Plant Bio: Zamioculcas zamiifolia

The Zamioculcas zamiifolia (better known as Zz plant) may as well be known as the unsung hero of the plant world. If you are a beginner or seeking to spread your joy of plants to others- the low maintenance Zz plant is your go-to.

zz plants

This plant grows waxy oval-shaped leaves that spread to create a unique silhouette. Along with many of its nicknames “the eternity plant” is one that describes how little it takes to keep this plant thriving. This resilient evergreen has the power to build confidence in anyone who is hesitant about plants!

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It took more than a few times to land on the Zamioculcas zamiifolia’s name after it was first published in the 19th century. This plant was first found growing in the forests in Eastern Africa. The Zz plant gets its drought-tolerant qualities from growing off of rhizomes. Rhizome plants differ from roots in that their stems can reproduce new plants. The rhizomes are meant to protect the plant from droughts by holding in water through its bulbs. The Zz first began to travel when it was discovered for how easily it is propagated in the 1990s. After this discovery, it spread throughout Europe and was quickly found in nurseries worldwide.

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Given how hardy this plant is, the Zz is not particularly picky when it comes to its soil. However, when deciding which mix to use you’ll want to consider proper drainage and aeration. The rhizomes will do their part in absorbing moisture from the soil, so any extra and unneeded water might accumulate and create root rot over time. The rhizomes will act as storage for the plant and secure in water and nutrients that the Zz needs. To encourage drainage, using a mix that is meant for cacti can benefit the requirements of your plant. Be sure to have a balance of perlite to the soil, creating a mix that doesn’t retain too much water at once.

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When potting your Zz, you can use a pot the same size as the one that came in from the nursery. The Zz doesn’t mind being snugger in its pot so long and it does not become waterlogged. Depending on how much light your plant receives the growth rate will differ. This means that if you have your Zz in a bright spot you may have to re-pot your plant more often than not. If you’re concerned about potential root rot, using a clay pot will aid in providing aeration for the Zz. Clay pots are also better for those in colder environments. 

When it’s finally time to water your Zz, remember that the bulbous Rhizomes are doing their part to keep your plant healthy and may only need a drink every couple of weeks (depending on the season). 

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Your Zz plant is native to environments that are warmer and slightly more humid. To encourage growth for your plant, you’ll want to keep your plant in temperatures between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also keep your Zz outside if you live in areas where temperatures don’t drop below 50 degrees. When leaves begin to crisp or turn brown, this is a sign that your plant is not receiving enough water to offset the heat. On the other hand, when your plant’s leaves are turning yellow it means that your plant is retaining too much moisture in the air or that it is overwatered. Over time, dust in the air will accumulate on your shiny foliage so be sure to wipe them down to avoid clogging your plant’s pores. 

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This plant is specifically beloved for its air-purifying qualities, removing large amounts of benzene and xylene from the air. You can propagate your Zz by splitting the Rhizomes and re-potting this plant to bring this air filter into several rooms in your home!

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