Garden Talk

with Rebecca Jordi

Q: What can you tell me about the cardboard plant? I have seen it in garden centers but I am not sure I should buy it.

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Cardboard Plant Zamia furfuracea

Cardboard Plant, Zamia furfuracea

A:  The cardboard plant or cardboard cycad, Zamia furfuracea, is a very attractive cycad.  The rigid, woody, medium-green foliage of cardboard plant emerges from a large underground storage root and forms a loose, spreading, symmetrical rosette. Providing a tropical landscape effect, cardboard plant’s mounding growth habit is ideally suited for use in containers or as a specimen. Several can be planted together for a lush, tropical effect. They also create a dramatic effect when mass-planted in a shrub border, eventually reaching to six or eight feet tall. However, they are best suited for cold hardiness zones 9b – 11.  Remember along the coast in Fernandina, the cold hardiness zone is 9a.  It could be tricky but if you are willing to protect it during cold season, you could potentially grow it here.  It likes shade to full sun.  It is drought and salt tolerant. It really has no diseases and can occasionally have red scale but this can be easily controlled if caught early.  Attached is a complete publication from the University of Florida:  http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fp618

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