Gardening has today, become a school of art that people have grown to appreciate in the best manner possible. People love to bring a little color to their homes and gardens and the most natural and beautiful way to go about this wondrous process of connecting with nature.
One such way of going about decorating your home is by bringing in a ZZ plant. The plants are famous for being very durable and adding a little character to your home or workspace in the best and most unique manner.
But what to do to keep the plant as bright as new? In this article, we will talk about a few ways of cleaning the leaves of your green ZZ friend.
What do we know about ZZ Plant?
A member of the Zamioculcas genus, the Zanzibar gem is a flowering plant in the family Araceae, containing the single species Zamioculcas zamiifolia. ZZ is known to be a tropical perennial plant native to eastern Africa, from southern Kenya to northeastern South Africa.
ZZ plants are known to have stems that grow in a graceful, wand-like shape that begins with a thick and bulbous base and then happens to taper to a point. Along the stem grow fleshy, oval-shaped leaves that successfully make the plant look like stylized feathers.
The entire plant possesses a waxy, shiny coating that manages to make it appear to resemble those made of plastic. Between the sculptural qualities of the plant and its waxy coating, it makes a lot of sense that people mistook it for artificial plants in malls and office buildings.
In the past, the ZZ plant would only be found in planters in malls and large office buildings and due to their amazing integrity would frequently be mistaken for fake plants, partially because they needed so little care and always looked extremely healthy. As the years went by, they have found their way onto the shelves of both big box and hardware stores where you can get them to be members of your home.
ZZ plants are known to be slow-growing plants that prefer bright, indirect sunlight. One of the benefits of the ZZ plant is that it can thrive in many lighting conditions. If you ever plant or repot a ZZ, you should go ahead with it in the spring or summer when it’s in an active growth phase.
Plants are known to be poisonous to humans and animals if ingested. Here are some things, in addition to the information already available, how does one care for a ZZ plant?
How to care for the ZZ plant?
ZZ plants are famous for being low-maintenance, easy-to-care-for houseplants that even gardeners with the blackest thumbs (someone unable to grow plants) can keep alive with minimum care.
All they need to do about care is adequate light and a good watering every couple of weeks. However, you don’t have to worry too much if you forget to water your ZZ plant—these plants grow from rhizomes, which happens to help them to store water under the soil, making them drought-tolerant plants.
ZZ plants have a naturally shiny exterior about their leaves but can become dull as dust accumulates. Be careful that you never clean the leaves of a Zanzibar gem with a commercial leaf shine because that will just clog the pores of your plants. Instead, gently wipe away dust and debris with a damp washcloth to restore its shine.
Though it thrives outdoors in Africa, it’s best if you grow the plants indoors. If you want to grow it outside, plant it in a container that can be brought indoors when there is a drop n temperature.
ZZ plants are known to be tolerant of a wide range of lighting conditions, which makes them well-suited to be indoor plants. The plants can grow well, even in low-light conditions. But be careful because the plants can quickly become leggy when not given enough light.
When placing the plant in your house, be sure to choose a bright, indirect light spot, preferably in a room that possesses south-facing windows. Avoid direct sunlight, because the leaves might end up scorched however durable the plants are.
Be sure to look after the plants before it is too late for the plant is too late to be taken care of anymore.
ZZ plants, as their durable nature suggests, are not overtly picky about their potting medium as long as it is a well-draining one. The plant is known to do just fine when potted in standard potting mixes available in most nurseries in your town.
If additional drainage is required, mixing in perlite or sand will help.
Just ensure that the soil in which your plant exists does not clog, because if it does, the accumulated water will end up giving your beautiful plant a root rot, and nobody needs that. The fungal infections will destroy your plants.
These plants are, as has been mentioned before, highly drought-tolerant and can handle infrequent watering thanks to their thick rhizomes. You should, as a habit, water ZZ plants once the soil dries out completely—usually once every two weeks, depending on their growing conditions.
Conduct a finger test, to be sure that the soil has been dried out completely. It’s better to water your plant less than give it too much water, especially if the plant is as drought tolerant as this one.
When watering, pour it on the plant thoroughly with the water running out of the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot. Get rid of the excess water y draining out the plate.
Temperature and Humidity
Average household temperatures and humidity are usually acceptable for Zanzibar gems. ZZ plants are a little sensitive to the cold and do not tolerate cold temperatures well (no lower than 45 degrees Fahrenheit), so avoid placing your plant in a place close to drafts or particularly cold areas of your home.
ZZ plants aren’t very demanding of humid conditions, but if your home runs on the dry side, consider increasing the humidity around your plant by purchasing a humidifier or placing it on top of a water tray so that the plant doesn’t get too dry or doesn’t die too soon.
ZZ plants usually do not require regular fertilizing to thrive throughout their life. However, if you’re planning to increase the size or vigor of your plant, fertilize your ZZ plant with various indoor plant fertilizers diluted to half-strength one to two times during its active growing season. Liquid fertilizer works best with your ZZ Plants.
