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ZZ Plant Care – Best Plant Guide [+1 Free Infographic]

The ZZ plant or Zamioculcas Zamiifolia, also known as the Zanzibar gem, is a straightforward and easy to care for houseplant.

It has dark green, glossy leaves and is growing tubers underneath the ground.

This succulent plant thrives on neglect and will grow in darker corners of the house or office.

To provide the best ZZ plant care read and follow the below guide I created for you.

 

ZZ Plant Care

To care for the ZZ plant provide a temperature between 65 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18-24 degrees Celsius) as well as bright indirect light. Well-draining soil using cactus soil containing perlite and horticultural sand in a ratio of 1:1 works best. Water once a month and provide regular indoor humidity between 40-50%. Fertilize once a month in spring and summer using a diluted liquid houseplant fertilizer.

 

ZZ Plant Care

ZZ Plant Care

 

 

ZZ Plant Care Video

 

ZZ Plant Care Guide

 

Soil

For the ZZ plant use a well-draining soil mix containing horticultural sand and perlite.

The best soil choice is a fast-draining cactus potting mix.

Mix 1 part of horticultural sand or perlite and 1 part of high-quality all-purpose potting mix to maximize the drainage.

 

For soil use a mix of perlite and horticultural soil for your ZZ plant

For soil use a mix of perlite and horticultural soil for your ZZ plant

Alternatively, you can also use a mix of perlite, coconut husk, and coconut fiber.

The ideal mix for a ZZ plant is airy and draining well. 

In addition, the soil mix should not hold too much moisture for an extended time as this might lead to root rot.

A ZZ plant needs well draining soil

A ZZ plant needs well-draining soil such as coconut fiber and husk as well as perlite

 

Light

ZZ plants grow best in bright indirect light but will also survive in lower light conditions.ZZ plants can survive in low light conditions though they prefer bright, indirect light.

 

Provide a ZZ plant with bright indirect light

Provide a ZZ plant with bright indirect light in an east or west-facing window

 

To provide indirect sunlight, place the plant in front of a window covered with a sheer curtain, in front of a window with a northern exposure, or a few feet away from a sunny window.

They can even thrive under bright, fluorescent light. ZZ plants do not like direct sunlight.

Outdoors, the plant grows well in a location with morning sunlight and afternoon shade or in bright indirect light.

Too much exposure to sunlight can cause leaves to get dried out or scorched.

 

A ZZ plant grows best in bright indirect sunlight

A ZZ plant grows best in bright indirect sunlight

 

Watering

Water a ZZ plant about one a month in spring and summer or every two weeks if it is in a very bright spot. Let the soil dry out completely in-between waterings.

The ZZ plant tolerates drought and can survive a long time without water.

This plant will definitely forgive you if you forget to water once or twice but it will not forgive you if you water too often.

When ZZ plant is loosing its leaves or when it becomes mushy it is a clear sign that you have overwatered your houseplant.

Reduce watering in autumn and winter or if the ZZ plant is in a dark spot where it is receiving little light.

It will grow slower in these conditions and will need less light.

Since the ZZ plant is succulent it has succulent leaves and also tubers that store water for an extended period.

In terms of water soft water is preferred.

Especially rainwater, reverse osmosis water, and distilled water are working fine,

When tap water is used, allow it to sit for some time for the chlorine to evaporate. 

 

The leaves of the ZZ plant are waxy and glossy

The leaves of the ZZ plant are waxy and glossy

 

Temperature

ZZ plants prefer an average room temperature between 65 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18-24 degrees Celsius).

Stunted growth can happen if the average room temperature drops down below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius).

Try to keep the temperature above 65 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal growth (18 degrees Celsius).

The ZZ plant is not frost-hardy.

ZZ plants are hardy down to USDA hardiness zone 9.

 

A temperature between 65 - 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18-24 degrees Celsius) is optimal

A temperature between 65 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18-24 degrees Celsius) is optimal

 

Humidity

ZZ plants do best in an indoor humidity of 40-50%. They grow well in the general household humidity.

If the humidity is too high, let’s say 60% or more it can lead to problems.

