Cyclanthus is an unusual plant, seldom offered for sale in Australia. Although it appears similar to a palm or aroid, Cyclanthus is in fact in a family of it’s own, the Cycalanthaceae. The value of this plant is as a lush under story plant in tropical, subtropical or Balinese style gardens. It makes a fantastic space filler or even background plant in layered garden beds.
Although a useful plant, Cyclanthus may not be suitable for all Brisbane gardens. Coming from Costa Rica, C. bipartitus is true tropical grower. They prefer it hot and humid and do not like to dry out. They survive the winter in Brisbane without much issue, but will not take frost or prolonged exposure to single digit temperatures. Place in a sheltered area if you’re in a frost zone, or bring indoors over winter.
Cyclanthus have potential as an indoor plant, though we have not tested extensively. Online sources suggest that it can be done. Outdoors in the garden, Cyclanthus can grow in part sun or full shade. How much sun it can handle is largely determined by how high the humidity is. Around Brisbane we get several months of the year of low humidity, so we recommend planting in morning sun only to avoid it burning or stressing in these times.
Fairly easy to grow, as long as the position is appropriately warm and shaded (see description above). Does best in rich, well-drained soil but is adaptable. Won’t tolerate waterlogged soils or prolonged dry periods. Use quality fertilizer such as Troforte or Organic Link regularly to produce strong, clean growth.
Very large, divided green leaves