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Meangreen94z

Cycads for the desert?

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Meangreen94z

Anyone in the lower elevation desert areas of Arizona, Nevada, and California growing cycads? In near full sun? I’ve heard of Cycas Revoluta handling full sun in Palm Springs. But I’m more interested in hearing how Australian Cycads(Macrozamia Macdonnelli , Cycas Couttsiana, Cupida, Pruinosa, Plataphylla, etc.), various African Encephalartos, and Mexican Dioon’s do? Thanks.

-Daniel

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Silas_Sancona

Seems many are do- able.. but every single one I've seen are usually in shade / mostly shade, Inc regular ol' C. revolta, which burns badly thru the summer in full sun here.  

That said, Desert Botanical has a nice, albeit  small collection of various Dioons, some Encephalartos... possibly horridus in a planter, and some Zamia ( both Cardboards and the native FL. Z. pumila ).  Have Ceratozam. hildae, Zam. fischeri/ vazquezii, pumila  and a couple noid seedlings myself atm.

Overall,  @GeneAZ would likely be one of the best, local resources regarding what's possible w/ Cycads here.

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Meangreen94z

Thanks

Edited by Meangreen94z
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Merlyn2220

My understanding is that some of the blue South African Encephalartos are more "desert-friendly."  For example, the Encephalartos Horridus lives in an area that only sees something like 2" of rain per year.  They don't like the Florida humidity and 60 or more inches of rain.  The website LLifle has a lot of photographs and habitat information, here's their page for the Encephalartos species for more info:  http://www.llifle.com/Encyclopedia/PALMS_AND_CYCADS/Family/Zamiaceae/Encephalartos/

Also JungleMusic.net has a pretty good list of habitat and sun/shade/rain info on their site: http://www.junglemusic.net/Encephalartos_Species/Index.htm

Edited by Merlyn2220
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Meangreen94z

Thanks. I’ve had varying success in Houston with blue Encephalartos.Lehmannii defoliates after heavy rain, but trispinosus loves it. My Middleburgensis rotted. Horridus has done ok but Arenarius blue defoliated. All are seedlings at this point. I have larger green Encephalartos that have all done fine. I was told Australian Cycas need pretty much a desert climate and struggle even in Southern California. I’ve found that not to be true. My Cupida have done excellent and even the temperamental Cairnsiana seems happy. Here’s the growth on one of my Cupida from April and then September of this year.file.php?id=64779April 2019

file.php?id=66885September 2019

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Merlyn2220

You might also do okay there with some "blue hybrids" that might not like lots of rain.  Houston is a lot more humid than out West, and some of them just suffer in high humidity, even without a lot of rain.  In Central FL I've done okay with:

Cycas Clivicola, Circinalis, Elephantipes, Litoralis, Panz x Deb, Pectinata, Revoluta, Rev x Deb, Thai Silver

Dioon Edule (several types), Mejiae, Spinulosum

Encephalartos Aemulans x Trispinosus, Altensteinii, Altensteinii x Lehmannii, Ferox, Gratus x Trispinosus, Gratus x Whitelockii, Hildebrandtii, Ituriensis, Laurentianus, Natalensis x Trispinosus, Natalensis, Sclavoi x Ituriensis, Tegulaneus, Trispinosus, Villosus, Whitelockii

Lepidozamia Peroffskyana

Macrozamia Communis,

Zamia Furfuracea

Most of these are in full sun, especially the Trispinosus and hybrids.  Those are also in almost pure sand with no irrigation, and they seem to be happy and flushing regularly 2x per year.  I haven't had them in the ground long enough to really know for sure, but I think they'll be fine here.  The more tropical ones (Ituriensis/Whitelockii/Laurentianus and others) are in "normal" Central FL sandy soil without amendments, and I'm experimenting with supplemental drippers on them.  Most of these I bought from PT members ChuckG, IceBlue Cycads, NATEtures Domain, or CycadJungle.

If you are thinking of moving to Arizona or similar, I bet a lot of the tropical types would really struggle without some shade and supplemental water.  I'd guess you'd cross off half the cycad list immediately, just like in FL I can cross off E. Horridus, Princeps and a few others.

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Meangreen94z

Yeah Houston is basically Florida North of Orlando.  9A -9B(coast), hot humid summers with 50+ inches of annual rain. Thick poorly draining clay soil though. The only cycads I’ve lost were the Middleburgensis(2-3 inch caudex), and a tansachana that I think was already dead when it was shipped to me. Dioon have all done great. Encephalartos have done well so far except those mentioned. I have several blue. 

Australian cycads: Macrozamia Mooreii and Communis are great. I have a Lepidozamia Hopei but will probably replace that with a Perryoffskyana. It’s done ok so far, but will keep it out of the rain/cold this winter. My Macrozamia Macdonnellii I try to put under cover during heavy rain. If I stay in Houston I will probably sell. Cycas Cupida, Cairnsiana, Couttsiana, Megacarpa, Plataphylla, Angulata,, and Ophiolitica seems unfazed so far. 

Edited by Meangreen94z

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TexasColdHardyPalms

There were some extremely large blue Aussy cycas growing extremely well in Palm Springs alongside blue encephalartos. The plants were dug and sold several years ago including Cairnsiana, Pruinosa and Angulata (6' of trunk). 

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Meangreen94z

Thanks. Any photos of your Pruinosa? It seems that the Australian blue Cycas are closely aligned with each other in appearance, and can vary within their own species. But I’d like to have atleast 1 of each to compare.

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TexasColdHardyPalms

I only possess smaller Pruinosa currently and I don't remember seeing one at MBC either so I wouldn't have a good photo of one either.

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Meangreen94z

Anyone else? I’ve seen a photo of a very healthy looking Cycas Angulata, sitting exposed in a Phoenix yard. I think he’s a member on here.

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pfancy

Phoenix fronds. Rod Anderson is the cycad guru here in Phoenix. 

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RichAZ

The only one I would add is Cycas Panzhihuaensis.   I’ve had one here in Arizona in full half day sun for a few years and it’s done very well.  No issues with burning or winter cold and it produces nice, wide leaves at a pretty good pace.  

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Rod

the Australian blue cycads do extremely well here in Az.

Cycas cairnsiana grouping in full sun.

Dioons in full sun.

rod

phoenix, az

 

IMG_0595-1.JPG

IMG_2174.JPG

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RichAZ

Those look great Rod!

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Meangreen94z

Beautiful, exactly what I was looking for. Thank you.

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CodyORB
On 4/1/2020 at 5:34 PM, Rod said:

the Australian blue cycads do extremely well here in Az.

Cycas cairnsiana grouping in full sun.

Dioons in full sun.

rod

phoenix, az

 

IMG_0595-1.JPG

IMG_2174.JPG

Jaw-dropping! How much irrigation are you giving the Cairnsianas?

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Rod

I hand water all my plants.  The Dioons in the bottom of the thread have cement 'rounds' that I fill each week.  Probably 5 gallons once a week.

rod

 

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msporty

I’m blown away by those Cycas!!! At what size can they deal with full AZ sun? Very inspiring to see that grouping. Thanks so much for sharing!

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