- Category: Plants
HabitatSteep hillsides or canyon walls in loose, very organic soil under cover of pine-oak forest at elevations of about 1550 m (5100 ft). Rainfall averages 2250 mm (89 in) annually, falling mostly in summer.
DistributionMexico, Veracruz state, northeast of Jalapa.
Ceratozamia mexicana grows extremely well in cultivation and is well represented in botanical gardens around the world. Its ability to grow in low light also makes it a favourite with collectors and interior decorators. It can be used as a houseplant and will thrive with little light and in a dry atmosphere. The leaflets are not spiny, so it is safe in areas of heavy traffic. The only negative factor is its brittle leaflets, which are stiff and can be broken away from the rachis quite easily. For this reason plants should receive protection from people or animals pushing by them. A constantly damp growing medium, high in organic matter and with excellent drainage, is preferred. In the wild, plants can sometimes be found growing in almost pure leaf mold. Light applications of fertilizer during the warmer months of the growing season will maintain the dark, glossy green foliage.
Ceratozamia mexicana is frost tolerant and will show no foliar damage at several degrees below freezing. This is a cycad that must be protected from strong winds, which tends to bend or break away the brittle leaflets. This species grows well and reasonably rapidly from seed, but seed is not generally available.