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Coasta

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?

Edited by Coasta

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Gas man

I've heard greens can go from seedling to coning  age in around 10 years.  Blues are longer.  Do you have the time to wait ? Do you have the money to buy bigger ?  I think cost is a factor for most when deciding  what size caudix they purchase.    Do you enjoy watching  a plant grow or want that instant gratification?   You asked a lot of questions that are really personal questions. 

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Coasta

@Gas man Hey! Thanks so much for responding. That's not bad for greens. Ten years! 

Now that you have me thinking about it, yeah they are personal preferences. 

I dont mind seeing something grow, just was really trying to figure out how long a seedling takes to develope a small caudex to determine if the time saved, is worth paying a little more. 

 

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Gas man

I think thats the key, how much more.   I've boughten 7 inch encephalartos  horridus for 150 dollars.   I've also paid a ton for a latifrons  seedling.   I buy my cycads when it just happens to be right place right time.  Ive paid full price for just a few becasue I had to have them.  

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Coasta

Very cool. I remember reading some of your old post and how really got into cycad collecting!

Honestly that's me right now lol.

I imagine it will be at least another 150 more for a small caudex, at least the one I am interested in. 

I really am loving how the Encephalartos longifolius blue blunt tip looks and I think thats what I want next! 

Thats a really good deal for a horridus,  at least from what I have seen. I understand a horridus with a 7 inch caudex would be at least a few more hundred dollars. 

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Gas man

I'm up around  70. I bought my first cycad in May lol.    Im always  on the look. I've dug a bunch out of peoples yards.   I drive around for work so when I see something I ask.  I've also gotten lucky.   I met a guy who sold me 40 blues with 1 inch caudix for 10 bucks each.  Another sold me a bunch of big ones for cheap, I just had to dig them.   Get involved in your local plant community, you will be surprised whats out there . 

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Coasta

@Gas man wow!! 70 cycads!!! Thats a lot. Good for you on getting those deals. 

Have you found it hard to protect potted cycads during the summer from the roots getting fried?

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Gas man

Not yet, but  i also move them around when there's a heat wave. I use bigger plants to shade some .  I use shade cloth and I have pots inside of pots.  

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Merlyn2220

I don't have a lot of experience with growing small cycads, especially not from seed.  But I've bought quite a few small seedlings, most of them early in 2019.  Because they were bare-rooted it took them 4-6 months to start a small flush.  These are all roughly 0.75" to 1" caudex seedlings, and I did have a couple of deaths in the bunch.  I think I lost 2 out of ~10 small Cycas seedlings, a couple were poorly packed and might have gotten squished in shipment. 

Around here the cycad scale is so bad that people are pretty much throwing away 2-5' tall trunking Revoluta for free.  So I've gotten several big ones for free, either by digging them myself or picking them up when my neighbors toss them at the curb.  Unfortunately no one is giving away Encephalartos!  :D

Regarding seedling growth, I've had good luck with buying small plants from people like ChuckG, TexasColdHardyPalms, NateturesDomain, IceBlueCycads, and James760 all here on PalmTalk.  I'd generally prefer to buy a 2" or bigger caudex, because they grow quicker when larger and probably have less chance of dying when bare-rooted and shipped.  Tiny ones have a much greater chance of dying.  But spending $100+ on each plant isn't feasible either.  My average price for the ~170 cycads I own is around $25.  To me the sweet spot in price is around that $35 shipped range.  Big enough to survive and start growing quickly, but not so large that it's got a $150 price tag.

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Coasta

@Gas man the love we have for our cycads! 

It's alot of work, but very rewarding. 

@Merlyn2220 wow! People throwing out cycas revolutas. I had someone tell me that there isn't a point to having a sago palm because it explodes when it gets older, then you have to throw it out. What she was referring to is coning lol. She thought that this meant they exploded and now it's a dead cycad..  She was trying to convince her friend to throw hers out. Glad I convinced otherwise.

 

I actually have a seedling coming my way bare root. I am super excited about it! Fingers crossed it survives. :)

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Merlyn2220
21 hours ago, Coasta said:

People throwing out cycas revolutas. I had someone tell me that there isn't a point to having a sago palm because it explodes when it gets older, then you have to throw it out. What she was referring to is coning lol. She thought that this meant they exploded and now it's a dead cycad.

