Yes, it can take a long time to grow Cycads!
During the annual PSSC Banquet, this one held January 2004 (that's 14 years ago), I received a large quantity of Cycas thouarsii seeds from a fellow grower who had obtained them directly from Madagascar. The very next day Louise and I half-buried these seeds into a bed of moistened pumice and sand that was bottom heated to 85 degrees F. In about 6 months these seeds had sent a radicle plunging into the soil below. That was very exciting! In another 6 months these seeds with well-formed radicles were placed into our cycad soil within a 3" x 3" x 9" container that is called a liner; this liner was placed into a 14.25" x 14.25" x 5" Anderson flat container. It works out that 25 liners will fit within this flat container and we had about 6 flats, amounting to 150 plants. These containers were placed onto 85 degree F pads that were turned on during the cold months. The shouting was now over and all we had to do is wait and wait and wait. Forgive me for not recording every event, but in about 2 years these plants were transferred, termed shifted, to a 2 gallon round container. After 3 years these cycads had sent roots through the bottom of this container, so they were shifted to 5 gallons. Hold on to your hats for the next stage. We purposely kept these cycads within 5 gallon containers for a number of reasons, so they grew slowly over the next 8 years. Then they became ready to shift to 15 gallon containers, with a caudex of around 4", some larger, with a stem length around 7" long. Though this was a long time within 5 gallon containers the roots were perfectly shaped--they were not root bound. Well, that's the process. We are modest in saying that they are simply beautiful. Here they are.
Behind these Cycas thouarsii are our crop of lovely Cycas taitungensis and Cycas revoluta.