Encephalartos Nubimontanus


Now officially extinct in nature, this extremely rare blue leaved cycad originated from the north of South Africa, where it was found in mountainous regions. It is the fastest growing blue leaved African cycad. Distinctive blue/grey cones. Produces numerous offsets. Prefers full sun and excellent drainage. An exceptional addition to any garden or collection



Encephalartos Nubimontanus


Origin and Habitat: Encephalartos nubimontanus is extinct in the wild and used to occur in the Drakensberg in the Limpopo province, South Africa. Plants were found along the mountain range to the north and east of Penge. Originally known from 66 plants, only 8 were counted in a 2001 survey and none could be found in a 2004 survey despite very careful searching. The species is popular with collectors and there has been much poaching activity in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.
Altitude range: This species occurred at an altitude of 3,281 ft (1,000 m).
Habitat and Ecology: Plants used to occur in low open deciduous woodland on cliff faces and in direct sunlight, but the known subpopulations were extirpated by collectors. However, the efforts to re-propagate this plant in private collections, nurseries and conservatories, ensures this plant never dies out, by getting its descendants into many gardens across the world.

Cultivation and PropagationEncephalartos nubimontanus is the fastest growing blue leaved African cycad, more vigorous than other members of the ‘Eugene-maraisii complex’, it forms clusters of offsets, handles wetter conditions and prefers full sun. It is hardy, adaptable and striking in appearance. As a garden subject, it is one of the most spectacular of all cycad species and is quite adaptable in cultivation. When young they can be grown as a container plant and eventually transplanted into the garden. As a garden plant, this cycad will usually hold two or three crowns of leaves, all in good condition. Likes lots of water in the growing season.
Growing rate: This species is a fast grower and in 5 to 8 years will develop into a nice plant. It responds well to cultivation provided it is grown in sun, is well drained, with sufficient moisture in frost-free conditions. It is best to grow young seedlings on until the leaves are about a yard high before planting in the open ground.
Soils: It grows in all sorts of soil type, but prefer well drained, gritty soil with plenty of water, especially in dry weather.
Transplanting: This species transplants easily as a mature plant, although it is recommended to remove all of the leaves before doing so. This makes for easier handling and the plant will recover sooner due to less moisture loss.
Exposure: It thrives and grows best in filtered sun or shade. When grown in full sun, the leaves are a little shorter and less likely to be damaged by wind. The leaves of those plants grown in the shade can become stretched out and damage the caudex if they break off close to their base.
Waterings: In cultivation prefers moist soil with good drainage for optimal growth. But it is eventually drought resistant. Irrigation systems can be detrimental to cycads, damaging the leaves and stems from the pressure of the water as well as over-watering.
Fertilization: Naturally undemanding for nutrients, it responds very well to regular applications of fertilizer. Growth can be greatly improved through the application of fertilizers. Most growers find that a fertilizer having an even NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) balance, and supplemental trace elements, provides a good start for cycads.
Wind tolerance: It prefers a sheltered position providing protection from the prevailing winds.
Hardiness: It is suited to subtropical and warm temperate regions. Frost may burn the leaves but will not easily kill established plants.


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