ZZ Plant: Everything you need to know

Al Ardh Alkhadra > Blog > Gardening > ZZ Plant: Everything you need to know

Low maintainance ZZ plant is Zamioculcas zamiifolia.

These are characterized by their shiny, wide, oval-shaped leaves that tend to shoot upward and quickly grow in a home indoor setting.

Moreover, this plant natively grows in East Africa, namely Zanzibar and Tanzania.

These plants are also known as Zanzibar gems for their spotless, waxy leaves that are so deep green that in some cases, you may mistake them as artificial.

ZZ plants tend to be slow-growing plants that prefer, indirect sunlight.

One of the benefits of these plants is that they can thrive in many lighting conditions and if you plant or repot a ZZ, make sure to do it in spring when it is in an active growth phase.

However, it is important to note that these plants are poisonous to both humans and animals if ingest.

Keep on reading.

ZZ Plant

Some common things about this plant are:

Common Name ZZ plant, Zanzibar gem, eternity plant
Botanical Name Zamioculcas zamiifolia
Family Araceae
Plant Type Tropical perennial
Mature Size 2-4 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/Green-white spadix
Native Area Eastern Africa
Toxicity Toxic to humans and animals

ZZ Plant Care

ZZ plants are popular for their low-maintains, easy-to-care-for nature as houseplants.

Even gardeners with the blackest thumbs can keep them alive with minimum care.

All they need to do, however, is an adequate amount of light and a good watering every couple of weeks.

But, do not worry too much about forgetting to water them.

This is because these plants grow from rhizomes which help them to store water under the soil thus making them drought-tolerant plants.

zz plant 1

Though it thrives in Africa, you can grow them indoors anywhere.

Moreover, if you want to grow them outside, make sure to plant them in a container that you can bring indoors when the temperature is cool.

Also, these plants tend to naturally have shiny leaves that can become dull as dust accumulates them.

Make sure to never clean the leaves of the Zanizabar gem with a commercial leaf shine.

This is because it will clog the pores of the plant.

Instead, you can gently wipe away dust and debris with a damp washcloth to restore shine.

Light and Soil Requirements

ZZ Plants are tolerant of a wide range of lighting conditions which makes them well-suited to indoor growing.

These plants can grow in low-light conditions and can quickly become leggy when you do not provide them with enough light.

Moreover, when choosing a place for these plants in your house, make sure to find a bright, indirect light spot, preferably in a room with south-facing windows.

However, avoid direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves of your plants.

Furthermore, ZZ plants are not overly picky about their potting medium as long as it is a well-draining media.

Most standard potting mixes are sufficient for your plant.

In case you need additional drainage, mixing it in perlite or sand will also help.

Water, Temperature, and Other Requirments

These plants are highly drought-tolerant and can also handle infrequent waterings thanks to their rhizomes. Rhizomes store water in them.

You should make sure to water the ZZ plant once the soil dries out completely, often once every two weeks.

It also depends on their growing conditions.

However, it is better to water your plant less than give it too much water.

When watering them, make sure to water the plant thoroughly with the water running out of the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot.

Make sure to get rid of the excess water.

zz plant 2

While average household temperature and humidity are acceptable for Zanzibar gems, these plants do not tolerate cold temperatures well.

Especially if the temperature is lower than 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Therefore, make sure to avoid placing them in a location close to drafts or particularly cold areas of your home.

However, ZZ plants do not need humid conditions, but if your home runs on the dry side, you can consider increasing the humidity around your plant.

You can do so by purchasing a humidifier or placing it on top of a water tray.

On the other hand, a ZZ plant does not require regular fertilizing to thrive.

If you are, however, hoping to increase the size of your plant or vigor, fertilize them with indoor plant fertilizer.

Make sure to dilute them to half-strength one to two times during its active growing season.

