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Growing cycads in pots

Posted by treeguy_ny z6a WNY (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 21, 13 at 14:08

Hi all,
I am looking to increase my collection of potted cycads. I currently have Zamia floridana/integrifolia, Cycas revoluta, Cycas debaoensis, and Encephalartos lehmanii. I grow them outdoors during the summer and stick them in south facing windows indoors for the winter. I am thinking about adding one or more of the following species:
Ceratozamia latifolia
Cycas armstrongii
Cycas cairnsiana
Cycas canalis
Cycas petraea
Cycas sp. Wilailak
Has anyone grown any of these species in pot culture? I've heard from some forums that C. petraea and C. sp. Wilailak are the same plant, is that true? Any info, tips, or advice welcome!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Growing cycads in pots

I don't have any in pots, apart from a Zamia skinneri. But I have a lot of Cycas armstrongii. Most Cycas need strong sun and good drainage. I checked on C. petraea, it comes from the same area as C. sp. Wilailak and I suspect it's the current name. C. sp. Wilailak is probably the name before it was described and formally named. If you can find this, it's the reference for C. petraea, where it was published: Brittonia 54(4):298-304. 2002. If you're in New York, I think that's where that journal is published.


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RE: Growing cycads in pots

Thanks tropicbreezent, I'll have to look up that reference!


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RE: Growing cycads in pots

You wouldn't happen to have any seed or seedlings of C. armstrongii that could be legally shipped to the USA? ; )


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RE: Growing cycads in pots

Thanks tropicbreezent, I'll have to look up that reference!


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RE: Growing cycads in pots

The amount of red tape involved and the hoops and hurdles you have to jump through and over make it near to impossible to ship anything cycad internationally. There is a web site where they sell cycad (and many other seeds) so they'd have the paperwork all set up as part of their business. They're advertising C armstrongii now, along with a number of others you might also be interested in. Scoll down their list, it's quite long.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cycad seed


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RE: Growing cycads in pots

Great recommendation on rarepalmseeds, looks like the C. armstrongii are pretty affordable. They have C. cairnsiana too!


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RE: Growing cycads in pots

I have lots of cycads in pots. Mostly Zamias and Encephs, but several Cycas species as well. I've had pretty good success. It seems the trick is to create a really, really light mix and then make it lighter. Lots of pearlite or vermiculite or really coarse sand/granite. Add a nice time-release (osmocote) fertilizer.

Most cycads like a nice tall pot as well. These can be hard to track down, especially if you want something ornamental.

Hope that helps


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RE: Growing cycads in pots

Thanks,
That does help with picking the proper growing medium.


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RE: Growing cycads in pots

I grow mostly C. revoluta. You might want to add a Dioon to the collection.
They can be very cold hardy, and mine has shown nice growth. Also like the blue color. I think my species is edule (fairly common). Mine are outside in full sun from some time in March into October.


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RE: Growing cycads in pots

Dioon edule and D.spinulossum do well indoors. As does Encephalartos ferox . Cycas rumphii does as good as any indoors and can be a fast grower.
Then theres Cycas moorii from Australia..it can survive anything.
The blue Cycads are tricky Need lots of sun to be blue for one. Although,being from hot dry climates might allow them to survive indoor winter air. So..two takes,One is that the rainforest species can take the constant same temps and dim of indoors,and the hot dry lovers who need sun. And cost much more!


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RE: Growing cycads in pots

Not Cycas moorei, it's Macrozamia moorei.


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RE: Growing cycads in pots

And then there's the Ceratozamia's like C.mexicana. They can either be kept dwarf forever..or planted out in your conservatory and fill the size of a bedroom with fronds.


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RE: Growing cycads in pots

Thanks all for the suggestions! I have C. cairnsiana and C. armstrongii seed on its way from RPS. I also purchased an E. natalensis x horridus. A bit of an impulse buy - I loved the look of the slightly blue-green leaves with partial points and twists from the horridus parent. I know this plant will probably outgrow my indoor area in a few years, but it should look really nice until then!

