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Cold Tolerant Cycads: The "Short List"

Cold Tolerant Cycads<br>The "Short List"

Cold Tolerant Cycads--A Brief Review
Maurice Levin, Jurassic Garden

If you live in a colder climate, perhaps as low as USDA 7, there are frost-tolerant cycads which you can grow without having to move them in-and-outside during the year. When we were developing the "Find My Perfect Plant" pull-down menu for our website, we did a fair amount of research on which cycads have proven to be cold-tolerant. When we finally developed this list, we created a website section entitled " Cold Tolerant Cycad Species" which not only names species to try, it also gives helpful tips on how to frost-protect your cycads.

You can find this section in the pull-down menu in the upper left corner of our site, or you can navigate directly to this web address: Cold Tolerant Cycad Species. For the “short list” below, I’ve tried to select the species with the understanding that you're going to try with the more common "bullet-proof" plants first, because why tempt fate with an expensive and really rare plant when we can use a "common/rare" plant first (I know, common/rare is an oxymoron like jumbo shrimp, but you get my point).

Each of the following should link directly to the species page on the website, with more information on the plant(s). Also, I've bolded species I pretty much know are cold-tolerant, vs. ones I believe are cold-tolerant:

  1. Ceratozamia Species:
    1. Ceratozamia hildae
    2. Ceratozamia latifolia
  2. Cycas Species:
    1. Cycas debaoensis
    2. Cycas guizhouensis
    3. Cycas panzhihuaensis
    4. Cycas petraea
    5. Cycas sp. "Wilailak"
    6. Cycas taitungensis
  3. Dioon Species:
    1. Dioon angustifolium
    2. Dioon califanoi
    3. Dioon edule--variants from high altitudes
      1. Rio Verde seems most cold-tolerant
      2. Queretaro may also work
    4. Dioon holmgrenii
    5. Dioon merolae
  4. Encephalartos Species:
    1. Encephalartos altensteinii
    2. Encephalartos friderici guilielmi
    3. Encephalartos lehmannii
    4. Encephalartos natalensis
  5. Lepidozamia peroffskyana
  6. Macrozamia Species
    1. Macrozamia communis
    2. Macrozamia riedlei

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You’ll notice we list and price cycads by their caudex size (diameter in inches). The caudex is a cycad’s woody, bulblike trunk. Caudex diameter is a good measure of a cycad's age. The chart below can give you a rough idea of how this translates to pot size.

Caudex Size
Container Size
Up to 1 Inch 1-2 Gallon
1 Inch to 3 Inch 3-5 Gallon
3 Inches to 7 Inches 15 Gallon
7 Inches and Up 24 Inch Box


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Cold Tolerant Cycads
The "Short List"