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​​​Zamia Variegata Cycad

  • Common name: Zamia variegata, Giant Spotted Zamia, Speckled Zamia
  • Scientific name: Zamia veriegata
  • Family name: Zamiaceae
  • Origin: Central America
  • Height: 3-5 ft
  • Width: 8-10 ft
  • Growth: Slow
  • Zone: 9b-11
  • Light needs: Full, but indirect sun
  • Salt tolerance: Moderate
  • Soil/pH/Texture: Tolerates most soil types as long as it is well-drained and organically rich. Prefers a somewhat neutral pH (pH 6.5-7.5)
  • Moisture: This plant likes wet, humid conditions and should be watered regularly.
  • Drought tolerance: Low
  • Pests/Diseases: Young fronds are very soft and may need protection from insects
  • Growing conditions: This plant needs a warm, humid environment to thrive. Plant in an area where it receives bright, indirect light, as direct sunlight may burn its leaves. Due to its large underground trunk, it is best planted directly in the ground rather than in a container. Mulch with organic materials, such as bark. Do not plant in an area with any risk of frost, as this plant is very susceptible to freezing temperatures.
  • Characteristics: Zamia variegata has an underground trunk which may grow to be 8 inches wide and up to 8 feet tall. Newly forming fronds are soft and fuzzy. Fronds may grow to be 8-10 ft long, and the midrib and petiole have short, sharp spines. The leaflets are long and broad and are arranged in 10 or more opposite pairs per frond. The leaflets are glossy and have a distinct look: green with streaks of bright yellow. This plant is dioecious, having separate male and female plants, which produce different cones. Female plants bear a few, cylindrical cones, while male plants bear many cones that are much thinner and smaller than female ones. Seeds are bright orange-red.
  • Propagation: By seeds.
  • Wildlife: Its large fronds provide shade and refuge for small animals.
  • Facts: Its species name, variegata, refers to its variegated green and yellow leaves. In fact, Zamia variegata is the only cycad in the world with variegated leaves. It is endangered, with its population threatened by habitat destruction.
  • Designer considerations: This plant grows slowly, and its fronds can get very large. It is also low to the ground due to its underground trunk. Therefore, this plant is great ground cover, with its variegated leaves giving it an interesting pop of color. 


Ancient Garden

Zamia Variegata Cycad