Stanofh, you mention dwarfing the Ceratozamias. I assume the same goes for the other cycads. How readily would they form above ground trunk when dwarfed/kept in smaller pots like this? I need a greenhouse . . . . !


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RE: Growing cycads in pots

A number of Cycas species develop the blue tones as well. C maconochiei


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RE: Growing cycads in pots

Cycas conferta


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RE: Growing cycads in pots

And silver looks quite good as well. Cycas calcicola.


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RE: Growing cycads in pots

Nice pictures! I like the silver flush on the calcicola but read that the leaves harden off to a dull green. Is that true or do they hold some of that silver coloration long term?


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RE: Growing cycads in pots

I grow all of my many cycads in various sized pots. Most will do great. I'd suggest adding Ceratozamia Hildaes to your list. They grow upright like bamboo so they don't take up a lot of space in the house. They prefer shade anyway. They will also tolerate temps in the low teens for short periods of time. One trick on growing blue cycas in pots is that they do much better without peat in the mix. I did the best in just sugar sand and time release fertilizer.


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RE: Growing cycads in pots

plantsman56, thanks for the input. Cz. hildae is a nice plant, but I'm looking for cycads that produce significant amount of above ground trunk. I also have bamboo growing outdoors on the property, so no need to add the upright "bamboo look" to my collection.

Good info on the potting medium for the blue Cycas sp. No peat in the mix makes sense - holds too much moisture and I've read these guys prefer a more alkaline potting medium anyway. That does surprises me that they do well on such fine grain sand. I would expect the fine grain sand to hold more moisture than a more coarse mix. When using time release fertilizer, do you worry about micro-nutrient defficiency? or are you using one with a good balance of micronutrients?


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RE: Growing cycads in pots

Cycas circinalis and its near twin the huge C. rumphii will grow trunks in posts. I've seen them in 6" pots with trunks like Bonsai cycads. And as healthy as can be. Instead of 4-6' leaves you have 6-8" leaves.
Dioon spinulosum will also grow a trunk in a pot. The larger the pot will get you a larger plant. I've seen them in manageable 12" pots with 2-3' of trunk. Like small palms or tree ferns.


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RE: Growing cycads in pots

Precisely what I'm looking for. Good to know it can be done successfully!


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RE: Growing cycads in pots

I'm not suggesting just using sand. I was sort of amazed it worked so well. This sand is special though. Sugar sand is a local name for a sand that stays loose and doesn't hold much water. It doesn't cling to itself. A huge 4 wheel drive truck gets stuck in this stuff. In many cases, with these unusual species that just don't react the way most cycads do, I use the time release fertilizer. It is the 360 day formula of the 18-6-8 Nutricote that also has a decent amount of minors.


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RE: Growing cycads in pots

I grow some E. dolomiticus, E. horridus, D. edule, E. cupidus, and a few more African cycads in tree pots. You can buy tree pots online and they work great for seedlings and small cycads. I prefer to grow cycads in the ground because they grow much faster than in pots. I am growing some E. horridus from seeds that were produced from my own plants. I finally was able to fertilize the female cone using the wet method. I use a cycad mix that is made up of several components and it seems to work. I live in Southern California near the ocean and this mix works for all of my cycads. I know that you might need different cycad mix if you grow them indoors or in humid areas. I believe that growing South African cycads in Southern California is ideal because the weather is very similar except for the change in seasons. I also believe that cycads respond to heat and that is why you can grow them in the United States.


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RE: Growing cycads in pots

Hi Kuni,
Thanks for your input on growing cycads in pots. I am also using tree pots for the seedlings and a very gritty free draining mix for all of them.
I wish I could plant them in the ground! My dream is to have a large greenhouse someday so I can plant all my cycads and other tropical/frost tender plants in the ground inside the greenhouse.
At this point, I'm growing quite a few cycads in pots. My list has blossomed from a handful to nearly 20 species! Let's just say I caught the cycad collecting bug.


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