ZZ Plant Care: Guide & Tips

ZZ Plant Care: Guide & Tips

The ZZ Plant are arguably one of the easiest houseplants to grow, and has glossy leaves so beautiful that are often confused for plastic. 

About ZZ Plants

ZZ plants, also known as Zanzibar gems, are extremely low-maintenance houseplants characterized by their glossy, oval-shaped leaves that shoot upward. The spotless leaves are waxy and so deep green that sometimes these plants are mistaken as artificial ones. They are slow-growing plants, so you won't need to repot them too often, but when you plant or repot a ZZ, do so in the spring or summer when it's in an active growth phase, this will ensure the best chances of survival. These plants are mildly toxic to humans and animals.

Common Name

ZZ plant, Zanzibar gem, eternity plant

Botanical Name

Zamioculcas zamiifolia

Family

Araceae

Plant Type

Tropical perennial

Mature Size

3-4 ft. tall

Sun Exposure

Low, indirect light; semi-shade

Soil Type

Well-draining

Soil pH

Neutral to acidic (6.0-7.0)

Bloom Time

Spring

Flower Color

Yellow-brown spadix

Native Area

Eastern Africa

Toxicity

Mildly toxic to humans and animals

Common Name

ZZ plant, Zanzibar gem, eternity plant

 

ZZ Plant Care

Getting to Know ZZ Plants

ZZ plants are known for being a low-maintenance, easy-to-care-for houseplants that even beginner gardeners can keep alive with minimum care. All they need to thrive is a bit of light and a good watering every two to three weeks. However, don’t worry too much about forgetting to water your ZZ plant, as these plants grow from rhizomes, which help them to store a reserve of water under the soil, making them a drought-tolerant plant. Though it naturally thrives outdoors in Africa, it's best grown indoors all over the world. If you want to grow it outside, plant it in a container that can be brought indoors when the temperatures cool during the winter, as freezing is one of the few things that can actually kill ZZ plants.

ZZ plants have naturally shiny leaves that can begin to look dull over time as dust accumulates and fogs its bright green. Never clean the leaves of a Zanzibar gem with a commercial leaf shine as it will clog the pores of the plant suffocating it. Instead, just gently wipe away dust and debris with a damp washcloth.

How to Care for Spider Plants

Basic Care for ZZ Plants

Light

ZZ plants are tolerant of a wide range of lighting conditions, which makes them well-suited to indoor growing even in areas where most other plants won’t survive like bathrooms and offices. The plants grow well in low light conditions but in order to thrive they prefer bright, indirect light. The plants can quickly become leggy when not given enough light, however. Avoid direct sunlight, as this will almost certainly scorch the leaves of a your ZZ plant.

Soil

ZZ plants are not picky about their potting medium as long as it is well-draining. Most standard potting mixes should be sufficient for your plant. If additional drainage is required, mixing in perlite or sand will help.

Water

Thanks to their rhizomes, these plants are extremely drought-tolerant and can handle infrequent watering and long periods without any water. ZZ plants should generally be watered once the soil dries out completely – usually once every two weeks, depending on their growing conditions. It's always better to water your ZZ plant less, than giving it too much water. When watering, give it enough so that the moisture runs out of the bottom of the pot and throw out any excess water. Never let a ZZ plant sit in water as this will cause root rot.

Fertilizer

ZZ plants generally do not require fertilizing to thrive. However, if you're hoping to increase your plant's size and vigor, fertilize your plant with specific indoor plant fertilizer diluted to half-strength a couple of times during its active growing season in spring and summer.

ZZ Plant leaves

ZZ Plant Pest and Diseases

ZZ plants are virtually disease-free, but keep an eye out for common houseplant pests such as mealybugs, scale, fungus gnats, and aphids that may quickly infest this plant. Use an insecticidal soap to eliminate most of these pest problems.

How to Propagate ZZ Plants

ZZ plants propagate in two main ways: through division and stem cuttings. Propagation by division is the simplest way to create more plants: simply separate the rhizomes the next time you repot your plant and place them in separate containers.

Propagating with stem cuttings takes a bit longer than propagating by division, and you may need to wait six to nine months before roots begin to grow and your new plant takes hold.

  1. Using a sterilized and sharp cutting tool, cut an entire stalk, including leaflets.
  2. Remove the bottom leaves from the stem, and place the stalk in a jar of water.
  3. Place in indirect light. Roots should form in a few months. Remember to change water weekly to prevent bacterial growth.

ZZ Plant propagating

ZZ Plant Did You Know

  • ZZ Plants are considered one of the best air purifying house plant.
  • ZZ plant is called Eternity plant because it's believed that it can live forever.
  • The ZZ plant's scientific name is based on its resemblance to certain kinds of cycads, ancient plants that predate dinosaurs.

ZZ Plant Varieties

There are only a few varieties of ZZ plants, including:

  • Zamioculcas zamiifolia ‘Raven’: a relatively new variety that is distinguished by its dark purple-maroon foliage
  • Zamioculcas zamiifolia ‘Variegated’: characterized by green foliage that is variegated with white, and yellow; variegation fades if not given adequate light

ZZ Plant

ZZ Plants Summary

ZZ Plants are arguably one of the easiest houseplants to grow, especially if you live in warm climates. This shiny looking plant, has glossy leaves so beautiful that are often confused for plastic.

When it comes to automated plant care systems, ZZ Plants are one of the plants that usually struggles with them, as they require heavy but infrequent watering. Only truly smart plant care systems like KORU can adapt to each plant's different needs, helping them to thrive by measuring light, temperature, humidity and soil moisture.