Cycas plant

Cycas plant

General characteristics

The Cycasa plant is part of the Cycadaceae family, a family that includes species of very ancient origins. The first species resided in tropical Asia, East Africa and some parts of Australia. The shape reminds us not very distantly that of the more common palm; it is in fact formed by a central trunk on whose top there is a large tuft of pinnate leaves. Its numerous leaves detach from the central coast of the main frond, and are inclined downwards. The cycas is a dioecious plant, which means that of each species there is both the male and the female gender. Sex can only be recognized by taking into account the characteristic flower. Fertilization occurs through mobile ciliated spermatozoids present inside the liquid placed in the pollen chamber; once fertilized, the shrub forms a fleshy integument around the ovule.

Several varieties

There are several varieties of this plant species. Let's see some of them. Cycas revoluta: native to China and Japan, it is the most common species we find in our gardens. Its leaves are more curved, linear and leathery in texture. However, its growth is slower and, if grown indoors, it does not go beyond 1.2-1.5 meters. Cycas circinalis: it is native to India and Madagascar. It is very similar to the revoluta species, but unlike the latter, it has flatter fronds that can even reach 2 meters in height. Cycas siamensis: comes from Burma, and has much smaller leaves that never go beyond 50cm in length. Its leaves only grow to 0.5-1.2 meters. Cycas bamboo: the name is due to the fact that its particular leaves resemble those of bamboo. The main feature of this species is that it is very resistant to low temperatures and the growth is greater than its sisters. The leaves are compact and can reach a height of over 2 meters.

Cultivation of cycas

Cycas plants are easily cultivated by everyone. They develop without problems at a temperature between -10 ° and 40 ° C. Their cultivation can also take place in the apartment, helping to decorate and beautify our homes. They bear the sun well but also adapt to other situations; for example, they can also grow at home in poorly lit areas. It is advisable, if there is the possibility, to expose the plants outdoors in the period from June to September. However, it is good to know that this variety tends to grow quite slowly; the trunk does not exceed 3 mm of growth per year and usually does not produce more than two or three leaves per year. Precisely this characteristic makes the species very popular and particularly used for the construction of bonsai.

Cycas plant: Watering and pruning

The plants should be watered very often, however, depending on the temperature and exposure. It is good to wet it every time the soil dries up. Attention must also be paid to stagnation; the saucer must remain as empty as possible. It is advisable to repot the shrub every three to four years, preferably in spring or summer, to allow the roots to expand. Placing potsherds on the bottom of the vase can favor the drainage of excess water. Fertilization can be done every 6-8 weeks, but must be suspended in the winter. As far as pruning is concerned, the oldest leaves must be eliminated, i.e. those located lower, if they are yellowed or damaged. They must be eliminated quickly as they could lead to diseases and compromise the development of the plant.

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