Dioon Edule: Care, Propagation, and More

Dioon Edules are beautiful and unique cycads that can be found in the wild throughout parts of Mexico. With its thick trunk, lush green leaves as well as striking cones, it is no wonder why so many people want one for their garden! While these plants may seem difficult to care for at first glance, the right information on how you should go about culturing this amazing species will become easy. So let’s take a look!

Dioon Edule – unusual indoor plant overview

Origins & Habitat

Dioon Edule is an evergreen perennial plant that belongs to the family Zamiaceae. This lovely plant is also known as ‘rainbow cycad’, ‘Mexican cycad’, or ‘cardboard palm’. Another name, Virgin’s Palm, comes from the old notion that this plant might help women conceive. It originates from Mexico where it can be found in the wild in the states of Chiapas, Guerrero, and Oaxaca. Dioon Edule prefers humid tropical climates and grows best in USDA zones 11-12.

This beautiful plant has a thick trunk that can grow up to 16 feet (or even more) tall and 24 inches in diameter.
The trunk is covered with dark brown or gray scales that are arranged in concentric circles. The leaves of Dioon Edule are long, pinnate, and can reach up to 16 feet in length. They are bright green with a silvery-white underside. The new leaves have a pink or reddish hue.

Origins & Habitat

The cones of Dioon Edule are large and round. They can be up to 12 inches wide and 18 inches long. The cones are covered with thick scales that can be either green, yellow, brown, or red. The male cones are usually smaller than the female ones.

The flowers of this plant are small and inconspicuous. They grow on short stalks and have both male and female parts. Male flowers have four petals, while female flowers have eight petals [1].

Dioon Edule got its name from the Greek god Dionysus. It was first described by a French botanist, André Michaux, in 1803. This plant is not commonly found in cultivation, but it is becoming more popular as an ornamental plant. It is often used as a specimen plant or as part of a cycad collection.

Ecology & Distribution

Dioon Edule is found in the wild in Mexico. It prefers humid tropical forests where it grows under the shade of taller trees. This plant is not found in any other part of the world. The leaves of Dioon Edule are used as roof thatching material in some parts of Mexico, cause of their durability. The trunks are sometimes used as posts for fences or buildings [2].

The main threats to this species are habitat loss due to deforestation, agricultural expansion, and over-exploitation. Dioon Edule is often collected from the wild for the ornamental plant trade. This has led to a decline in its population in some parts of its range. It is listed as ‘vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, therefore measures should be taken to protect this species. The conservation of Dioon Edule is important for the ecosystem where it grows. This plant provides food and shelter for many animals, including some rare species of birds. It’s better to buy plants that come from seeds grown in nurseries rather than picked up by wild collectors.

Dioon Edule growing and care pro-tips

Dioon Edule is a beautiful and unusual plant that makes a great addition to any garden. With the right care, which includes plenty of light, water, and fertilizer, this plant can thrive for many years. If you are looking for something different, Dioon Edule is definitely worth considering. Here are some guidelines on how to raise and care for your Dioon Edule properly!

Size & Growth

Dioon Edule is a slow-growing plant. It can take up to 20 years for this plant to reach its full size. The trunk of Dioon Edule can grow up to 16 feet tall and 24 inches in diameter. The leaves can reach up to 16 feet in length. When growing indoors, this plant will usually only reach a fraction of its potential size, so if you want Dioon Edule to reach its full size, it’s best to plant Dioon Edule outdoors. Just remember that this plant does not like low temperatures, therefore it’s best to plant it in a warm climate.

Flowering & Fragrance

Dioon Edule is a small, inconspicuous plant with male and female flowers that grow on short stalks. Male blooms have four petals, whereas female blooms have eight.

Male and female flowers differ in other ways than the number of petals, color is another notable difference.
Male flowers are yellow, while female flowers are green. The blooming period for Dioon Edule is from May to July, due to which this plant is also known as summer cycad. The flowers of this plant do not have any fragrance, however, the cones produced by this plant have a distinct smell.

