zz plant sitting on a ledge

How to Grow a Healthy ZZ Plant

The tropical perennial Zamioculcas zamiifolia, more commonly nicknamed the ZZ Plant, is a native of Eastern Africa. Due to its outstanding dependability as a houseplant that can withstand low light and requires little water, it has recently gained popularity across the globe.

What Does the ZZ Plant Look Like

The ZZ develops smooth, naturally shiny leaflets that range from brilliant lime in their infancy to emerald green in their maturity, earning it the moniker “Zanzibar Gem” at times.


Despite being referred to as flowering plants, ZZ Plants hardly ever produce flowers. When cultivated outdoors or in its natural habitat, the ZZ Plant does bear tiny flowers near the base of the plant. The spathe-shaped flower has a spadix that is difficult to detect even when it grows because leaves might conceal the blossoms, which are located at the base of the stalks.

The plant is distinguished instead by its broad, deep green leaves. The ZZ Plant has stems from which numerous leaves sprout, growing like trees or palms. The leaves are a fleshy variety, barely a few inches long and about an inch wide. You might be prompted to clip odd-looking stems to maintain the plant’s appearance because some branches will grow straight up while others arch over.

They can grow relatively large and make excellent desk or floor plants if left unattended. The leaves can measure 40–60 cm in length. The plants’ flesh is supple and glossy. They are ideal for indoor use because of their dark green tint, which shows that they absorb light from the smallest number of sources.

The root structure of the ZZ Plant is particularly unusual-looking. Rhizomes, or thick, potato-like roots, are what you see beneath the plants that you can see above the earth. These retain water, which is why the plant is frequently susceptible to overwatering but thrives in dry climates and other locations where frequent watering is not always convenient. The fact that the plant thrives indoors is another factor of its root structure.


The ZZ Plant comes in three different varieties aside from its original version. Some of these varieties are relatively new to the houseplant scene.

ZZ Raven

The second variety of Zamioculcas Zamiifolia to hit the market, the “Raven” ZZ Plant, created a big splash when it first went on sale a few years ago. This one has exceptionally dark maroon leaves that almost appear black in some lighting conditions. It seems to grow a little more slowly and is undoubtedly more compact than the typical ZZ, but overall it’s still a low-maintenance plant. The leaves will initially be a lighter green, but after a few months, they will darken.

ZZ Zenzi

The “Zenzi” ZZ is a brand-new product. These plants require significantly less area to grow, and because of their small size, shipping them also costs nothing. There is only an extremely narrow gap between each of the leaves, which are slightly curled and grow on very thick stems. These are the perfect “small space” fillers due to their moderate growth and compact size.

ZZ Variegata

The last variation is variegated, as the name implies. It is characterized by green leaves with white and yellow variegation that fades if not exposed to enough light. Currently, it’s challenging to find, and online retailers charge a lot for these plants. Although some growers have experienced entirely green new shoots, it has a unique and peculiar appearance.

Steps for Taking Care of a ZZ Plant

Even gardeners with the worst green thumbs may keep ZZ Plants alive with the bare minimum of care since they are low-maintenance, simple-to-care-for houseplants. All ZZ Plants require is enough light and a thorough watering once every two weeks. These plants develop from rhizomes, which help them trap moisture under the soil, making them drought-tolerant plants, so don’t worry excessively about forgetting to water your ZZ Plant.

Although the ZZ Plant grows well outside in Africa, it grows better indoors everywhere else. Plant it in a pot that can be carried inside when the weather gets chilly if you wish to grow it outside.

TemperatureNo lower than 45°F (8°C) and a range of about 60-75°F (15-24°C) is acceptable for ambient temperature.
LightBright lighting is preferable but not necessary. Low light is OK for the zamioculcas zamiifolia to grow in, but it’s best to stay out of full sunshine.
WateringDo not overwater; instead, wait until the soil is dry to the touch at the top before watering again. To prevent stem and rhizome rot, it is best to water this plant sparingly rather than excessively.
SoilAny potting mix with a high percentage of perlite or sand will do as long as it drains effectively. The pot’s bottom must have adequate drainage holes.
Re-pottingThe ZZ Plant should be repotted once a year at the start of spring, especially during the first 3 to 5 years when it grows.
FertilizerFertilize your ZZ plants once a month with a balanced plant fertilizer diluted during the primary growing season (April to August).
HumidityIncrease humidity if the artificial heating in the home or place of business is very dry, but keep the humidity level in the home around average.
PruningRemove leaflets that are yellowing close to a stem’s base. You can cut a stem to size at the tip or remove it once it has grown significantly longer than all other stems.

