Encephalartos ferrox

​​​​​​​​​Encephalartos ferrox

​​Encephalartos ferrox  

  • Common name: Encephalartos ferrox, Holly-leafed cycad
  • Scientific name: Encephalartos ferrox  
  • Family name: Zamiaceae
  • Origin: Southeast Africa
  • Height: 6-7 ft
  • Width: 6-7 ft
  • Growth: Slow
  • Zone: 9a-11
  • Light needs: Full sun to Part shade
  • Salt tolerance: Moderate
  • Soil/pH/Texture: Prefers rich, well-drained soil – not picky about soil type. Can tolerate a fairly wide Ph range (pH 5.6-7.8)
  • Moisture: Needs regular moisture – should be watered regularly, especially if conditions are dry. However, the soil should not become too boggy.
  • Drought tolerance: Low
  • Pests/Diseases: No pests/diseases are of particular concern.
  • Growing conditions: Best grown in a warm, humid area, in partial shade. It is very susceptible to cold and should not be in temperatures below 20° F, or exposed to frost. It needs regular and consistent moisture, but should not be overwatered.
  • Characteristics: The trunk tends to grow below the ground, and may be over 3 ft in length. Leaves are dark green, pinnately compound, and grow radially out from the center. The leaves are dark green with distinct spines along the margins of the leaflets. This species is sexually dimorphic, with distinct male and female cones being produced on different plants. The male cone is brown, cylinder-like, and over 1 ft long. Female cones are bright scarlet-orange and more compact. Female cones must be pollinated by hand to produce seeds, which are red and glossy.
  • Propagation: By seeds or by offsets
  • Facts: Its species name, “ferox”, means “fierce”, referring to the spines on the leaflets. It is grown by local people in Africa for its starch content.
  • Designer considerations: Great for ground cover in shady areas or as a specimen planting. The female plant’s bright orange cones surrounded by dark green leaves make for a good focal point.


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