Looking for a low-maintenance houseplant to boost up your space without a big commitment? Look no further than the infamous zamioculcas zamiifolia or ZZ plant, also known as the zanzibar gem!
The ZZ is a semi-succulent native to the semi-arid regions of Eastern Africa. It is accustomed to long periods of dry conditions interspersed with bursts of generous rain. This is a plant that thrives on neglect and is a great choice for frequent travellers, those who occasionally forget to water, or for the office.
While ZZ plants can ‘technically’ survive without any natural light, they do best in bright, indirect light and can quickly become leggy when not given enough light. Avoid direct sunlight as this can scorch the leaves of a ZZ plant.
Water & Food
Thanks to their thick rhizomes, ZZ plants are extremely drought-tolerant and can handle infrequent watering. In general, they should be watered once the soil dries out completely—usually once every week or two depending on their growing conditions. But if necessary, ZZ plants can survive months without water, so it is better to under-water your ZZ plant than to over-water it.
Generally, they do not require regular fertilising to thrive. However, to keep the plant in optimal health, feed your ZZ plant with fabgardenmama organic fertiliser diluted to half-strength one to two times during its active growing season.
ZZ plants are not overly picky about their potting medium as long as it is well-draining. Most standard potting mixes should be sufficient for your ZZ plant. If additional drainage is required, mixing in perlite or sand will help.
Temperature & Humidity
Average household temperatures and humidity are fine for them. In general, they do not tolerate cold temperatures well so avoid placing your ZZ plant in a location close to drafts or particularly cold areas of your home. ZZ plants don't require humid conditions, but if your home runs on the dry side consider increasing the humidity around your ZZ plant by purchasing a humidifier or placing it on top of a water tray.
I would re-pot them once a year at the beginning of spring, especially during the first 3 - 5 years - whilst it's growing up. Typically you want to choose a potting vessel 3cm larger in diameter to allow for growth. Don’t choose a pot much larger than the previous one as this could drown the plant's roots. If you prefer to maintain the current size of your plant, repot into the same vessel, providing new soil and trimming away some roots and foliage. Spring or summer is the ideal time to repot as the plant is at its strongest.
Varieties of ZZ Plants
Zamioculcas zamiifolia ‘Raven’: a relatively new variety that is distinguished by its dark purple-maroon foliage.
Zamioculcas zamiifolia ‘Variegated’: characterized by green foliage that is variegated with white, and yellow. Variegation fades if not given adequate light.
All parts of this plant are said to be toxic if ingested by children, cats and dogs.