Cycas: care and cultivation –

What plant is the Cycas

La Cycas it is a very kind of plant scenographic. Belonging to the family of Cicadaceelooks very much like a palm tree.

In fact, it consists of a squat central trunk, at the top of which a thick tuft full of pinnate leaves, with many leaves that can be more or less thin and more or less consistent. The color is dark green.

Native to Asia, there are varieties of cycads that also come from India, Polynesia, Africa and Australia. Tolerant of heat very well, this plant has also spread to central-southern Europe.

Varieties of cycas

Different varieties belong to the genus cycas.

The most cultivated species in Italy is the rolled over. Coming from China, Indonesia and Japan, it has long green fronds that bend downwards.

If grown in the garden it reaches a maximum of 3 meters in height; at home, on the other hand, it can grow up to a maximum of 1.5 meters.

Cycas revoluta - Foto PixabayCycas revoluta – Foto Pixabay

The best known cultivar is the golden cycadswhich has yellow leaf edges.

Other noteworthy varieties are:

  • cycas campestris: widespread in the south-eastern areas of Papua New Guinea, it grows abundantly but with low density. Its ideal habitat is wooded savannah and grassy countryside;
  • cycas lindstromii: widespread in southern Vietnam, grows well in deep and sandy soils;
  • cycas platyphylla: originally from Queensland (Australia), it has particular bluish leaves;
  • cycas papuana: variety widespread in the savannah forests of Papua New Guinea;
  • cycas simplicipinna: grows in the understory of the humid rainforests of Southeast Asia.

How to tell if it’s a boy or a girl

The cycad is one dioecious plant. This means that from its flowers, which form in the center of the tuft of leaves, the sex can be discerned.

The specimens males they present a long and scaly flowersimilar to a pine cone.
The female specimenshowever, are characterized by a flower shorter and covered by bracts.

How to understand the age of a cycad?

The cycad is of flowering age if it is at least tall 2 meters and if its trunk has a diameter of minimum 30 cm.

How to best grow a Cycas

The cycad can be grown both in the garden, in the ground, and in pots.

It is a plant that has few cultural needs. It adapts to all kinds of terrain and to various climatic situations. The important thing, however, is to arrange it in one very sunny position and avoid waterlogging.

The cycad loves sunny locations - Photo UnsplashThe cycad loves sunny locations – Photo Unsplash

For specimens grown in pots, it is advisable to use del fertile and draining soilbest if mixed with sand or perlite.

It resists well to any temperature: from -10°C up to 40°C.

Glass for Cycas

For specimens grown in pots, a container not too large as the roots, growing too much, would penalize the development of the crown, which is the most characterizing part of this plant from an aesthetic point of view.

Cycads in a vaseCycads in a vase

As soil it is advisable to use fertile and well-draining soil.
Very useful to arrange on the base of the vase some pieces of crock which help drain any excess water.

Everything is fine 3-4 years you must proceed with the repotting. In general, it’s a good idea to do this in primavera or during the summer.

Obviously, you need to use a slightly larger pot than the previous one.

How often do you water the cycad

In general, the cycad should be watered 2 times per weekusing about 1 liter of water for each plant.

Every 2 days is fine also spray the leaves and, once a week, it is recommended to add 5 drops of hormonal stimulant to the vaporized water, useful for keeping the leaves healthy and shiny, as well as favoring the birth of new leaves.

water the cycadWater the cycad

Given this, during very hot and drought periods, evaluate whether it is appropriate to do more frequent irrigation. In any case, the cycads should only be irrigated when the soil is completely dry, as they cannot stand water stagnation.

How long does it take to grow a Cycas

Cycas is a plant that grows very slowly. It has very deep roots and, on average, grows 1 to 3 cm per year, both in height and in diameter, depending on the climate.

Growing a Cycas in the garden

Cycads grow well in any soil and love them zone ben illuminate.

Intense light is a very important factor as, in conditions of zero or poor light, the plant tends to stretch excessively.

Cycad leaves, detail - Unsplash photoCycad leaves, detail – Unsplash photo

During the spring, it is recommended to give some organic fertilizer slow release.

If dry leaves are noticed, these must be eliminated, trying to remove them as close as possible to the trunk. Pruning is useful to stimulate the birth of new leaves.

It is also necessary to remove the yellowed and damaged leaves.

The flower of the Cycas must be cut

The cycad plant begins to make flowers when it has 15 years of age.

Usually, flowering occurs in late spring. But it doesn’t happen every year, but once every 2-3 years.

The flowers, which appear only in the specimens grown in the garden, and not at home, are greenish tending to brown, not particularly beautiful or showy.

Cycas flower - Pixabay photoCycas flower – Pixabay photo

When the flower reaches its apex, it can be cut at the base with sharp and disinfected shears, so as to allow the plant to give life to new leaves.

Because the Cycas has yellow leaves

If the tips of the leaves of this plant begin to turn yellow, the soil is most likely suffering from one magnesium deficiency.

It is therefore necessary to make up for this deficiency with an adequate fertilizer, otherwise, the yellowing continues until it reaches the central part of the leaves, thus involving the entire foliage.

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