Sunday, September 19, 2010


Have you ever found a plant growing in your compost pile after you have thrown it away? I find elephant ears and gingers that seem to thrive there. But this was different.
I totally freaked when I saw this! It had been since March when I tossed the DEAD coonties into the compost.

I even could see that the surface bulbs were mushy. I was really sad since I had just bought them in November and they were growing so well.
But apparently one little coontie wasn't about to give up.

Zamia pumila ~ a native of Florida

                                                  Its new home next to another cycad. Does anyone else grow coonties?
                                           I'm thinking I love these little guys. They look so fragile, but apparently they're one tough cookie. I'm getting some more if I can find them. They're good even in zone 8. Anyone in Austin growing them? Thanks for any comments or feedback.
UPDATE (9/21): It was a year ago that I bought these and now they again on sale at Houston Home & Garden Centers for $6.00 (Katy, Texas). This only happens late in the season and it must have just happened this week, since they were very expensive last time I checked.  Trust me, that's a very good price. Happy hunting.


  1. They really are incredibly tough! They're pretty expensive when you buy the mature plant, so I started some from seed along with wild coffee and sweet acacia, also Florida natives, albeit South Florida. I'm happy to see its recovered! I have a Bismarck palm thats been dead since the big freeze, and even the spear pulled out. Now there's actually some bluish green leaves pushing out! I'm sure its still weakened and won't survive another winter, but isn't nature resilient?

  2. Hi, David. I just planted some coontie, which is native to this neck of the woods. As Steve noted, it's an expensive plant, presumably because it grows so slowly. Mine seems to be doing well, and I'm hoping that one day an atala butterfly will find it. (Coontie is the sole host plant for the atala, which is is only found in southeast Fla and it nearly went extinct a few decades ago.)

  3. Hi David,
    I've been adding coonties to the garden a little at a time. Found a place that sells (small ones)them for $15 each. Last year I bought three large ones and cut them in half. The nurseryman told me that was not a good idea as they tend to get fungus if cut. He advised I spray some of that pruning paint to seal the cut before putting them back in the ground. I went for it and they have done beautifully ever since. Long story but somehow I must have dropped a piece and LO and behold a surprise coontie popped out across the lane from where I planted the others. We are too far north to get the atala butterfly but coonties are a favorite native for their toughness in this garden.

    I've had potatoes, squash vines, and tomatoes sprout out from the compost. It's kind of fun to see what survives.

    Enjoy your little cycad ~~ she obviously wants to be in your garden!

  4. Hi and thanks to all my Floridian garden blog friends for helping answer some questions about this cool little cycad. They have them on sale ONCE a year for 70% off, so I'll be out to get some more. They are pricey at regular price.
    David/ Tropical Texana

  5. David, I am totally unfamiliar with coonties, but love knowing that anything can rejuvenate itself. The compost pile is a wonderful growing medium! gail


I always appreciate your comments & questions! Happy Gardening from David/ Tropical Texana

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