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Encephalartos princeps
Encephalartos princeps
Encephalartos princeps leaf detail
E. princeps with Agave companion plant
E. princeps growing at nursery
Container grown plant
Nice double trunk specimen
Beautiful leaves!
Encephalartos princeps in the garden
Encephalartos princeps specimen
   Encephalartos princeps is one of the most beautiful blue cycads one can grow.  Encephalartos princeps native habitat is in South Africa, found in several locations. It can grow up to 20 feet tall. Main stems produce  numerous suckers from the base of the plant.  Leaflets tend to grow upward, overlapping in a "V" formation. Overall leaves are 3-4 feet in length.  As with all cycads E. princeps is dioecious, which means plants are either male or female. One must have both to produce viable seeds. As leaves age they will start to turn green. This is normal for most blue species. E. princeps can be confused with Encephalartos lehmannii.  Leaflets of E. lehmannii have more spacing between them.  The cones of E. princeps are also different in that the color is an olive green, where E. lehmanii are blackish-red to green according to Loran Whitelock. Encephalartos princeps is considered endangered in habitat.
  Encephalartos princeps is of easy culture, however as with most cycads slow growing for it's first several years of life. I have found it's best to grow seedlings in containers until the caudex reaches the size of an orange.  This can take several years. Once planted however, their growth will speed up.  I have also observed that young plants may lose all their leaves before sending up a new flush of growth.  When planting in the ground make sure the soil is well drained, and you can go as far as planting your specimen slightly raised above ground level on a mound of soil. Be careful not to expose the caudex to much at a young age. They grow best in full sun with regular watering. Regular fertilizer applications will result is a beautiful specimen!
Perfect size specimen ready for planting in the landscape