Cycad Seedling trouble

Arua, Uganda(Zone 11)

I have Cycad seeds that I germinated. They grew their first and second set of leaves fine. The largest sprouted a third leaf in the dry season that before it matured shriveled. I attributed this to the dry air as it was well watered at the time.

Now the rains have started the same plant sprouted another replacement leaf. To my surprise it has also shriveled before maturing (see photo). There has been lots of rain and humidity this time. The neigbouring seedling produced a leaf with no problem (see the healthy leaf in the photo).

As I have only three seedling I dont want to loose it.

Any idea why this should happen and what I can do to help stop this?


Thumbnail by Mvule
noonamah, Australia

Do you know which species it is? Some of them take more and some take less water. I have a number of Cycas species seedlings and it mystifies me sometimes why they sudden;y lose leaves. And when I'm ready to give up and throw them out they suddenly produce another leaf.

Arua, Uganda(Zone 11)

I bought it as Cycas sp. (Silver)Thai Silver Sago from the seedlings are about two years old

Maybe the weather as too wet??

noonamah, Australia

At least they sprouted. I don't deal with Rare Palm Seeds, they have a bad history. I tried to find out what species those are but they're only referenced as Thai silver form and never a species name. I'd let the problem one dry out a bit under shelter. And then keep it moist without getting too wet.

Arua, Uganda(Zone 11)

OK that is a good idea. I will try that.

Who do you order seeds from then? I have found RPS slow to fulfill the order. Some seed usually don't germinate (like Dypsis, Copernicia, Cyrtostachys, Latania). Others I get two to four Caryota maxima, Wallichia, Ptychosperma, . Others I have been pleased with including, Dioon spinulosum (8 out of 11 seeds germinated), Euterpe edulis (12 out of 14) Cycas pectinata (6 out of 10).

With the cycads I usually get fair to good germination. The main problem is that they are so expensive!

I am trying to germinate Salacca and Garcinia (Mangostan) but so far to no avail.

noonamah, Australia

A lot of cycads are protected under CITES and can't be sent internationally without a lot of bureaucratic red tape, if at all. That's because many of them are on endangered lists. What you should do is get onto the Cycad Friends forum which is based in South Africa but with members from all over the world. They mostly go for Encephalartos because they're so common in Africa. But members also have a lot of other genus as well. You'd be able to find out the best ways of getting cycads in Africa.

With RPS I believe there's no quality control and a lot of the seed is old and not viable. I found results very mixed with what I got from them. Along with some palm seed I also ordered Bromeliad seeds. What arrived was sawdust, I got it checked out. When I emailed them of course it was the usual no reply. So in my experience they're not a reliable nor an honest company.

If you got your Garcinia mangostana seed from them I'd say there's no hope they'll ever germinate. The seed has to be fresh to begin with and they germinate very easily and quickly. I've used seed from fruit I bought. Some fruit from supermarkets has been refrigerated and usually isn't viable. I got mine from a farmers market and germination rate was good.

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