On Oct 23, 2012, Lightray from Carlsbad, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:
The attractive blue color is a nice addition to the garden. One of the easier to grow of the blue cycads if it gets sufficient sun and good draining soil. I get good blue color even within half a mile of the beach in North San Diego County, where we often see May Gray and June Gloom to start the summer.
On Oct 30, 2011, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:
This is a sun worshipping plant. If you dont have a spot that gets near sun up to sundown light,it will not do well. I have a plant that looks to be a seedling but is already four years old+ with a stubby (and now exposed by accident due to its pot being knocked over) caudex that is trying to push out a single frond. It's a long story of trial and many errors with an expensive,delicate plant.
But-think of it as a light needy cacti and you are much closer to having them do well,then thinking of it as a Sago or wet climate cycad.
On May 29, 2001, BotanyBob from Thousand Oaks, CA wrote:
This plant belongs to the Gymnosperms (cone-forming plants) though it's really not very closely related to most other Gymnosperms like pines. It looks a lot more like a palm than anything else. Typical to most other cycads, this plant has a short, succulent trunk full of starch, which is the 'life's blood' of the plant. The roots can be hacked off, as can the leaves and cones, and as long as the trunk, or caudex as it's called, is intact, it will usually recover. This characteristic makes this plant relatively easy to transplant.
Originally from Southern Africa, E horridus is a very spiny and interesting plant, having bizarrely twisted leaves that erupt out of the top of the caudex (sort of palm-like) and incredibly spiny, stiff, blue leaflets (hence the 'ferocious' name). This species is a highly sought collectors item and larger specimens are often sold for thousands of dollars. It is also very slow growing and it can take decades for a seedling to mature to the point of coning.
Like most cycads, overwatering may cause rotting of the caudex, especially if the soil is not very pourous. This species is particularly drought tolerant and can go many months without any water, as long as the caudex is healthy. Cycads with this bluish coloration seem to be the most tolerant of full sun and intense heat, and are slightly more tolerant of frost, too (this plant can easily tolerate temps in the mid 20s for a short time). However, cold, wet winters in moisture-retaining soils may rot the plant. Also humid climates are tough on the bluer cycads and they tend to wither in climates similar to southern Florida or Hawaii. Southern California and Arizona climates are perfect for this species.
Fertilizing is routine. Most cycads can tolerate quite a bit of fertilizer, though they can be burned by too much (especially if granules are dropped into the crown of the plant).
Fertilization occurs in nature by having insect vectors pollinate the female cones after being on the male cones. In cultivation there are no suitable pollinators ( in the US, at least) so all pollinating must be done by hand. Eventually plants sucker or 'pup'. These pups can be cut off the main plant and rooted in pumice, though care must be taken not to overwater these pups or they will easily rot.
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
Mesa, Arizona Phoenix, Arizona Carlsbad, California El Cerrito, California Encinitas, California Hayward, California La Presa, California Reseda, California Thousand Oaks, California Tulare, California Naples, Florida