Native Garden

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Zamia Pumila

  • ​Common Name:  Coontie also Cardboard Palm
  • Scientific Name:  Zamia Pumila
  • Family Name:  Zamiaceae
  • Origin:  North America  
  • Height:  1’ – 3’
  • Width:  6’
  • Growth:  Slow
  • Zone:  8 - 11
  • Light Needs:  Full sun/part shade
  • Salt Tolerance:  High
  • Soil/PH/Texture:  Sandy soil
  • Soil Moisture:  Well drained
  • Drought Tolerance:  High
  • Pests/Diseases: Florida red scale and hemispherical scales cause yellow patches on leaves.  Also, mealy bugs which causes sooty mold.  Use soap to remove mealy bugs.
  • Growing Conditions: Low maintenance and easy to grow.
  • Characteristics: Coonties can be used as a specimen plant or in foundation and massed plantings.  They have stiff, glossy, featherlike leaves attached to a thick, short, underground stem.
  • Propagation: Seed
  • Wildlife: The coontie serves as the sole host plant for larvae of the rare Atala butterfly.
  • Facts:  While Coonties look like ferns and are called palms, they are actually cycads.  Cycads are an ancient group of tropical and subtropical plants that have existed since the age of dinosaurs.  The Seminole Indians learned to use the starchy residue of the coontie to produce a bread.
  • Designer Considerations:  Florists sometimes use coontie leaves as greenery in floral arrangements. The foliage provides tropical appeal in arrangements and has the ability to last as a cut green. Cut foliage is bunched and shipped from local sources to florists.