere near low or hot enough to cause any damage to this species.
The sago palm bonsai will do fine in temperatures that range from 15F to 110F.
If you plan on growing this palm outdoors you should definitely consider moving it indoors before the first frost however if it is damaged by the cold there is a pretty good chance it will recover as long as the center crown is mature enough to be wooden.
It’s a plant so it definitely needs water but the question is how often and how much…
How often should you water a potted sago palm bonsai?
If you are growing a sago palm bonsai you should already know that it doesn’t need to be watered anywhere near as often as some other bonsai varieties.
This bonsai is such a great little bonsai precisely because you don’t have to constantly care for it to keep it growing healthy.
Like all plants, the exact amount and how often to water it depends on your local climate and the temperature you keep your house.
The best way to check when your sago palm bonsai actually needs water is to stick your finger in the soil and if the top ½ inch is completely dry it may be time to give it some water.
With this bonsai variety it actually prefers to be slightly too dry rather than slightly too wet so when it comes to watering you should err on the side of caution.
- During hot sunny conditions water once or twice per week.
- During cool winter months water only every three or four weeks.
Always check that your sago palm bonsai actually needs water before you decide to feed it some. If you think you have added too much it is a good idea to let it get extra dry before the next time you feed it anymore water.
Can you over water a sago palm bonsai?
Sago palm bonsai definitely prefer to be too dry rather than too wet, over-watering once shouldn’t be too great of a problem but if you have been constantly over-watering for a period of time you may encounter a major problem.
Root rot is the worst thing that will happen if you over-water your sago palm.
When this happens the leaves will start to turn yellow and drop off, this won’t be a slow process and if this starts to happen your sago bonsai could end up in the trash within 1 or 2 weeks.
If the leaves start to turn yellow and when you check the soil it is soaking wet, chances are it is suffering from root rot.
The only chance you have of saving your bonsai is to re-pot it in fresh and well draining soil, when you do this you should then leave it for 1-2 weeks to completely dry out before watering it again.
You can use fertilizer for your sago palm bonsai but not too much or too often…
What is the best fertilizer for sago palms?
Sago palms don’t need to be fertilizer very often because it is such a slow growing plant so you don’t want to encourage an unnatural growth pattern.
If you are using fertilizer on your bonsai then the best time to apply it is only an application in the spring and then an application during the summer.
If you decide to use more you definitely don’t want to be fertilizing your sago palm bonsai any more than 3 or 4 times per year. The best fertilizer for sago palms is a liquid fertilizer because this allows you to dilute the concentration to about ½ what you would use on other plants.
You could also use a slow release fertilizer once or twice per year but if you choose this option you should avoid letting any drop down the crown of your plant at all costs.
Re-potting a sago palm bonsai
When it comes to re-potting a sago palm bonsai is pretty different compared to most other plants.
When should you re-pot a sago palm bonsai?
The strange thing about sago palm bonsai is that you may actually never have to re-pot it, unless you really want to.
If your sago palm has completely stopped growing and you actually want it to grow a bit bigger, that is the only time you will have to re-pot it!
When you grow a sago palm indoors in low light conditions then you may actually never have to re-pot because it is such a slow growing variety of bonsai in those conditions.
If you have had your sago palm bonsai for a long time and it has actually grown a bit bigger you may need to consider re-potting it if the growth has made it top heavy, but that should take years to happen when it’s grown indoors.
Do sago palms like to be root bound?
If your sago palm bonsai is root bound it is really nothing to worry about because they actually prefer to be practically root bound rather than to have lots of room for growth.
When your sago palm bonsai is root bound it will stop getting any bigger, it’s not exactly a fast growing plant anyways so you might not even notice when it stops growing.
If you decide you do want your sago palm to continue growing bigger and decide to actually re-pot it you definitely don’t want to use a massive pot you should only use one that is slightly larger than its current pot.
How do you re-pot a sago palm bonsai?
If you are going to carry out the task of re-potting your sago palm bonsai then the only time that is advisable to do it is burning the spring or summer time. This is what you should do…
- Remove your sago palm from its pot and shake all of the soil off it so that you are left with only the solid root ball.
- Pull around 10% of the roots loose and chop them off
- Remove around 10% of the lower leaves
- Position it in its new pot that is only slightly larger than its old pot
- Use a well draining bonsai soil because sago palms prefer dry soil
- After re-potting you should water it thoroughly and do not give it any fertilizer for a month after you repot it
When you have re-potted your sago palm you can be assured you will not have to re-pot it again for at least a couple of years. Some people don’t want their sago palm bonsai to grow any larger and it should be ok if it stays in a root-bound pot.
Because the sago palm grows so slowly you won’t have to prune it very often…
How often do Sago palms grow new leaves?
The sago palm will grow leaves, just very, very, slowly.
If your sago palm is growing only 2 or 3 leaves per year that is completely normal and what you should be experiencing.
If there are no new leaves growing you should troubleshoot these areas to get it growing again.
- Lighting – sago palm bonsai don’t need very much light to grow healthy but if your palm isn’t growing at all maybe you should reposition it to a lighter position.
- Nutrients – generally sago palms don’t need very much fertilizer to grow a very diluted concentrate mix is recommended, try slightly increasing the amount of fertilizer.
- Over-watering – if you have been consistently over-watering, your sago palm could be suffering from root rot. If the soil is soaking wet you should re-pot into fresh dry soil as a matter of urgency.
When should sago palms be pruned?
Although sago palms are very slow growers it is still a good idea to prune your plant.
Unlike most other plants you should not prune a sago during the growing season.
You should give your sago palm a prune annually when it is not in its growing season so around fall is the ideal time to prune a sago palm.
If your sago palm has been damaged by frost then you should prune off any leaves that are withered look like they are dying immediately. It’s best to not let your sago palm experience any frosty conditions.
Can you cut the top off of a sago palm?
At the top of your Sago Palm it will grow flower cones, some people find these cones to be unappealing and remove them.
These flower cones will produce seeds that are the most poisonous part of the plant and if these seeds are ingested by animals or humans they may actually be fatal.
Luckily you can remove the flower cone without causing any damage to the health of your sago palm.
I hope you have found some useful information in this sago palm bonsai tree for sale article and have success in your bonsai hobby.
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