Liquid fertilizer tends to come in two forms: powder or concentrated liquid. In either case, the fertilizer needs to be mixed with water and poured onto your plants. Because you have to mix it yourself, liquid fertilizer gives you the most control over how much you can give your ZZ.
Pest related issues
Another testimony to the ZZ’s durability is the fact that the plants are virtually disease-free, but it still is necessary that you keep an eye out for common houseplant pests such as mealybugs, scale, and fungus gnats, and aphids that may infest this plant.
You can use any insecticidal soap to eliminate most of these pest problems.
The need for cleaning ZZ Plant?
It is but natural that anything kept in our homes gets dirty, and plants are no exception. Dust and grime settle onto the surface of your plant’s leaves as they always do on your counters and shelves.
And while dust won’t lead to the death of your plant, cleaning it off can encourage it to thrive.
Like most other plants, ZZ plants absorb both carbon dioxide and sunlight through their leaves for the sake of photosynthesis. When a thick layer of dust is built up on your plant’s leaves, it cannot go about the process smoothly.
How to clean the leaves of the ZZ plant?
There are a lot of ways you can go about cleaning your ZZ plant. As was mentioned, this is a necessary step in the caretaking process of your ZZ plant. Here is what you need to know about this.
Wiping the leaves
The most common and probably the simplest method you can use to clean your own ZZ plant’s leaves is a simple wipe-down. To do so, use a damp cloth and gently wipe the leaves, moving from the stem out while doing so.
Be careful to support each leaf and stem with your other hand else the leaves will start bruising or cracking.
Although easy, wiping down plant leaves can be more time-consuming than other methods of cleaning, but it is ideal for large plants or ones that are more difficult to move. Also, your best option for making sure each leaf gets the attention it requires.
If your plant is especially grimy, you can add a drop of dishwashing detergent to the cloth before wiping. Microfiber cloths or cheesecloths work best for cleaning your ZZ leaves. If you don’t have any of these, you can use a dishrag too.
Be sure to get rid of dripping water from your cloth before wiping down your ZZ; you only need it to be damp and not dripping water.
Shower your plant
A quick shower often helps clean the leaves of a ZZ the quickest, especially for plants that are large and yet easy to move at the same time. This can be done in your sink or shower by using a low-pressure sprayer.
You can use the spray to remove the dust and dirt from the leaves while being careful not to break leaves or stems with a high-pressure spray.
Once the leaves are clean, allow the plant to drip dry and completely dry out before you water it again. ZZ plants do not like to sit in soggy soil. Because of this, ZZs should be in a container that has a drainage hole to help drain the soil quickly.
If your planter does not have a proper drainage system, do not wash your ZZ in this way. Instead, go ahead with the wipe-down method mentioned above and consider moving your plant to another pot with at least 1 drainage hole.
You must know that you have to use lukewarm water when showering at a ZZ plant. Any sort of houseplant is sensitive to extreme conditions and very hot or very cold water can induce shock in your plant and cause damage to the leaves or root system.
Dunk your plant
Probably the fastest way to clean the leaves of your smaller ZZs is by dunking them into a bucket of water and swishing them around. To do this, place your hand over the soil to avoid displacement of any sort, then flip your ZZ upside down, place its leaves into a bucket of water (lukewarm), and swish the plant back and forth.
Be careful that you don’t use excessive force when doing this as too much manhandling can cause ZZ stems to snap.
There are a few tips that will help in keeping the soil in place while cleaning your ZZ plant in this manner. The first is to pour abundant water into the soil before flipping it. When the soil is wet and you have your hand stretched over it, the soil will mostly stay in place.
Also, if you’re having doubts about losing soil, use a good-quality cling wrap to wrap the base of the plant before flipping.
After cleaning your leaves, you must let your plant dry. Again, ZZ plants do not like to be clogged in water so they must have the ability to drain water quickly.
What is the ideal temperature of water for cleaning?
Water temperature is extremely important when washing a ZZ green. If the water you’re using is too cold it can leave spots on the surface of the leaves. Extreme heat or cold can induce shock to the root system of your ZZ and cause long-lasting damage.
Should I add anything to the water?
Plain water works extremely well when it comes to cleaning the leaves of your plants. However, a drop or two of dish soap can be added as it might help get rid of pests on houseplants.
Just make sure that you rinse any bubbles away once the leaves are clean as they can leave marks once dry.
How often should I clean the leaves?
There’s no set schedule that you should be followed when it comes to cleaning a plant. It is recommended that you check your leaves every 14 days or so and see what the dust build-up is like. Whenever you see the ZZ plant has lost its shine, clean it.
Leaves are very crucial to any plant, no matter how durable they are hence it becomes the responsibility of the plant parent to be responsible. Cleaning your plant’s leaves every month or so is enough to keep it in good shape and help it thrive, which is what you want from all houseplants.
A ZZ plant with shiny leaves is an indicator that your plant is in a good shape and is happy with the care it’s receiving.
Leave us a comment to let us know if you have any additional questions regarding the care of ZZ plants and we would love to help you out.