Walking around the garden on this beautiful Southern California day I noticed that it is cycad flushing season again. While cycads can flush anytime of the year, it is usually during the summer that the majority of my plants flush or cone. When you consider the only major changes you can see in a cycad are when it is either pushing new growth (flushing) or flowering (coning), it is an exciting time to observe them in the garden. The remainder of the year they just sit in the landscape much like a garden statue would.
While I have many flushing cycads all over my garden right now, here are a few I snapped photos of today:
Cycas thouarsii. A relativity common cycad closely related to the Sago Palm. It is from Madagascar. For a cycad, this is considered a fast grower.
Cycas ophiolitica. While the common name is the “Marlbourough Blue Cycad,” mine has never shown any blue to it. It is a fairly fast grower in the ground and comes from Northern Australia.
Macrozamia macdonnellii. Another Northern Australian cycad. This one is extremely rare but grows into one of the more beautiful cycads in the world.
Lepidozamia peroffskyana. This cycad comes from a wetter, eastern part of Australia. This plant gets huge. The leaves on mine are already 8 feet tall. This is one of the more “gardener-friendly” cycads, as it doesn’t have any spines or sharp, hard leaflets to contend with.
Encephalartos horridus. This South African native plant gets its name from its famous leaves. “Horridus” is Latin for “bristly, dreadful, horrible.” Covered with many stiff leaflets that are loaded with spines, this cycad is the complete opposite of Lepidozamia peroffskyana, as it is not gardener-friendly and even more so, not kid friendly. My son, when he was two years old, called this the “Ouchie” plant.
Encephalartos longifolius. A South African native as well, this cycad grows into a large, beautiful plant with blue leaves. I find this to be a fairly quick grower for a South African Encephalartos.
Encephalartos lehmannii x trispinosus. This is currently my favorite cycad in the yard. Yes, the title switches around quite regularly, but for now, this is my favorite! It is a wonderful cross that clearly shows the traits of both parents. The ice blue leaves just seem to glow in the yard.
Encephalartos lanatus. Most South African cycads are not what I would consider gardener-friendly. They are sharp and not easy to work around. This is not the case with Lanatus. The older this plant gets, the greater its appeal.
Zamia pumila. Moving on to Cuba, this cycad is smaller than the others and is much more readily available at nurseries. I like it because it is a hardy plant that grows trouble-free in the garden. You can pretty much place it anywhere in the landscape.
Dioon purpusii. This is one of the rarer Dioon species but also one of the more handsome in my opinion. This cycad is native to Mexico like most Dioons are.
Ceratozamia miqueliana. This Mexican native used to be one of the rarest cycads to purchase. However, over the last few years it has become more readily available thanks to many coning plants being grown in cultivation. In terms of flushing cycads, this has one of the prettier pushes in the genus Ceratozamia, as the leaves when newly emerged have a blue tint to them. I have two locality types of this cycad planted in my garden.
Ceratozamia latifolia. Even though it is a common cycad nowadays, the flush alone makes this plant worth growing. As you can see in the picture below, some flushing cycads do have some color to them. Like a few other Ceratozamia’s and Zamias, Ceratozamia latifolia pushes red new leaves.