Signs of Neglect

The ZZ Plant is resilient and can withstand a certain level of abuse. Overwatering is the most frequent and simple error.

Some common signs that your ZZ Plant needs attention are:

  • Lower leaves turn yellow: It’s perfectly normal for a few lower leaves to turn yellow and start to fall. Verify that you are not overwatering if many leaves turn yellow.
  • Browning leaf tips: Low humidity and dry air are likely to blame. Leaf misting can help raise humidity levels.
  • Overwatering is the most frequent cause of browning leaves, particularly if the leaf feels somewhat damp rather than completely dry.

Propagating the ZZ Plant

One of a few different methods is typically used for ZZ Plant propagation.


The first option is division, which is dividing an adult plant once it has grown to an immense size and has outgrown its container. This is the simplest propagation method because it is required to take the entire plant out of its current container and carefully separating a few of the tuberous rhizomes. If your plant’s root system is exceedingly crowded, you could divide it into halves, thirds, or even more.

Stem Cuttings

Other less usual propagation methods for ZZ Plants include soaking stem cuttings in water. This is helpful if you have an accident and the entire stem falls out of the plant; rather than ripping off the leaves and growing numerous plants, you might prefer to try to put it back in with the remainder of the plant in the future.

Put the entire stem—complete with all of its leaves—into a vase or tall container. You ought to notice roots growing at the base after a few months. Before repotting the plant or planting it on its own, allow the roots to get at least moderately sizable.

Leaf Cutting

For the leaf-cutting method, remove a leaf from the stem carefully, let the raw edge dry gradually (for a few hours to a day), and then pot it up in a free-draining compost mixture, raw edge first. Just enough of the leaf needs to be buried in the soil to secure it in place, which only requires a few centimeters.

Most of the leaves must be above ground to avoid rotting, permit photosynthesis, and aid in developing underground rhizomes. Keep warm and water sparingly.

The ZZ Plant as a House Plant

Low-maintenance indoor plants include the ZZ Plant. Except for water and light levels, there is not much to worry about when having this inside your home or office; however, fertilizer every six months, or even every month throughout the growing season, will provide extra sustenance. Suppose any plant pests do happen to arise. In that case, they should be treated with weekly applications of a natural insecticide like neem oil and frequent plant cleanings. Add components like perlite or lava rocks to a well-draining potting mix soil to boost aeration as needed.

Are ZZ Plants good with pets?

The ZZ Plant is not suitable for pets or children of a certain age. The fact that ZZ is poisonous in all forms is one of its main drawbacks. If foliage is eaten, it can be toxic for humans (including children), cats, and dogs. The best decision is to keep houseplants out of tiny children’s and animals’ reach.

Benefits of the ZZ Plant

The ZZ Plant stands out from the competition since its ability to filter the air has been researched and verified. The ZZ Plant was discovered to be capable of eliminating many levels of xylene, toluene, benzene, and ethylbenzene from the air in a study conducted by NASA.

If you are interested in the feng shui of your indoor space, you will be pleasantly surprised how a ZZ Plant can fit into your design. The ZZ Plant is one of your space’s best feng shui plants. When placed in the southeast, south, or east corners of your home is said to provide protective and purifying energy to your space.

It is a durable plant since it is as tough as nails. Because they may be passed down from generation to generation, ZZ Plants are often referred to as heirloom plants. This plant is an excellent choice for beginning indoor gardeners because ZZ Plants are considered impossible to kill and endure bad conditions and neglect.


If you have been looking for a beautiful indoor houseplant that is easy to take care and looks good all year round, then the ZZ Plant is the perfect plant for you! With a bit of love and attention, this plant will help make your indoor space inviting and healthy for everyone who lives there.