The ZZ plant or the Zamioculcas zamiifolia plant is a tropical plant that is perennial native to Eastern Africa. It is popular around the world due to its great tolerance for many ranges of conditions.
This plant lets out smooth, natural leaves that grow in different ranges, that is, prime lime when they are young, and when they are mature enough, they give that emerald green appearance. The length of the individual leaflets is usually one to three inches long.
They come from thick, slightly bulbous stalks, which start from large, water-storing rhizomes that are hidden underneath the soil. This is a great houseplant as it can tolerate low light and has low water requirements.
This plant has been around for centuries and it originates from the drought probe Africa and it thrives outdoors. Dutch nurseries situated in South Africa a couple of many years ago discovered the plants propagating potential, and it was in 1996 that the plant started being distributed worldwide, and it has been a household and office favorite since then.
The ZZ plants have low maintenance. These plants grow at a slow rate and will not require you to care for them much. The ZZ plants are great survivors and can be grown in most environmental conditions.
The plants grow well in very bright areas but away from direct sunlight. They can be grown in pots and will grow well even in a room that has a low level of light. But, they still need some light, too much shade, and prolonged periods of time in low levels of light will affect these plants’ growth rate.
The ZZ plants also do great in warm weather conditions. The right Temperature for these plants is about 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure that the temperatures do not go below 45 degrees Fahrenheit as this will slow down their growth.
Historical Background Of The ZZ Plant
This plant has been there for quite some time now, centuries to be exact. It first came to be known by many people in 1829 as a book of plants was released in that year, and it was put in the genus Caladium Zamiifolia. In 1856, it was changed to Zamioculcas, which is it’s current genus.
It was located in Africa in areas from SA and from Kenya. This plant grew outdoors for many years until Dutch nurseries situated in South Africa saw the potential in them and started making it available to be distributed worldwide in the year 1996, and it didn’t take long for it to become an indoor household plant for homes and offices.
What Does The ZZ Plant Look Like?
The ZZ plant has wide dark leaves that do not easily produce flowers. They are great desk plants and grow very tall when left alone over time. In terms of length, the leaves can be 40-60 long. It is smooth and tidy and fresh.
It has a unique root system which seems like thick potatoes when seen at an angle above and the roots are called rhizomes. They keep water, which can make this plant prone to over watery but this trait becomes useful during droughts and places where water is in shortage.
This just proves that this plant flourishes indoors. They absorb light even from minimum sources of light, as evidenced by their deep green color.
They usually grow at a slow pace and their branches may get in the way as they may intrude across a desk or into an area. You can use pruning methods and tools to remove the branches while following standard pruning methods safely, and they can also be directed if that is what you prefer.
When it comes time for it to flower, it usually happens in mid-summer to early autumn. The flowers of this plant are usually small. The colors of the plants vary. that is from bright yellow to brown or bronze.
Hidden among the leaves’ bases are the flowers, which are not that attractive hence can be removed while making sure not to damage the plant.
How to care for ZZ plant
They are easy to care for, making them popular among interior landscaping, offices, buildings, and homes. They flourish in areas that are known for low light, and the maintenance of this plant is quite easy.
Watering: How Much Water Do ZZ Plants Need
ZZ plants thrive on less water than most indoor plants. Depending on your lighting (direct sunlight or filtered), you should water your ZZ Plant once every fortnight as ZZ plants will not need as much watering even under the fluorescent lighting.
In their natural original tropical habitats of West Africa, ZZ plants grow on well-draining soil and plenty of direct sunlight, where if it rains, it also dries quickly. ZZ plants are more like Cactus or succulent plants that equally do well with limited watering.
How Do You Know When A ZZ Plant Needs Water?
A quick poke of your middle index finger into your ZZ potting soil for about 2 inches deep will indicate how thirst is your plant for watering.
If the potting mix is drier, moisture present in the soil shows you its not enough; you will instantly know it’s time to water your ZZ plant.
For a healthy ZZ plant indoors, plant them using the best potting soil that dries quickly under filtered lighting spaces. Make sure to only water your ZZ plant after checking the soil is mildly dry and never leave a pool of water under the saucer in which your plant sits.
The ZZ tropical plants are a wildly resilient type of plants with less demand for watering. These plants are as forgiving as you can need a houseplant to be in your home or office.
Water your ZZ plant at a calculated interval or chosen days within a week, although they do not require to be watered daily. Make sure to not let it starve to death due to lack of water.
When watering the plants, you need to follow an interval of 2-3 weeks to allow the soil to dry out between the waterings. In brighter light, water more and vice versa in lower light.
Although the ZZ plant can stay without water for some time, it is essential that you want it regularly to not die. Make sure to avoid overwatering this plant, which will cause root rot and easily lead to the plant’s death.
Light: How Much Light Do ZZ Plants Need
ZZ plants thrive in direct sunlight. Therefore, they will need as much natural light or fluorescent light as you can afford. They originated from the tropical regions of West Africa, where they have well-draining soil and plenty of direct sunlight. ZZ plants equally do well with limited or filtered lighting spaces and can successfully be grown indoors. The ZZ tropical plants are a resilient tropical plant; no wonder they are dubbed as very forgiving houseplants to have in your home or at your office.
In terms of light, it requires some amount of light hence it is required to be put in a room where there is some light but that does not have excessive light. You need to know that these plants should not be left where there is direct sunlight.
Exposing them to direct sunlight will cause your plants leaves to become scorched and dry out. If you notice that the leaves are drying out or becoming scorched, make sure to move the plant to an area where there is no direct sunlight.