Flowering & Fragrance

Cones are the seed-bearing structures of this plant, and they come in different colors such as yellow, brown, or red. They are generally ovoid or oblong and can reach up to 18 inches in length. Male cones are usually smaller than female cones. Dioon Edule cones are also known to be edible and are often used in traditional Mexican cuisine, for example as flour to make tortillas or as a seasoning [3]. With cones this large, it’s no wonder that this plant is also known as the “giant cycad”!


If you’re considering raising Dioon Edule indoors, there are a few things to consider its care demands. Foremost, this plant prefers bright indirect light and high humidity. It will do best if you can provide it with at least four hours of direct sunlight per day. If you live in a hot climate, it’s best to provide some afternoon shade. Dioon Edule prefers full sun, but can tolerate partial shade. The correct illumination is also required for optimal cone growth, as the cones are growing, Dioon Edule cones need full sunshine for the best outcomes [4]. If Dioon Edule cones are not getting enough light, they won’t develop as intended and may even die. This plant, on the other hand, is especially vulnerable to excessive light, as it can also damage this plant, and its leaves are known to get sunburned easily.


Dioon Edule prefers warm temperatures and high humidity. It will do best if you can provide it with at least four hours of direct sunlight per day.

If you reside in a hot environment, provide some afternoon shade.
The ideal temperature range for this plant is 60°F – 80°F. The ideal temperature for Dioon Edule growth is a delicate balance. It’s crucial not just for the plant to develop, but also for the formation of its cones. If the temperature is too low, Dioon Edule may stop growing altogether. Don’t forget to keep humidity level in mind, as well! If the environment is too dry, Dioon Edule may suffer from dehydration and its leaves will start to turn brown.


Dioon Edule needs to be watered regularly during the growing season, which is from spring to fall. This plant prefers high humidity and regular watering, however, it does not like to be overwatered, so make sure the soil has time to dry out between watering.

WateringThe soil should be kept moist but not soggy. During the winter months, watering can be reduced to allow the plant to go into dormancy. The winter dormancy period extends from November to February, and it is characterized by reduced growth and less water requirements. For this period, it’s preferable to water Dioon Edule only when the soil is dry to the touch.


Dioon Edule does not need to be fertilized, but if you want to, you can use a low-nitrogen fertilizer once a month during the growing season. A low-nitrogen fertilizer will help this plant to grow strong and healthy, and it can help with the development of its cones. Just be careful not to overdo it, as too much fertilizer can burn the roots of Dioon Edule.


If you want to grow Dioon Edule in a pot, make sure to use a well-draining potting mix. The roots of this plant are sensitive to overwatering, so make sure the soil is not too dense or too heavy. A good potting mix for Dioon Edule should contain sand, peat moss, and perlite, everything that is needed for the plant to drain well and breathe. For Dioon Edule’s roots to be healthy, they must be able to breathe, so it’s better to choose soil that can provide that.


It also needs to be in an area that is sheltered from the wind, as this plant is not tolerant of strong winds. The strong wind can be a problem because it can damage the leaves of Dioon Edule and can also cause the plant to lose moisture. Cones are also vulnerable to the wind, which might cause them to fall off the plant [5].


This plant does not like to be transplanted, it can be done, but it’s better to do it only when it’s necessary, otherwise, it is best to leave it in its pot for its entire life. The roots of Dioon Edule are delicate, and they don’t like to be disturbed. If you have to transplant this plant, do it in the springtime when the plant is just starting to grow, so it can recover quickly if necessary. Transplanting can be stressful for the plant, and it might not recover if the roots are disturbed too much. The most accurate and safest way to transplant Dioon Edule is by using the potting mix that it is already in, in this case, the plant won’t be too stressed, and it will have an easier time adjusting.

Grooming & Maintenance

Dioon Edule doesn’t need to be pruned or trimmed. If the leaves start to yellow, though, it could be a sign of too much water or fertilizer. The afflicted leaves should be removed to preserve the plant and maintain its health. If you see any dead leaves, remove them as well, so the plant can focus its energy on healthy growth. However, it’s better to be careful and not prune the plant too often as it can be detrimental. Too much prune can lead to a decrease in the number of leaves, and that can slow down the plant’s growth, it’s also not so aesthetically pleasing.

How to propagate Dioon Edule

Dioon Edule can be propagated by seeds or offsets.

