Growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area. With a wiener dog.

June 12, 2015

Dioon edule cycad, Glendale, Arizona

On the eastern slopes of the Tropical Paradise I have one of my oldest plants, a dioon edule cycad. It's been there for about twenty years, and as you can tell, they don't grow very fast! As cycads go, it's mature, but, hey, they're miniature plants! It has gone through its reproductive cycle a couple of times, which means that in some years instead of producing leaves, it produces cones. They're botanically interesting, but really I would prefer leaves. They only grow once a year, in what is called a flush, and I'm still waiting for this one to start growing this season.

It turns out that this plant was planted exactly right - which I wish I could take credit for, but I didn't know. As you can see, it's at the top of a slope, which allows it to take all of the water it needs (which really isn't much), without getting too much. The only cycads that I've killed here are ones that stood with "their feet wet" and rotted their roots.

In addition to a lot of rocks (which in some cases are the only things that seem to work where the temperatures get above 100 degrees, you can see some cape honeysuckle there to the right. There's an open area by the wall (I call it the wiener dog highway) of about a foot or so, so that I can get back there for some trimming.

In front of the cycad are some agaves, which should give you how hot and sunny this area can get. It's a western exposure, so when the shade of the tree isn't on it, or the shade of the house, it's very, very hot! Like, "look but don't touch" hot, or you could fry an egg on those rocks in the summer hot.

Cycads live for hundreds of years, and I suppose I will have to do some major trimming on this one in about 250 years. Until then, it will stay in this area very nicely.

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