What's the minimum zone for growing cycads outside?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Tropicals' started by islandweaver, Mar 10, 2007.

  1. islandweaver

    islandweaver Active Member

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    Location:
    Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada
    I have six very tough and happy windmill palms growing on my property but I do love the look of the cycads I've seen in Florida and other southern places. How tender are these guys and is there a variety that can deal with the occasional frost we get in my Zone 9 location?

    My windmill palms all look the same except for height but are labelled both Trachycarpus fortunei and Chamerops excelsa (Rhapis e.) I have several other palms that I started from a bunch of seeds I picked up in mid to northern Florida under various palm-like plants, including a couple of cycads. Only a few germinated. However, they both look like regular seedling palms rather than cycads - but then I don't know what a cycad seedling looks like.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Carol Ja

    Carol Ja Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Salt Spring Island
    It will depend on what type of Cycad you have, I also live on SSI, and I have a Cycad revoluta. ( Think thats the spelling) anyway its been outside for three winters...looks a bit scraggy till the new flush comes out, but always seems to survive just fine despite what info I have been told about the hardiness.
    Where on the island are you? (pm me if you want to answer that)
    also, have you tried Butia Capita for a different look, or the European Fan palm for the bluish fronds?
    Cheers Carol
     
  3. Sunset Cycads

    Sunset Cycads Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Sunshine Coast, British Columbia, Canada
    It depends on who you talk to or read but 7b seems to be the coldest. However, that is for an Encephalartos lanatus, from South Africa, and seed is not available in Canada. There are a few hardy to my zone, 8b -- Macrozamia communis, Macrozamia riedlei, Cycas panzihuanensis, Dioon edule.

    Cycad seedlings don't look like palm seedlings -- they have some leaflets right away, whereas palms (that I have seen, although I grow cycads, not palms) have a single, grass-like stem for a year or two.
     
  4. islandweaver

    islandweaver Active Member

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    Thank you both Carol and Lori. Seeing as you both live either on the other side of my island or just up the coast, you both would certainly know what would work for me.

    Your replies sent me scouting out more information and photos of the cycads you mentioned. They are truly beautiful. I think I will try to obtain perhaps a couple of young ones or seedlings to take my garden up a couple of notches. So Lori, maybe I can get in touch with you privately about what you might have at hand. If possible I'd like one of them to be a sago palm and the other more "flouncy" - how's that for a highly technical description?

    Diane
     
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
    The biggest problem with growing them where you are (and also in Britain) is that they don't tolerate winter rainfall - they come from a climate with dry winters and wetter summers, and get root rot if grown somewhere with winter rain.
     
  6. Sunset Cycads

    Sunset Cycads Active Member 10 Years

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    That is true, root rot is their weak spot. I grow my personal outdoor collection under the eaves of the house, protected from the rain. They also receive warmth from the house foundation.
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Location:
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    A sago palm up the street, planted in what should be a good spot beneath a low-branching western redcedar, near the road (frost and rain protection from conifer canopy, extra warmth during growing season from asphalt) burned up this winter, when it may have gotten down below 20F here. Sunset WESTERN GARDEN BOOK says "hardy to 15F/-9C." Few other perennial plants in the vicinity were damaged.
     
  8. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Experimenting with these can be a very expensive venture. Cycas revoluta is likely the most common and cheapest. Once you start growing others, you'll discover they're quite expensive and hard to find in most cases. You can't just walk in you any old local garden center and pick up another Cycas panzihuanensis for instance.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  9. Carol Ja

    Carol Ja Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    My Cycad is over near the ditch, next to but not protected by my bamboo. The soil is nothing special, I highly doubt that I made it 'well draining'. Okay, I know it is probably feeling abused, but ever year it puts up a new flush telling me that its not dead yet. I can't remember what my lowest temperature was this year...maybe -6c.
     
  10. Sunset Cycads

    Sunset Cycads Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Sunshine Coast, British Columbia, Canada
    No, but you can get them mailed to you from Jurassic Plants Nursery...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 20, 2007
  11. denpalms05

    denpalms05 Member

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    I have routinely had my 3 sagos to 15f during the past 3 winters here in Denver. Any colder than that I will put an insulated cardboard box with thermostatically controlled heat tape or a gallon of hot water depending on length of cold snap. It is very dry here which is why I think they can take a lower temp. maybe.
     
  12. lukeandpalms

    lukeandpalms Member

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    Location:
    Ohio U.S.A.
    Cycas revoluta is foliage hardy to about 13F. i have heard storys of recovery after -3F. trunk hardy to about 0F maybe lower(as in the example above)
     
  13. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    Location:
    Vero Beach, Fla., USA
    http://www.zilkergarden.org/gardens/dino.html
    is growing cycads outdoors in Austin, Texas. The Japanese (think Kyoto or Tokyo, which both have mild temperate climates) go for gathering cycas leaves and building straw umbrellas for winter protection.

    Tom Broome, a cycad grower near Lake Wales, Florida, gets freeze/frost damage in his climate. So choices are limited even in the central Florida citrus belt. He does very well with Dioon edule and thinks it one of the hardiest.

    The suggestions from Sunset Cydads seem very worth pursuing. Dioon edule plants need not be expensive, and might be a great species to start.
     

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