Zamioculcas Zamiifolia ‘ZZ Plant’ Care Guide (2022)

Repotting zamioculcas plant in modern pot. ZZ plant, leaves in new pot on wooden floor. Process of planting new house plant

You may have trouble pronouncing Zamioculcas zamiifolia but then that’s fine. Just call this one zz plant as that’s the name it’s popular for. Although it may seem like high maintenance, the opposite is true. It’s a species that’s very easy to grow and a perfect one for indoor settings due to its air-purifying qualities. 

Scientific NameZamioculcas zamiifolia
Common NameZZ plant, zuzu plant, eternity plant
LightLow to bright indirect light
WateringWater every 2-3 weeks, allow the soil to dry out between waterings
TemperatureBetween 60-75°F (15-24°C) and not lower than 45°F (8°C).
Hardiness ZoneZones 9 and 10
HumidityAround 40% relative humidity
Soil TypeWell-draining potting mix that includes perlite
Soil pHpH of 6.0 to 7.0
FertilizingDuring the main growing season (April – August), balanced liquid fertilizer
RepottingOnce a year at the beginning of spring, during the first 3 to 5 years
PruningNecessary if you want your plant to look good
PropagationRhizome division or leaf cuttings
ToxicityAll parts of the plant are toxic if consumed
Mature Size2 to 3 feet
Bloom TimeMid-summer to early autumn

What’s Unique About Zamioculcas zamiifolia?

You’ve probably heard about indoor plants with special air cleaning qualities. Great news because the Zamioculcas zamiifolia plant is one of them. NASA Clean Air Study says that the plant absorbs pollutants like xylene, toluene, and carbon dioxide. 

This plant is native to eastern Africa, from southern Kenya to northeastern South Africa. As a tropical perennial, it has a robust growth habit, making it a tough plant suited for newbies.

ZZ plant’s beautiful foliage is not only adorable but brings forth luck, wealth, and prosperity. In fact, its mandarin name “jin qian shu” literally translates to the golden money tree.

Zamioculcas zamiifolia Care

Zamioculcas zamiifolia plant care is definitely easy. Low light, low to moderate amounts of water, and warm temperature are the key elements to success in ZZ plant care. This plant is a pretty tough one. So, even if you’re a little complacent, it would still live. You don’t have to exert much effort.

Light 

Zamioculcas zamiifolia plants prefer to grow in low light rather than under full sun. Since those leaves are a bit delicate, direct light exposure could lead to leaf scorching or leaf burn. To satisfy the ZZ plant light needs, it’s best to place it in a location with indirect light for about 12 hours. An east-west or north-facing window is a perfect option. 

In the absence of natural light, fluorescent light will suffice for your Zamioculcas zamiifolia light requirements. So even in closed offices or commercial buildings, growing Zamioculcas zamiifolia is still highly possible. Your plant will still thrive beautifully.

Watering 

It’s crucial to remember that the ZZ plant bears a succulent characteristic. Its stems are thick and can store water for long periods. Hence, its watering needs are lower than other indoor plant species. You have to wait for the soil to dry out before you water ZZ plant again. 

You can water every 2 to 3 weeks depending on the season. If it’s summer or spring, water more frequently. Once winter comes, water only once a week. Remember that Zamioculcas zamiifolia watering is crucial for your plant’s health. Avoid overwatering at all costs. And make sure that excess water always drains out.

Temperature

The best Zamioculcas zamiifolia temperature range falls between 60-75°F (15-24°C). When planted indoors, the average room temperature is just fine. It’s warm enough for the plant to grow. Besides, indoor temperatures are not as cold as when compared to outside. 

You must know that the temperature tolerance of the ZZ plant does not go beyond 45°F (8°C). It is sensitive to cold temperatures and may incur damage if left cold outside. Bring it inside when there’s a drop in temperature, especially during the night or the winter seasons. 

USDA hardiness zones 9 and 10 offer the perfect climate. If you’re seeking to achieve the best temperature for ZZ plant, areas under this climate are perfect. 

Humidity 

For a species that originates from the tropics, the ZZ plant is unique. It doesn’t demand a high humidity level. Thanks to its succulent characteristics. You can achieve the ideal humidity for ZZ plant even when the environment has only low to moderate air moisture. This makes this plant more suitable for indoor settings. 

