How to Care for the ZZ Plant

Overview

ZZ plant, also known by its Latin name, Zamioculcas zamiifolia, is a perennial plant valued for its exotic appearance, glossy foliage and relative ease of care indoors. The plant grows from a creeping stem called a rhizome, which stores water and allows the plant to survive periods of drought. ZZ plant typically reaches about 18 to 24 inches in height when grown in captivity. Native to Africa, ZZ plant requires warm temperatures to thrive and is commonly grown as a houseplant throughout most of the United States.

Step 1

Keep ZZ plant in a location that receives bright, indirect light throughout most of the day, such as a north- or south-facing window. Use a growing medium made of one part peat moss and two parts potting soil to provide adequate drainage and fertility for growth.

Step 2

Maintain a constant temperature of 65 to 75 degrees F throughout the year for optimal growth. Keep a thermometer near the plant to ensure the temperature never leaves this range, or the plant may be permanently damaged.

Step 3

Water the ZZ plant thoroughly approximately once every seven to 14 days, but allow the plant's soil to dry out between waterings. Apply water directly to the soil surrounding the plant to reduce the risk of fungal diseases. Soak the soil until water begins to exit the bottom of the container, and then drain away all excess moisture from the saucer under the plant container.

Step 4

Feed the plant once every two weeks using an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer at half the dosage recommended by the product's manufacturer. Water lightly before and after applying to prevent root injury and to release the nutrients into the soil for easier absorption by the roots.

Step 5

Re-pot the ZZ plant once every three years to provide plenty of room for growth and a fresh, nutrient-rich growing medium. Increase the diameter of the pot by 3 to 4 inches at each re-potting. Water immediately after re-potting to compact the soil and initiate new growth.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not consume or ingest any part of your ZZ plant, as all parts of the plant are toxic to both humans and animals.

Things You'll Need

  • Peat moss
  • Potting soil
  • Thermometer
  • All-purposed houseplant fertilizer
  • 3- to 4-inch larger pot for re-potting

References

  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: ZZ Plant
  • Iowa State University Extension Horticulture & Home Pest News: The ZZ Plant
  • "Beyond the Windowsill"; Jon Carloftis; 2007
Keywords: ZZ plant, Zamioculcas zamiifolia, ZZ plant care

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.