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Karoo Cycad

Encephalartos lehmannii

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Karoo Cycad (Encephalartos lehmannii) at Roger's Gardens

Karoo Cycad

Karoo Cycad

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Karoo Cycad (Encephalartos lehmannii) at Roger's Gardens

Karoo Cycad

Karoo Cycad

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Karoo Cycad (Encephalartos lehmannii) at Roger's Gardens

Karoo Cycad foliage

Karoo Cycad foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  5 feet

Spread:  8 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  9a

Other Names:  Lehmann's Cycad

Description:

A very slow growing cycad with upswept, pinnate leaves of powder blue; will develop a trunk over a long period; an attractive accent or container plant; prefers arid environments and must be well drained; hardy and tolerant of light frost

Ornamental Features

Karoo Cycad's attractive large spiny narrow pinnately compound leaves remain powder blue in color with showy bluish-green variegation and tinges of silver throughout the year. Neither the flowers nor the fruit are ornamentally significant. The dark brown stems can be quite attractive.

Landscape Attributes

Karoo Cycad is a spreading evergreen plant with a shapely form and gracefully arching . Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and should never be pruned except to remove any dieback, as it tends not to take pruning well. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Spiny

Karoo Cycad is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Rock/Alpine Gardens
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Karoo Cycad will grow to be about 5 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 8 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 70 years or more.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers dry to average moisture levels with very well-drained soil, and will often die in standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in rich soils. It is quite intolerant of urban pollution, therefore inner city or urban streetside plantings are best avoided. This species is not originally from North America. It can be propagated by division.

Karoo Cycad is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its height, it is often used as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Characteristics
Accent  Rock  Garden  Container 
Applications
Foliage Color  Texture  Bark 
Ornamental Features