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Rod

cycas: size matters

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Rod

I want to sell an Aussie cycas.  It has a 6" diameter and has 7" of trunk.  I have been selling them for $100 and inch in diameter, but don't know if I should add to it how tall it is also?

Suggestions are requested.

Rod

Phoenix, az

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Tom in Tucson

What species are they? It should make a difference as to their worth in addition to the size.

Hi 91˚, Lo 56˚

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Rod

several blue Australian species.

Cycas couttsiana

Cycas platyphylla - blue

Cycas Angulata

rod

 

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GeneAZ

The caudex is the plant.  I assume the size you're giving is for the caudex.  So that is the measurement you should state, as you have:  6 by 7 inches. 

You could state the length of rachis, is you wanted, as nice additional information. 

A big consideration for Australian Cycas is whether it is established in a container yet, or will be dug.  There's much more risk if it has to be dug and re-established on the buyer's end.  If you as seller dug and established in a container for a year or so, you could ask the higher price since much of the risk is reduced then.

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Rod

They've been in the ground for several years and I've decided to sell them when they are ready - usually a year.

Doesn't it seem weird that if a plant has a foot of trunk, that the price is still based on the diameter?  You would think that there would be a formula for taking into consideration that there is some height involved.  diameter plus so much for each inch of height?  The caudex is not going to change that much - it's putting on height.

I have clients that will drive from California just to buy these plants.  If I had grown then in California, they would be worth so much more.  I just wish more Arizonans would get them.  They are spectacular plants for here.  The blue color is fantastic-  even in our full summer sun!!

I guess I'm not going to retire selling them! Ha!  Too many want small plants - they don't take into consideration that you're buying time with larger plants.

rod

 

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GeneAZ
3 hours ago, Rod said:

Doesn't it seem weird that if a plant has a foot of trunk, that the price is still based on the diameter?  You would think that there would be a formula for taking into consideration that there is some height involved.  diameter plus so much for each inch of height?  The caudex is not going to change that much - it's putting on height.

Well, it does make a big difference in price if there is trunking height, Rod!  Diameter, or width, is not a limiting factor at all.  Quite the contrary, trunking cycads are proportionately more expensive.

Cycas from Australia usually have narrow trunks compared to Enceph and Dioon.  So 6 inches wide and 10 inches tall for cairnsiana would be enormous and should go for quite a premium!  

For example, I have a Dioon merolae with four feet of trunk, but it is 9 inches wide.  I'm not selling it for 900 bucks which I bought it for 25 years ago.  It was 9 inches wide when I purchased it but is now so much more important and botanic garden quality.  But there is a more limited market for larger rare cycads; for the most part, this is the realm of the most advanced collectors or specialized dealers in this niche -- many of whom are active on this forum.

Have you approached anyone at our Desert Botanic Garden to see if there's any interest?  They have pretty deep pockets in normal times.  COVID may make this a bad time to sell for best prices.  Maybe not, considering the outrageous interest in all sorts of plant collecting these days:  e.g., Philodendron spiritus sancti small propagations going for 10,000 dollars on ebay on very competitive bidding.

 

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Rod

Desert Botinical Garden?  Really?  For years they have tried to purge any non sonoran desert plants.  I'm surprised the Australian eucalyptus are left.  I had a friend that worked there 10 years ago and they found they had 2 dioons (they didn't even realize they had them - one was coning).  They were so far off the paths, no one would have ever noticed them.

In more recent years, they've added a small planting of cycads:  zamia floridana (boring), dioon queretaro.  Now, if they had planted a large specimen of cycas cairnsiana, or encephalartos horridus to their collection, it would have sparked quite a stir.

Do you know how many years I have reached out to the colleges/universities here in the valley?  I have never had anyone visit my collection from an institution of higher learning.  I once spoke to someone at ASU about hyphaene thebaica.  Their response was that they had one in a pot and they would wait until it got to a decent size before planting.  It may be still in that pot!  Mine (hyphaene compressa) has forked 5 years ago and the second did so this summer (wild collected from Eritrea in 2001).

I had a gentleman from the Tucson botanical garden visit me several years ago and bought some dioon queretaro from me for that organization.  Several cycads were donated to Byrce Thompson several years ago by the Ironmongers before they left to return to Australia.  Other than that, we're still a "cycad desert".  Why wouldn't dioon sonorense be included in collections?   

I'm still looking for a formula to determine the extra charge for taller plants.  What do you think of this:  $100 per inch in diameter plus $50 per inch per height?

rod

 

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GeneAZ

That's fair, given the risk involved in digging up cairnsiana.

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Rod

thanks for your imput!

They actually are Cycas couttsiana.

I've got the "digging" thing down.  Don't usually lose dug up plants.

rod

 

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Meangreen94z

I hear you’ve had a lot of interest in Texas though.  :D Hopefully one day I’ll make it out there, since it’s too risky to ship.

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Tracy
On 10/20/2021 at 8:08 AM, Rod said:

I'm still looking for a formula to determine the extra charge for taller plants.  What do you think of this:  $100 per inch in diameter plus $50 per inch per height?

rod

Gene and others have provided you with some good input, but it really comes down to what the market will accept.  Unfortunately for you, the fact that these are larger plants that must be dug will definitely play into what someone will pay.  I remember when Dr. Darian's collection went up for auction, I didn't go because I didn't want to deal with digging anything and taking the additional risk of loss.  I know lots of people got some great plants from his exceptional collection but they were willing to take a little added risk of loss on in ground plants. 

If you want to increase your market, you could always pre-dig them as Gene suggested, acclimate them to pots for a year to remove that transplant risk, and making it easier for people from Texas or California to purchase them if the Arizona market isn't buying.  I know that a lot of "retailers" in the cycad/palm industry sell cycads by $/inch of caudex size up to a point but once a plant starts forming trunk and the width is getting closer to fixed, the pricing becomes much more subjective for the very reasons that Gene pointed out. 

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GeneAZ
8 hours ago, Rod said:

thanks for your imput!

They actually are Cycas couttsiana.

I've got the "digging" thing down.  Don't usually lose dug up plants.

rod

 

couttsiana are beauts, and very seldom encountered in America.  Never heard of any in that size in America.

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Rod

I won't sell a "just dug" plant until it has flushed - usually a year.

I got the seed in January of 2005.  Planted them in an area of just couttsiana.  So digging them up, they're nice plants - 16 year old plants.
They've done so much better in the ground than the same plants i've let grow in pots.  Pot size plants are 4 - 5" caudexes (several years behind the ground grown plants).

these are spectacularly blue leafed plants!

I've got a guy in California that's interested in my Cycas angulata that has at least 3 feet of trunk.  That's going to be a real chore to dig, especially because it is right next to some Ravenea xerophylla (fronds are about 7' long).  Would hate to disturb them!

Gene:  take some time off now that the nursery biz is less busy this time of the year and come visit me!

I'm getting ready to take some fotos of my Hyphaene compressa and post on my "blog" (thread) on palmtalk.  My second compressa decided to branch also this year.  Look for my thread.

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