Zamia furfuracea, commonly known as the Cardboard Palm or Cardboard Cycad, is native to Mexico and is a member of the Zamiaceae family.


Zamia furfuracea has an upright arching habit and rosette style branch structure. Its arcing herringbone leaves are a rich leathery green but can often have a subtle brown new growth. A ‘fuzzy’ surface characterises the leaves and stems.

Zamia grows to 1.3m in height on average, and the leaves typically grow out to 1.2m in diameter forming a rosette. Growth may extend to 1.8m in diameter in full sun.


Zamia is suitable for both accent and specimen planting and can be used as a feature plant in a pot indoors and out. It is also ideal for use as a rigid boundary or mass planting. Zamia is a versatile and hardy plant providing many options for owners and landscapers.


Zamia is tolerant of a wide range of weather settings, making it an excellent choice for the diverse Australian climate. They do well in full sun or shade, but not in constant deep shade. It is more tolerable to low humidity levels than other cycads and grows best in well-drained soil.

This plant is easy to care for and requires minimal maintenance. Fertilising yearly to ensure proper growth and a foliage clean up now and again will bring new life to the specimen.

Zamia is susceptible to some pests such as spider mites, but the biggest killer of the Zamia is rot. Overwatering often results in stem or crown rot. Watering once a week in the summer months will suffice, while once a fortnight is ample in the winter months.


All parts of the plant, in particular the seeds, contain toxins which can be harmful to animals, including humans.

Zamia Furfuracea is an optimal substitute for other cycads and is Alpine grown with consistent availability. Consider it in your next project!

Written by: James Kauter – Alpine Nurseries Commercial Sales Manager & Horticulturist