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Dioon Edule


CumberlandPlants

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Need cold hardy info. On this Cycad. Herd it is Hardy as low as single digits. Any reports of this?

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I've had them to 16 with frost on a few occasions without issue on 2-6" caudex plants in pots. Half will defoliate but none died.

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Where I live in the FL Panhandle pretty much the only cycad you see is sagos sagos sagos everywhere!!! Just kinda sick of them. But then a few years ago on one of my frequent trips to Home Depot, I saw out in front of the garden center a whole area of "dioons" being sold. They were very small and only had four leaves pointing high up in the air. It looked very tropical and exotic, and in the back of my mind I thought "this is probably not going to be hardy here" especially because places like Lowe's and HD traditionally carry non-hardy tropicals this far north. But because it was small, different, and lesser priced I impulsively bought it thinking I would need to frequently cover it in the winter- little did I know it is as hardy as a sago!!!

Planted it on the south side of the house near my white bird of paradise and banana palm clump. Enriched the soil and everything, but it never put out any new leaves. That first winter, we had temps in the low 20's, I covered it, and it didn't have any damage.

Can't remember specifics, but I was frustrated with it, it was not growing at all after about 2 years, and we wanted do re-imagine that garden bed area it was planted in. So we planted it behind the fence of our backyard in a "green zone" where the soil is very poor and like pure sand. It suffered in the poor soil out there and in a mishap, it's leaves got ripped off. Surprisingly, it almost immediately sprouted leaves back. Was out there for the huge freeze of 2014 with 17 degrees, 24 hrs+ below freezing, other freezes well into the 20's, ice storm during which it hit 20 deg, and it SURVIVED. I can't remember exactly how many leaves it had before and I want to say some of the leaves survived through that mess, but in the spring it sprouted more leaves.

Realizing its resilience, I finally rescued it and put it in a pot with rich soil, after which it promptly sent up one healthy leaf twice the size of the stunted ones it had before. Then, during this past February, I went on a trip. Thought I had things all arranged at the house since I knew a freeze was in the forecast. But after I left, I realized I had forgotten about and left the dioon outside! Out of desperation to assure myself, I researched online what it's real cold hardiness is (somehow I had never looked that up) and was surprised and happy to see that it can tolerate temps as low as the teens just fine! Temp ended up hitting 22 at my house while I was gone; came back, and it looked perfect!

Just a couple months later I put it in the garden bed beneath my window surrounded by rocks. Took several months, but just now sprouted another leaf, albeit only one.

This plant is hardy, and a fully mature one I would imagine could survive hard freezes that much better than a little one like mine. It has a really tropical look, and would be a good sago palm replacement- just wonder why it isn't used more up here. Also interesting in that since 2010 (when I think I got it) I have never seen it in nurseries again. I also know it is from drier areas and thrives out in places like Southern California, so I don't know if maybe it doesn't do as well in the humid Southeast? Anyway, it is growing, and I saw pictures on here of some in Orlando that were good sized specimens.

So that's my dioon story!!

Edited by Opal92
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I forgot to mention an important fact that I have only var. Rio Verde (the purple ones) which are supposed to be the most cold hardy Edule. I have no experience with any other variations.

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I have a few in my yard that have taken 8B winters as 1G-2G without damage that I got from the Midwest that I assume are Rio Verde by the purple/blue hue. I really don't know why these haven't taken over the millions of sagos especially with the Asian scale issues the sago has. I have 500+ (Rio Verde as well) in the nursery now that I am trying to bring to market in north Florida. I have talked to other nurserymen and no one has much interest in growing any cycad at all besides sagos. I like the dioon edule and if they don't sell then at least I tried something new. All I can think of is the growth rate holds these down as being the favorite landscape cycad here and it is tough to change people's opinions; sagos are what they are use to seeing.

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  • 1 year later...

Large specimen  with 2' of trunk and probably 100+ years old completely exposed to north winds died at 12f this year. The leaves never burned and sagos next to it with 2-4' od trunk did just fine. There are pups at the bottom of the plant that are still alive, but these dioon dont seem to be very trunk hardy like cycas

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  • 2 years later...
On 7/29/2017 at 10:42 PM, TexasColdHardyPalms said:

Btw it was a green flush edule. 

Just curious, was it in the ground and do you know if it had been in DFW area for 100 years too?

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The one I have mentioned in the post above has leaves that are sort of purplish-brown when first flushing out. It is doing well and I now have it in a pot trying to find a good place for it in my parent's yard. Has never flinched in 18-20 deg. temps.

Edited by Matthew92
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  • 7 months later...

After this crazy Texas freeze, I thought I’d share a photo of a Dioon edule in-ground at Barton Springs Nursery in Austin. I realize it’s still early after the freeze and more damage may show up later, but the plant looks shockingly untouched considering the duration of the freeze and the fact that it hit the single digits on two separate nights! I am a bit worried considering the above note that one died at 12° without showing leaf burn, though.

22863538-CBF8-4287-A8A2-19FA39751B4B.jpeg.90366569066b8c01e04281c9405776f2.jpeg

This obviously has some caveats. The nursery is in a fairly warm microclimate in the first place (it probably didn’t get below 5°) and this cycad is under both a live oak canopy and the canopy of the large sago it’s next to (which was defoliated — the biggest of those caudices on the right comes up to my elbow). Even though it has a large caudex (maybe a foot or more long — it’s been in the ground a long time), that caudex is mostly horizontal on the surface of the soil, covered in many live oak leaves. With the 6.5” of snow we got, it was probably completely buried, insulting it.

It’s still extremely impressive, though.

Edited by bananaman
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-bananaman

All images I post are shared under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND License

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