How To Care For Your Zamioculcas Zamiifolia (ZZ Plant)


What is a ZZ Plant? It's a variety of houseplant that is the easiest to take care of!

What is a ZZ Plant? It’s a variety of houseplant that is the easiest to take care of! If you have struggled with keeping plants alive and healthy in your home, this guide will teach you how to not kill your ZZ Plant.

We’ll start by teaching you what type of environment the ZZ plant needs, and then we’ll move on to water requirements. After that, we’ll go over sunlight exposure and soil types before finishing up with tips for fertilizing your new best friend. I will teach you everything you need to know about ZZ plant care and everything you need to know to keep your ZZ plant alive.

girl smiling with houseplants

How to Care for Your Zamioculcas Zamiifolia (ZZ Plant)

Zamioculcas Zamiifolia ZZ Plant

About the Zamioculcas Zamiifolia (ZZ Plant)

Botanical name: Zamioculcas zamiifolia | Common Name: ZZ Plant

Native to Eastern Brazil, the Zamioculcas zamiifolia (or “ZZ plant”) is a member of the Araceae family. The leaves are typically shiny and dark green with an almost waxy leathery feel to them.

They grow in rosettes at their base before sending out tall stems that often have pinkish-red tips. The ZZ plant is a relatively slow-growing indoor plant. It can grow to be as tall as four feet if given the proper conditions, although it will typically remain shorter than that in most homes. It often thrives on neglect, so it is great for beginners.

Where to Buy A Zamioculcas zamiifolia (ZZ Plant)

You can buy a ZZ houseplant:

Why the ZZ Plant is Great for Beginners

The Zamioculcas zamiifolia (ZZ) houseplant is one of the best plants for beginners because it’s easy to care for and does not require much attention because it is drought resistant.

It can survive in low-light conditions, making it an ideal bathroom plant, but, as mentioned above, they are also great for people who have trouble keeping plants alive because the ZZ houseplant is one of the easiest to take care of.

Types and Varieties of ZZ Plants

There are only a few varieties of Zamioculcas zamiifolia out there, and luckily they all have the same thing in common—they are easy to care for! If you’re looking to add some diversity to your houseplant collection, consider the different types of ZZ Plants available.

  • Regular ZZ Plant – Zamioculcas zamiifolia is also known colloquially as ZZ Plant, Zanzibar gem, Zuzu plant, eternity plant, and emerald palm. The common ZZ Plant is perfect for beginners who’ll fall in love with its glossy medium-dark green leaves that look lovely in any indoor space.
  • Raven ZZ Plant – This variety is also known as “The Dark Beauty” thanks to its deep dark green leaves that almost border on black looking as they mature. Be prepared to pay more for this desirable ZZ Plant.
  • Zamioculcas Zamiifolia Variegata – ZZ Plants with variegated leaves are a lovely alternative to the common ZZ Plant and come in a range of colors from light green to gold, to almost completely white-yellow (like Zamia Albino). Because variegated leaves are less efficient with photosynthesis, ZZ Variegata will require more sunlight than its un-variegated counterparts.
  • ZZ Dwarf Zenzi – A somewhat quirky variety, Dwarf ZZ plants are significantly smaller with slightly curled leaves and overall dense green foliage. The rare ZZ Zenzi plant is cute and perfect for small spaces like offices and apartments.

The Best Environment for Your Zamioculcas zamiifolia (ZZ Plant)

Although the ZZ plant is not picky about light levels, it does require a few hours of direct sunlight or bright indirect sun every day. It also thrives when kept in temperatures that range from 65°F to 75°F and generally prefer medium humidity levels, but can adapt to drier conditions.

ZZ plants will do most of their growing during the growing season (spring and summer months). You will notice a lot of new growth during the warmer seasons with the longer days of sunlight. You will probably notice a lot of new foliage and more stems appearing during those months.

zz houseplant

Watering Tips for Zamioculcas zamiifolia (ZZ Plant)

The reason ZZ Plants don’t need to be watered very frequently is that they store water in their rhizomes, which look like little bulbous potatoes under the dirt.

