I did a search on Cycas revoluta and the picture looks exactly like
what we have here. I have read that it only needs infrequent watering
and good sun. I had been having Carol water it every morning. Should I
tell her to calm down, or is it good for the little guy since it is
just a small chap. I am totally new to growing ANYTHING, and would
really like this thing to live because I carted it thousands of miles
to give it to my lady love. Please help
Back off on the water; let the soil dry out, or nearly dry out, between
waterings. Unless it is severely root bound, watering once a week is
Also, unless your home is really cold (below 50 degrees), it's not necessary
to keep it on or even near the heater. Cycas revoluta is not a true tropical
plant; it's more of a subtropical plant. Normal room temperatures are fine.
Having it on the heater shouldn't harm it, though, unless the top of the
heater is actually hot. Can you keep your hand resting on the top of the
heater while the heater is on? If so, the plant is fine. It it's too warm
for your hand, it's probably too warm for the plant.
You can keep this plant indoors as a houseplant all year if you like; just
keep it near a sunny window.
Alternatively, you can move it outdoors, or on a porch or balcony, when the
weather warms. Just gradually acclimate it to the increased sunlight over a
couple of weeks. Outside, it will tolerate light levels from mostly shaded
(dappled light or only a couple of hours of direct light per day) to full,
all day sun. But if it's very hot and dry in the summer, partial shade
(morning sun, afternoon shade) is probably best. It will need more frequent
watering - possibly as often as daily - when it's outdoors in the summer
heat, so check it more often.
Regardless, you will have to move it back inside next fall - young plants
can be killed by temps in the 20s; even large mature plants will be killed
by temperatures of around 10 to 15 degrees. Unless you move somewhere much
warmer than Illinois after college, you'll have to keep it inside every
By the way, don't be alarmed if it does not grow at all for months. Cycas
revoluta grows in flushes, generally 2-3 times per year; it appears
unchanged between growth flushes. (Those "small shoots coming out of the
base" you are seeing right now are the early stages of a growth flush.) As
long as the mature fronds stay a nice deep green between growth flushes,
As long as you keep it in decent potting soil, I wouldn't worry about
feeding it. If it shows signs of nutrient deficiencies, or if you just
really *want* to feed it, get some palm fertilizer or slow-release
houseplant fertilizer, and follow the label directions carefully. If you're
not sure how much to use, use less! Only feed in spring and summer, not
after midsummer, and don't feed in fall or winter.
Unless you have a very large house, in ten years or so you'll have to find a
new home for your "small chap" as it then will be several feet across and
weigh as much as you do! Down here in FL we just plant them outside and let
them gradually take over a corner of our yard. :-) But I guess you'll have
to find a hotel or business which wants something big and "tropical" for its
P.S. - Buy a plant next time, OK?
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