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Botanical name: Zamioculcas zamiifolia
Common names: ZZ Plant, Zanzibar Gem, Zuzu Plant, Aroid Palm, Emerald Palm
ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) also called Zanzibar Gem, Zuzu Plant, Aroid Palm or Emerald Palm is a highly tolerant plant with attractive glossy foliage and is ideal for small spaces.
Zanzibar Gem is highly tolerant to low light, dry conditions but does not like direct sunlight. The plant is considered to be amongst the hard to kill plants.
The foliage in Zuzu Plant contains unusually high content of water up to 90% and has an individual leaf longevity of at least 6 months.
This explains why Aroid Palm can survive extremely well under interior low light levels for up to 4 months without water.
ZZ Plant grows to a height of 90 cm from a stout underground succulent rhizome. The leaves are pinnate, 40-60 cm long, with 6-8 pairs of leaflets 7-15 cm long; they are smooth, shiny and dark green.
Emerald Palm foliage is borne on upright, slightly arching stems which are thickened at the bottom.
The flowers are small, bright yellow to brown or bronze spadix about 5-7 cm long and are partly hidden among the leaf bases.
ZZ Plant is the only member of the Zamioculcas genus in the family Araceae. It is a tropical perennial plant native to Eastern Africa, from Kenyan South to Northeastern South Africa.
A study done by Department of Plant and Environmental Science at the University of Copenhagen from 2014 shows that ZZ Plant is a good indoor air cleaner; effective in getting rid common household pollutants like benzene, toluene, xylene and ethylbenzene from indoor air.
ZZ Plants in various sizes are available online at Etsy. Buy the spectacular Zanzibar Gem (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) online from Etsy.
Photo Credit: Costa Farms
ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) thrives in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight, average warmth and moderately moist, fertile, free-draining soil coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.
Emerald Palm has no need for high humidity and does not require regular repotting as it is a slower grower which needs to be repotted only when pot-bound. Pruning is necessary to keep the plant neat as well as discourage pest and disease infestations. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to provide them.
ZZ Plant grows best in bright, indirect light (light shade). It can also tolerate lower light but it will grow more slowly.
Zuzu Plant does not like direct sunlight as it can cause sun scorch on the leaves. It needs to be kept away or protected from direct sunlight.
Water ZZ Plant thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist.
Significantly, cut down on watering during the cold season to maintain the soil barely moist but do not let the soil dry out completely.
Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting of the rhizomes.
Average warmth between 15-260C during the growing season is ideal for ZZ Plant. A room temperature that is comfortable for you is ideal for this plant. Keep the Zanzibar Gem away from draughts as they can cause leaf drop.
ZZ Plant has no need for high humidity. Average room humidity is ideal for this plant. However, ensure that there is good air circulation to prevent fungal diseases infestations.
Feed ZZ Plant monthly during the growing season with a balanced, liquid fertilizer. The plant is not a heavy feeder so be careful when feeding to avoid overfeeding.
Do not feed Zuzu Plant during the cold season as growth is minimal as feeding at this time can cause fertilizer burn.
ZZ Plant is a slow-grower so frequent repotting is not necessary. Repot the plant at the beginning of the growing season only when it becomes crowded in its current pot.
Repot the Aroid Palm into a pot only 1 size larger and one that has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.
The best soil for ZZ Plant should be rich in organic matter, loose and free-draining to avoid getting soggy soil. The soil should be loose enough to allow water to drain out fast enough.
Cactus and Succulents soil is ideal as it drains easily. Buy quality Cactus and Succulents Soil for Zanzibar Gem online from Etsy.
Pruning ZZ Plant involves removal of any dead leaves and bare stems to keep the plant neat and tidy. The timely removal of dead leaves and bare stems also reduces pests and disease infestations.
ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) propagation can be done at the beginning of the growing season from leaf cuttings or by division of the rhizomes.
Cut off a leaf complete with the petiole from a healthy ZZ Plant.
Insert the leaf petiole into moist, free-draining soil and enclose the pot in polythene to create a greenhouse effect.
Place the set up in a warm place and maintain the soil moist through out. The leaf cutting may take several months to develop roots.
Once new plantlets have formed at the base, carefully seperate them and pot in individual pots.
Place the pots in a warm, well-lit place and maintain the soil moist until the new Aroid Palm is well established after which routine care can begin.
Take out the ZZ Plant from its pot. Clear most of the soil from the roots.
Carefully divide the ZZ plant rhizome into several sections by cutting with a sharp sterilized knife.
Ensure each section bears at least two shoots and adequate roots to hasten establishment.
Pot the sections into individual pots and place in a warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight.
Maintain the soil moist through out until the new Emerald Palm is well established after which routine care can begin.
Photo Credit: Plants.com
ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) problems indoors include leggy growth, leaf drop, yellow leaves, rotting, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems, their remedies and solutions.
Sudden leaf drop in ZZ Plant is caused by underwatering. Aroid Palm will shed the leaves inorder to conserve water if the soil is too dry.
Water the Zamioculcas zamiifolia thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to maintain the soil moderately moist.
Cut down on watering during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist but never allow the soil ball to dry out completely.
Leggy growth (elongated stems) in ZZ Plant is caused by too little light. Move the plant to a brighter spot as it grows best in bright, indirect light.
Though the Emerald Palm can tolerate some shade, it will not thrive in deep shade. Too little light will cause it to grow weak with elongated stems in an attempt to reach the light source.
There are two possible causes of yellow leaves in ZZ Plant. One possible cause of yellow leaves in Zuzu Plant is incorrect watering; either underwatering or overwatering.
Water the Zanzibar Gem thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.
Reduce watering during the cold season but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
In addition, ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting of the rhizome and roots which result in yellow leaves.
The second possible cause of yellow leaves in Aroid Palm is overfeeding. The plant is not a heavy feeder therefore be careful in feeding this plant.
Feed the plant monthly during the growing season with a balanced, liquid fertilizer and withhold feeding in the cold season as growth is minimal at this time.
Yellow foliage and soft stems in ZZ Plant are due to overwatering. This is an indication that the rhizome may have started rotting.
Decrease watering for the Zuzu Plant to maintain the soil moderately moist but not soggy.
Ascertain that the soil is free-draining and the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.
Brown leaves in ZZ Plant are due to exposure to direct sunlight and are an indication of sunscorch. Protect the plant from or keep it away from direct sunlight to avoid sun scorch on the leaves.
ZZ Plant is prone to root-rot disease which is brought about by soggy soil. Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to prevent the soil from getting soggy. Read more on how to treat root-rot disease in houseplants.
ZZ Plant is very resistant to pests but weak plants can be attacked by Mealy Bugs, Aphids, Scale Insects and Spider Mites. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it with Neem oil or Insecticidal soap to get rid of the pests.
The foliage of ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) is toxic to both humans and pets. If ingested it can cause pain and burning in the mouth and throat, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pains.
Contact with the plant sap may cause skin irritation or skin rash in sensitive skin therefore always wear gloves when handling the plant. Keep the Zanzibar Gem from the reach of children and pets.