HAH!  Yeah if you grow a sago long enough it explodes!  And if you manage to grow a multi-headed one it might eventually go thermonuclear and take out the entire neighborhood!!!  :D  I guess that is kinda true with some plants, like cannas, bananas and heliconias.  Each stalk dies after it flowers, but it pups at the same time.

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Tracy

With cycads, time costs money.  If you want big, you pay more for someone else's investment in time.  Different genus obviously have different growth speeds, but even within a specific genus there is quite a bit of variability.  Pacing on a couple of green cycads is shown below.  Photos 1 & 4 below show an Encephalartos natalensis x horridus (8/2009 and 10/2020), from a 3" caudex to whatever the dimension is today with only a few inches clearance between the wall and lawn boarder now.  Photos 1 & 3 are Encephalartos lebomboensis same dates (Dioon palma sol also in both photos).  The E lebomboensis was probably about 2" caudex in the first photo, and second photo after I cleaned it up a little yesterday with seeds from last coning still around it's base.

20090815-IMG_4572.jpg

20090815-IMG_4574.jpg

20201017-BH3I1359.jpg

20201017-BH3I1364.jpg

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Tracy

First three photos from December 2015: Encephalartos inopinus about 1 1/2" caudex in citrus pot, seedling of Encephalartos blue arenarius x latifron after potting up from a band size, and about a 6" caudex on the Encephalartos horridus x woodii which I had transplanted from my other garden. Next three photos in order are those same 3 cycads today.  The inopinus has multiple caudex popping from below the base of the main caudex.  The blue arenarius x latifrons has about a 4" caudex with most of it subterranean as it pulls itself down into the soil, and the horridus x woodii is now coning size with a pup larger than the entire plant was in December 2015.

Hopefully this will give you something to consider as you purchase Encephalartos regarding growth rates.

20151203-104A0063-2.jpg

20151203-104A0065-2.jpg

20151203-104A0071-1.jpg

20200812-BH3I0831.jpg

20201016-BH3I1341.jpg

20200927-BH3I1227.jpg

20201016-BH3I1358.jpg

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Tracy
27 minutes ago, Tracy said:

Photos 1 & 4 below show an Encephalartos natalensis x horridus (8/2009 and 10/2020), from a 3" caudex to whatever the dimension is today with only a few inches clearance between the wall and lawn boarder now.  Photos 1 & 3 are Encephalartos lebomboensis same dates (Dioon palma sol also in both photos).  The E lebomboensis was probably about 2" caudex in the first photo, and second photo after I cleaned it up a little yesterday with seeds from last coning still around it's base.

20090815-IMG_4572.jpg

 

Sorry, I had to correct an error.  This is an Encephalartos natalensis x arenarius not (nicht) nat x horridus.  I do have E nat x horridus, but neither of these photos are it.

20201017-BH3I1364.jpg

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Coasta

@Merlyn2220 yeah, I thought it was hilarious!

 

@Tracy wow! Thanks for sharing, this gives me a good idea. 

 

I plan to purchase a Encephalartos longifolius blue later this year. I think I will spring for one that has at least a 2 inch caudex!

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Merlyn2220
6 hours ago, Tracy said:

Sorry, I had to correct an error.  This is an Encephalartos natalensis x arenarius not (nicht) nat x horridus.  I do have E nat x horridus, but neither of these photos are it.

Thanks for the great aging pictures!  I recently planted a Natalensis x Arenarius that's about the size of your 2009 photo.  I'm glad I gave it some space between it and the walkway, but I might not have given it quite enough...hmmm.... :D

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tropicalb

as a side note...there is such a thing as "hybrid vigor" as well...

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tropicalb

typically yes.

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Tracy
On 10/19/2020 at 8:13 AM, Coasta said:

@tropicalb does that mean hybrids grow faster?

Yes, but there is also quite a bit of variation in some species within a genus as well as wtih individual plants.  I have an Encephalartos longifolius x horridus which is about 2" with a small pup on it that is the same age as an Encephartos trispinosis which has coned for 2 years now.  In that case it was reverse with the hybrid being slower but I'll attribute it to the plant and not the specific hybrid.  One of the faster "species" Encephalartos for me has been E arenarius as well as some of the large green species like E laurentianus.  The lebomboensis posted above outpaced many of the other species (non-hybrids) still in that garden including E transvenosis, natalensis, altenstenii and munchii and I have heard others say it is a pretty fast growing species within the genus.  On the issue of variation from plant to plant, I have 3 longifolius with one that I would rate fast, one medium and one slow.  The slow and fast one are getting the same light exposure, in the same soil and same garden, so there are no guarantees just because you acquire a species known to be fast.

