This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

May 1, 2013

Transplanting a dioon edule cycad

A dioon edule cycad is similar to a common sago palm. Although they are not sold widely here in the Phoenix area, they do well here. Part of the secret to their success is their blue-green leaves, which protect them from heat and sun better than an ordinary sago palm. In fact, I have plenty that sit out in "the fires of hell" where normally only cactus grow.

They also grow into clumps, producing new plants, called "pups". If you plant bulbs, you know how this works. After a few seasons you have lots of new plants.

I was going to subdivide this clump but at the last minute decide to plant it all together. Its new home is much more cushy than its old one, with some nice afternoon shade, so this plant should grow beautifully here. I'm not exactly sure when I originally planted it, but it was probably over fifteen years ago - so you have to be patient!

Anyway, transplanting a cycad is pretty easy, they have a shallow root structure. I got up early this morning and using a short spade, dug up the clump. Then I cut off about 99% of the leaves. I know you're supposed to cut them all off, but I never can! While the plant was out of the ground I did some cleanup and then sprinkled gardening sulfer and rooting hormone on the roots and the bottom of the "pineapples". Your only concern when transplanting is causing root rot, so be sure to do that last step. Plant in free-draining soil on a slope, water well, and wait for warm weather.

This is Phoenix, so I shouldn't have to wait too long!
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