Is it time to give up on my cycad?

paul_(z5 MI)August 7, 2010

Picked up a Cycas revoluta a couple years back. It overwintered in my apt the first time without too much problem but the following summer I did not get any new growth though I did put it outside. Then early last winter it lost its leaves (they yellowed and sagged down). I cut off the dead leaves and tried to keep the cycad barely moist. This summer I put it back outside on my balconey hoping it would come back but still nothing. The trunk is still hard. I did unpot the plant last week to look at the roots. Didn't see any root hairs (but then I don't know if I should have anyway). The roots did not appear withered, or squishy. Instead they were firm and looked 'crisp' like a carrot root.

Is it time to simply 'chuck' it? How long should I wait if not?

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Were the roots brown or white? White roots are healthy. If still white, it might still be alive. And I water my cycads daily when they're outside in the summer. I have 7, and 6 have flushed this year. Only hold back water in cold weather and when they're indoors.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 11:03PM
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NoVaPlantGuy_Z7b_8a(Alexandria, VA 7B/8A)

If the trunk is still firm, and the roots are still firm, then it is most likely still alive. I have heard stories of (and seen) where sago palms will sometimes take up to 1-2 years to recover from defoliation and put up a new flush of growth. They are rather shockingly resiliant. If the roots are dark brown and mushy, or anything about it is mushy, then it is likely rotting, and thus likely dead or on its way to being dead.

The watering advice above is good as well. Colder temps, and / or wintering in doors you should give them much less water. In summer when mine are outdoors I give them plenty of water. Fast draining is still important in summer, and I do NOT let them sit in standing water, but I do water them plenty in summer.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 4:36PM
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