Right Temperature: What Temperature Do ZZ Plants Need
ZZ plants thrive in temperatures of 65°F-75°F: These plants do well under humid climates of anywhere between 65°F-75°F. These are ideal growing conditions they are acclimatized to in tropical rain forests of West and Central Africa.
Still, ZZ plants equally thrive best indoors with artificially enhanced humid climates where they learn to tolerate less humid climates provided the air is not overly dry.
In terms of the temperature, they do well well under temperature ranges of 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 85 degrees Fahrenheit which just proves that they can do well and need to be kept under average home temperatures.
When it comes to humidity, make sure to follow and place it under average home humidity as they can tolerate dry air. However, these plants should not be placed near an air conditioner. Make sure that the temperature does not go below 45 degrees Fahrenheit as this may cause stunted growth.
Soil: What Type Of Soil Do ZZ Plants Need
No special potting soil is needed for ZZ plants. As long as the soil is well-aerated and quick to drain when watered, it should be good enough for your ZZ plant. So, when potting your indoor ZZ plant, make sure that the soil you use meets the ideal needs that mimic that of the wild ZZ plant in West Africa.
ZZ plants do not require too much when it comes to the soil. However, the soil that you get needs to have great drainage. Hence, look for soils that contain sand in them as these have good drainage.
The pot you choose for the plants should also have some drainage holes. This is because too much water can cause root rot for the ZZ plants leading to their death.
Monitoring it’s size: How Big Do ZZ Plants Get?
2 to 3 feet height: ZZ plants slowly grow to a height of 2-3 feet high over a long period of time. These plants are drought tolerant and easy to care for as long as you keep in mind that they can grow up to 28 inches. While most indoor plants outgrow their potting, ZZ plants growth takes years of care to require changing their potting.
Their smooth and color-dense green leaf accentuates your room to a brighter and toxin-free and fresh air. And, if there is stunted growth or your plant is not growing properly, you will also see the quality of the stem and leaf patterns.
The ZZ plants require some attention every now and then. You can do this by removing some dust from their leaves. You should also use this time to check for pests on your plants as well as monitor every strange thing.
Taking Care of the ZZ plant after it has flourished
The ZZ plant does not grow very fast. It takes time. But if given all the necessary requirements, including water, temperature and light, you will have no problems with it’s growth. In order to ensure that the plant grows well. You need to take note of things that you would do once it has started flourishing.
In order for the ZZ plant to grow well, you need to apply fertilizer to the soil. The application of fertilizer should be done at least once to two times. It can be done in summer or in spring. Make sure to use a fertilizer that is diluted and in liquid form.
Pruning the plant
With the ZZ plant, you will not need much pruning. However, during its growth, you will need to get rid of the yellow leaves, this is very common. You also need to get rid of the overgrown stems. When doing all this, make sure to wear gloves and wash your hands immediately afterwards.
Repotting the plant
Repotting involves removing the plant from its initial lot and planting it in a new pot. The ZZ plant does not need any repotting. Repotting should only be done when you notice that the plant is too big for the pot that it’s growing in.
When repotting, make sure to get a pot that the plant will easily fit in, it should not be too small. The pot you choose should also have the ability to drain water properly. It is advised to do repotting in the spring months.
ZZ plants can be propagated. There are two methods that you can use to propagate these plants. The first one involves cutting the plant into two smaller plants. The other one is by sticking a mature stem in water, you then wait for its roots to come out. The former is not recommended since the rhizomes of the ZZ plant do not grow fast.
Are ZZ Plants Pet Safe?
ZZ plants are toxic to pets when ingested. Both the leaf and stems contain a toxic compound that can cause gastric upsets to cats and dogs, including humans if accidentally ingested. Nonetheless, ZZ plants is a fairly very good plants to keep around your home.
However, if you have small kids and pets living with you at home, these plants are also known for being toxic to both humans and pets. These plants become poisonous, especially when the leaves are consumed by a person and not otherwise.
When touched the plants are not poisonous. However, they can cause skin irritation and a burning sensation. To pets, especially cats, these plants are not very good. Therefore, you need to make sure that your pets are not close to the plants or consume any of the leaves. If this happens, make sure to take your pet to the veterinarian.
Just to be on the safe side, It is recommended to touch these plants when you are wearing gloves.This is because it has calcium oxalate crystals that will irritate your skin. Be sure to exercise caution and keep the plants out of children’s reach as they are very toxic. After touching the plants. Always make sure to wash your hands.
With the ZZ plant. You may have a problem with some pests, including aphids. This is because of the sap that these plants produce. When you see that your plants have some yellow marks or spots, this may be a sign of pests infesting your plants.
In order to find the aphids, you need to really monitor your plants as they can easily blend with the plant’s leaves. Aphids can be removed using hot water and mild soap.
Other problems: Overwatering is the main problem that can lead to the death of this plant. Therefore, always make sure that you avoid overwatering the plant. Before you water the plants again, make sure that three inches of the soil is dry.
Remember to avoid under-watering the plants. A sign of under-watering maybe grow leaves and falling off of leaves.
Other Facts about the ZZ plant
ZZ plants are very good plants at tolerating drought They have the ability to retain enough water. Due to this, they do not need to watered on a frequent basis. Make sure to always monitor that the soil is dry before you water these plants again.
ZZ plants help in getting rid of toxins in the air. It can remove toxins like xylene, benzene as well as toluene. Because of this, it’s called an air purifier.
ZZ plants are very good plants that will make your room or office look very beautiful. Caring for these plants is very easy as they do not require a lot from you. They also have low needs and will survive in some worst conditions.
The ZZ plant will grow well in a bright condition, but there should be no direct sunlight. The temperature needs to be warm, and the environment should be humid. With the proper care; watering, pruning, these plants will be able to grow very well