Tropicals forum: Cycads Pot Mix

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Name: Mima
SoCal Sunset Zone 18/19 (Zone 9b)
Tropicals Rabbit Keeper Plumerias Region: California
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sfrangu
Mar 26, 2013 10:30 AM CST
I have searched the Tropicals forum to find a thread about potting mix for cycads but I couldn't find any. So I am starting a new one maybe I'll find the best advices. Searching the internet, all kind of articles came up, some of them contradictory, so I'd like to have your input regarding this subject.

I am waiting for my cycads to arrive I guess tomorrow and I need to make everything ready for potting them. They are coming bare root I would need to know proportions of the cactus mix, perlite and wood chips in the potting mix, what type of wood chips is the best, what type of pots? Somebody was saying that the pots should be terracotta but they are so heavy for me to handle. Would resin pots work too>

Any other advice is welcome. It's hard to start all from scratch, not to get the plants already potted from Home Depot or Lowe's. Smiling
If at first you don't succeed, call it version 1.0
Keep smiling, it makes people wonder what you've been up to.
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Name: Mima
SoCal Sunset Zone 18/19 (Zone 9b)
Tropicals Rabbit Keeper Plumerias Region: California
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sfrangu
Mar 26, 2013 12:17 PM CST
My cycads just arrived and I'm not ready for them. They were supposed to be here tomorrow. Ughhh, I'll be able to go to HD only in the afternoon... Is it OK to leave them with their roots wrapped how they were in the box they came in? For only few more hours?
If at first you don't succeed, call it version 1.0
Keep smiling, it makes people wonder what you've been up to.
My "bunnies" are in fact Guinea pigs. 5 of them so far.
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
Mar 26, 2013 12:47 PM CST

Moderator

Cycads have been around for millions of years. I think they'll survive in any kind of soil that you find at HD. I once wanted to move a small one that was in a very dry spot. I dug down as far as I could and popped the shovel up. I had cut the root across and the plant flew up with a very small piece of the root. I figured I had killed it, so just threw it under some shrubs. Where the in ground root was left, a new shoot came up. The cast off cut cycad had rooted under the shrub also. I then had two cycads! It's hard to kill a cycad, unless the bugs get into them.


Go get your potting soil! Just close the box and walk away. Be sure to let us see them when you get them potted up.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
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drdawg
Mar 26, 2013 1:09 PM CST
I don't know which Cycad you have, but their care is pretty much the same. The most common one is the Sago Palm and it is readily available. Did you know that there is a Cycad variety that is so rare, every single plant that has been propagated was obtained from a single plant found in the wild? Yes, there has been only one found - ever! Anyway, I will start from the end of your questions rather the the first ones. You can leave your plants, bare-root for a pretty long time, so a day won't matter a bit. Oh, did you know that Cycad is one of the oldest families of plants known, over 300 million years old. Some varieties are known to live for more than 1000 years! I grow staghorn ferns and I thought they lived a long, long time (100+ years). Cycads have lived through thick (dinosaur age) and thin (ice age), where few other species have survived.

Cycads tolerate high temperatures and drought well but will not survive long-duration frosts or freezes. If I were planting a "baby" Cycad, I would make a mix of 1/3 potting soil (NOT with fertilizer added), 1/3 sand or pea-gravel, and 1/3 coarse perlite. Plant them with their "wooly/hairy" part above the soil line, with only the roots under the soil. Firm the soil gently and water with 1/2 strength 20-10-10, or something similar that has more nitrogen than phosphorus and potash. You can really pot them in anything you wish, particular when they are small. The main thing is that the soil is extremely well draining and the pots have lots of drainage holes. Some Cycads like full sun, some like full shade, and some like partial shade, so it just depends on what you have. In any case, I would put your young plants in shade, perhaps just getting a couple of hours of early or late afternoon sun, and in an area that the temperature remains above 50 F. After a few weeks of this "special" treatment, put them outside (mild temperatures, still) in whatever amount of sun they prefer. Water them only when the top 2-3" of soil feels dry and don't fertilize again until early fall, again with 1/2 strength fertilizer. Most of these plants grow very slowly, thus their need for little water and practically no fertilizer. As they grow and their root system expands, they will tolerate more water. Ken
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Mima
SoCal Sunset Zone 18/19 (Zone 9b)
Tropicals Rabbit Keeper Plumerias Region: California
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sfrangu
Mar 26, 2013 1:10 PM CST
Wow Bubbles! That's quite a story! I guess it was a bigger cycad though, with a deep root since it grew another one.

