Coontie

The Coontie is one of the most successful plants growing at Villa Maria and I am convinced that you cannot kill a Coontie!  After Hurricane Wilma I did some reconvations to the garden and buried one about 3 feet deep thinking that was the end of that. Hardly, about 9 months later I was shocked when it appeared again in the same spot.

 

COMMON NAME COONTIE
BOTANICAL NAME Zamia pumila
CATEGORY Oceanside Ground Cover
HEIGHT 2 – 3 Feet
ZONES 8 to 11
NATIVE Yes
LIGHT Sun to Shade
SALT TOLERANCE Relatively Salt Tolerant

 

The Coontie is an ancient cone-bearing plant and grows to about 2 – 3 feet.  It is a very nice ground cover for the Keys.  The Seminole Indians ground the underground stems into flour and I was always told that this was Florida's first crop.

From time to time the Coontie fronds have to be cut back because they get scales and black soot. The alternative would be to treat them with some systemic spray and I don't want any part of that.  However, if cutting back is done before the cool weather they will come right back and if done during the cold weather they will wait and come back in the early Spring.

From time to time we dig them up and move them around the garden and they could care less.

Coonties grow in either full sun or deep shade.  Once we threw some left over pieces into a heavily wooded dark area and lo and behold they grew too.

The Coontie is not an invasive type plant – quite the contrary it is a minimum maintenance plant and really hardy.

The seeds grow very easily although they take about a year to germinate. We simply put them in a community pot and forget them.  The minute the rains start the following year – up come the new baby plants.

This plant has become one of the signature plants at Villa Maria.

Closest plant to the Bay is about 20 feet.