ZZ Plant- Plant Bio: Podcast Episode #17
Updated: Oct 10, 2021
The ZZ Plant is one of the most popular houseplants because of its gorgeous upright structure, thick, waxy-like leaves and its resilience in shade.
All the Different Names
Common Name: ZZ Plant
Botanical Name: Zamioculcas zamiifolia
Green variety that is commonly found everywhere.
Zamicro is the dwarf variety that stays around 2ft tall in maturity. This is not a commonly known variety.
Zenzi is a type of ZZ that has a much more dense foliage with slightly curled leaves. This is also not a commonly sought after variety, but I did find it available on Planterina.
Raven is in-demand because the foliage is black. The new growth begins green, and turns black with a bit more maturity.
Variegated ZZ Plants are SUPER rare, highly sought after, and very expensive. These have white and/or yellow variegation throughout the leaves. I have seen cuttings of this plant for upwards of $300. Crazy! But it does look REALLY cool.
Obviously this plant is known for its tolerance of low light but the key word is "tolerance." It actually prefers to be in medium, or bright, indirect light. For this plant to grow well, and produce new growth more frequently, you should place it in a bit more light.
I have mine along the opposite wall in a room with a South and West facing window and it has grown a lot better in that location. I previously had it in a darker room with a window that faced Northeast and I didn’t see any new growth on it for over a year- or at least I didn’t notice any.
This plant is perfect for any office setting because they are so tolerant to low light.
This guy is extremely drought tolerant. It prefers you put longer periods of time between watering. If it is too dry, it will start dropping its leaves.
If the leaves are yellowing and dropping, that indicates overwatering.
The plant doesn’t not need a lot of supplemented humidity but can benefit from an occasional misting or a humidifier near by.
As always, watering needs all depend on what kind of environment you have the plant in. For example, if you have it outside during the summer, more than likely it will need to be watered more often. In the outdoors in summer it is much warmer than your indoor environment.
There is no end to the countless number of ways to fertilize, but these are the two most common ways to do it...
Apply half strength all-purpose liquid fertilizer during growing season (spring-beginning of fall)
Apply a granular slow release fertilizer during the growing season
Those are definitely not the only ways to do it. I have also heard of people using earthworm castings, fish emulsion or certain food remnants. Do what is most comfortable for you!
The ZZ plant is very unique because new plants can come directly from the leaves! All you have to do is cut a leaf and place it in soil. Keep the moisture at a higher level and the humidity at a much higher level than normal.
This is a SUPER slow growing houseplant so patience is needed when propagating. This could take MONTHS before you see progress.
If you don’t want to wait that long for a new plant to grow, you can also divide them just like you would a Hosta or Peony in your yard! That being said, be as gentle as you can and expect both plants to recoup from the “procedure”. The ZZ Plants grow from rhizomes, similar to Iris, so you can also separate and replant them too!
Part of the Araceae Family (along with Dieffenbachia, Monstera & more).
The ZZ Plant is native to Eastern and Southern tropical Africa.
It is hardy in Zones 9 & 10.
The ZZ Plant can flower but it is very rare indoors. It has a white flower that looks very similar to a Dieffenbachia flower. The flower usually pops out at the base of the plant so it is easy to miss within all the leaves. The plant is known for its foliage, not its flower.
New leaves and stems shoot out as a lighter (almost lime green) color.
Dusting these leaves is important for the health of the plant, and for proper photosynthesis to occur.
Well-draining soil is best- cactus soil is great since it is so drought tolerant.
The plant can reach upwards of 3 ft. tall in your home over a long period of time.
The ZZ Plant is toxic if ingested so be careful with pets and children. There are some cases where it cause skin irritation so watch your hands after handling.
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This plant helps clean the air by filtering out toxins found in solvents, paint, and inks.
NASA did a large study and recognized the ZZ Plant as a great air purification plant along with many other houseplants! Check out the study below...
NASA: Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement
Always written with extreme plant passion!