I still need to get the right mix, with perlite and maybe pumice for a better draining, their roots rot if there's too much moisture. Mine are small, caudex sizes between 1"-2". Hope I'll do good job potting them. I will certainly take pictures afterwards.
If at first you don't succeed, call it version 1.0
Keep smiling, it makes people wonder what you've been up to.
My "bunnies" are in fact Guinea pigs. 5 of them so far.
Name: Mima
SoCal Sunset Zone 18/19 (Zone 9b)
Tropicals Rabbit Keeper Plumerias Region: California
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sfrangu
Mar 26, 2013 1:21 PM CST
I've just got your response Ken, for which I thank you a lot. I know about cycads and love them a lot, for their history, their look and because some of them are endangered species, I used to have a Sago but it died together with all my other plants during our last moving. Now I want to re-start and this time I got something else than Sagos. I just received the package, earlier than expected. I got: Encephalartos Ituriensis, E. Concinnus, E. Manikensis and a Cycas Thouarsii (this one is not looking good, the grower just sent it to me as a bonus).

OK, so they need to be fertilized from the very beginning, when potting them today/tomorrow. Thanks for all the detailed instructions! The grower told me to add some cactus/palm mix too. Should I use 1/2 cactus/palm mix and 1/2 regular potting soil for the 1/3 part of soil? And is better to use pea-gravel or sand instead of wood chips? So I can take the pumice off the list.

Thank you again. I'm so excited!
If at first you don't succeed, call it version 1.0
Keep smiling, it makes people wonder what you've been up to.
My "bunnies" are in fact Guinea pigs. 5 of them so far.
Name: Mima
SoCal Sunset Zone 18/19 (Zone 9b)
Tropicals Rabbit Keeper Plumerias Region: California
Image
sfrangu
Mar 26, 2013 3:09 PM CST
I found this potting mix online that's for cacti and palms. It seems to be right for cycads except it has miracle gro in the mix. Do you think Ishould look for a plain, regular soil and I'd do the mix myself?

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Miracle-Gro-Cactus-Palm-and-Citru...

If at first you don't succeed, call it version 1.0
Keep smiling, it makes people wonder what you've been up to.
My "bunnies" are in fact Guinea pigs. 5 of them so far.
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
Mar 26, 2013 3:10 PM CST
I would not use a soil with Miracle grow (which is essentially designed for annuals, things that need quick boosts..)
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Mar 26, 2013 3:38 PM CST
Even though I said to use potting soil without fertilizer, I am not so sure that Miracle-Gro at 1/3 vol. would do any harm. The fertilizer is so doggone weak in their potting soil that I cannot imagine it over-feeding these plants. But I could be wrong. I have never experimented with planting one with no-fertilizer and planting another with weak, 6-month feed fertilizer, on plants needing little fertilizer. Commercial growers might have an answer to this question. When in doubt, I would not use the slow-release fertilizer potting mix.

I would not add any organic matter if you are using 1/3 potting mix and 2/3 "cactus" mix. The cactus mix will have the sand and/or gravel, perlite, and some organic material. There is enough organic material in the potting mix plus what's in the cactus mix. Ken
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Mima
SoCal Sunset Zone 18/19 (Zone 9b)
Tropicals Rabbit Keeper Plumerias Region: California
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sfrangu
Mar 26, 2013 4:00 PM CST
Thank you both so much. Thumbs up

