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Care of the plant Encephalartos ferox or Zululand Cycad.

Care of the cycad Encephalartos ferox or Zululand Cycad

The genus Encephalartos, family Zamiaceae, comprises 60 species of cycads native to Africa. Some species are: Encephalartos ferox, Encephalartos altensteinii, Encephalartos senticosus, Encephalartos natalensis, Encephalartos horridus, Encephalartos villosus, Encephalartos lebomboensis,  Encephalartos lehmanniiEncephalartos transvenosus.

Common names: Zululand Cycad, Maputaland Cycad. This species is native to Mozambique.

They are dioecious plants with an underground stem that reach 1 meter (3.28 feet) in height. The leaves are 2 meters (6.56 feet) long and are formed by spiny leaflets that resemble the leaves of the Ilex aquifolium. They produce showy orange or red egg-shaped female cones; male cones are cylindrical and can measure 50 cm (1.64 feet) in length.

They are used in gardens as isolated specimens under trees or shrubs in cool areas of the garden. They are ideal for Mediterranean coastal gardens.

Encephalartos ferox prefers semi-shade exposure and warm temperatures. They resist light and occasional frosts.

The soil must be very well drained and contain leaf mulch to be fertile.

These cycads need more water than other species; water regularly (never overwater) waiting until the substrate is almost dry.

Fertilize with compost in early spring and with a slow-release mineral fertilizer in early summer.

They do not need pruning.

They are resistant plants to the usual pests and diseases.

They propagate by seeds sown in spring but it is a slow process (up to 7 months to germinate); it's easier to reproduce them from the suckers that the plant sometimes produces at the base.

Images of the cycad Encephalartos ferox or Zululand Cycad

Encephalartos ferox
Encephalartos ferox
Encephalartos ferox
Encephalartos ferox