Cycas without leaves

Question: cycas without leaves

Hi, I have a cycas that for two years in winter dry the leaves (all), then in spring the new ones come out; this year the leaves are small compared to the past ones, how come? thanks Massimiliano

Answer: cycas without leaves

Dear Massimiliano,
unfortunately, there is a lack of information at your request, since you don't tell us where you live, and if your cycas live in the garden all year, or if you stay at home, for the whole year or part of it. Cycas are a family of very ancient plants, such as ginkgo biloba, we could talk about fossil plants, as they existed several thousand years ago and there are remains of them in the most ancient fossils. Their survival at the passing of geological eras clearly shows their capacity to adapt; the most cultivated cycads in Italy belong to the cycas revoluta species, native to Asia; this plant can live in the garden throughout the year, at temperatures up to -10 ° C, possibly in a very sunny area and with very well drained soil. But cycas are often cultivated in apartments, moving them to the garden only in spring and summer, but keeping them in an area sheltered from the sun during the most scorching hours of the day. Between these two extremes there are various types of intermediate stages: those who cover the cycads in winter, those who hold them in pots to move them to the greenhouse, those who repair them only on frosty days. So, depending on how the plant is grown, the reason why it loses its leaves in winter can be quite varied. Typically, for those who cultivate their cycas in the garden throughout the year, the loss of leaves at the end of winter is a symptom of the fact that the plant has been exposed to excessively rigid temperatures, for many days below -10 ° C; or, on the colder days of the year, the soil in which the plant is grown remains excessively wet, which favors the development of rot, which causes the loss of foliage. For those who repair the plant, in the greenhouse, at home or by covering it, the winter loss of the leaves is often due to cultivation conditions in an excessively dry climate: at home the air is dried by the presence of the irrigation system, but also in the greenhouse it often happens that one does not water all winter, causing a strongly dry climate, which does not suit plants such as cycas. In fact, in winter these plants love a humid climate, or rather, they do not like that the soil is wet (especially if soaked in water), but they like a lot of fresh and humid air. Cycas are very slow-growing plants, often specimens grown in pots produce a single frond in a year; your plant loses all its foliage during the winter (due to cold or drought), it is clear that the effort it has to produce to reconstitute its beautiful tuft of leaves is enormous; since he has already made this effort last year, repeating it this year is costing her too much effort, and therefore has produced smaller leaves; I believe that by correcting cultivation errors during the winter, your cycas will return to vegetating correctly.