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Tracy
On 10/19/2020 at 8:11 AM, tropicalb said:

as a side note...there is such a thing as "hybrid vigor" as well...

Here are some species examples starting with Encephalartos dyerianus 11/2011 as a single leaf seedling in a band and in the ground today 10/2020.  Encephalartos princeps 4/2013 after planting up into a 15 gallon with a substantially subterranean 3" caudex and then in the ground today 10/2020.  Final three are an Encephalartos nubimontanus, first photo after planting a 1 1/2" caudex 4/2016 and last two photos of it today 10/2020 (multiple pups around the main caudex visible in the closer up photo along with two actively flushing).  No potential for hybrid vigor in any of these plants.

20111106-IMG_8901-1.jpg

20201021-BH3I1390.jpg

20130401-IMG_3779-Encephalartos princeps.jpg

20201021-BH3I1397.jpg

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20201021-BH3I1395.jpg

20201021-BH3I1396.jpg

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NOT A TA

I grow Zamia furfuracea from seed. People typically think the seedlings grow faster than they do. Once they get to about 5 years old they grow much faster. It's quicker to get bigger plants by separation of more mature plants than growing from seed. Plant in bottom pic about 10 years old.

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20200131_145449_zpso2trxqtk.jpg

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Tracy
54 minutes ago, NOT A TA said:

It's quicker to get bigger plants by separation of more mature plants than growing from seed. Plant in bottom pic about 10 years old.

Taking offsets definitely provides a head start..... but (isn't there always a qualifier), they can take a while to reestablish.  I purchased a 4" Encephalartos dyerianus female pup a few years ago which took a while to flush and even after flushing the first time has skipped a year in between.  Very different than the one I got as a seedling which has always been a consistent grower from Spring through Autumn.  I've also noticed that my Zamia's are more prone to split the caudex and have multiple growth points as opposed to pushing out pups from the base which are easier to remove.  Cycas and Encephalartos genus seem easier to remove pups in general than on any of the Zamias that I'm growing.

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NOT A TA
2 hours ago, Tracy said:

Taking offsets definitely provides a head start..... but (isn't there always a qualifier), they can take a while to reestablish.  I purchased a 4" Encephalartos dyerianus female pup a few years ago which took a while to flush and even after flushing the first time has skipped a year in between.  Very different than the one I got as a seedling which has always been a consistent grower from Spring through Autumn.  I've also noticed that my Zamia's are more prone to split the caudex and have multiple growth points as opposed to pushing out pups from the base which are easier to remove.  Cycas and Encephalartos genus seem easier to remove pups in general than on any of the Zamias that I'm growing.

When I separate offsets from some Dioon edule spinulosum I have  I get the same pause and some skip a year or longer before flushing again.

The Zamia put up with my very crude separation tactic of just cutting between caudexes with an old pruning saw (because cutting in soil) after clipping all of the leaves off without any digging and then popping them out with a shovel. Pot them up and they'll flush at their normal time a couple weeks later.

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tropicalb

one example of "hyibrid vigor"...this trans X woodii was a one inch caudex in a band pot...i threw it into this 7 gallon pot (grown outside to boot) and less than three years later it's 5 inches and throwing very mature leaf flushes:

hybrid_vigor.jpg

Edited by tropicalb
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Coasta

Thank you all for the great examples. This helps me a ton! 

I just got my hands on a encephalartos dolomiticus and look forward to this very slow journey lol. 20201022_094621.thumb.jpg.137cf0ecb933543cd8d9634c9a9ae2d9.jpg

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TexasColdHardyPalms

Everything grows slow from seed; palms included. Take it from someone that has grown over 2million plants from seed; The best bang for the buck for anyone is a 3 year old plant; agave, stool, cycad, palm or deciduous tree.  I rarely sell this size because at that point it makes more sense to pot it up, double the size and price with one more year of growth. 

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Coasta

@TexasColdHardyPalms

That makes total sense. And typically how big is the caudex of a cycad at that age?

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TexasColdHardyPalms
4 minutes ago, Coasta said:

@TexasColdHardyPalms

That makes total sense. And typically how big is the caudex of a cycad at that age?

Depends on species.  Asian cycas can be 2.5-3" parazamia 3/4". Lehmanii' 1.5" lehmanii x altensteinii hybrid - 2.5" lepidozamia 2". 

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