Zamioculcas zamiifolia, simply and more commonly known as ZZ Plant, is an easy-to-maintain houseplant. ZZ Plant care is simple because this plant is adaptable and not demanding. Native to Eastern Africa, ZZ Plants are tropical perennials that make lovely houseplants. All houseplants are easy to grow once you get the hang of things, but the Zanzibar Gem takes easy to a new level.
Types of ZZ Plant
The smooth, glossy foliage is pinnate, meaning it grows symmetrically on upright stalks, giving the ZZ Plant its distinctive look. The stalks may gently arch as they become longer. Mature leaves are oval-shaped and one to three inches long, depending on the cultivar. Most plants have lush green foliage, but the Raven ZZ Plant has dark purple leaves that almost look black. The leaves of the Raven ZZ Plant emerge as a vibrant, bold green before transitioning to a deep, dark purple. The most common ZZ Plants available include:
- ZZ Plant (original)
- ZZ Plant Raven
- ZZ Plant Zenzi
ZZ Plant Light Requirements
Any amount of sunlight is suitable for ZZ Plants. These beauties can live in bright, medium, or low light. Plants in low light will grow more slowly, but they are a great way to add greenery to a dimly lit area. Set your ZZ Plant up for success by placing it in medium or bright sunlight. Avoid direct light, which can be damaging.
How Often to Water ZZ Plants
ZZ Plants have rhizomes, which are thick, tuber-like roots that store water. The ability to hold water in reserves allows the plant to survive drought conditions. You must replicate these dry conditions because the plant likes to work through its water reserves before re-stocking. Allow the soil to dry out completely before watering your ZZ Plant. Factors like sunlight and humidity determine when a plant needs water, so it’s always best to feel the soil to gauge the dryness, but it’s normal to water ZZ Plants every two weeks.
The leaves will appear wrinkled or wilted when the plant needs a drink. Water immediately if you notice the foliage indicating dryness, and try to water before this happens again. The foliage turns yellow when the plant is overwatered.
Best Soil for ZZ Plants
Drainage is the only soil requirement for ZZ Plants. While the roots and leaves store water, this plant does not like sitting in standing water, so the soil must allow water to drain.
Temperature for ZZ Plants
Warm temperatures are best for ZZ Plant care. These plants hail from warm climates, so anything between 65° and 80° F is preferred. ZZ Plants do not like temperatures below 60° F, and they don’t like drafts. Wait until the temperature is warm if moving the plants outside during the summer, and avoid indoor areas near heating and cooling vents.
ZZ Plant Humidity
Average humidity is good for ZZ Plants. This adaptable plant is not very concerned about moisture in the air. Low humidity is not typically a problem but routinely inspect the leaves for signs of dryness.
ZZ Plant Fertilizer
It should be no surprise that ZZ Plants are not demanding when it comes to fertilizing. Feed the plants every six months, or if you want to help your plant put on some height, feed every four weeks during the growing season. Use a balanced, water-soluble plant food.
Pruning ZZ Plants
ZZ Plants do not normally require a lot of pruning, but a well-timed trim can help the plant become full. Remove dead or damaged growth as it appears. Prune leggy growth to encourage more stems, and cut back tall stalks to line up with stalks and create a more consistent appearance. Shape your ZZ Plant as needed in the spring before new growth emerges.
Be careful and consider wearing gloves when pruning ZZ Plants. Cut stems produce a sap that is a skin irritant. Wash up right away if the sap comes into contact with your skin, and clean your shears when you are done to remove any residue.
Do ZZ Plants Bloom?
Yes, ZZ Plants bloom, although the conditions in a home are not always conducive to the plant settings flowers. Your ZZ Plant care needs to closely replicate what the plant would experience in nature in order to bloom. The spadix flowers are yellow, green, or white. The flowers are not very showy and can be removed to direct energy into the foliage.
When to Repot ZZ Plants
Repot ZZ plants when the rhizomes peak through the top of the soil or come through the drainage holes. Upgrade the plant to a one- to two-inch larger container and give it fresh, well-draining soil.
ZZ Plant Propagation
ZZ Plants can be propagated through division or cuttings. The plant naturally sends out offshoots, which can be separated from the mother plant. Dividing a plant when repotting is easier since you may need to untangle and cut rhizomes.
The entire stalk can be trimmed, and water propagated. Cut the stalk using clean, sharp shears, remove the lowest leaves, and place the cut end in water. Replace the water every week. Roots will appear in a few months, and the cutting can be moved to soil when the roots are a couple of inches long. The new plant will need water when the top couple of inches of soil are damp for the first few weeks to ease the transition.
Are ZZ Plants Pet Friendly?
ZZ Plants are not pet friendly, so be careful if you have cats or dogs. All parts of the ZZ Plant are toxic to animals. This plant is also toxic to humans, so be cautious if you have young children.
ZZ Plant Styling Tips
These lovely plants can reach three feet tall with proper ZZ Plant care, making them a good floor plant to soften the corners of an entertainment center or desk, while smaller plants are a good fit for a tabletop.
ZZ Plant Care Tips
Routinely wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust buildup and help the plant look its best. Proper light and water are the most vital parts of ZZ Plant care. This adaptable houseplant is not demanding and can thrive in less-than-perfect conditions. Step up your plant care to help this beauty flourish.