How to care for your cycad

Water your cycad when dry, especially over late spring and summer when it will grow a new flush of leaves.

Cycads love water but do not appreciate being waterlogged.

Cycads need a good fertiliser with all 13 essential elements, including calcium.

As all structures of this ancient plant are modified leaves, it requires a fertiliser with high nitrogen content.

Quantity of fertiliser:

  • heaped teaspoon for 5 litre pot, heaped tablespoon for 15 litre pot.
  • bigger cycads: 1 gram per litre of pot or rootball size, for example 200 gram for cycad in 200 litre pot.

Spread on the mix around the plant but not in contact with the caudex.

Fertilise twice a year for optimum growth, in spring and mid summer after rain.

Fertilise every four months for maximum growth, note that most caudex growth occur over winter.


Mealy bugs and scale can be dealt with by spraying with olive oil from a spraycan.

Major infestations of mealy bugs and scale require spraying with an insecticide available from garden centres.

Hail or very cold rain can leave little yellow spots on the leaflets.

Old yellow and brown leaves can be cut off to obtain a more presentable cycad.