A ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) originated in Eastern Africa prone to drought, so it’s no wonder it is such a sturdy, reliable plant for homes worldwide. But what will you need to know about the ZZ plant in terms of repotting and avoiding overwatering? What other common mistakes can ruin one of the more challenging plants known to gardeners? Here’s what you’ll need to know.
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What Soil Works Best for ZZ Plants?
ZZ plants do best with well-draining potting soil. Potting soil mixes such as cactus mix or succulent mix work well. You may also wish to add in some coarse material such as pumice or perlite to improve the drainage qualities of the soil further.
How Much Sunlight Does a ZZ Plant Need?
The ZZ plant does best with bright, indirect light. So ideally, you’ll have a place with some exposure to bright sunlight for large portions of the day. But don’t place your ZZ plant directly in front of a window where it will get too much direct light.
Because these plants reflect light with a charming kind of “leaf shine” in the room, many home gardeners make the mistake of assuming they’ll perform better with direct sunlight. But remember: this is one of the ultimate set-it-and-forget-it-plants. Too much direct light may cause it to develop mushy leaves, yellowing leaves, and other potential issues that will require your attention.
What Temperature Works Best?
ZZ plants grow best in temperatures ranging between 60- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit. That means they do well indoors in most homes year-round. Be sure to keep your plant in a temperature-controlled room so that it does not get too hot or too cold. However, be sure to keep the plants away from heaters, radiators, or air vents to prevent them from experiencing extreme temperatures and from drying out too much.
How Often Should I Water my ZZ Plant?
ZZ plants have thick rhizomes that store water, so you’ll notice that the plant is surprisingly resistant to drought. This means the ZZ plant can handle extended periods without water. Only water it when you see the top layer of soil is fully dry. It is essential to avoid overwatering.
The plant may need more water during the sunny growing months of spring and summer and less water during the fall and winter months. Keep in mind that more direct sunlight and less humid conditions could cause the soil to dry out more quickly, so keep an eye on it.
Finally, keep an eye out for the leaves for the plant. If the leaves start turning yellow, that might be a sign that it needs a bit more water.
Does a ZZ Plant Enjoy Humidity?
ZZ plants enjoy an average level of humidity. Therefore, avoid very humid environments (like a bathroom) or dry (like near a heater or air vent).
What Size Do ZZ Plants Grow to, Typically?
Plant size depends on the size of its pot and how much sunlight and water it gets. On average, a ZZ plant can grow about three or four feet tall and two to three feet wide indoors. However, ZZ plants are slow growers, so it may take a few years to reach full size.
Most Common Bugs
ZZ plants are relatively resistant to bug infestations. However, you may have issues with common pests such as aphids, mites, whiteflies, scales, mealybugs, or gnats. It is not always clear where these bugs come from, but avoiding overwatering can help discourage infestations. If you experience bug infestations, you can shower the plant and treat the leaves with a gentle shampoo or neem oil solution.
Most Common Diseases
ZZ plants are also relatively resistant to disease. Yellow, droopy leaves are usually a sign of overwatering and root rot. Brown, scorched leaves may be a sign of too much direct sunlight.
How Often Should You Repot a ZZ Plant?
ZZ plants are slow growers, but they still need to be repotted approximately every two years. Always repot the ZZ plant in a plant that is a little bit larger than the previous pot. That will give it plenty of room to grow.
Check out to repot a plant correctly to learn more.
Are ZZ Plants Toxic?
ZZ plants are ideal house plants, but there’s just one thing: some parts of the ZZ plants can be toxic, so be careful around pets and children. You may also wish to wash your hands after working with them or use gardening gloves if skin irritation concerns you.
How to Propagate a ZZ Plant
ZZ plants are great plants to propagate. First, take a clean knife or garden sheer and cut off a stalk at the base of the plant. Place the cutting in a glass of water near a window with bright, indirect sunlight for several weeks. Change the water every few weeks and make sure it stays clear.
After several weeks, the cutting will grow a new rhizome and roots. Once the roots are at least one inch long, plant the cutting in a pot and cover the roots and rhizome with well-draining potting soil.
Conclusion: How to Take Care of Your ZZ Plant
Because it’s such a low-maintenance plant, many people choose ZZ plants for indoor gardens. Make sure you understand its quirks, just like you would with any plant, and it will reward you by brightening up your home. Its shiny leaves and funny common name will make it a favorite for people to admire.
Just make sure that no one eats it.