So I will just get the regular cactus mix then. This one seems to not have any fertilizers in it, but I will ask them to make sure: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Supersoil-1-cu-ft-Palm-Cactus-Mix...
And of course a regular potting mix, 1/3 of this with 2/3 of cactus mix, as you said Ken. I tip my hat to you.
If at first you don't succeed, call it version 1.0
Keep smiling, it makes people wonder what you've been up to.
My "bunnies" are in fact Guinea pigs. 5 of them so far.
Name: Mima
SoCal Sunset Zone 18/19 (Zone 9b)
Tropicals Rabbit Keeper Plumerias Region: California
Image
sfrangu
Mar 26, 2013 4:01 PM CST
Oh, and I found somewhere on the internet that some gravel would be good on the bottom of the pot, to help with drainage. Maybe not necessary though. What do you think?
If at first you don't succeed, call it version 1.0
Keep smiling, it makes people wonder what you've been up to.
My "bunnies" are in fact Guinea pigs. 5 of them so far.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Mar 26, 2013 4:18 PM CST
The only reason I can see putting a layer of gravel in the bottom of the pots would be to give the pots added weight to overcome top-heavy plants. You will have plenty of drainage throughout the soil mix. Good luck with all your plants. Let me know if you want/need additional tropicals for your wonderful layout. Check out [url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]. Ken
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Mar 26, 2013 4:22 PM CST
Sfrangu, don't forget that Tree-Mail is handy if you want a private conversation with anyone on ATP. Ken
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Mima
SoCal Sunset Zone 18/19 (Zone 9b)
Tropicals Rabbit Keeper Plumerias Region: California
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sfrangu
Mar 26, 2013 4:32 PM CST
Yay, thanks for the link. Will check it right away. Hurray!

I know about treemail, but writing here may trigger a bigger discussion. After all, cycads threads are not so many around here.
If at first you don't succeed, call it version 1.0
Keep smiling, it makes people wonder what you've been up to.
My "bunnies" are in fact Guinea pigs. 5 of them so far.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Mar 26, 2013 4:49 PM CST
I agree
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
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Region: Texas Tropicals Plumerias Ferns Greenhouse Garden Art
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Bubbles
Mar 26, 2013 4:49 PM CST

Moderator

Mima, as the weather warms up, more and more people will chime in on this forum. Presently, most are either digging out from snow or trying "to rush the season (like me)!" We've had great weather for most of March in Austin. Two nights ago, the wind blew and the temp fell to the 30s. In our neighborhood, we were scrambling to get tender plants covered.

Hope your little cycads will be happy to be out of that dark box!
Name: Mima
SoCal Sunset Zone 18/19 (Zone 9b)
Tropicals Rabbit Keeper Plumerias Region: California
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sfrangu
Mar 26, 2013 5:33 PM CST
Oh my! So sorry for the cold weather is back in some places!

Yes, I got them out of the box immediately and let them rest aside in the shade for now. The grower emailed me with details: 2 of them are actually 7-8 years old but they were underpotted so I will look for big pots for them, to let them room enough to take off growing. Hurray!
If at first you don't succeed, call it version 1.0
Keep smiling, it makes people wonder what you've been up to.
My "bunnies" are in fact Guinea pigs. 5 of them so far.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Mar 26, 2013 6:38 PM CST
Hi there Mima..I just saw your thread. I also have a cycad, And from what I remember I only used regular cactus soil and I added some perlite. I did not measure how much I added... The plant was given to me by my aunt in Northridge, CA. Mine is in a plastic container..it is so slow growing anyways, so it takes awhile for it to outgrow the container it is in.. But I am battling some scales right now. Glare hard to get rid off...but so far plant is still alive, and it even made a baby on the side. My plant usually gives me new leaves around September.
Thumb of 2013-03-27/tarev/7bd222
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Mar 26, 2013 7:06 PM CST
Jim, would your Orthene mixture eliminate the scale? I don't know much about this pest since (luckily) I have never had a problem with it. Ken
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Mima
SoCal Sunset Zone 18/19 (Zone 9b)
Tropicals Rabbit Keeper Plumerias Region: California
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sfrangu
Mar 26, 2013 9:38 PM CST
Tonight will be a bit chilly - about 54 F. Should I bring my newly potted cycads in? The grower I got them from was growing them outdoors.

Also, the first watering in the new pots: how much water is too much? No tap water since here is high in fluoride and I've read is not gonna be good for them.
If at first you don't succeed, call it version 1.0
Keep smiling, it makes people wonder what you've been up to.
My "bunnies" are in fact Guinea pigs. 5 of them so far.

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