I know its early but I am prepping for next summer! I am in Mesa arizona, so it gets hot here. Recently I have purchased some encephalartos cycads and a Dioon. I have all of them in pots and have zero shade in my yard. I am going to be building a 16×16 shade area next summer and I am wondering for encephalartos what would be your opinion on the best percentage? So far I have seen 50 percent, but wondering if anyone has had any luck with a lower percent.
As a side note, I am looking at aluminet shade cloth which acts as a mirror and reflects heat away from the shade structure.
Thanks for your time!
Hello all! Just wanted to get opinios on how fast it takes a cycad in the seedling stage to develop a caudex?
I know there are many types of cycads that grow and different rates.
My personal favorite cyads right now are encephalartos.
What is the typical rate from seedling to developing a small caudex for encephalartos?
Is it better to pay for something that has a caudex developed or stick with seedlings and watch them grow?
Also what is the typical amount of time for germination?
I have a number of small to very large potted (mostly) cycads. Most of them are from genus Zamia, which grows very well in my humid, subtropical climate, but I also have some Dioon and Encephalartos. The Zamia are species but also hybrids of loddigesii, pumila and variegata. Earlier this year I gathered them together and set them on blocks on our garden lot. There they are coning and producing seeds and seedlings. Last winter I finally planted my largest Encephalartos horridus. And my Dioon edule has grown huge and is putting out pups. Today I took the following photos.
Cycad Row, Cape Coral, FL, 2020
v. 'Queretaro Blue' has grown huge and is putting out pups. Today I
Fresh on the heels of my hugely popular and gripping tale of an unknown Encephalartos, I bring you the sequel! Naaaaaame that plant! Sometimes I have to amuse myself, ya know!
This one seems to be a medium-sized Encephalartos and it's showing a bit of bluish coloring now that it's out in more sun. You can't really see that in the photos, but compared to a Hildebrandtii nearby it's definitely in the "slightly blue" category. Part of this might be water spots from my well water, which should go away now that it's not in my overhead spray "tropical bed." The leaves are slightly cupped and nearly spineless, with just small remnant spines along the bottom edge and occasionally 1 small spine on the top edge near the base. Leaf tips are consistently swept forwards. Leaves are noticeably keeled but it's hard to say if they would overlap or not. The existing 3 fronds flushed in significant shade, but I planted it in almost 100% sun after a couple of week's acclimation. Leaves have zero sunburn even with the short acclimation period. The caudex is about 4 inches and the fronds are about 3.5-4 feet long. Petioles are furry with leaves reducing to spines.
My initial thought was Munchii, because the leaves can be variable in color and amount of spines. Being in rainy Floriduh and in shade it wouldn't be too blue, and I didn't even notice the coloring until it had been out in full sun for a couple of weeks. Here's the whole plant, with a sunburned green spiny Munchii behind it. ChuckG also had several other in the Manikensis group and other SW Mozambique cycads, so it's possible that it is a "lost label" kind from somewhere in that area.
Here's the caudex and petioles, you can see they have small spines almost to the caudex. The shortest leaves switch to a 3-spine tip like Laurentianus/Whitelockii instead of being nearly spineless.
And the leaf detail, with noticeable keeling. If these fronds were grown in full sun they'd be shorter and *might* have some overlap.
I was over browsing through ChuckG's collection of cycads and palms, and we ran across two unusual large Encephalartos. This is one of the two, it was tagged with "Ituriensis" but both of us are pretty sure that's not accurate. The leaf shape is wrong and the number of prickles are wrong. However it is a big one, with 9-10' shade grown fronds with a 5-6" caudex. So it's likely to be one of the "big green Encephalartos" or possibly a hybrid. Any suggestions on an ID or possible parents?
Leaves have around 20-22 spines pretty much evenly spaced on the top and bottom of each leaf. This is way more than Whitelockii (6-12) or Ituriensis (12-16) but similar to Laurentianus (12-20). Tip is consistently forked with 3 spines near the end. Leaves are more elliptical or Oblong/Ovate than they are lanceolate The only description I can find of an Encephalartos with that large number of spines on the leaves is Laurentianus. Superficially it looks a bit like one, but the others I have (also from Chuck) have more parallel leaves that are definitely not ovalized. Here's a few photos:
Front and back of the mature leaves, grown in a lot of shade. The reddish stuff on the top of the leaves is iron/manganese deposits from hard well water.
Leaf detail on the new flush, these are about 2.5 feet tall today:
Larger view of the new flush, caudex and 3 older fronds. It's tied to a steel post I drove into the ground to support the Dendrocalamus Hamiltonii on the right of the photo: