From A to ZZ
Everything You've Ever Wanted To Know About Your ZZ
INTRODUCING: THE ZZ PLANT
The ZZ plant is a staple for any plant parent. Tolerant of low light, drought, and dry air,. the ZZ is a laid-back, indestructible beauty that thrives on neglect and is forgiving of first-time plant parents Also known as the Zanzibar Gem, the ZZ originates from east Africa, allowing it to grow happily in these conditions. Their deep green, waxy leaves grow in a symmetrical pattern along the main stems, and new growth is a bright green that brilliantly contrasts against the mature leaves. It's a versatile plant that can make a great desk plant or floor plant. While the ZZ doesn't need much to survive, we've compiled together the things it does need in order to make your life as a plant parent just a little bit easier.
When it comes to lighting, the ZZ plant isn't too picky. Just don't put it in direct bright light, they won't like that.
While this plant can handle a little bit of low light, it thrives best in medium to bright indirect light. Exposure to indirect bright light should be limited, and it should never be exposed to bright direct light. Your ZZ will be happy with a minimum of six hours per day of bright, indirect light and can tolerate up to 12 during the warmer months.
If you know that your windows face South or West, place the plant behind sheer curtains or in a spot where the ZZ can appreciate the sunlight so long as it's not in the direct sunlight.
The ZZ plant is a succulent in disguise! Special tuberous roots called rhizomes store water for the plant, so it won't need to be watered all that frequently. These rhizomes make it possible to forget a few waterings. ZZs are sensitive to root rot, so be sure to feel the soil for dryness before you water. Avoid sticking to a strict schedule and make sure to always feel the soil before you water. If it’s dry 3-4” from the top, it’s time for a drink! Water slowly and thoroughly until you see water draining from the holes in the bottom of your pot. Don't be afraid to have a bit of a heavy hand!
Since you won't be watering the ZZ as often as your other plants, make sure to stay aware and keep an eye on the plant for any signs of dryness! Drooping foliage, bone-dry soil, and wrinkled leaves are all indicators of a thirsty ZZ.
Growth Habits Of ZZs
All parts of the ZZ plant are toxic if consumed by humans or animals, so keep these plants away from curious young children and pets! If you are an extra cautious plant parent, you can handle the ZZ with gloves and place coffee, orange peels, or vinegar near plant to keep away pets.
While not all plants are suitable for propagation, the cool thing about the ZZ plant is that it can easily be propagated. It's the gift that keeps on giving! Start by cutting a stalk at the base of your ZZ plant. Snip a few inches above the soil with a sanitized knife and then place it into a jar of water. Change out the water whenever it gets murky and soon you'll see roots start to develop!
Keep the ZZ cutting near a window where it can receive bright, indirect light. Sunlight is the best way to encourage your ZZ cutting to grow. Once the roots reach about 2-3 inches long, you can go ahead and repot it. There you have it, you've got yourself another ZZ plant!
Though slow-growing, the ZZ plant commonly reaches 2 to 4 feet tall and wide when grown indoors, but this varies by each specific plant. It usually takes three to five years to grow to this size, though some grow faster and gain six or so inches per season.
The ZZ plant is highly sought after for being so low-maintenance, and that easy care extends to repotting. Generally, you’ll only need to repot your ZZ plant every two to three years. When potting the ZZ, be sure to use a loose potting mix in a container that has drainage holes so the water can escape. Soil mixed with perlite or sand mixes usually works best, but a succulent soil mix can also work as a last resort. You'll know it's time to repot your ZZ if the roots crack open the nursey pot. (Yes, that can happen...so keep an eye out!) If the roots start to come out of the drainge hole, that is another clear indicator that it's time to repot!
Overwatered your ZZ?
This plant can handle a lot, but even the ZZ has it's limits. While the intentions are good, overwatering your plants is one of the most common killers and does much more harm than any good. Therefore, it's important to take the right steps when watering in order to avoid potential root rot in your ZZ plant. If you noticed the stems and leaves start to yellow or recent droopy stalks that will no longer stand up, you have most likely overwatered your ZZ. Don't stress! This can still be fixed depending on how much you overwatered it. You'll want to start by letting your plant dry out completely, reassesing the soil you're currently using, and then repotting it into new soil in a well draining pot with a drainage hole. Be aware, your ZZ plant may not recover depending how much water it recieved. If this happens, don't worry, you'll know for next time! In general, it's important to let the soil dry out completely in between waterings to avoid root rot.
Repotting Your ZZ? AGAIN?
Listen, we get it. We're always impatiently waiting for our plants to grow too, especially with a slow-grower like the ZZ. Unfortunately, you can't speed up it's growth by doing things like repotting it! It's a common misconception among people that repotting will make your plant grow more or faster, but this isn't true! Just stop. Leave your plant to grow in it's current pot until it actually needs to be repotted and it will grow happy and healthy. Don't rush the process.
Repotting Your ZZ? AGAIN?
Another common mistake that people make when potting their ZZ plant or any plant is repotting with the wrong soil. If your plant hasn't been growing well or has become discolored while you've done everything else right, it may be time to take a look at your soil and make the change to another one! Typically, changing the soil in potted plants is done every 12-18 months, but the timing varies depending on plant and conditions. Your ZZ will thrive best in a nutrient-rich and porous soil mix. This plant loves good drainage and a soil mixture containing things like prumice, perlite, or wood chips that provide the extra drainage they need. If your plant isn't growing as expected, take a look at the current soil you're using and consider switching it to another!