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Florida Native Plants: The Indestructible Coontie

by | May 12, 2020 | Florida Native Landscaping, Native Plants

This plant hearkens back to prehistoric times as the only cycad native to North America. The Coontie is a nearly indestructible plant that you can put almost anywhere.

So Zamia integrifolia, also known as the Coontie is a slow-growing evergreen pom like shrub that grows about three to four feet tall and about three to five feet wide and tolerates full sun to full shade. And also a variety of different well-draining soils sometimes referred to as palms.

Coontie are actually cycads, meaning that they predate flowering plants and they’re super cool because this is a plant that was around when the dinosaurs were here. This is something a T-Rex could have stepped on. Cycads are gymnosperms and we talked a little bit about that during our slash pine video. So if you want, go ahead there to check it out. But basically, that means they reproduced by male and female cones.

So when we get a little bit closer, we have the opportunity to see the male and female cones together. So here we’ve got the male cone, so it’s a little bit taller, a little bit slimmer, and this is what houses all of the pollen. So you can see kind of the pollen sacks in there and we can come over a little bit this way and see the female cone. Now the female cone is much larger and this one’s mature and you can see that this houses the orange-reddish fruit that’s inside of it.

So because the Coontie is such an adaptable plant, you can use it for things like edging, a low growing shrub, understory plantings, ground covering, and you can even grow it in a pot every few years. I do like to cut the Coontie back and let it flush out with new growth.

However, this is not a plant that requires regular maintenance. The Coontie is one of the easiest plants to grow, and it’s a surefire way to add a little native Florida to your landscape.

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