Houseplant Alert! 3 Reasons You Need The Awesome ZZ Plant

Joy Us garden
by Joy Us garden
This houseplant really shines – literally!
I love the ZZ Plant because it’s gorgeous, tough and so easy to care for. Other names it goes by are Zanzibar Gem, Welcome Plant and its tongue twisting botanic name Zamioculcas zamifolia. Mine just got repotted so I’m sharing that project with you along with tips for keeping your ZZ healthy and looking like its fabulous self.
The 3 reasons why I love the ZZ Plant are: it tolerates low light, needs infrequent watering & is a stunning addition to any home.

I’m always interested to know where plants are from and which others are in the same family and/or genus. This shiny beauty shares the same family with these other popular houseplants: pothos, spathiphyllums, agloanemas and diffenbachias. You can find these plants in my book Keep Your Houseplants Alive† if you’re new to the wonderful world of indoor plants.

Care tips & things to know about the ZZ Plant coming at ya:

–> Size: They get about 3-4′ tall & 3-4′ wide. Many consider it to be a slow grower but mine has been growing at a moderate rate.

–> Exposure: Here’s 1 category where the ZZ Plant really is at the top of the list. It tolerates low light conditions just fine. Your plant will grow much slower but it’ll hang on in like a trooper. The ZZ prefers natural, bright light which mine gets & that’s why I had to transplant it – it was growing! Mine is spending the summer into fall outdoors here in Tucson but is in the bright shade. Head’s up: no direct sun for this houseplant.

–> Watering: Easy does it when it comes to watering the ZZ Plant. They grow & spread via swollen rhizomes which are basically underground organs with store nutrients & water. Massive amounts of thick, fleshy roots grow off of these rhizomes & both they & the spongy stems will rot out if you water this plant too frequently. You want to water it thoroughly, let all the water drain out & let it go dry before you water it again. I water mine here in the desert every 3-4 weeks & when I bring it indoors for the winter, that’ll probably drop to every 8 weeks. Of course, the smaller the pot the more often you’ll need to water the plant. Head’s up: never let this plant directly in water.

–> Fertilizing: This isn’t always necessary but your ZZ Plant would enjoy a feeding with an organic houseplant fertilizer once in the spring. I top dress mine with worm compost in late March or early April when the roots are really starting to wake up.

–> Pests: Mine has never gotten any nor have I heard that they’re subject to any. Please let me know if yours has.

–> Propagation: This is easy to do by either division of the root ball or leaf cuttings.

–> Flowers: The spathe like blooms are insignificant & appear infrequently. They open close to the base so there’s a chance you could miss them.
This video goes over all the details about this beauty.
Here’s another thing that’s good to know: this plant is shiny on its own. Never spray it with leaf shine.

Because the ZZ Plant tolerates low light & dry air, it makes an excellent office plant.

To sum it all up: ignore this plant and it’ll be happy. Of course, shower it with admiration and praise but no babying is needed with this 1. Water your ZZ Plant infrequently, don’t let it sit in water, keep it out of direct sun and never use leaf shine. Sounds like a winner of a houseplant to me!

Happy (indoor) gardening,

Joy Us garden
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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4 of 6 comments
  • Debbie Rezac Ferrara Debbie Rezac Ferrara on Sep 02, 2016
    I think I have one that was given to me about 3years ago and you're right it thrives on neglect. Mine is in the original taracotta pot . Should I transplant it to another taracotta pot. The taracotta drys out faster so it seems to like that

    • Joy Us garden Joy Us garden on Sep 06, 2016
      Hi Debbie - ZZs don't mind being a bit potbound & actually prefer it that way. But, after 3 years in the original pot, it's time. Unglazed terra cotta does dry out faster because it's porous. ZZs aren't fussy as to which type of pot you use. Mine is in a plastic grow pot which I then put in a decorative pot. Nell

  • Cnf6949391 Cnf6949391 on Sep 04, 2016
    (Zamioculcas zamiifolia): The drought-tolerant ZZ plant is a wonderful addition to low-light situations in homes and offices, but all parts of this plant are poisonous. Keep it away from children and pets, and wash your hands or wear gloves if you need to handle it. just sharing what i read from the list of poisonous plants

    • Joy Us garden Joy Us garden on Sep 06, 2016
      Oh yes, so many houseplants & other plants are toxic - even the popular azalea, hydrangea, english ivy & mums. I have 2 kitties who leave plants alone. The plant has never bothered my hands by the way. Nell