How to Care for ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) Indoors

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ZZ Plant, Zamioculcas zamiifolia

Botanical name: Zamioculcas zamiifolia
Family: Araceae
Common names: ZZ Plant, Zanzibar Gem, Zuzu Plant, Aroid Palm, Emerald Palm

ZZ Plant Description

The ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) also called Zanzibar Gem, Zuzu Plant, Aroid Palm or Emerald Palm is a highly tolerant houseplant with attractive glossy foliage and is ideal for small spaces.

ZZ Plant 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 ZZ Plant contains unusually high content of water up to 90% and has an individual leaf longevity of at least 6 months.

This explains why ZZ Plant 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.

The foliage in ZZ Plant is borne on upright, slightly arching stems. The stems are thickened at the bottom.

The ZZ Plant flowers are small bright yellow to brown or bronze spadix 5-7 cm long. They are partly hidden among the leaf bases.

ZZ Plant Origin

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.

ZZ Plant Air Purifying

ZZ Plant has been found to be a good air cleaner. A study done by Department of Plant and Environmental Science at the University of Copenhagen from 2014 shows that ZZ Plant is effective in getting rid common household pollutants like benzene, toluene, xylene and ethylbenzene from indoor air.

ZZ Plant for Sale

Buy beautiful and healthy ZZ Plants (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) from Etsy.

ZZ Plant, Zamioculcas zamiifolia

Photo Credit: Costa Farms

ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) Care Indoors

ZZ Plant Light Requirements

ZZ Plant grows best in bright, indirect light inorder to thrive. It can also tolerate lower light but it will grow more slowly.

ZZ 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. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How Water ZZ Plant

Water ZZ Plant thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.

Reduce watering for your ZZ Plant during the cold season to maintain the soil barely moist.

Ensure the pot for your ZZ Plant has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting of the rhizomes. Read more on how to water houseplants.


Temperature for ZZ Plant

Average warmth between 15-260C during the growing season is ideal for your ZZ Plant. A room temperature that is comfortable for you is ideal for this plant.

Protect the plant from draughts as they can cause leaf drop. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for ZZ Plant

ZZ Plant has no need for high humidity. Average room humidity is ideal for this plant.

However, ensure that there is good air circulation for your ZZ Plant to prevent fungal diseases infestations.

Fertilizer (Feeding) for ZZ Plant

Feed ZZ Plant monthly with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season. ZZ Plant is not a heavy feeder so be careful when feeding.

Withhold feeding for your ZZ Plant during the cold season as growth is minimal as feeding at this time can cause fertilizer burn in your plant. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to Repot ZZ Plant

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 your ZZ Plant 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.

Soil for ZZ Plant

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 for ZZ Plant.

Buy quality Cactus and Succulents Soil for your ZZ Plant from Etsy.

How to Prune ZZ Plant

Pruning ZZ Plant involves removal of any dead leaves and bare stems to keep your plant neat and tidy. The timely removal of dead leaves and bare stems also reduces pests and disease infestations.

ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) Propagation

ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) propagation can be done at the beginning of the growing season from leaf cuttings or by division of the rhizomes.

How to propagate ZZ Plant from leaf cuttings

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 ZZ Plant 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 cool well-lit place and maintain the soil moist until the new ZZ plant is well established after which routine care can begin.

How to propagate ZZ Plant by plant division

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 ZZ Plant section bears at least two shoots and adequate roots to hasten establishment.

Pot the ZZ Plant 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 ZZ plant is well established after which routine care can begin.

ZZ Plant, Zamioculcas zamiifolia

Photo Credit: Plants.com

ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) Problems Indoors

ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) problems indoors are caused by cultural faults like improper watering, improper feeding and inadequate light. Read on for remedies and solutions to these problems.

ZZ Plant sudden leaf drop

Sudden leaf drop in ZZ Plant is caused by underwatering. ZZ Plant will shed the leaves inorder to conserve water if the soil is too dry.

Water your ZZ Plant thoroughly and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out but never allow the soil ball to dry out completely.

ZZ Plant leggy growth (elongated stems)

Leggy growth (elongated stems) in ZZ Plant is caused by too little light. Move the plant to a brighter spot as ZZ Plant grows best in bright, indirect light.

Though ZZ Plant can tolerate some shade, it will not thrive in deep shade. Too little light will cause your ZZ plant to grow weak with elongated stems in an attempt to reach the light source.

ZZ Plant brown leaves

Brown leaves in ZZ Plant are due to exposure to direct sunlight and are an indication of sunscorch.

Protect your ZZ Plant from or keep it away from direct sunlight to avoid sun scorch on the leaves.

ZZ Plant yellow leaves

There are two possible causes of yellow leaves in ZZ Plant.

One possible cause of yellow leaves in ZZ Plant is incorrect watering; either underwatering or overwatering.

Water your ZZ Plant 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 never allow the soil to dry out completely.

Also, ensure that the pot for your ZZ Plant 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 your ZZ Plant is overfeeding. ZZ Plant is not a heavy feeder therefore be careful in feeding this plant.

Feed your ZZ Plant monthly during the growing season with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer and withhold feeding in the cold season as growth is minimal at this time.

ZZ Plant yellow foliage and soft stems

Yellow foliage and soft stems in ZZ Plant are due to overwatering. This is an indication that the rhizome may have started rotting.

Reduce watering for your ZZ Plant to maintain the soil moist but not soggy. Ensure the soil is free-draining and the pot has a drainage hole.

ZZ Plant diseases

ZZ Plant is prone to root-rot disease which is brought about by soggy soil.

Ensure that the pot for your ZZ Plant has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

ZZ Plant pests

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 appropriately for the pests.

Is ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) toxic?

The foliage of ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) is toxic to both humans and pets. If ingested it can pain and burning in the mouth and throat, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pains.

Contact with the ZZ Plant sap may cause skin irritation or skin rash in sensitive skin therefore always wear gloves when handling your ZZ Plant. Keep your ZZ Plant from the reach of children and pets.

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