ZZ Plant Care Guide

Zamioculcas Zamiifolia Care Guide

Zamioculcas Zamiifolia, commonly known as ZZ plant, Zanzibar gem, or Zulu plant, is a genus of flowering plants in the family Araceae. It is a tropical perennial plant with origins in the eastern African, from northeastern South Africa to southern Kenya. Since 1996 the plant has been planted as an ornamental plant due to its attractive glossy dark green leaves. Lovers of the plant also associate it with other conveniences such as easy care.


Zamioculcas is adapted to survive in semi-arid conditions. Its leaves are composed of unusual high water contents of up to 91 percent with petioles constituting 95 percent water. This succulence gives leaves individual longevity of six months. Expert advice suggests Zamioculcas' rootball should be soaked in water after every 14 days; alternatively, the plant can be cultivated into a SIP-sub-irrigation planter. Personal experience suggests neglecting the plant for even two months won't do any significant harm. Too much water causes root rot and is characterized by leaves turning yellow. Water starvation also causes leaves to turn yellow.

Sunlight and humidity

Though the plant is suited to grow well in low light intensities, placing it in medium indirect light can help it thrive even better. It is advisable to keep the plant away from windows where it can be exposed to hot direct sunlight; hot sunlight can scald it. Good bright afternoon filtered sunlight works best with the plant. Yellow leaves and curling leaves are an indication of too much sunlight. ZZ prefers temperatures in the range of 65° F-75° F with high humidity. In dry air conditions, it is recommended to mist the leaves with water to combat dryness. It is also noble not to place it near an air conditioning vent.


Zamioculcas zamiifolia grows from large rhizomes that resemble potatoes. One method of propagating is simply separating the rhizomes and replanting them. Another approach is cutting a stem with two or more leaves and placing it in water until it starts rooting before transplanting it to your favorite location.

Benefits and toxicity

Besides its beauty, the ZZ plant is considered instrumental in removing copious toxins from the air, such as benzene, toluene, and xylene. A NASA study categorized it as one of the best plant air purifiers. Though the plant can purify air, however, all its parts contain oxalate crystals, which are poisonous if consumed. In fact, it is because of this, they must be kept out of reach for children and curious pets.

Cleaning and Pruning

The ZZ plant leaves are naturally glossy and shiny hence unnecessary to apply leaf shines. After a week or two, the plant can be wiped off dust using a soft dump piece of cloth. It does not require extensive pruning. The focus should be on removing old yellow leaves throughout the year. Overgrown branches can be removed using typical pruning tools – remember to put on gloves.

Fertilizer and type of soil

It thrives in any well-drained soil mix recommended for houseplants. A balanced liquid fertilizer for houseplants (20-20-20) applied once a month when watering will provide all nutrients needed by Zamioculcas

Pests and problems

The Zanzibar gem is susceptible to aphid attack. The attack is characterized by the emergence of yellow spots on leaves. The pests can be removed by wiping the leaves with a warm mild soap solution. Overwatering is the leading cause of death in the ZZ plant. Overwatering causes leaves to turn yellow and fall off. Under watered plants wither and drop off leaves. Problems related to water can be easily solved by readjusting watering intervals accordingly.


Only repot when the plant has outgrown the current pot. It is advisable to repot during spring. The repotting pot should be one size up with proper drainage. Remove the plant from its initial pot, remove bad soft rhizomes, replant in the new pot with well-drained potting soil. Water it thoroughly until water drains out the bottom of the pot and allow excess water to drain.


Zamioculcas zamiifolia is a resilient plant with beautiful leaves that can make a perfect addition to any home or office. Its care is quite simple; keep it away from direct sunlight and let the soil dry between watering sessions. It is also paramount to keep it on high shelves where kids and pets cannot access. Also, remember to wear protective gloves when handling the plant.

Check out our ZZ Plant

1 comment

Was more than I expected. Beautiful 😍. And fully rooted in the pot. Can’t wait for it to start growing. Will continue to buy from cellar door plants.

Michael orr February 07, 2021

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