ZZ Plant

This plant thrives even in low light levels.

zz plant in blue ceramic pot
Dean Schoeppner.

ZZ Plant Overview

Description Sporting leaves that appear to have been polished to a magnificent luster, ZZ plant adds bold texture to indoor gardens. ZZ plant is also called arum fern, cardboard palm, eternity plant, and aroid palm. This easy-to-grow houseplant thrives in low light conditions, such as that from east- or north-facing windows. With its good looks and easy-going nature, ZZ plant is perfect for anyone who claims they can't keep houseplants alive.
Genus Name Zamioculcas zamiifolia
Common Name ZZ Plant
Plant Type Houseplant
Height 1 to 3 feet
Width 2 to 3 feet
Special Features Low Maintenance
Propagation Division, Leaf Cuttings, Stem Cuttings

ZZ Plant Appearance

Native to warm, arid, shaded landscapes in east Africa and South Africa, ZZ plant is right at home in dry interior settings. This houseplant has short stems. Its leaves often seem to emerge right from the underground rhizome. The leaflets are arranged alternately along the petiole.

ZZ Plant Care Must-Knows

Many houseplants tolerate low light, but ZZ plant has exceptional tolerance. It is naturally a very slow-growing plant and when placed in a site that has limited natural light, it will seem to maintain its size and shape for months. In a growing spot with a few hours of bright light (avoid direct sunlight as it can harm foliage), ZZ plant should show visible growth over the course of a couple of months.

ZZ plant thrives when its soil can dry out between waterings. Water the plant well, allowing excess water to thoroughly drain out of the bottom of the pot. Then test the soil before watering again. Sink your finger about an inch into the soil; if the soil is dry to the touch, water the plant well. If the soil is moist, check the plant again in a few weeks. In many interior settings, ZZ plant needs to be watered only every couple of weeks. Remember, drainage is essential. Be sure excess water can freely flow out of the pot.

A peat- or bark-based potting mix works well for ZZ plant. It will grow in a nursery container for many months before requiring repotting. If you do need to repot, place the plant in a container that is only slightly larger than the container you are transferring it from. A sign that ZZ plant needs to move to a larger container is when the roots begin to circle around the inside of the container.

Apply a low-dose liquid fertilizer according to label directions twice a year. If you neglect to fertilize ZZ plant, it is very forgiving. Simply fertilize it when you remember and wait at least 6 months to fertilize again.

It is important to note that ZZ plant is considered poisonous to humans and pets if ingested. Keep it out of reach of children and pets.

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