El Pequeño Jardin

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Coontie Fern

Coontie Fern
zamia floridana
Pricing and Availability
Container Size # Available Cost Each
Information is accurate as of:
May 23, 2009

Height:  2 to 4 feet

Spread:  3 to 5 feet

Growth Rate:  slow

Sun Light:  Grows in part shade/part sun

Soil tolerance:  alkaline; sand; acidic; loam

Drought tolerance:  high

This native of Florida is also known erroneously as Zamia pumila. The feather-like, light green, leathery foliage of Coontie emerges from a large underground storage root in the early years before a trunk develops. Providing a tropical landscape effect, Coontie’s unique growth habit is ideally suited for use as a specimen or container planting. It looks particularly attractive when plants of differing sizes are planted together to form a clumping, specimen-like effect. Planted on 3 to 5-footcenters for a massing effect, it forms a 3-foot-tall, medium green ground cover. Coontie are rarely used in this manner because of the high cost of plants, but it is well worth the effort. This plant should be used more in the landscape.

Use and Management

Grows best with some shade, Coontie can tolerate full sun and grows on a variety of soils as long as it is well-drained. Watering should be done with moderation, if at all, once established. But like any plant, plenty of water is needed following transplanting.

Propagation is usually difficult by seed, and growth is very slow.

Pest problems include sooty mold, mealy bugs, and scale. Florida red scale must be controlled by regular spraying as it can be fatal to coontie. The alata caterpillar feeds only on the Coontie. It devours foliage at a rapid rate for about two weeks and then disappears. Plants look fine after new foliage appears.