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Why Does My Sago Palm Have Brown Leaves? 8 Best Reasons

The Sago Palm (Cycas Revoluta) is a posh plant renowned for its leathery features and low maintenance. In fact, this is an excellent plant for beginners and is an exciting add-on to nearly any room.

Revolut meaning rolled back is a reference to the Sago Palm leaflets that curl back according to the University of Florida.

The name of Sago Palm may indicate that it is a palm, but it is rather a Cycad. It is among the ancient classes of plants, counting back to the prehistoric era.

While it is a very easy plant to take care of, not taking proper care of the leaves can cause problems, mainly browning of leaves.

Why Does My Sago Palm Have Brown Leaves?

A nutrient-deficient soil can cause Sago Palm’s tips to become yellow-brown and have stunted growth. Root rot, insect and pests invasion, and shock to the plant also trigger leaf browning. Brown leaves also develop when you place your Palm in too much sun, extreme temperature, or overfertilize it.


Why Does My Sago Palm Have Brown Leaves?

Why Does My Sago Palm Have Brown Leaves?


8 Causes of Browning on Sago Palm Leaves


1. Supplement Inadequacy

Manganese inadequacy in the soil can prompt Sago Palm ends to change from brown to yellow in color and hinder new growth for the plant.

If the center of the leaf remains green, but there is a brown band around it, your Sago Palm may have a magnesium deficiency.

If you notice a brown band forming on your Sago Palm's leaves, it's a sign of manganese inadequacy

If you notice a brown band forming on your Sago Palm’s leaves, it’s a sign of manganese inadequacy


2. Root Rot

The soil that does not drain well will cause problems for your Palm’s foliage. The color of the leaves changes, and the tips begin to turn brown.

Sago Palm dies because of rot and poor drainage is the leading cause of rot. No drainage hole in the pot can trigger root problems that lead to the browning of leaves.

The root system of plants must be closely reviewed for any indications of root rot. The rotten roots will be crumpled or become dark brown in color as opposed to a nutritious, whitish light brown color.

If the roots of your Sago palm begin to root, it can cause its leaves to brown as well

If the roots of your Sago palm begin to root, it can cause its leaves to brown as well


3. Improper Light

Giving too much light may lead to dry, scorched leaves, especially for newly planted Sago Palms. This will weaken its leaves and make them turn brown.

Placing your Sago palm in areas with too much light can lead to its leaves being scorched or brown

Placing your Sago palm in areas with too much light can lead to its leaves being scorched or brown

Brown tips can also develop when the plant is kept in an extremely dark spot. In severe cases, fronds might wilt and decline prematurely.


4. Over Fertilizing

Overfertilization can make Sago leaves turn earthy colors. Make certain to read the manure’s rules completely and cling to them.

Overfeeding can trigger the development of inorganic substances that are harmful to the healthy growth of Sago Palms. Alkaline soil can also turn the tips of Sago Palm leaves brown.

When this happens, the ends of the foliage become stained, turn earthy colored, and twist.


5. Cold Temperature

The Sago Palm is very hardy and can withstand temperatures ranging from 15 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit (-9.4 to 43 degrees Celsius).

Even though Sago Palm can endure cold temperatures, too much of it can be bad for the plant.

Though your Sago Palms can endure cold temperatures, it can lead to leaf browning

Though your Sago Palms can endure cold temperatures, it can lead to leaf browning

A chilly climate can trigger the foliage of Sago Palm to turn brown. This occurs because the roots can’t take up supplements from the ground in such conditions.

There is not enough water to transfer the nutrients to the foliage. Leaves may freeze and turn yellow or earthy colored.


6. Transport Shock

Disturbance can turn leaves brown. If you frequently move the plant from one place to another, you need to be prepared for at least some leaves turning brown.

Instead of aggravating the plant, make sure you put it in the right place on the first few tries.


7. Spider Mites

Spider mites are also a culprit behind brown leaves. These pesky pests attack both indoor and outdoor plants frequently.

These insects suck the nutrition of the plant and weaken it, which results in brown leaves.

You’ll find the first signs of a spider mite infestation pest on the underside of the leaves. If you find brown spots, you need to take immediate action.


8. Aulacaspis Scale

Aulacaspis scale (Aulacaspis Yasumasa Takagi) is an insect that often preys upon Sago Palms.

If your plant is infected by these insects, the leaf of the plant will develop yellowish spots.

The Aulacaspis scale is white and waxy, which makes it very easy to detect. A dense infestation of the Aulacaspis scale can trigger the leaves to turn brown and stunt new growth.


Solution for the Brown Leaves on Sago Palm


Fixing Supplement Inadequacy

This can be remedied by providing the Sago palm with a great soil mix.

You can splash manganese on the leaf surface, as recommended by the brand. When you find new green leaves, you should cut off the brown leaves so that your plant can grow healthy.


Treating Root Rot

It is suggested to replant the plant in new soil with excellent drainage to prevent standing water and fix root rot.

It will be beneficial to have drainage holes in the pot in which you plant a Sago Palm.

It is also advised to tenderly wash rotten roots and eliminate all mushy, soft parts with a disinfected pair of scissors or an instrument such as a pulaski for larger roots.


Maintaining Proper Light

Sago Palm does best when it has good sunlight to enjoy. Hence, it’s best to place your Palm close to a south-facing window.

Ensure to place your Sago Palm near a south-facing window for it to get bright light with partial shade

Ensure to place your Sago Palm near a south-facing window for it to get bright light with partial shade

It is safest to put your Sago Palm in a spot where there is a bright light and partial shade. You’ll get bigger leaves with healthier color if you place your Sago palm in this environment type.


Proper Fertilization

The Sago Palm needs occasional fertilizing with a slow-release 8-8-8 balanced plant food.

Choose a slow-release fertilizer for Sago Palm as it will gradually fertilize the plant, preventing salt build-up.

It is also advised to have micronutrients in the fertilizer formula.


Treating Cold Damage

The only option is to wait for warmer weather when leaves turn brown due to cold weather.

Let the dead foliage stay where they are until the climate warms up slightly and chop off every one of the leaves from the trunk.

New leaves will soon take their spot.


Getting Rid of Pests

To get rid of spider mites, mix 3 tablespoons of dish soap with a gallon of water. Spray this soapy solution on the infected leaves weekly or as required.

Rubbing alcohol is also a good solution. Dip the cotton ball in rubbing alcohol so you can wipe the Sago palm’s foliage infected with spider mites.


Removing Aulacaspis Scale

It is recommended to wash the Aulacaspis scale off with a powerful, direct stream of water. You might have to get rid of severely infected leaves.

You can also spray the Sago Palm with horticultural oil. Apply it every 10 to 21 days, depending on the brand suggestions.


Frequently Asked Questions about Sago Palm Having Brown Leaves


Should you cut off brown Sago Palm leaves?

Sago Palm restores their leaves throughout its growing season. Chop the leaves that are entirely brown or yellow at the base. Ensure that you do not pull the leaves, as this can harm the healthy parts of the plant.


Can brown Sago Palm leaves turn back to green?

Completely brown leaves are dead, they will not turn green again. However, if only some part of the leaf is brown, check the water supply, sunlight exposure, and nutrient levels of the leaf. There’s a possibility of reviving the brown leaves.

Author Bio

Daniel Iseli

Taking care of houseplants and gardening are my greatest passions. I am transforming my apartment into an urban jungle and am growing veggies in my indoor and outdoor garden year-round.