Zamioculcas zamiifolia humidity requirements can go as low as 40%. Place it near your cacti and succulent species if you have them. They all won’t require misting or humidifier. They can all sit there peacefully enjoying the dry environment. High humidity could be an avenue for pathogens to settle in your ZZ plant so be mindful. 

Soil

When it comes to Zamioculcas zamiifolia soil, the most important thing to remember is drainage. It’s better to use chunky materials like orchid bark, and charcoal mixed with perlite and ordinary potting soil. The soil mix must have more perlite than bark to achieve the best structure. 

The correct ph level for ZZ plant is from 6.0 to 7.0 (slightly acidic to normal). We want our plants to enjoy all available nutrients in the soil. Hence, it’s helpful to hit the right pH when preparing the soil for ZZ plant.

Also, please ensure that the potting mix is sterile. 

Fertilizer 

Aside from less requirement for water, the required fertilizer for ZZ plant is also minimal. We told you this plant isn’t a fussy one. So, you won’t have to do regular feeding as long as the potting mix is fertile. 

During its growing seasons from April to August, you can add diluted Zamioculcas zamiifolia fertilizer to invigorate the plant. It is during these times that your plant needs extra nutrients because of heightened growth and development processes. 

A balanced fertilizer ratio of 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 is perfect. Dilute it to half or quarter and pout it directly on the soil a few inches away from the roots. 

Potting & Repotting

You should do Zamioculcas zamiifolia repotting once a year during the first 3 to 5 years. That would allow the plant to grow optimally and achieve its mature size. After that, lessen the frequency of repotting to about every 2 years.

Wait for the spring season to arrive before repotting ZZ plant. Remove the plant from its container and trim off the aged rhizomes. Prepare a new container that has a suitable pot size, slightly larger than the previous. Fill it in with a new potting mix and re-pot your plant there.

After potting, water the soil thoroughly until saturated. Then, leave for the excess water to drain.

Pruning

Zamioculcas zamiifolia pruning isn’t a much-required activity. One reason is that they grow slowly, hence, it would take longer before the plant becomes dense. Second, its shape is naturally in order that you wouldn’t need to do much manipulation. But once you see aged or dead leaves and stems, make sure to trim them off.

In cutting ZZ plant during pruning, always use clean, sharp, and sterile shears. Make sure to create clean, slanting cuts on the stems you intend to prune. This will prevent infection of the wounds created. It’s best to cut a stem at the soil level. 

Propagation

The use of stem cutting is best for Zamioculcas zamiifolia propagation. This method yields faster results. Choose a large, mature, and healthy stem that you can cut. Chop it into sections having at least 2 inches in length and a few leaves on. Place the cuttings in a jar half-filled with water. Change the water every 3 to 4 weeks.

Leave the cuttings in a bright area, ideally near a windowsill. The cuttings will develop their own roots in time.  The other way to propagate ZZ plant is through leaf cuttings. However, this is a more tedious job so it’s better to use stems instead.

Common Problems of Zamioculcas zamiifolia

It’s rare for you to encounter serious problems with ZZ plant. But even if this plant is tough, we don’t take lightly the signs that you’ll observe. They are mostly concentrated on the leaves. The unusual change of color from yellowing to browning or scorching of leaf tips tells us a lot about existing Zamioculcas zamiifolia problems.

Pests

Most likely, the Zamioculcas zamiifolia pests that you’ll encounter are pretty common, especially for ornamental plants. That could work to your advantage as you already have an idea of how to get rid of or manage them if ever they infest your ZZ plant.

Occasionally, scale insects, mealy bugs, whiteflies, and aphids can make an unwelcome visit. They can be subtle so always inspect your plant from time to time. Spray them off with soapy water or a combination of diluted neem oil and soap. You can also use a cotton swab dipped in 70% isopropyl alcohol to wipe them off. Be persistent in doing this to prevent them from spreading.

Diseases

Zamioculcas zamiifolia diseases can only happen when the environmental conditions get stressful. This could happen naturally due to an unfavorable climate or as a result of negligence. One example is the root rot. Since the plant requires less water than normal, excess watering is detrimental. 

Not only will the roots of your ZZ plant suffer from severe damage, but, it can also lead to death. Waterlogged soil can also invite the growth of pathogens that may further increase the chance of disease occurrence. To save your ZZ plant, it’s best to repot it at the early stage of root rot. 

