The Q&A Archives: Mealy Bugs On Coontie

Question: I have a large coontie bush--6 feet diameter--that has grown too large for the area. It now is covered with mealy bugs. It gets morning to midday sun. What might be the cause of the mealy bugs? Is it true that it is not transplantable?

Answer: Coontie, Zamia floridana, is a tough survivor for your Florida garden. If if has outgrown the location it's in you should try to move it. You may need to hire some help as this could be a 2 or 3 person job!

Digup the plant in November or December, getting as large a root ball as you can, preferably 3 or 4 feet wide. The thick underground roots are important to the plant's survival after transplanting. Slide it onto a tarp trying to avoid disturbing the root system as much as possible.
The tarp can be used by several people to carry or drag the plant to its new location. Have the hole in it's new location ready, and slide the plant in. Refill the hole with soil from the site and water in well. Speak kindly to the plant and hope for the best!

The mealy bugs are a bit of a tough survivor themselves. Natural enemies often show up to help in the battle, but it sounds like so far, you're on your own! Insecticidal soap and horticultural oil are helpful in reducing their numbers.

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