Ask a Question forum: Leaf curl on Palm Sago (houseplant)

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Milwaukee, wisconsin
madelinekarian
Jul 6, 2017 10:09 AM CST
I have recently (about three weeks ago) gotten a palm sago indoor house plant. About a week ago I started noticing some severe curling in leaves and they seem to be dying Sad I heavily watered it when I first got the plant, and about a week later emptied out the excess water that drained. I have been warned of over watering and since then haven't added any as the soil is remaining moist...I'm not sure what the problem is? Too much/too little sun? Or too much/too little water? I have never owned one of these before so any help is appreciated! The brightest picture is when I first got plant and the rest are recent. This window receives partial sunlight for a few hours a day.
Thumb of 2017-07-06/madelinekarian/19a082


Thumb of 2017-07-06/madelinekarian/e30357


***UPDATE*** help everyone, thank you so much for all your tips, my plant was saved!! I did a few different things 1) I took out a lot of the soil, lowered the level quite a bit and exposed more of the caudex. 2) I stopped over watering the plant, only watering when the soil LOOKED dry. 3)I bought the fertilizer someone had suggested, and applied it to my plant once a day. 4) I cut off the dead leaves of the plant. 5) I moved the plant outside (I live in WI so June-mid September is warm and sunny.

This brings me, however, to my current dilemma. I have to move the plant inside, as it gets cold quickly. I'm worried because my house traditionally doesn't seem to get a lot of light.
I've read that palm sago need bright, indirect sunlight. I have put it by an eastern facing window, and tied that curtain open. Do you think this will be the best place? Do you have suggestions for other places I should try? I also have an extremely bright, directly lighted, small southern facing window. I would not be opposed to buying some sort of lamp, if it will help the growth of my plant. If so, what kind?

Any and all tips are appreciated, this forum saved my plant once already :)

Thumb of 2017-09-28/madelinekarian/3d1bf0

[Last edited by madelinekarian - Sep 28, 2017 10:38 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1494490 (1)
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Jul 6, 2017 1:00 PM CST
Hello madelinekarian, I would say overwatered, needs more light to full sun, needs grittier media, it does not like sitting in moist media. You may want to put pot risers there so that when water drains out from your saucer, the container is not sitting on water. If you can, improve the media you are using. Add more perlite, or pumice to it, make it very, very gritty, so the roots can breathe at root zone and not sit in too much wet media. Too wet media will rot them fast. Looking at the caudex, the center part, it is planted way too deep, it has to be lifted up a bit, it is planted way too deep in your container.

This plant is best grown outdoors, with as much full sun and heat you can give it. If you grow it indoors, then you have to position it in a south facing area, and be very mindful of watering. It is quite drought tolerant, but if it is not optimally growing, then it will have less use for too much water. Is it possible to move your container outdoors? If you do get to move it outdoors, do it slowly, position in part sun/shade, till it acclimates once more to your outdoor conditions.

Here is how I grow mine, just to give you an idea. I also have it in a container, but mine is outdoors year round, since our weather here is conducive for it. New leaf flush emanates from the center of the plant, the lower leaves are the older ones. In time those older, lower leaves will naturally wilt and yellow, but as long as you are getting new flush at the center, then your plant is doing okay.

Thumb of 2017-07-06/tarev/f8232f

This is how gritty the media looks like. Also notice the caudex is raised up.
Thumb of 2017-07-06/tarev/24fbb4 Thumb of 2017-07-06/tarev/4d0d13

[Last edited by tarev - Jul 6, 2017 1:01 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1494652 (2)
Name: Michael
Coastal SE GA (Zone 9a)
emddvm
Jul 6, 2017 4:52 PM CST
To me that looks like frizzletop disease. You can read all about it by googling. It is supposedly caused by a deficiency of Manganese. You can buy a supplement called Palm Nutritional Spray produced by Southern Ag on Amazon. Sagos are not really a good house plant but I have kept them inside too in the winter before moving south. They need to be outside in the warm months.
Milwaukee, wisconsin
madelinekarian
Jul 7, 2017 11:31 AM CST
Thank you for the tips! My only concern is that mine does not have a rough base /caudex as yours does. Is this because it is young or possibly a different kind of Palm sago?
[Last edited by madelinekarian - Jul 10, 2017 2:23 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1495476 (4)
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Jul 7, 2017 6:20 PM CST
Yes, Too much water and too little light. It looks like the trunk of your plant is buried in the soil. Crying
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Jul 7, 2017 6:57 PM CST
Hi madelinekarian, my sago just looks rough at its caudex since it has since had older, dried out leaves removed. And they are rather sharp so be careful in handling the plant.

Just raise the caudex (stem) a bit, it needs to be raised a bit higher, above soil line.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Jul 8, 2017 9:28 AM CST
What is appropriate for growing a plant outdoors is often every different than growing the same plant indoors where the light and air circulation are greatly reduced.

