Cycad Potting Mixes

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Cycad Potting Mixes

These potting mixes came from a couple of postings to the cycad list ( in late August, 1999.

From Craig Nazor:

My basic mix is;

1 part pumice
1 part Peat moss
1 part fir bark
1 part sand
1 part black compost

I am in a Cactus and Succulent Society, and we order pumice by the pallet for members at a considerably reduced price. I get the largest size (silica) blasting sand from a sand blasting supply house -it's cheap, clean, and well screened for size.

If it is a more xeric species particularly susceptible to rot, I double the pumice and leave out the peat moss. I also add some (a handful or so) decomposed granite, some limestone, and some green sand.

The fir bark adds structure and decomposes over time. This helps provide a longer period between repottings.

(In response to a query of which species he considered xeric)

Of those Cycads I've had experience with (which certainly isn't all of them), what I consider "xeric" for pot conditions in Texas are:

Dioon caputoi, Encephalartos lehmannii, E. trispinosus, Macrozamia macdonnellii

and probably some others. I'm still experimenting. We sometimes get a lot of rain, and sometimes not. I hate to move plants under cover because of rain, but I also hate to see cycads rot. Moving them in from the cold is bad enough! The soil mix seems to be the trick.

Craig Nazor

Cycad growth mediums, a collection.

Have collected this list over the years from letters or publications. Name reflects source. And, also have a list of mixes I have tried. My personal list is up to 17 plus.

Univ of Florida Soil Mix

1 coarse sand
1 small pine bark
1 peat

Univ of Florida Soil mix variants

1 coarse sand #12
1 orchard bark
1 pumice

1 coarse sand #12
1 Canadian peat moss
1 pumice

Guy Winkler Mix

3 sand (#12)
3 peat (coarse)
2 pumice (or perlite)

Old Tom Broom

2 sand
1 Florida peat
1 Pine bark

New Tom Broom

3 coarse sand #12
4 Canadian peat
2 saw dust
1 perlite

Danie Nels South Fla

1 bark
1 chicken manure
1 soil

Grant Gittleson Mix

3 potting soil
1 river sand
1 peat

Time-life Cycad Mix 1975

1 loam
1 peat
1 coarse sand
1 lime stone (1 tbs/gallon)

Willie Tang Mix and Whitlocke Mix

1 coarse sand
1 orchard bark (small)
1 Canadian peat moss
1 pumice (1/8 to 1/4) or perlite

Dick Johnson Calif Mix

1 coarse sand (#12)
1 supersoil (organic commercial mix)
1 pumice
1 peat
dolomite (? amount)

Steven Avooski Calif Mix

1 coarse sand
1 orchard bark, small
1 Canadian peat, coarse
1 pumice (1/8 to 1/4)
1 commercial cactus mix

Kurt Decker Mix

3 coarse sand
4 Canadian peat
2 saw dust
1 perlite

Sara Crull Mix, Arizona

1 potting soil (commercial)
1 sphagnum moss
1 perlite
1 sterilized manure

Bijan Dehgans U of Fl Mix

1 Metromix (soiless mix)
1 sharp sand
1 perlite
1 pine bark
dolomite (5lbs/yard)
perk micronutienst (3lbs/yard)

Shri Dhar mix

1 leaf mold
1 cow dung manure
1 coarse sand
1 alluvial soil (river bank wash coarse sand)
bone meal ? amount

Severn Doughty Mix

7 pine bark mulch
7 pro mix (commercial potting mix)
3 isolite (fire diatomaceous ceramic 1mm x 2-3mm)
7 hardite (fire clay 3 - 5 mm)
Plus following per gallon of mix
Peters Fritted Trace Elements (1.25cc)
Potassium Sulphate (,63 cc)
Iron sulphate (3.75cc)
steamed bone meal 90cc
dolomite lime 90 cc

Dirk Crous Mix

1 soil
2 coarse sand
2 compost
handful of superphosphate
2 tbs bone meal

Rolando Mexican Mix

3.5 common soil (no clay)
2.0 peat moss
1.0 dried leaves
1.0 cow manure
1.0 dried hemp
0.5 saw dust

Bob Jordan Mix

4.0 sand (2.0 coarse, 2.0 fine)
3.0 peat
2.0 orchard bark
2.0 scoria (volcanic red rock)
? amount 6-2-4 Bandini Pro choice

Attack Quak Mix 16C

2 field dirt
1 12 to 20 aggregate sand
1 wood shavings and sawdust (local cabinet shop)
2 Canadian peat
1 pine bark mulch ( or small nuggets)
1 perlite
charcoal ( 14 briquettes smashed up with hammer)

Contributed by:

There are also a couple of mix recipes for the epiphytic Zamia, Zamia pseudoparasitica on its page.

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