Rotting might start and the ZZ plant might become more susceptible to houseplant pests.

 

Fertilizer

Use a diluted balanced liquid fertilizer once a month to feed the ZZ plant during the main growing season (that is April to August). It’s a good idea to dilute (diluted by half) the fertilizer and feed at the time of watering to prevent fertilizer burn.

I do not fertilize in autumn and winter. If you want to fertilize reduce to fertilizing to every 2-3 months.

An argument for fertilizing can be that you want to try to max out the growth potential of the ZZ plant in the colder seasons.

 

ZZ plants are growing tubers that can be used for propagation

ZZ plants are growing tubers that can be used for propagation

 

Propagation

The ZZ plant can be propagated from leaf cuttings and by division.

When dividing a ZZ plant you are dividing it into 2 or 3 smaller plants.

However, this shouldn’t be done often as the rhizomes are known to grow slowly.

The other method of propagation is to stick a mature leaf in soil and wait for roots to form.

 

ZZ plants can also be propagated from leaf cuttings

ZZ plants can also be propagated from leaf cuttings

 

Growth

The ZZ plant can grow up to 5 feet (152 cm).

When enough rhizomes are planted together, they mature faster and allow the plant to grow up to a height of 10 inches in a year (25cm).

Then it continues growing until it reaches its full height.

New growth on a ZZ plant

New growth on a ZZ plant

 

Potting

Repot your ZZ plant every 2 to 3 years and use a slightly larger pot each time. Spring is the best season for repotting. Generally a pot with 2-3 inches more in diameter is optimal (2.5-5cm).

Upon buying, repot the plant if the pot is too small. This helps the plant to grow more adequately.

Repotting

To repot a ZZ plant avoid choosing a much bigger pot than your previous pot, as this may drown the plant’s roots.

You may repot in the same vessel, trimming away some foliage and roots and providing new soil, if you prefer to maintain the current size of the plant.

Summer or spring is the best time to repot as the plant is at its strongest.

For smaller plants, repotting can be done every 12 to 18 months. You may want to choose a potting vessel that is 1 to 2″ larger in diameter than the previous one to allow for the proper growth of your ZZ plant.

Avoid choosing a much bigger pot than the previous one as this could drown your plant’s roots.

You may repot in the same vessel, trimming away some foliage and roots and providing new soil, if you prefer to maintain the current size of the plant.

Summer or spring is the best time to repot as the plant is at its strongest.

 

Bonus – The ZZ Plant is an Air Refresher

According to a study from the University of Vermont, the ZZ plant is great at cleaning the air and removing benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and zylene and is considered a “clean air houseplant”.

The Zamioculcas Zamiifolia has been mentioned in the NASA Clean Air Study conducted in 1989.

But let’s face it.

If you read that story clearly and investigate a bit more you find out that you would probably need a whole forest of Zamioculcas Zamiifolia and other plants to clean the air effectively.

Ok, challenge accepted 😉

ZZ Plant Care Infographic

ZZ Plant Care Infographic

 

ZZ Plant Propagation

Zamioculcas Zamiifolia is a slow-growing, reliable performer that is easy to propagate.

But, propagation can take up to 9 months or even more. Zamioculcas Zamiifolia grow from thick, large rhizomes.

Propagating Zamioculcas Zamiifolia is as easy as separating these rhizomes, or otherwise rooting leaf cuttings is the best option.

Propagation of Zamioculcas Zamiifolia through division cannot be done frequently, because the plants produce rhizomes slowly, and removing them frequently can damage the parent plant.

Yet another way of propagation is stem cuttings in water.

In general, vegetative single-leaf cuttings are best for propagation.

The best thing is that Zamioculcas Zamiifolia plants have an unusual trait of rooting.

They can root with or without a node attached to the leaf-cutting.

 

Propagate ZZ plant from leaf cuttings

Step: 1

Pinch off a few leaves from a mature Zamioculcas Zamiifolia and place the leaves on a piece of newspaper or paper plate for one to two hours. This allows the wounded portion of the leaf stem a chance to get callous before propagation.