Growing Problems

While your ZZ plant is naturally a slow grower, some factors may cause growing problems that will derail your plant’s ability to reach its full potential. Some major reasons could be due to improper light conditions, non-optimal temperature, lack of nutrients, or watering problems.

Stress, whether caused by living or non-living factors, could result in a sick plant. This is the reason why we always say that you try to achieve the ideal growing conditions as much as possible. Thankfully, the ZZ plant is much more forgiving than other delicate ornamentals. Hence, with your help, you can expect that it’ll surpass the challenges around.

Toxicity of Zamioculcas zamiifolia

Along with its relatives in the Araceae family, the ZZ plant contains compounds that could be toxic to both pets and humans. Now, if you want to do away with toxicity issues, you can give this plant a pass. But if you’re willing to compromise, there are ways to avoid the hazard. 

For Humans

For humans, simply touching the plant won’t make serious trouble unless you make contact with its sap. For people with sensitive skin, it could trigger problems like dermatitis. So, better wear gloves when you have to handle the plant during pruning, re-potting, or propagation. 

Ingesting the plant is certainly not a good idea. It could lead to problems like irritation of the lips, mouth, and throat. This is because it contains high amounts of calcium oxalates. So, if you have children around, educate them about this plant’s toxicity. Keep it out of their reach, if possible. That would save you from huge trouble.

For Pets

You should also protect your pets from the ZZ plant as much as you protect your kids. Our furbabies can be extra naughty. If they ever chew any part of the ZZ plant, they can get into serious trouble. Aside from irritation on their mouth and throat, they could also experience vomiting and diarrhea. Contact with the plant sap can also lead to inflammation. 

In such cases, it’s always best to consult your trusted veterinary doctor to find an immediate remedy. Never self-medicate your pets, especially when handling toxicity issues. As a way of prevention, just place the plant somewhere your pets can’t reach.

Zamioculcas zamiifolia Appearance

Graceful and properly shaped, these two things would perfectly describe the Zamioculcas zamiifolia appearance. The stems of this plant follow a wand-like form wherein the base is bulbous and it tapers to a point. The leaves are oval in shape with pointed ends while their color varies from glossy green, dark maroon, or golden yellow depending on the cultivar.

Foliage

The foliage of Zamioculcas zamiifolia is pretty interesting. They look prim and delightful to see as each leaf points upward. Since it has a glossy surface, the foliage may appear like an artificial one. The shiny coating makes it look expensive.

To maintain those leaves, it’s a good practice to wipe the dust off with clean linen. Do this especially if the plant is located indoors with less air circulation. There’s no need to use any leaf shine product. Watch out for any signs of yellowing in the foliage. That could be a symptom of any underlying problems like root rot.

Flowering

Zamioculcas zamiifolia flowering happens every mid-summer to early autumn seasons. However, the flowers are usually not that noticeable because they are hidden at the base of the stems. Its appearance is similar to that of peace lily, a spathe-type flowers that’s white in color. 

ZZ plant will produce flowers only when it’s already mature. That would take about 5 to 6 years. So, if your ZZ plant is still young, don’t expect to see flowers right away. It’s also rare for indoor ZZ plants to undergo blooming. But that’s totally okay because it’s the leaves that are more sought after. 

Size and Growth

In terms of growth rate, you can consider ZZ plant as a slow grower. Hence, do not expect significant changes in size in the first few years of its growth. Ideally, you can expect about 15 to 30 cm increase in size every month. That is, if the environment around is favorable for the plant’s growing requirements. 

On the average, the size of Zamioculcas zamiifolia will reach about 5 feet tall. But there are also instances when the plant will grow only up to 2 to 3 feet in height. It entirely depends on how ideal the growing conditions are. 

Zamioculcas zamiifolia Fragrance

Zamioculcas zamiifolia fragrance isn’t distinct. Unlike other plant species that have a noticeable scent, the ZZ plant is known to be plain. Hence, you can bring your expectations down because it won’t emit any fragrant smell. But if you’re not a fan of scented plants, then, this shouldn’t be a problem at all. 

Consider yourself lucky still because its leaves are better used for air purification. Let it sit in an area that experiences the least air circulation. It shall help absorb toxic compounds in the house. You can just pair it with a scent diffuser if you wish to add a relaxing aroma. 

