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Everything You Need to Know to Care for ZZ Plants

Despite their odd name, ZZ plants are actually one of the most popular types of houseplants nowadays. Its rise is mainly due to the fact that it is a social media darling, and a fixture in almost every Instagram collection of houseplants.

If you’re thinking of getting your very own ZZ plant, keep reading to find out everything you need to know about it.

“What is a ZZ Plant?”

The ‘ZZ’ in ZZ plants actually stands for its scientific name: Zamioculcas zamiifolia. It is a plant that originates from Africa, and typically grows 40 to 60 centimeters tall while producing small flowers.

Reasons Why ZZ Plants are Popular

ZZ plants are extremely popular nowadays for several reasons:

  1. Looks attractive with waxy green leaves.
  2. Tolerant and can withstand neglect, drought, and low-light conditions.
  3. Purifies air and removes toxins from it.

To put it simply, this is a plant that looks great and is extremely easy to care for – making it a great ornamental houseplant for beginners.

Poisonous or Not?

While it is true that ZZ plants are toxic, the extent of their toxicity is often exaggerated. It is best if you ignore the rumors that it causes cancer or that you need thick gloves to handle it.

The truth is that you aren’t in any danger from ZZ plants unless you eat it – though you should wash your hands after touching it to avoid irritating your skin. Kids and pets should be kept away from it in case they nibble it out of curiosity.

ZZ Plant Care

As mentioned previously, ZZ plants don’t really need much care. That being said, with a little bit of the right care it will thrive and grow more quickly:

  • Potting soil: Any type of well-drained potting mix, preferably with ample perlite or sand.
  • Light conditions: Bright indirect light is best, but it can survive in low light.
  • Watering: Only water when the soil has dried out to avoid overwatering which can lead to root and stem rot.
  • Temperature: Average temperature is preferable.
  • Fertilizer: Apply a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer once a month during main growing season (April to August).

Common Issues

Despite being hardy and able to withstand neglect, there are some common issues that ZZ plants tend to face:

  • Yellowing or browning leaves may be due to overwatering. It is normal for a small amount of lower leaves to turn yellow and fall, or you can prune them away.
  • Leaf tips browning may be due to dry air and a lack of humidity.

Aside from these issues, you don’t really have much to worry about. Unlike many other houseplants ZZ plants aren’t prone to insect infestations and are very resistant towards disease.


ZZ plants grow from large rhizomes that look like potatoes. The easiest way to propagated them is by dividing the rhizomes and re-planting them.

The more rhizomes are planted together and the larger they are – the faster the ZZ plant will grow.

Another way to propagate ZZ plants is by rooting leaf cuttings or leaflets. It should be noted that this method will take much longer, and sometimes it may even be a year before leaf cuttings take root.


By this point you should truly know everything that you need about ZZ plants. Taking care of them is a piece of cake, and now that you know what to look out for – you should be able to completely avoid any issues too.


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