ZZ plant care is the perfect topic for people who are new to indoor plant care or are time poor and in need of a very forgiving green friend.
The ZZ plant or zamioculcas, also called the eternity plant or emerald palm, is a genus of flowering plant from the Araceae family.
It’s a tropical perennial plant which is native to the east of Africa. It’s a popular ornamental indoor plant for homes and offices mostly for its impressive glossy foliage and the tolerance to forgetfulness.
The plant can reach up to 17 and 23 inches in height-its underground is stout and it’s normally evergreen. However, it can become deciduous in case of drought.
Its leaves are pinnate and can grow up to 15 and 23 inches in length-they’re green, shiny, and smooth.
Flowering is characterized by small bright yellow to brown spadix hidden among the bases of the leaves and it happens from midsummer to autumn.
It has similar foliage to that of the Zamia genus, but they’re not the same. It’s not just a great option for beginners, but also for people looking for a plant with air purifying benefits.
According to one study done by the Copenhagen University in 2014, the plant can efficiently pull out VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) from the air.
All in all, it’s definitely a graceful plant growing in wand-like shape that will add its own green magic to the space you’ve chosen for it.
The ZZ plant is also praised for being quite the tough plant, one that can survive almost anywhere, even in areas with quite low light.
Good to Know:
If you decide to grow the ZZ plant, you need to be careful in case of small children and pets around- this plant is toxic to humans and pet dogs and cats according to the ASPCA!
How to Care for a ZZ Plant
The plant will grow the happiest in a place with moderate, indirect light.
However, it also does well in places with less natural light. It’s therefore the best option for windowless offices or small window rooms.
Too much direct light can cause the leaves to develop scalds.
The ideal temperature range for this plant is between 65 and 75 degrees F.
Water & Humidity
Water the plant only when the soil has dried at least 3 inches. Never allow it to sit in water as this can lead to rot of the stem and rhizomes.
This is a plant that can survive without water for months; still, a more regular watering schedule will boost its growth.
But, with this one, it’s always a safer bet to under – rather than over-water it.
It loves a humid environment, even though it does well in less humid ones. But, it can’t tolerate very dry air. In case of dry air, it’s best to mist it regularly to prevent side effects.
Choose a soil that drains well-this can be an all-purpose potting mix or another growing medium with 3 parts all-purpose mix and 1 part mix for succulents.
Feeding is recommendable once per month and do it when you’re watering the plant.
Choose a balanced liquid fertilizer for house plants with a 20-20-20 ratio.
Repotting a ZZ Plant
In case the plant has become root-bound, it’s time for repotting! Also, other signals that it needs transplanting are soil which drains too fast or browning leaves.
To do this, choose a pot that’s one size bigger than the current one. Gradually and carefully, remove it out of the pot by loosening the root ball.
Remove surplus soil around the root and cut off black or rotten roots.
Put new and fresh soil into the pot and set it well.
ZZ Plant Propagation
Propagating your ZZ plant is relatively easy and there are 3 ways to do this.
One is through division-by dividing the root into two separate clumps; by leaf cuts or through rooting of the leaflets.
The first method is the safest and the plant grows the fastest whereas the second two are better for smaller specimen propagation.
Best ZZ Plant Varieties
The ZZ Zenzi
This variety has curlier foliage and it’s more bunched up towards the top. Although it really looks elegant, it’s not very easy to find it.
The ZZ Lucky Classic
This variety is really cute and a great gift option for the plant-loving person in your life. The leaves are rounder than of the classic ZZ and are less pointy.
The ZZ Raven plant
This variety is definitely impressive- its crow-black foliage is what makes it stand out.
The new leaves that appear start as light green and then they gradually become darker.
Check its soil moisture regularly, especially when you’ve brought it inside your home or office for the first time. A soil moisture meter may help you here.
Despite the ability to do well without being watered for some time, neglecting them too much can cause them to enter dormancy.
In case the plant’s branches are intruding the space or are getting in the way, simply cut them away.
Also, don’t forget to remove any yellowed leaves and wear gloves while doing this because of the sap it releases.
Did you know that rotating this plant from room to room is a very good idea? In summer, place it in a warm and moist area or a veranda and in the winter, move it to the office, bathroom or in the kitchen.
This will help boost its growth and add an urban jungle-like atmosphere.
Trouble Shooting- Common Issues
Problem: the plant is dropping leaves
Solution: Water it more regularly, but still not too often to prevent overwatering.
Problem: leaves are turning yellow and falling out
Solution: Decrease the watering until the 3 first inches of soil are dry.
Problem: it’s developing brown foliage spots
Cause: Excessive sunlight exposure.
Solution: Move the plant to a less direct light-exposed area.
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