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ZZ Plants (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia) are some of the easiest care plants out there. They are fantastic beginner plants and very hardy. They are fairly new to the market though so there are not hundreds of years worth of care tips on this plant unlike many other houseplants like spider plants. Here is our very simple care guide to help you succeed with this amazingly easy plant.
As always in order to best take care of a plant we need to know its origin. ZZ Plants are native to Eastern Africa mainly parts of Kenya and South Africa. They were originally discovered in 1829 but it wasn’t until 1996 that they were seen for their potential as houseplants and they really took the homes by storm that year. That is part of the reason why there are so few care guides out there for them because they are so new to the plant market comparatively.
Because ZZ Plants are native to South Africa this means they have two amazing qualities. This means that they are used to quite a bit of light and can handle a lot of light. Especially the green variety. The second quality is that they are very hardy and can handle very little light. If you put a ZZ plant in a room with very little light it will just grow incredibly slowly. To much light and you might see some burn marks but it will grow more quickly. Especially the Albo and Chameleon varieties.
Like other houseplants from Africa, ZZ Plants can handle a lot of droughts and are very tough when faced with a lack of water. Too much water too often can cause rot though. ZZ Plants are known for their bulbous root system. It is almost like a potato. Within that is where they store all their excess water. Usually, they only need to be watered every few weeks to once a month especially if they have a well-draining mix of 50% perlite or chunky substance and 50% potting media.
Because Zamifolia is so great at holding onto water they are also incredibly industrious in holding on to their nutrients. These plants are not heavy feeders and can be fertilized sparingly. They grow fairly slowly compared to other plants so they do not need as many nutrients. Fertilize every few waterings or use the minimum amount of a slow-release fertilizer.
ZZ plants are pretty resistant to pests. Spider mites and thrips seem to not like them very much. The only pest that seems to occasionally like a ZZ plant is mealy bugs. These pests are very easy to take care of. They can be removed very easily with a cotton swab and some rubbing alcohol.
The soil mixture for a ZZ plant should be very well draining to prevent rot. Aim for 50% chunky and 50% potting media. Chunky substances can be a lot of different media. They can be bark, perlite, pumice, or just about any other hard substrate. Just something to allow airflow and ensure your ZZ plant will not rot.
There are 3 different ways to propagate it. You can propagate it through division. Where you take the base and divide the plant up. Separating each bulbous base from the others. The next way is to take a full-on stem cutting and you can just root that in water. The third option is to root leaf cuttings. All 3 of these methods take a while to root possibly up to a year before they can be potted up.
ZZ plants are amazing plants. They are very fun to grow. They grow very slowly so when you see new growth either on the plant or on a propagation it can be very rewarding to see. Their leaves are very smooth, thin, and waxy. They are shaped similar to a feather and seeing a bunch of them on a stalk is very reminiscent of a large feather.
I did want to leave you with one final pro tip. Use terracotta pots if possible with this plant. Especially if you are someone who is very heavy-handed with watering. That terracotta will allow extra aeration and prevent rot.
Because they are so drought tolerant. Because they are so pest resistant along with so low light tolerant ZZ plants are able to go almost anywhere. In almost every condition in any type of home. They are slow growers but they are definitely worth the time. Just be careful of their placement with their toxic properties. Make sure pets and children are not eating them. They are amazing houseplants but not edible ones.