There are lots of reasons why the ZZ plant has grown in popularity over the last few years. It makes a great addition to any collection of indoor plants due to its ability to tolerate low light and drought prone conditions.
Soil: Well drained soil.
Water: Only water once the soil is fully dry. Increase watering if plant is grown in brighter light.
Light: Can grow in low light but prefers medium bright light.
Temperature: Best growth in temperatures over 18C.
Fertilizer: All purpose fertilizer once a month in growing season.
Pruning: Remove yellow leaves as they occur. Cut dead or dying stems above soil line with clean, sharp secateurs.
Propagation: Propagate from individual leaflets or divide and separate at rhizome.
It’s botanical name is Zamioculcas zamiifolia yet it is also known as the ZZ plant or Zanzibar Gem.
You might have guessed that this plant originally hails from south-east Africa where it is grown outdoors in drought prone areas.
It is a slow growing plant that can reach up to 3 feet tall indoors.
The ZZ plant is an air purifying plant that is capable of removing toxins from the air like benzene and formaldehyde. Its for this reason that the ZZ plant is a great plant to have in your home or office.
The ZZ plant is poisonous and therefore it is recommended that it is kept away from cats and curious small children. Some years ago there was a rumour that is was so toxic that it could cause cancer. There is little truth to this however we do recommend that you wash your hands after handling this plant to avoid any irritation to your eyes or skin.
This plant benefits from a well drained soil. Most media of this type have added sand or perlite to increase its drainage capabilities. You can add this yourself to any quality potting mix.
When it comes to watering your ZZ plant we recommend waiting until the soil is fully dry. If grown in low light areas it doesn’t need a lot of water so if you forget to water it for a while it should be fine. It will start to drop leaflets if it dries out too much. If it is placed in an area with brighter light, it will need more water.
While the ZZ plant can tolerate low light environments, we recommend a medium bright light for optimal growing conditions. Direct sunlight is not advised for this plant.
This plant is quite amazing in that it can grow new plants from an individual leaflet. This could take a while to grow but is the recommended propagation method. Cut a small part of the stem with two leaves and place in most soil. Cover with plastic or glass to speed up the process.
It is possible to propagate the ZZ plant by dividing and separating. It has tuberous rhizomes that grow very slowly so propagating in this manner should only be done once in a while.
While your plant is young and small it is best to repot it every year to encourage strong growth. Ideally do this before the growing season.
It is recommended that you use an all purpose fertilizer once a month during the growing months.
Bright green leaves that are new will eventually darken. Its normal that new growth is lighter in colour. However, if it is more established leaves that are turning lighter, this might be the start of the leaves yellowing. The cause of this is almost always overwatering.
It is normal that sometimes the lower leaves may yellow and drop. However, if the leaves are turning yellow it is may be a sign that the plant has been overwatered.
A ZZ plant that is starting to droop may need more light. Try moving to a brighter spot to see if this clears the issue. If not, a lack of nutrients might be the cause. Feeding your plant or improving the quality of its soil will help.
Keeping leaves clean from dust and dirt encourages better photosynthesis. The simplest way to clean the plant leaves is with a damp cloth. Be sure to wipe the underside of the leaf too. You could also use a little dishwashing liquid as long as you rinse it off well. Alternatively you could take it in the shower too.