How to Save a Zamioculcas Plant


One of the best houseplants because of its tolerance of low light levels, lack of scheduled watering and low humidity, the Zamioculcas plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) is also called aroid palm or the "ZZ" plant. Slow-growing and dormant in winter, its main cause of demise is overwatering, especially from late autumn to late winter. It also should not be exposed to temperatures below 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 1

Bring the plant into brighter indirect light, regardless of season. Light should be bright, but avoid a location where any direct light reaches the stems or foliage.

Step 2

Reduce watering or stop watering altogether if it is late autumn to late winter. In the Northern Hemisphere, that means November through February. If it is spring or summer, maintain a watering regimen in which water is added only when the top 1/2-inch of soil becomes dry to the touch. Do not overwater.

Step 3

Increase watering only when new growth is seen emerging from the plant. The leafstalks emerge like fingers and unfurl. New growth is most likely to appear in the longer days of spring and summer. The soil this time of year should be evenly moist, never soggy. When in doubt, hold off watering 1 to 3 more days.

Step 4

Fertilize the plant with a half-strength solution of any well-balanced houseplant fertilizer product once each month from March through September (in the Northern Hemisphere). Apply the water-soluble fertilizer as part of the normal watering during this time of year, not as an extra watering event.

Step 5

Consider relocating the rejuvenated Zamioculcas plant after the leaves have returned and you have a good grasp of its growing and watering requirements. It can tolerate low light levels, so it can be moved to areas of the home that are dim, or lit only by fluorescent lights. Just make sure never to over-water; slightly dry soil is always better than wet soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not grow Zamioculcas plant in direct sunlight or outdoors in the ground in regions that get colder than 40 degrees Fahrenheit in winter. Also avoid planting in clay soil that retains water.


  • Sunset Western Garden Book; Edited by Kathleen Norris Brenzel; 2007
  • Zamioculcas zamiifolia
  • Zamioculcas zamiifolia: A Tough New Plant
Keywords: Zamioculcas zamiifolia, ZZ plant, houseplant care

About this Author

James Burghardt has written for The Public Garden, Docent Educator, numerous non-profit newsletters and for's comprehensive plant database. He holds a Master's degree in Public Horticulture from the University of Delaware and studied horticulture and biology in Australia at Murdoch University and the University of Melbourne's Burnley College.