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

June 24, 2014

Planting a cycad without any leaves

When you transplant a cycad, such as this dioon edule, or a common sago palm, it's best to cut off all of the leaves. This plant was given to me by a friend who did everything right. He removed the leaves, kept as much of the root ball as possible, and got rid of the soil.

When I planted it, a couple of weeks ago, I dug a nice deep hole and filled it with fast-draining potting soil. I mix in some volcanic pumice, or you can use vermiculite, or you can just buy a bag of potting soil that is made for cactus. I also put in some slow-release fertilizer (Osmocote) and stuck a couple of those houseplant spikes around the edges. They are slow release, too.

This is the Phoenix, Arizona area, so I found a nice shady place for this plant (this is only very early morning light). It has a dedicated watering spray from the automatic system, and it gets mist from at least two different misting heads. It's got plenty of room to spread out, and it will. You don't want to make the mistake of planting too close to the edge! This plant will have a good three feet in each direction to spread out.

Dioon edule cycad
I have to admit that planting a cycad with no leaves on it looks pretty sad for a while. Some will leaf out almost right away. Some can take several seasons. In the meantime, all you have to look at is a little brown *pineapple*. But once it starts to grow, it looks great.  Here is one (at right) that I've had here for many years.

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