Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

Cardboard Palm ( Zamai furfuracea )




Cardboard palm will grow to between 3 and 4 feet high and 6 feet across. This cycad grows multiple trunks that begin below the soil line. The more sun it receives the larger and faster it will grow. It prefers light shade to bright light, and a half day of full sun is the best.

Watering needs are average, but be careful not to over water. One gardener reported it had thrived in a boggy area of her yard. Most gardeners report it does not do well with wet feet. It is drought tolerant once established.

It is hardy through zone 9b so I’m at the edge of where it can grow. Temperatures into the 30s and a light frost haven’t bothered it yet. Several Houston growers report no problems with the cold and this plant. Growers in northern Florida report that the cardboard palms lose their leaves in winter but bounce right back come spring.

The seeds are toxic to mammals. There is a cone with seeds like all cycads have. I’m told the birds really enjoy the seeds on this one.

This plant, as most cycads, has been on the planet since the dinosaurs. The leaves are thick and do feel like cardboard. The plant is native to Mexico but found in many tropical areas now.

This cycad is known to be salt tolerant and so will do well along coastal areas.

This died back to the ground last winter after a few hard frosts. I had written it off but last week ( mid May ) new leaves appeared.

Surviving great heat and drought of summer 2011