One of the best ways to know when your indoor houseplants need water is by testing the potting soil. Stick a finger a few inches into the dirt and if it feels dry, that means you should probably water your ZZ houseplant soon. If you water it when the soil is wet, you run the risk of either root rot or certain parts of your plant dying.

ZZ plants are susceptible to both over-watering and under-watering so if you can avoid these two extremes, you’ll be doing great! Overwatering is more prevalent and is the most common reason for killing a ZZ plant.

Sunlight Requirements for Zamioculcas zamiifolia (ZZ Plant)

Although the Zamioculcas zamiifolia (or “ZZ plant”) does not require direct sunlight indoors, it thrives when placed in indirect light or bright filtered sun for a few hours every day.

The Zamioculcas zamiifolia houseplant can survive in low-light conditions indoors but will often drop leaves and stop growing if this happens. This plant makes an ideal plant for a window-less office or bathroom where it will only receive small amounts of fluorescent light.

On the other hand, too much direct sunlight can cause the leaves to burn.

Zamioculcas Zamiifolia ZZ Plant

How to Fertilize Zamioculcas zamiifolia (ZZ Plant)

There are a lot of fertilizers on the market that will help your ZZ plant thrive but if you don’t want to invest in any special products, all-purpose houseplant fertilizer is just as effective.

Simply follow product instructions and apply it once every month or so depending on how much light your plant gets.

The Best Soil for Zamioculcas zamiifolia (ZZ Plant)

Zamioculcas zamiifolia plants prefer rich, well-draining soil. If you are unsure about your potting mix or think it’s time to repot your plant because the roots have filled up their container, you can use any type of regular potting soil.

My soil ratio for my ZZ plants is 80% indoor plant potting soil with 20% perlite.

Avoid soils that contain peat moss because this will cause root rot if you water it too often. The ZZ houseplant prefers excess drainage so choose a pot with at least one or two holes on its bottom for proper aeration, especially in winter months when indoor air is really dry.

zz houseplant

How to Propagate Zamioculcas zamiifolia (ZZ Plant)

ZZ houseplants are easy to care for and propagate! When you take a cutting of your ZZ plant, it will grow a new rhizome, which resembles a little potato, and will easily take root when planted.

First, make sure you have the right propagating tools and materials.

  • A healthy ZZ plant with mature stems
  • A sterilized knife or pair of scissors
  • A vase or glass of clean water
  • A small pot with a drainage hole
  • Well-draining potting mix

Next, consider which of the following two methods you’ll choose to propagate a ZZ Plant for your home or office.


The fastest way to yield results when propagating a ZZ Plant is with a stem cutting. Follow these instructions for best results:

  1. On your plant, choose a mature stem that is exhibiting healthy-looking leaves.
  2. Cut off the stem near the base of the stalk with a sterilized knife, making as clean a cut as possible.
  3. Place the cut stem immediately in a glass of clean water. Be sure to change out the water every 2-3 weeks to prevent mold buildup.
  4. Keep the cutting near a window where it can receive natural, indirect light.
  5. When a new rhizome and at least one inch of new roots have grown from the bottom of your cutting, it’s time to repot!


You can also propagate a ZZ Plant from a single leaf cutting, although it will take longer to develop a rhizome and roots. Here’s how to propagate your ZZ plant from a leaf cutting:

  1. When making a leaf cutting, make a clean cut as close to the stalk as possible, even taking a little of the stem along with it.
  2. Place the cut part of the leaf’s stem about 1 cm deep into a potting mix that has been prepared in a well-draining pot.
  3. If possible, consider taking multiple leaf cuttings to propagate in a single pot. This improves your chances of success and looks less empty.
  4. Water the cuttings and allow the soil to soak it up. Water the pot any time the soil dries out, about every two weeks.
  5. Be patient! It’s not uncommon for ZZ plant leaf cuttings to take three months to grow proper baby rhizomes. Check on them until they are ready to pot.

