As the planting date nears closer for the new glasshouse plants needs to be hardened off. The glasshouse the plants are currently inside has four layers of shading. This reduces the light intensity by around 60%. The new glasshouse doesn’t have this level of shading. Plants must therefore be moved outside under a two layer shade.
A shade net was erected at the end of the storage glasshouse by Piers. I then need to clear away all the junk and install irrigation. There are also four cycads in the area. These are fine in full sun so can be moved outside of the shade netting.
Today I set about cleaning up. After this I brought out the cycads and repotted them. I used a nice free draining mix consisting of 4:1 perlite to tufa and some osmocote. Instead of using pots I used fibre bags with handles, these are easier to move. Each cycad was put in the smallest bag possible as they will be planted fairly soon.
I decided to repot the plants because the previous mix was totally depleted. I also feel the last mix lacked the appropriate drainage, it was simply peat and tufa. Cycads are very vigorous, a trait possessed by most fossil plants. This means I can also remove all the old foliage and be confident of its return. The foliage removal is mostly aesthetic, I want nice fresh growth for planting.
Above: Encephalartos ferox, this plant is actually from South Africa so will go outside in the garden.
Cycas circinalis pictured above, was the first to come out. I actually brought the much larger specimen out a while ago, this smaller plant will contribute nicely to the display. C. circinalis is native to Southern India and Sri Lanka, it is endangered in the wild. It is also one of the largest cycads, plants often grow higher than ten metres. Lastly, as if ticking boxes, the seeds are made into flour and eaten, another tropical crop.