How to Grow and Care for a ZZ Plant

ZZ plants (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) are on the top of the list for easy care and are a favorite of beginner gardeners! This plant will tolerate this condition if you have a low-light home or office area. If you forget to water your ZZ plants, he will forgive you! And for all that neglect, his thick, shiny, leathery leaves look like they've just been polished! So they leave you a lot to brag about! 


Watering Needs

Zamioculcas zamiifolia's are native to East Africa, where the environment is warm and humid, and the soil is rocky and dry. They have adapted to this environment by growing stems and underground tubers holding enormous amounts of water to facilitate their moisture needs and maintain them during drought. So, if you are a world traveler and leave your plant for a month, he will be just as happy and sustain himself! 

When you are at home, use your Lively Root moisture meter to check the soil's moisture level and only water when the soil is completely dried out or in the red area of the meter. We recommend using filtered, bottled, or tap water sitting 24 hours to release the chemicals. Water enough that the soil becomes damp, and the water discharges out of the drainage holes. Once the water is fully drained, place it back into the cache or decorative pot again. 

How Much Humidity does my ZZ plant Need?

In the wintertime, your plant will go dormant since the light is shorter and does not need as much water. Maintain humidity levels with pebble trays or by grouping plants together to boost air moisture. However, your ZZ is adaptable and will be fine without a steamy bath, although the more light and humidity, the more it will grow! 

How Much Light do ZZ Plants Need?

Your ZZ plant is adaptable and will tolerate low light, but it doesn't mean it likes really dark places, so no hiding it in the closet from your roommate. Every plant needs sunlight to grow and photosynthesize. With that said, you can place it on the other side of the room (or on a northern exposure) far away from the window, and it will survive, but it won't thrive. If placed in a darker spot, it won't grow as big as it would if it were in a bright, indirect light source. 

In these environments, you'll also have to remember to adapt the watering to accommodate the slower growth. Hence, if you want your ZZ to get as big as possible, opt for a very bright, indirect light spot in your home or office (eastern, western, southern exposure) and turn it one-quarter turn to ensure all the parts of the plant get light each week. 

Pruning & Cleaning your ZZ Plant

When yellowing leaves occur throughout the season on mature plants, this is normal. Remove the aging leaves with our plant snippers. If stems become too arched or heavy, prune back as needed. Another hint if you don't want your plant to grow especially tall, keep it in a draft area (within reason) where it can get a cooler breeze at night but keep the overall temps above 55°F. This bit of coolness will slow down the growth and keep it more compact. 

Clean them with filtered or non-fluoridated water by filling your watering can and showering him. Use our Lively Root bronze mister for spritzing and washing the dust away too. 




Repotting your ZZ Plant

Here are step-by-step directions for ZZ plant propagation. 

  1. Propagate and divide ZZ plants in the early spring when emerging from dormancy. 
  2. Pull from the container and brush or wash away the soil carefully around the rhizomes. Carefully divide the roots and pull tenderly apart and repot in equal parts of indoor aerated potting mix with succulent and cacti soil for good drainage. 
  3. Use a container that has drainage and is deep enough for the roots to have room to grow. 
  4. Set it in medium to bright, indirect sunlight while they are rooting. 
  5. Check the moisture and humidity daily and add misting to keep the soil moist while the roots are establishing. 
  6. After 6-8 weeks, roots will begin to settle. Start fertilizing your new propagations!

Fertilizing my ZZ Plant

To give your ZZ plant nourishment, and make him extra happy, start fertilizing in the spring when days are longer. Continue every other month if your plant is in bright, indirect light. If it's in a shadier spot or farther from the window or northern exposure, then twice a year is sufficient. Stop fertilizing altogether in the fall and winter months, starting in September. Your plant will go dormant and stop active growth during this time. Mix one of our fertilizers up in your watering can and apply it while watering. Don't forget to examine your plant for pests and unwanted debris at the soil base. 

Common Issues for ZZ Plants

Overloving your ZZ plant can be an issue. We mean watering. Since your plant has a water reservoir in its roots, it can go much longer than other plants and is drought tolerant. It needs a drought period between waterings, so don't 'overlove it' as we say. Sometimes, we love our plants and think we're doing the best for them by letting their roots soak in water or not taking them out of the cache pot to drain correctly in a sink. Not! This technique will overload this plant, and the roots will get diseased and rot. So we don't have time for that, and your good intentions will be for not! 

For anyone who doesn't own a living indoor plant and is afraid to try, we know you will love this plant because he is so adaptable. Follow our directions and get a 4 in 1 plant meter to ensure you stay on task with when to water, and you'll succeed at this new venture! Before long, your friends will ask you for advice on their ZZ plants!


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