Step: 2

Fill in a pot with good, damp potting mix and press down each leaf into the soil, stem side down. The leaves of ZZ plants should stay upright, with several inches of space between them.

Step: 3

Keep the pot in a place that receives at least eight hours of bright, indirect sunlight. Place the pot on a plant heating pad maintained at a constant temperature of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18-25 degrees Celsius).

Step: 4

Frequently check the dampness of the soil by pressing your fingers to a depth of 1 inch. If the soil looks dry, spray the soil (not the leaf) with water.

Step: 5

Continue providing damp soil, warmth, and bright light to the ZZ plant leaves.

After you’ve done this, one of three things will happen eventually.

1. You may find a new stem emerging from the side of the leaf you planted. That is obviously a good sign as it means that your new plant is on its way. However, it may take a minimum of 16 weeks, so patience is the key.

2. You will notice that the leaf propagation is not going according to plan. Gently pull off the leaf from the soil, and you may find small tubers at the lower end. This is basically the plant’s energy and water storage. Put back everything into the soil, and hopefully, the tubers will push up new growths.

3. The leaf is dead, and when you pull it out from the soil, there is nothing to see. Propagating your ZZ has failed this time, but take it easy, please. Give it another shot eventually. It will surely be a success next time around. Fingers crossed. 

 

How to Water the ZZ plant

You might ask yourself: How often do I need to water my Zamioculcas Zamiifolia?

During fall and winter: Minimize watering the plants and wait for the soil to get dried before watering. This will warm up the water and won’t cause cold shock.

During spring and summer: Ensure the soil is not moist anymore when watering and check if water drains properly.

Water the plants deeply enough to saturate the roots and then allow the soil to dry slightly before watering again. The plant doesn’t tolerate constantly soggy soil.

How can you know that you are underwatering my Zamioculcas Zamiifolia?

Underwatering ZZ plants results in dry, crispy tips on the leaves. If this is the case, prune your plant and enhance the frequency of watering.

How can you know that you are overwatering your Zamioculcas Zamiifolia?

Overwatering ZZ plants results in yellowing of leaves on a ZZ plant and mushy brown stalks.

Another indication of overwatering is dropping leaves.

Prune your plants and hold on for watering.

When the soil gets completely dry all the way through the pot, then it’s time to water them. This may take up to a month.

 

The ZZ plant has stunning dark green foliage

The ZZ plant has stunning dark green foliage and thrives on neglect from my personal experience.

 

 5 Tips to Keep A ZZ Plant Healthy

1. Water your Zamioculcas Zamiifolia regularly, but not too much that it becomes wet or soggy. Soak the soil surface once every week or two weeks, and do not water them until the soil gets dry 1 inch below the soil surface. The best way to kill ZZ plants is by overwatering them.

2. Wipe dust from the Zamioculcas Zamiifolia’s leaves using a soft, damp cloth once every week or every two weeks. This promotes aspiration and keeps the leaves, smooth, shiny, glossy, and attractive. Avoid all sorts of commercial leaf shining products on this plant.

3. Avoid direct sunlight and very dark areas. If the sun is intense through your windows, use a sheer curtain to minimize the light.

4. Keep your Zamioculcas Zamiifolia’s home environment as stable as possible. As with any tropical plants, extreme temperatures can stress them out. Maintain the temperature between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit and avoid keeping them near forced air vents, A/C units or radiators.

5. Use fertilizers once a month but only when the plant is growing. It’s fine even to skip the fertilizer. If you do feed the plant, though, make sure not to overdo because this can harm your leafy friend. Dilute the fertilizer before use.

 

4 Signs A ZZ Plant is Unhappy

ZZ plants are generally easy-going plants and pest-free.

However, Zamioculcas Zamiifolia can get mealybugs. Treat pests immediately with regular wipe-downs of the plant and weekly sprays of horticultural oil (neem oil).

1. Yellowing leaves: Yellowing of the leaves is typically caused by too much water. Too much water logging in the soil causes the rhizomes to rot from fungal development.

2. Leaves are curling: Curling leaves may be an indication of too much light. If curling occurs, then it means that the plant is trying to move away from the light source. To avoid this, move the plant to a shadier location or filter the light by using sheer curtains or blinders.

