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Care of the plant Encephalartos lehmannii or Karoo cycad.

Care of the cycad Encephalartos lehmannii or Karoo cycad

The genus Encephalartos, family Zamiaceae, includes 60 species of cycads native to Africa. Some species are: Encephalartos lehmannii, Encephalartos transvenosusEncephalartos villosusEncephalartos senticosus, Encephalartos natalensis, Encephalartos lebomboensis, Encephalartos horridus, Encephalartos ferox, Encephalartos altensteinii.

Common names: Karoo cycad, Blue-leaved cycad. This species is native to Eastern Cape in South Africa.

They are medium-sized dioecious cycads that produce suckers at the base and reach 2 meters (6.56 feet) in height and 3 meters (9.84 feet) in width. The attractive bluish leaves measure up to 1.5 m (4.92 feet) in length. Every 2 years they produce one cone per stem: the male cones are subcylindrical, 35 cm (13.77") long and bluish-green in color; female cones are barrel-shaped, 50 cm (19.68") long, and dark green. The cones appear when the plant is more than 15 years old. The seeds are red.

These slow-growing plants are used as isolated specimens, in rockeries, on sunny slopes, in small groups, and in light undergrowth.

The Encephalartos lehmannii prefers full sun exposure but also grows in partial shade. They resist occasional frosts. In winter they welcome a period of rest at 10 ºC (50 ºF).

The soil can be normal, well-drained garden soil with coarse sand and some organic matter.

They are drought-resistant plants that need moderate watering, waiting for the substrate to dry. In winter do not water.

Fertilize once in spring with a slow-release mineral fertilizer.

They do not need pruning but dry leaves can be removed in autumn.

They are quite resistant plants to the usual pests and diseases that can be attacked by some insects.

They propagate from seeds sown in spring and by separating the suckers it produces at the base.

Images of the cycad Encephalartos lehmannii or Karoo cycad

Encephalartos lehmannii