The ZZ plant’s (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) glossy, dark green foliage and sturdy, hardy nature make it a great choice for anyone who is just getting started with houseplants. In this quick care guide for ZZ plants, we will go over some important aspects of its care, including proper lighting, watering, fertilization, repotting, and propagation. Armed with this information, you will be able to keep your ZZ plant healthy and happy.
ZZ Plant Quick Facts
|Evergreen perennial with a rhizomatous growth habit
|can reach up to 2-4 feet (60-122 cm) tall
|can grow 2-4 feet (60-122 cm) wide
|ZZ plants are relatively low light plants, they can tolerate low light conditions, but can also adapt to bright indirect light
|Drought-tolerant and can survive infrequent watering
|ZZ plants prefers room temperature between 60-75°F (15-24°C)
|Can be propagate from stem cuttings, dividing the rhizomes, or leaf cuttings
|Pest and Disease
|Relatively pest and disease-free, occasional spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects can infest the plant
|Toxic if ingested, causing symptoms such as mouth irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea
Lighting for ZZ Plants
First, lets talk about lighting. The ZZ plant has the ability to survive in lower-light environments. For people who don’t have access to good sources of natural light in their office or house, this plant would be a perfect fit. Even though the ZZ plant can survive in low light, it’s a good idea to allow the plant to get some indirect sunlight if possible. Lower light will produce slower growth in your plant.
If you observe your ZZ plant’s leaves turning yellow or pale, it’s a sign that it’s not getting enough light. If the leaves are exposed to too much direct sunlight, they may turn yellow or brown and get crispy. Keep your ZZ plant out of direct sunlight and away from windows that receive a lot of direct sunlight during the day to avoid this.
Watering your ZZ Plant
Another key element to consider while caring for your ZZ plant is watering. These plants are drought-tolerant and do not require much watering. In fact, it is preferable to underwater a ZZ plant rather than overwater it because the plant’s roots are prone to rot if they are continually damp.
As a general guideline, wait until the top inch or two of the soil is dry before watering your ZZ plant. If you’re not sure whether your plant needs water, stick your finger in the soil to check the moisture level. Water your ZZ plant with room-temperature water until the soil is evenly moist. To avoid standing water, empty any excess water from the drainage tray. If you observe your ZZ plant’s leaves wilting or drooping, it’s a sign that it’s not getting enough water.
Fertilizing your ZZ Plant
Fertilization is an important part of ZZ plant care. These plants don’t require a lot of fertilizer and will thrive with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer, once a month during the growing season (spring and summer). You can minimize or eliminate fertilizer during the winter months. To fertilize your ZZ plant, mix a little amount of fertilizer into the soil as directed on the packaging. Don’t over-fertilize, as this might cause leaf burn and other issues.
Repotting your ZZ Plant
In terms of repotting, the ZZ plant does not require it very often. In fact, these plants thrive when they’re a little pot bound, so wait until the plant has outgrown its present pot or the roots begin to push against the sides of the pot before repotting.
When repotting your ZZ plant, choose a well-draining soil mix and a pot with a drainage hole to keep excess moisture at bay. Gently remove your ZZ plant from its present pot and shake off any extra soil. Fill in the sides of the pot with soil mix and place the plant in it. Lightly water the soil after repotting.
How to Propagate your ZZ Plant
Growing more ZZ plants for yourself or sharing with friends and family is a fun and gratifying way to grow more plants. There are different ways to spread ZZ plants, and the best way for you will depend on what tools and resources you have. Here are three approaches you can take:
This is the most popular and easiest technique for propagating ZZ plants.
To begin, remove a 3-4 inch section of stem from a healthy ZZ plant with a clean, sharp knife or scissors. Make sure to cut slightly beneath a leaf node (the point where the leaves attach to the stem). Take off the bottom leaves and, if you want, put the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone to help it grow roots.
Plant the stem in a small pot of well-draining soil mix, keeping the leaf node above the soil level. Lightly water the soil and place the pot in a warm, well-lit position. Keep the soil moist but not soggy, and you should see new roots sprouting within a few weeks.
If the plant’s roots have grown strong, you can move it to a bigger pot.
