How to Protect Your Cycads From Cold Weather

already in comparatively mild climates, like those in Southern California, can present challenges to young cycads. When you don’t have the assistance of large cover plants, you need to take additional steps to protect your cycad investment.

With 39 years of experience, growing and maintaining palms and cyads, I hope that as the cold winter weather approaches, I can be of some assistance in helping you unprotected to success in your own garden. I hope to proportion my successes, in addition as my failures, and how I overcame them.

Consideration needs to be made in terms of your climate, when caring for palms and cyads. I currently live in North San Diego, and have done for 12 years. The climate is particularly warm in the summer, but considerably colder in the winter. While I have lived here, the temperature has been as low as low 20’s Fahrenheit, for 3 of the years I have been here. In contrast, I used to live very close to the ocean, where the weather was in fact a lot more mild.

Unfortunately, this extreme cold weather, has killed many seedling and juvenile palms and cyads, in addition as burning the leaves on many of my larger palms and cyads.

The leaves of large green leaf cyads that were outdoors, would often burn as far down as the crown flush of leaves, due to the without of an overhead canopy. This transpired to be due to the cold air, directly meeting the upper most leaves of the cyads. Fortunately, the lower most leaves, tended to avoid the direct effect of the cold air, as they showed little or no cold burn damage. Evidently, young palms and cyads, considerably assistance from overhead protection.

For a comparatively young garden, that has little in the way of overhead protection, there are several ways to conquer the problem, and provide a solution.

1. acquire some larger plants (I prefer cold-hardy palm trees) for overhead protection.

2. Cover plants with frost protection sheeting

3. Cover cycad caudex with straw.

4. For smaller plants; cover the complete plant with an upside down grow pot, or plastic trash can. Ensure these covers are removed as soon as the cold has passed though.

5. Try and select species of plants that have a higher tolerance to the cold weather

If you take the time to protect your young cycads, they can provide a lifetime of enjoyment.

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