The new fronds of your Cycad are dying because the roots are dying from lack of oxygen because te soil is not drying out properly. Cycads grown indoors have very small root systems that require drying out regularly. Yours is in a pot that is very large for its root system and the additional soil is retaining moisture around the roots for too long, depriving the roots of oxygen and causing them to rot.

If you chose to keep it in that pot, you should remove any loose soil from the top that is not in immediate contact with the roots. Then, you will have to allow the top 1-2 inches of soil to get very dry before adding just enough water so that reaches that leaves of dryness again in about 1-2 weeks.

As an alternative, carefully unpot the plant and remove the excess soil that is not in immediate contact with the roots and repot into the smallest pot that the roots will fit into, using a porous potting mix.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Milwaukee, wisconsin
madelinekarian
Jul 10, 2017 9:10 AM CST
Thank you for the tips! My only concern is that mine does not have a rough base /caudex as yours does. Is this because it is young or possibly a different kind of Palm sago?
[Last edited by madelinekarian - Jul 10, 2017 2:22 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1498082 (8)
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Composter Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener
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tarev
Jul 10, 2017 11:51 AM CST
The plant is a very slow growing one. In time your plant will also have that rough base once older leaves wilt away, and you have to remove them. In the meantime, try to correct some of the cultural growing needs of your plant. It has a lot of potential to improve. Good luck on your plant. Smiling
Name: Michael
Coastal SE GA (Zone 9a)
emddvm
Jul 22, 2017 5:06 PM CST
Frizzle top disease in sago palms. Very common in the south
Thumb of 2017-07-22/emddvm/13f344

Milwaukee, wisconsin
madelinekarian
Sep 28, 2017 10:39 AM CST
tarev said:Hello madelinekarian, I would say overwatered, needs more light to full sun, needs grittier media, it does not like sitting in moist media. You may want to put pot risers there so that when water drains out from your saucer, the container is not sitting on water. If you can, improve the media you are using. Add more perlite, or pumice to it, make it very, very gritty, so the roots can breathe at root zone and not sit in too much wet media. Too wet media will rot them fast. Looking at the caudex, the center part, it is planted way too deep, it has to be lifted up a bit, it is planted way too deep in your container.

This plant is best grown outdoors, with as much full sun and heat you can give it. If you grow it indoors, then you have to position it in a south facing area, and be very mindful of watering. It is quite drought tolerant, but if it is not optimally growing, then it will have less use for too much water. Is it possible to move your container outdoors? If you do get to move it outdoors, do it slowly, position in part sun/shade, till it acclimates once more to your outdoor conditions.

Here is how I grow mine, just to give you an idea. I also have it in a container, but mine is outdoors year round, since our weather here is conducive for it. New leaf flush emanates from the center of the plant, the lower leaves are the older ones. In time those older, lower leaves will naturally wilt and yellow, but as long as you are getting new flush at the center, then your plant is doing okay.

Thumb of 2017-07-06/tarev/f8232f

This is how gritty the media looks like. Also notice the caudex is raised up.
Thumb of 2017-07-06/tarev/24fbb4 Thumb of 2017-07-06/tarev/4d0d13




Please check my update! As you were so Helpful.

Milwaukee, wisconsin
madelinekarian
Sep 28, 2017 10:40 AM CST
DaisyI said:Yes, Too much water and too little light. It looks like the trunk of your plant is buried in the soil. Crying


Please check my update Smiling
Milwaukee, wisconsin
madelinekarian
Sep 28, 2017 10:40 AM CST
WillC said:What is appropriate for growing a plant outdoors is often every different than growing the same plant indoors where the light and air circulation are greatly reduced.

The new fronds of your Cycad are dying because the roots are dying from lack of oxygen because te soil is not drying out properly. Cycads grown indoors have very small root systems that require drying out regularly. Yours is in a pot that is very large for its root system and the additional soil is retaining moisture around the roots for too long, depriving the roots of oxygen and causing them to rot.

If you chose to keep it in that pot, you should remove any loose soil from the top that is not in immediate contact with the roots. Then, you will have to allow the top 1-2 inches of soil to get very dry before adding just enough water so that reaches that leaves of dryness again in about 1-2 weeks.

As an alternative, carefully unpot the plant and remove the excess soil that is not in immediate contact with the roots and repot into the smallest pot that the roots will fit into, using a porous potting mix.

Please check my update:)
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Sep 28, 2017 2:25 PM CST
The east window would be okay, but the sunnier location would be even better. Indoor light is many times less intense than outdoor light. Yours has been outside so it is adapted to strong light. Provide as much light as you can when it is indoors.

Stop fertilizing! You will burn the roots.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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