October 17, 2013
Repotting My Giant Cycads
With autumn weather upon us, it's time to think about moving all of the tropical plants back into the heated greenhouse where they spend the winter months. These plants have all been growing extremely well and are getting quite full and large. Several tropical plants have grown too big for their pots and need to be removed from the containers and given a good root trimming. It would be nice to simply plant them in larger pots, but the pots they're in are quite large, as it is. My collection contains two sizable sago palms, or cycads, which have been in the same containers for several years. This blog is about how those cycads were dealt with.
1 My tropical plant collection has enjoyed being outdoors all summer long. This sago palm, or cycas revoluta, one of a pair, has gotten especially large and bushy.
2 Technically, this is not a palm but a cycad, a plant that dates to prehistoric times when the dinosaurs roamed the earth. With the cooler temperatures of autumn, it's time to move these tropicals indoors.
3 Moving such a large potted plant requires strength, care, and the right equipment.
4 The large and heavy pot is eased onto the loader of the John Deere tractor.
5 A moving blanket cushions the cement pot and an adjustable moving strap is tightened around it, securing the pot to the loader.
6 Very slowly, the cycad was transported to the tropical greenhouse.
7 I had this greenhouse constructed two years ago and now I'm sorry I didn't opt for a larger one. The plants have grown so much!
8 Before placing the large cycads in the greenhouse, they need to be pulled out of their pots.
9 The second of the pair was moved, as well.
10 It's been about five years since these plants were repotted and they need attention desperately. You can see that it is very root-bound.
11 It was a bit of a struggle, but finally, the pot came free.
12 The process was repeated with the other plant.
13 All the bushiness around the base of the plants are actually baby cycads, called pups. You can multiply cycads by removing these pups and planting them.
14 Ryan has done this procedure many times and he began loosening the pups with a gardening knife.
15 He dug out the oxalis that adorned the base of the plant.
16 The oxalis will be potted up for reuse.
17 These pups were quite mature and removing them intact was a bit of a struggle.
18 It took a bit of wrestling.
19 Success! Pups are shoots, which the mother plant produced.
20 To use these pups for new plants, they need to be set in a warm, dry, and dark place for several days to allow the fresh cut to harden over before planting them in soil.
21 When all the pups were removed, it was time to tackle the root mass.
22 Ryan cut off about 5-inches from the bottom.
23 He also removed roots from all around the root mass.
24 A stone was placed over the drain hole of the cement pot.
25 A good-quality potting soil was poured into the empty pot.
26 Some Osmocote plant food was sprinkled over the potting soil.
27 The heavy cycad was hoisted into the pot.
28 The pot was topped off with soil.
29 More soil and more Osmocote
30 Tamping down the soil
31 One repotted cycad
32 And the other!