Zamia pumila is a small evergreen shrub, similar to a small palm, in fact the genus Zamiacee belongs to the cicadaceae family; they are native to Central America. It has a short woody stem, which often has an underground development; the long evergreen leaves are fleshy, thick and leathery; they are pinnate, consisting of some oval or lanceolate leaflets. The foliage of Zamia is bright green in color, generally the lower side is brown or reddish. These are dioecious plants, so there are male plants and female plants; the flowers are produced at the beginning of spring: the female plants produce, at ground level, small dark panicles, from which emerge small bright red seeds. Generally it is difficult for potted specimens to reach flowering. These plants are poisonous, so it is good to make sure that they do not come into contact with children or pets, even if the disgusting taste makes them decidedly unattractive.
Exposure is a very important factor to consider if you want to grow a plant. Depending on the species, it will be necessary to prefer a sunny, partial shade or total shade position. let's see together what the specific cultivation needs of zamia pumila are.
Unlike many other varieties, they can be cultivated in any position, since they bear the direct sun but also the dark and shaded positions; in Europe they are grown as houseplants, although in fact they could easily withstand temperatures close to zero, so in southern regions they could be used as garden plants, if placed in a sheltered place from the wind. Usually they are grown in places with minimum temperatures close to 10-12 ° C.
Watering and soil
Water the soil regularly, but only when the soil has been very dry for a few days, avoiding excess; during the winter months we water only sporadically, keeping the land mostly dry. In fact, during the winter season, most plants need less water. As for the soil, zamia pumila are grown in a soft and very well drained soil, consisting of universal soil mixed in equal quantities with sand or lapillus. Generally they do not need to be repotted very often, also because the growth is very slow, and generally it takes a few years for the plants to reach 70-90 cm in height, with a trunk diameter close to 20-25 cm.
The multiplication of zamia pumila occurs by seed; before the plants have an acceptable size, it usually takes some years of cultivation.
Zamia pumila: Pests and diseases
As for the development of pests and diseases, zamia plants fear the attack of the cochineal, especially if grown at home, given the poor environmental humidity and aeration present in the apartment. Cochineal is a tiny insect (1-3 millimeters) that weakens our plant by piercing it and sucking its sap. To combat the problem it is advisable to obtain a cotton pad soaked in alcohol and rub the affected parts until manually removing these parasites. In the most serious cases, use specific pesticide products.