How to Pot Your Propagated Zamioculcas zamiifolia (ZZ Plant)

After waiting for your ZZ Plant cutting to grow roots, you’ve now got a healthy new friend ready to be potted! Here’s how to properly do it:

  1. It’s important that you make sure to use a small pot like a nursery or grower pot with a draining hole when preparing your ZZ plant cuttings.
  2. Place your chosen potting mix into the bottom of the pot at least two inches deep. This will allow plenty of room for the roots to grow.
  3. Gently press your rooted cuttings into the soil, adding small amounts of soil as you go for support.
  4. You may choose to arrange several cuttings to be potted together for a fuller-looking ZZ Plant.
  5. Once your ZZ stems have been firmly placed, fill the pot with potting soil nearly to the rim.
  6. Water the entire pot thoroughly, ensuring all the roots are well saturated.
ZZ plant the Sill
The Sill: ZZ Plant

ZZ Plant Quick Care Guide

Botanical Name: Zamioculcas zamiifolia

Common Name: ZZ Plant

Origin: Zanzibar, Kenya, Eastern Africa

Light: Thrives in medium to low indirect light. Can tolerate bright indirect light. Not suited for intense, direct sun.

Watering: Water every 2–3 weeks, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Expect to water more often in brighter light and less often in lower light.

Toxicity: Zamioculcas zamiifolia is toxic for both humans and animals.


Where should I place my ZZ plant?

The Zamioculcas zamiifolia is a low-maintenance houseplant that makes an ideal office plant. It can adapt to most indoor conditions and will survive in dry, hot areas where other plants would wilt or die.

Although it does not require direct sunlight, the ZZ plant thrives when placed in indirect light or bright filtered sun for a few hours every day.

Why is my ZZ plant turning brown?

Healthy ZZ plants have green shiny leaves. If your ZZ plant is turning brown, the problem could be a few different things. It may have been placed in direct sunlight or not enough light and it’s burnt from too much sun exposure.

It also might need more water because if you don’t give this houseplant what it needs to survive, it will let you know by turning brown.

Finally, it could also be due to over-fertilizing which can cause new leaves to turn dark green or black before they eventually wither and die.

Can my ZZ plant get pests?

Although most major parasites seem uninterested in Zamioculcas zamiifolia, the ZZ plant is still susceptible to some pests. You might commonly spot annoying little fungal gnats or spider mites among your ZZ plants. These tend to show up more often in the winter months.

Although they are a nuisance, finding bugs in your ZZ plant isn’t the end. You can try ridding yourself of these pests at home with a little rubbing alcohol or vegetable oil or buying an insecticide.

Is my ZZ houseplant poisonous or toxic?

Yes! All parts of the Zamioculcas zamiifolia are toxic for humans and animals, so keep this plant away from curious children and nibbling pets.

Be careful when handling your indoor houseplant or wearing clothes that have brushed against its leaves! Always wash your hands if you’ve come into contact with a ZZ plant to prevent skin irritation.

Do ZZ plants flower?

Zamioculcas zamiifolia is known for its wide, dark green leaves, and although they can flower, ZZ Plants very rarely produce flowers. Mid-summer to early autumn is when their small flowers are most likely to appear, but this is unlikely to happen indoors.

Where can I buy a ZZ plant?

You can buy your own easy-to-care-for ZZ Plant at stores like Lowe’s or your local nursery, or even online at places like Home Depot, Amazon, Etsy, The Sill.


The Zamioculcas zamiifolia (ZZ) houseplant is an ideal addition to any home, office, or dorm room. It’s easy to care for and will grow beautifully if you just give it the right balance of sunlight exposure, water, and fertilization that it requires. If you follow this guide closely, your plant should do well for you in the long term.


Join the Conversation

  1. Sharon Luckie says:

    My ZZ plant is turning yellow. I cut it off and hope that it doesn’t spread. But I’m not having any luck with it dying. Can you please give me your thoughts on what I can do

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