Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

Zululand Cycad ( Encephalartos ferox )

This is supposed to be one of the easiest and fastest cycads to grow. They will grow in full sun to shade but prefer shade. Cones form more often on ones in sun. There are male and female plants, both have multiple cones. Cones are a bright fiery red. Most of the time Zululand cycad looks like a broad leafed fern. Leaves are pointy when mature like holly leaves.

These are not especially cold tolerant. They will need protection the first few years they are growing. Natively they grow in frost free areas with rainfall between 35″-40″/year.

They stay compact at about a 3’x3′ spread but that takes quite a while to reach. They remain single stemmed unless damaged and the stem is not usually visible.

We saw one several years older than this one and thought it was the coolest looking fern we had seen. Turned out to not be a fern, but it looks like a cross between a fern and cycad when it gets larger. Cycads are some of the oldest known plants having been around on the planet as far back as 300 million years ago.

There are pictures of some large ones with red cones in the Hawaii photos ( follow photo link above ). They are truly gorgeous. I have great hopes for this plant now.

This plant never grew for me, not sun, not shade, it remained the same as when I purchased it for 3 years. We had several hard freezes last year and that did it in.

See also:
Cycas Revolution