Suggested Uses for Zamioculcas zamiifolia

ZZ plant is a great addition to your plant indoors. Since it’s a lucky plant, it’s a good ornament if you’re seeking to attract wealth and prosperity.

Its growing requirements are also quite suited for indoor settings, especially in low light conditions. This is a forgiving plant that goes well, particularly with busy plant owners. 

You can also use this plant as a gift to your family and friends on special occasions. It cascades positive energy such as growth, encouragement, and dedication. Some folks opt to add ZZ plants in their outdoor landscapes. When doing so, it’s best to have them potted.

FAQ

What is Zamioculcas zamiifolia

Zamioculcas zamiifolia or ZZ plant is an aroid plant that originates from Africa. It’s quite popular as a low-maintenance houseplant that is grown for its foliage.

How to identify Zamioculcas zamiifolia

The leaves of the ZZ plant are leathery and glossy in appearance with an oval shape. The stems are thick at the base and tapering towards the end. 

How to care for Zamioculcas zamiifolia

Provide it with a low light level and less water. This plant has a succulent characteristic. Hence, it’s best to let the soil dry before watering again.

How to grow Zamioculcas zamiifolia indoors? 

For indoor location, place it in a location that has moderate to low light conditions. Water it deeply once the soil dries out. Lave excess water to drain.

How to grow Zamioculcas zamiifolia outdoors? 

Place it in a location with indirect light. Full sun exposure will scorch the leaves. It’s better if the plant is put under a tree canopy for extra shade.

How fast does Zamioculcas zamiifolia grow?

The ZZ plant is slow-growing ornamental plant species. With ideal growing conditions, expect it to have about a 15 to 30 cm increase in height. 

How tall does Zamioculcas zamiifolia grow? 

There are some ZZ plants that could reach five feet tall. But there are also some plants that grow only about 2 to 3 feet in height.

How to make Zamioculcas zamiifolia grow faster? 

To boost the growth of your ZZ plant, it’s important to provide all the nutrients needed. Fertilize with houseplant fertilizer during the plant’s growing stages.

How to stake Zamioculcas zamiifolia

You can use a sturdy stick to tie the stem of your ZZ plant. Make sure it is not held too tight or too loose. 

How to pot Zamioculcas zamiifolia

After uprooting your ZZ, choose a larger container and place your plant there. Fill it in with a fresh potting mix. Water it well and drain.

How to revive Zamioculcas zamiifolia

If overwatered, it’s best to repot the ZZ plant. Remove rotten rots and replace the potting mix. Avoid overwatering again. You’ll know the plant has recovered if the leaves stop turning yellow.

Why is my Zamioculcas zamiifolia dying? 

There are several reasons behind this. It could be due to overwatering, exposure to too much light, overfertilizing, or the presence of pests and diseases.

Why is my Zamioculcas zamiifolia drooping? 

Watering problems can be one reason. But other factors could also lead to the drooping of your ZZ plant. This includes transplant shock and temperature stress. 

How cold can Zamioculcas zamiifolia tolerate? 

ZZ plant can tolerate a cold temperature down to 40°F (5°C). If the temperature drops further down, your plant will be prone to getting cold damage. 

How to get rid of pests on Zamioculcas zamiifolia

Spray them off with pressurized water or a solution with combined neem oil and soap. You can also wipe them off with a cotton dipped in alcohol. 

Is Zamioculcas zamiifolia toxic to cats? 

Yes, the ZZ plant is toxic to cats. If you have one, be careful. If ingested, your cat may suffer irritation on the mouth and throat along with vomiting.

Is Zamioculcas zamiifolia toxic to dogs? 

Yes, it’s also toxic to dogs. Aside from irritation, your dogs may also suffer from vomiting and diarrhea. It’s best to consult your vet immediately.

Is Zamioculcas zamiifolia toxic to children? 

Yes, so it’s better to keep it away from your kids. If they get in contact with the sap, they might experience skin irritation. It’s much worse if they ingest any plant part.

Is Zamioculcas zamiifolia toxic to humans? 

Yes. Even for the mature human individual, it’s not good to ingest any portion of the ZZ plant. It could irritate your mouth and throat.

Does Zamioculcas zamiifolia have a scent? 

This plant has no distinctive smell which is good for those who are sensitive to any form of fragrances. Neither the flowers nor the leaves emit any special kind of scent.

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