Zamia furfuracea is a cycad native to Mexico in a small mountain range in central Veracruz. It has long fronds which arch from a central crown. The fronds carry tightly packed leaflets which give the plant a fern-like appearance. The thick leathery leaves are pinnate and have wide oval leaflets. They are slightly fuzzy and feel a little like cardboard when rubbed. The circular crowns of leaves resemble fern or palm fronds. The plant has a short, sometimes subterranean trunk up to 20cm (8 inch) broad and high. This plant produces a rusty-brown cone in the center of the female plant. The egg-shaped female cones and smaller male cone clusters are produced on separate plants. Even very young plants produce these interestingly shaped cones. When ripe, the female cone breaks to reveal an array of tightly packed, bright red seeds. In temperate regions it is commonly grown as a houseplant and, in subtropical areas, as a landscape plant outdoors. It is an easy to grow plant, but has a slow growth rate. This species grows in areas varying from generally arid thorn scrub to sandy soils and in limestone sea cliffs. Specimens can be grown indoors in shallow containers. In this way, the partially exposed trunk (tuberous stem) and the airy crown of leaves create an attractive bonsai specimen. It is use for border, mass planting, container or above-ground planter, in mixed foundation plantings or in perennial beds. This cycad is salt resistant and can be used in beachside plantings.
1. Scarify the seeds by nicking or sanding the seed coat.
2. Soak the seed in water for several hours.
3. The seeds like moist, sandy, well-drained soil. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand. Put the soil in a pot. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
4. Place the seeds on the soil.
5. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. They germinate in a few weeks.
6. Water the seeds.
7. Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun or part shade.
8. When the seedlings have a few leaves, they can be transplanted.