If you’ve ever walked around a mall or in an office building, there’s a very good chance you saw ZZ plants growing. These hardy plants make great beginner plants for anyone just starting out on their plant journey. Today we’re going to cover everything you need to about about ZZ plant care.
I was first introduced to Zamioculcas Zamifolia, aka ZZ plants, when I started dating my now husband (way back when!). He had just picked up a large ZZ plant for his condo. His condo didn’t get a ton of light and it wasn’t near the window but it thrived!
I was intrigued. Early in my plant journey I had stuck to my pothos and spider plants because those seemed to do well in my low light condo, but this guy was beautiful and easy to grow! Years later we still have his original ZZ plant and quite a few more in our home, despite the fact that we now live in a spot with a lot of natural light.
ZZ plants are tough as nails and easy to care for. They’re a great plant for anyone to grow – yes, anyone (I’m looking at you person who claims they have a black thumb). They actually do best when you more or less ignore them so if you travel a lot or just have a busy life with small children or demanding work schedules, this is a fabulous plant for you!
ZZ Plant Basics
The proper name of the ZZ plant is Zamioculcas Zamifolia. It’s a tropical plant that’s native to east Africa and Tanzania. In Africa it thrived despite the hot temperature and droughts. It’s only recently been circulating as a houseplant, being brought into home around the 1990s.
ZZ plants grows thick stalks from bulbous rhizomes where water is stored that was originally needed when living through droughts in East Africa which help make them the hardy plants that they are today!
This plant can literally survive for months without any water! It can also adapt to any sun light except being put in direct sun.
Take note, though, ZZ plants are poisonous to pets and people. If you have kids or animals that may take a nibble out of these, either put them in a spot where they can’t get them or wait on this one. There was once a rumor that they could cause cancer but don’t worry, they don’t!
ZZ Plant Care Tips
ZZ plants are pretty straight forward in how to keep them alive, but here’s everything you need to know.
Like most of the plants I own, ZZ plants do best when you water them every one to two weeks. This may be different for you depending on your climate or where they are in your home.
Always check the soil before watering, sticking your finger in the soil to make sure the top inch is dry before watering again. One of the only ways to kill a ZZ plant is by overwatering it so keep your watering can away from it if it feels even the slightest bit wet!
ZZ plants don’t need fertilizer during winter months but you can fertilize with a simple all purpose fertilizer about once a month in spring and summer.
Zz plants can survive in low light but they’ll thrive with moderate to low sunlight. They really don’t do well in direct sunlight so be sure to keep them out of the sun’s rays!
To give you an idea of where I have mine, I have 2 in my oldest kid’s room where one doesn’t get any direct sunlight and one gets just a very small amount. The one that doesn’t get any has sprouted so much new growth this spring than I can possibly imagine!
It loves it’s spot of getting just a small amount of indirect light each day.
Zz plants need a well draining soil so they don’t stay too wet.
Temperature and Humidity
Zz plants like to live in an average temperature home (ideally between 60-85 degrees F) and can do well with your normal amount of humidity.
Solving Common Problems
Why are the leaves turning yellow?
There are a few reasons why your ZZ plant leaves are turning yellow.
One reason may be that it is getting too much direct light. If the leaves are also curling or looking like they’re trying to get away from the light source, it’s time to move it.
Another reason may be that it’s getting too much water. It’s better to underwater than overwater your ZZ plant!
Why are the leaves wrinkles?
Typically wrinkled leaves means you’re not watering it enough! Give it a good drink and set a calendar alert for a week or two out to check it again to see if things have improved.
Propagating ZZ plants is super easy! You can do it one of two ways. You simply cut stems from a healthy plant or divide your plant by digging out the plant and separating the rhizomes.
If you cut the stems of your plant, here are a few tips. First, be sure to let these callous over for an hour or two. You can also use a rooting hormone to encourage roots to form.
Then, you can either put it directly in soil or in a few inches of water. I am currently propagating 2 different groups of clippings in water. It’s a super slow process (the experts say it can take up to 9 months!) but really simple.
I replace my water that the stems are sitting every week or so when I’m watering my other plants. One of my clippings already has some roots growing which I’m super excited about!
Once they all have roots it’s time to plant them! See? Easy, peasy!
As always, thanks so much for reading and sharing!