Plant in Focus: The ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

Plant in Focus: The ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

Fast Facts About ZZ Plant

Botanical Name: Zamioculcas zamiifolia
Popularly known as: ZZ plant, Zanzibar gem, zuzu plant, welcome plant, or emerald palm
Plant Family: Araceae
Country of origin:  Eastern Africa to South Africa
Toxicity: Poisonous to children, cats, and dogs
Known benefit: It’s a natural air purifier.
USDA Hardiness Zone: 10 - 15

The holy grail of indoor plants, the ZZ plant is a must-try if you’re at your wits end when it comes to houseplants. A tropical beauty native to parts of Africa, it’s fast becoming a common fixture in most offices and business due to its reputation for being an ‘unkillable’ plant.

Plant Description

The ZZ plant bears an uncanny resemblance to an olive branch but more succulent and with a glossy, almost wax-like finish. Believe it or not, it’s actually a flowering plant. Although extremely rare for those grown indoors, ZZ plants can produce little white, spathe-type flowers near the base of its stalk, which is almost identical to the flowers of a peace lily.

When it’s time to repot and pull out your ZZ plant from the soil, you’ll see that its roots actually look like potatoes. These are called rhizomes. They act as an efficient water reservoir, which is why the ZZ plant is such a convenient drought-tolerant houseplant. Interestingly, ZZ plants that are grown indoors with not much natural light tend to have a deep, dark moss green color, while those grown outdoors have a light green foliage.

Is ZZ Plant Toxic to Pets?

Yes. Unfortunately, ZZ plant is not advisable to have if you a have a curious pet - dog and cat - or a crawling baby who loves putting everything and anything into his/her mouth at home. Better yet, check out this informative article: A Complete Shopping List of Non-Toxic Indoor Plants for Pet Parents

Why You Should Get a ZZ Plant Right NOW

First of all, this indoor plant is super gorgeous! A pot or two of a ZZ plant can add serious pizzas to your space. You can put it anywhere you please and it’s not going to complain. More importantly, because it’s a certified fuss-free, low-maintenance indoor plant, the chances of you killing it is extremely low.

It’s a certified natural air purifier. A study published by the Department of Plant and Environmental Science from the University of Copenhagen has found that a number of indoor plants, including ZZ plant, can potently strip significant amounts of harmful xylene, toluene, benzene, and ethylbenzene from the air we breathe.

How to Take Care of Your ZZ Plant Indoor

  • ZZ plants thrive in plenty of bright, indirect light, although they can also survive just fine in low-lit environments. They do not like the harsh afternoon sun, which can easily burn their leaves.
  • Check if the topsoil is dry to the touch before watering this indoor plant. Perhaps, you can give it a generous drink once a week. Adjust as you see fit according to your living conditions. This is a plant that can tolerate occasional underwatering but not overwatering, which can rot its stems and rhizomes.
  • Some plant experts recommend feeding your ZZ plant with a balanced fertilizer during its growing phase, usually from the months of April to August. However, the beauty with this houseplant is that it will do just fine without that.
  • Don’t worry if you see a couple of leaves turn yellow, it’s normal and will be soon replaced by young baby leaves. On the contrary, if it’s a considerable number of leaves turning yellow to brown tips and falling, you should probably reconsider your watering schedule.

Expert Plant Care and Maintenance by Orchid Republic

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