If you don’t have any stem cuttings, you can propagate ZZ plants with leaf cuttings instead.
To begin, cut a healthy leaf off a mature ZZ plant with a clean, sharp knife or scissors. If desired, dip the cut end of the leaf in rooting hormone before planting it in a tiny pot filled with a well-draining soil mix.
Lightly water the soil and place the pot in a warm, well-lit position. Keep the soil moist but not damp, and you should see new growth coming from the leaf nodes within a few weeks.
If the plant’s roots have grown strong, you can move it to a bigger pot.
If your ZZ plant has grown too big for its pot, you can make more plants by splitting the rhizomes.
Remove the plant from its pot gently and shake off any excess soil. Cut the rhizomes into smaller portions with a clean, sharp knife or scissors, making sure that each section contains at least one leaf and a few roots.
Plant the sections in tiny pots with a well-draining soil mix, keeping the leaf nodes above the soil level. Lightly water the soil and place the pots in a warm, well-lit location. Keep the soil moist but not soggy, and new growth should appear within a few weeks.
Once the plants’ roots have grown strong, you can move them to bigger pots.
Whatever method you use, be patient and allow your ZZ plant to build a good root system before transplanting it into a larger pot. Your ZZ plant will grow with proper care and attention and will give you many years of enjoyment.
Pruning your ZZ Plant
Pruning is a key part of ZZ plant maintenance since it keeps the plant looking nice and healthy. To trim your ZZ plant, simply remove any dead, damaged, or yellowing leaves using clean, sharp scissors or a knife. Remove any weak or spindly stems as well to help the plant grow larger and fuller. If your plant is overgrown, you can cut some of the lower leaves to expose the stem and give the plant a more balanced, attractive appearance.
Make clean cuts at the base of the leaf or stem when trimming your ZZ plant, since ragged cuts can lead to disease and other issues. Wearing gloves is also a good idea to protect your hands from the plant’s sap, which can irritate some individuals. Lastly, make sure to clean your pruning shears or knife before and after each use to stop the spread of illness.
In general, trim your ZZ plant once or twice a year to remove any dead or damaged leaves and keep its shape. If you prefer a more natural appearance, you can leave the plant to grow freely without trimming. The trick, like with other elements of ZZ plant care, is to establish a balance that works for both you and your plant.
The ZZ plant is harmful to pets, so if you have pets in your home, keep the plant out of their reach. The plant contains calcium oxalate crystals, which can make pets throw up, have diarrhea, and have other health problems. Consider placing your ZZ plant on a high shelf or in a room where your pets will not be able to get it.
Cleaning your ZZ Plant
In addition to regular watering and fertilizer, it’s a good idea to clean your ZZ plant on a regular basis to keep it looking its best.
Simply wipe the leaves of your ZZ plant with a moist cloth to remove any dust or debris. You can also thoroughly clean the leaves with a gentle, plant-safe cleaner. Water should not be applied to the plant’s crown (the area where the leaves and stem meet), since this can cause rot.
How to Remove Pests from your ZZ Plant
ZZ plants are, for the most part, pest free. On occasion you might find aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites on your plant. These pests can harm the plant’s leaves and stems, and in extreme situations, they can kill it. Pests will stay away from your ZZ plant if you check it regularly for signs of an infestation and take action as needed.
You may use natural methods to get rid of bugs. For example, you may construct a DIY pesticide spray out of water and dish soap. Simply add a few drops of dish soap to a quart of water and spray the mixture onto the plant’s afflicted parts. You could also use neem oil, horticultural oil or essential oils to suffocate the bugs and stop them from making more of themselves. If you have a significant infestation, you may need to apply a chemical pesticide to get rid of the bugs. However, because these products may be dangerous to humans and dogs, they should only be used rarely and as a last resort.
Finally, the ZZ plant is a beautiful, low-maintenance alternative for plant novices or those wishing to add a bit of greenery to their home or business. The ZZ plant is a great choice for people who want a tough, easy-to-take-care-of plant. Its glossy, dark green leaves and ability to grow in low light make it a great choice. Your ZZ plant will live for years if you don’t overwater it, feed it too much, or move it around too often. Keep an eye out for pests and maintain your plant on a regular basis to keep it looking its best.