3. Leaf drop: Underwatering for a prolonged period can cause leaves to shed, a survival mechanism. By shedding leaves, the plant minimizes the rate of water loss through them. Overwatering can also cause the tubers to rot, which then affects the leaves.

4. Brown and crispy leaf edges: Underwatered ZZ plant’s leaves exhibit brown and crispy leaves. Soak your plant’s soil with enough water, allow it to drain and then place it back in its growing location.

 

ZZ plant care is easy

ZZ plant is easy to care for and usually does best when left alone. 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions About ZZ Plant Care

 

Where can you buy a Zamioculcas Zamiifolia?

You can buy ZZ plants from anywhere who sell tropical foliage plants. However, if you’re finding it hard to find one in a physical store, you can buy them online. Few options to buy ZZ plants include: 1. Amazon: You can buy ZZ plants in Amazon, and a single live plant typically can cost you from $ 20 to $ 50 2. Etsy: Yet another option to purchase these green beauties is from Etsy, where the price ranges from $30 to $ 55

 

How popular is the ZZ houseplant?

ZZ plants are quite popular that can be seen and grown indoor all around the globe. It’s adaptability to challenging growing conditions and interesting foliage has made Zamioculcas Zamiifolia as a decorative piece among interior landscaping, around buildings, offices, and homes. In fact, it was named Florida Plant of the Year by FNGLA more than once.

 

Where on Instagram can you find the Zamioculcas Zamiifolia?

Instagram is undeniably one of the most popular social media platforms, and there are many ZZ plant lovers to be found on it. Commonly used hashtags for Zamioculcas Zamiifolia are: Zamioculcas, Zamioculcaszamiifoliaraven, Zamioculcaszamiifolia, Zamioculcaszamifolia.

 

What other names does the Zamioculcas Zamiifolia go by?

Zamioculcas Zamiifolia derives its name from how it looks. ‘Zamio’ means that it resembles Zamia, a cycad from Central America, and ‘Culcas’ is an Arabic term that refers to Alocasia/Colocasia. Zamiifolia implies that the leaves resemble Zamia leaves, sort of like fern meets palm tree. Zamioculcas Zamiifolia is such a mouthful that you might prefer to call it by one of its other names such as ZZ plant, Aroid plant, Zanzibar Gem, Eternity Plant, Money Tree, Succulent Philodendron, Golden Tree, Fat Boy, or just Zu Zu plant. 

 

Why do the leaves of my ZZ plant turn yellow?

Yellow leaves are usually a sign of overwatering. ZZ plants are very sensitive, so be careful when you water them.

 

How often should I fertilize my ZZ?

In general, ZZ’s will survive when they are fertilized spring through fall. Use organic house plant fertilizer by following package instructions for administration and dilution, and fertilize once a month.

 

Can my ZZ plant tolerate extremely low light?

Yes, it can tolerate extremely low light. But, this may stunt the growth of your plant. In addition, the risk of overwatering becomes heightened, so be cautious when watering your ZZ in a low light condition.

 

How often should I repot my ZZ?

For larger floor plants, repotting can be done every 18 to 24 months. You may want to find a potting vessel that is 2 to 4″ larger in diameter than the previous one to allow for proper growth of your ZZ.

Are ZZ plants poisonous?

ZZ plants are poisonous. All parts of the plant. But, there are also some false rumours that ZZ can cause cancers, so people were so cautious that they wore gloves while handling them. However, the truth is that ZZ plants are poisonous, but not cancerous. So, be cautious and keep it away from overly curious children and nibbling pets, and always wash your hands after handling ZZ to prevent skin irritation.

 

Why does my ZZ plant have such heavy and long stems?

ZZ plants will grow towards light sources. In poor light conditions, the ZZ plant’s stems can get stretched or spindled and longer than normal. Rotate the pots once a while for an evenly spread plant.


Author Bio

Daniel Iseli

Taking care of houseplants and gardening are my greatest passions. I am transforming my apartment into an urban jungle and am growing veggies in my indoor and outdoor garden year-round.