Seeds of Dioon Edule can be found in the cones that the plant produces. Once the cone is ripe, it will open and release the seeds. The seeds can be collected and then planted in a well-draining potting mix. Make sure to plant the seeds in a sunny spot, and water them regularly. The temperature should be kept at 70°F – 80°F. The germination process can take up to two years, in this time it is best to keep the soil moist but not too wet. When the seedlings are big enough to handle, they can be transplanted into individual pots.

The offsets of Dioon Edule are the small plants that grow around the base of the main plant. These offsets can be carefully removed from the ground and then transplanted into individual pots. The offsets will need to be watered regularly until they are established [6].

Dioon Edule common hazards

This plant is not toxic to humans or animals. Unless you have very sensitive skin, you should not experience any irritation from handling this plant. Dioon Edule is not known to cause any problems for humans or animals. However, it is best to wash your hands after handling this plant, just in case.

Dioon Edule most common pest & disease problems

Dioon Edule is not known to be susceptible to any pests or diseases. However, it is always best to check your plant for signs of pests or disease and to treat them as soon as possible. The most known diseases, your plant can have root rot and stem rot. These diseases are caused by too much water or fertilizer.

If you see any signs of these diseases, remove the affected leaves or stems and treat the plant with a fungicide.

Dioon Edule most common pest & disease problems

Pests that can affect your Dioon Edule are mealybugs, scale insects, and spider mites. These pests can be controlled with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. If you see any signs of pests, treat the plant as soon as possible [7].

Dioon Edule uses

Dioon Edule can be used as an ornamental plant in gardens or pots. It can also be used as a fence or building post. Seeds from Dioon Edule cones can be used to make a yellow dye, and they are also edible.


How do you care for a Dioon?

Dioon Edule is a beautiful plant that grows well in high humidity. It prefers bright indirect light and can withstand some shade, but it needs at least four hours of direct sunlight per day to properly flourish! The ideal temperature range for this plant species is 60°F – 80 degrees Fahrenheit. During their growing season, which extends from spring to fall, paying close attention will guarantee the health of your Dione by watering them regularly. You should also be sure not to let your soil become too dry or wet as these factors may cause damage upon death if left unchecked over the winter months when growth slows down significantly due to both stressors acting individually on the plant.

Is Dioon Edule sago palm?

No, Dioon edule is not a sago palm. Sago palms are in the Cycadaceae family, while Dioon edule is in the Zamiaceae family. They may look similar, but they are two different species of plant!

How do you root Dioon Edule?

Dioon Edule can be propagated by both seeds and offsets. Sow the seeds/offsets in well-draining, sandy soil. The temperature should be kept at 70°F – 80°F. The germination process can take up to two years.

How do you plant Dioon Edule seedlings?

To germinate seeds of Dioon Edule, you need a cone. Once it is ripe, it will open and release its seeds which can be collected, then planted in a well-draining potting mix with adequate sunlight for growth (70°F – 80 degrees Fahrenheit). The time between planting may take up to two years, make sure not to water too much, because it can cause the death of your plant.

Useful Video: Planty of the week! | Dioon edule

Final Thoughts

Dioon Edule is a beautiful, low-maintenance plant that can thrive in any garden! With proper care, it will be sure to provide you with many years of service. Propagating by both seeds and offsets is easy as pie when done properly, which only requires some patience for success – just watch out for pests or diseases because they might change things up on us. Sometimes too much water/fertilizer isn’t good either. But don’t worry, these signs usually indicate an issue if there’s anything wrong. So take action right away before It’s too late! Be mindful about giving your favorite plant lots of love, then enjoy their company at home day-in and day-out! Happy gardening!


  1. https://www.gardenia.net/plant/dioon-edule
  2. https://ethnobiomed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13002-018-0282-z
  3. https://plantcaretoday.com/dioon-edule.html
  4. https://www.gardenguides.com/12416034-how-to-care-for-a-cycad-plant.html
  5. https://cycadales.eu/growing-medium-for-cycads/
  6. http://www.plantoftheweek.org/week551.shtml
  7. https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/control-methods/aphids-mealybugs-and-scales