ZZ Plant Varieties

Some popular varieties of a ZZ plant are:

Zamioculcas zamiifolia ‘Raven’

This one is a relatively new variety. It is popular for its distinguished dark purple-maroon foliage.

Zamioculcas zamiifolia ‘Lucky Variegated’

This one is characterized by its green foliage that is variegated with white and yellow.

While its variegation fades if you do not provide it adequate light.

Propagating ZZ Plant

ZZ plants tend to propagate in two main ways:

  • through division
  • stem cuttings

Propagation by division is one of the simplest ways to create more plants.

For this, separate the rhizomes the next time you report your plant place them in separate containers.

While propagation through stems takes longer than propagating by division.


You may also need to wait six to nine months before roots begin to grow.

To do so, follow the steps below:

  • Cut an entire stalk, including the leaflets, with the help of a sterilized and sharp cutting tool
  • Remove the bottom leaves from the stem and place the stalk in the jaw of a water
  • Place it in indirect sunlight, roots should form in a few months
  • Make sure to change water weekly to prevent bacterial growth.

Potting and Repotting Tips

It is important to repot your ZZ Plant when they outgrow their potting container.

Though repotting is needed when you see the rhizomes pressing up under the soil against the edge of the container.

Or wrapping the shape of the container.

Moreover, they can also show signs of stress if the plant has become root-bound.

potting and repotting

As with most houseplants, it is often a good idea to wait until the spring or summer to repot your plants.

This is because they will be better able to tolerate being disturbed during the active growing period.

Make sure to choose a potting container with ample drainage holes for your plant.

Common Pests and Problems

It is important to note that a ZZ plant is a virtually disease-free plant.

However, it is important to keep an eye out for common houseplant pests like:

  • mealybug
  • scale
  • fungus gnats
  • aphids

This is because these pests can infest your plant

You can use insecticidal soap to eliminate most of these pest problems.

A common problem, however, with a Zanzibar gem is how much water your plant is receiving.

In case the leaves drop, the plant is dehydrated and needs water.

The opposite is true if the leaves are yellowing and dropping simultaneously, giving your plant more water.

Moreover, if the top 3 inches, roughly the length of your finger, of soil is dry, the plant is ready for the water.

What Makes them Popular?

It is important to note that a ZZ plant with its wide, attractive, dark green leaves, boasts a number of favorable traits in an office or home setting.

Moreover, these plants can tolerate neglect, is drought tolerant, and accepts low-light conditions without even throwing a fit.

The waxy, smooth leaf reflects sunlight and brightens your room.

ZZ often grows slowly to a height and width of two to three feet so it is not a plant monster than tends to grow quickly in containers.

It is also an air purifier.

According to a study by NASA, researchers found that it is specifically adept at removing copious amounts of toxins like xylene, toluene, and benzene from the air.

Final Thoughts

The lush and leafy green Zamioculcas zamiifolia, though you find it difficult to pronounce, is easier to grow and maintain. It is also known as the Zanzibar gem as it is of African origin, and loos exotic. But it is important to note that this plant is tough as a nail, and thrives in about just anywhere with only a modicum of care.

Just like the snake plant, it is one of the most popular houseplant varieties you will love to have indoors as it does not require pampering or a perfect growing environment, It is also prized for its beautiful and stunning foliage, which is so green and glossy that almost looks polished. However, if you want a more exotic look for the newer plants, you can have newer varieties at your home with sporting variegated or deep purple leaves.

Moreover, this plant is a great indoor air purifier, filtering out airborne toxins like xylene, toluene, and benzene. You can easily propagate this plant from division or leaf cutting. You can grow them outdoors in summer, or year-round in water climates, especially zones 9 to 11, and they grow from thick rhizomes that stone water, thus reducing the need for frequent watering. However, keep in mind that this plant is toxic to both humans and animals. Thus make sure to keep it out of reach of children and pets. Wear gloves when handling to avoid skin irritation.

Read more about snake plant, reproduction in plants, poisonous plants, and more.

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