How to Grow & Care for ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia)

Looking for tips and tricks to care for your lovely ZZ plants? 

ZZ plants are slow-growing plants and can thrive even in neglect. I can understand your situation as this plant’s a slow grower, however, it took about 3 years to grow in my home. I think this plant grows quickly with sufficient watering and needs much proper sunlight. 

Also, this plant is best to keep at home or office anywhere you want, where there is a lot of natural light. Furthermore, this species improves indoor air quality by removing volatile organic compounds.

I know how much you love this plant as I am obsessed over ZZ plants too. That is why, with my experience with ZZ plants over the years, I will discuss all the important tricks and tips that you need to know to take care of your ZZ plant. 

I hope you have fun learning about this plant and so, let’s begin!

Fun Facts about the ZZ plant!

Botanical nameZamioculcas zamiifolia
Common nameZZ plant, Zanzibar gem, eternity plant
Plant typePerennial
Mature size2-4 ft. tall, 2-4 ft. wide
Sun exposure Partial
Soil typeWell-draining
Soil pHNeutral, acidic
Bloom timeSpring
Flower colorYellow, green, white
Native areaAfrica
Toxicity Toxic to humans, toxic to pets

Did you know the ZZ plant produces flowers?

It rarely produces flowers and originates from Zanzibar and is native to eastern Africa, northern South Africa, and southern Kenya. Let us know the fun facts about this plant!

  • This plant is very old and got popular in 1966 which is when Dutch nurseries first propagated the plant ready for worldwide distribution.
  • The ZZ plant can grow to two to three feet if given proper care.
  • The smooth shiny ZZ plant’s leaves are capable of growing to 40-60cm long.
  • There are two color variations of the plant. The first is the raven, which produces purple-maroon leaves, while the other is predominantly green with white or yellow variations.
  • The ZZ is a rhizome plant with a thick stem.

How to grow a ZZ plant?


Ideally, ZZ plants thrive in bright to moderate indirect light but can tolerate extremely low levels. Thus making them an ideal plant for offices without windows or bathrooms with little or no natural light.

When left in direct light, ZZ plants may have some scalding on their leaves. Also, curling leaves, yellowing, and leaning can indicate too much light. And plants curl when they are trying to avoid light sources. At that time, shift the plant to a shadier location. Alternatively, you can try filtering the light with curtains or blinds.

Furthermore, there are two simple ways to grow ZZ plants. Choose any method you want.

ZZ plants can be grown mainly through division and stem cuttings. However, the easiest way to grow more ZZ plants is by division. Just divide your plant’s rhizomes next time you re-pot it.

When growing by stem cuttings, you may need to wait six to nine months before roots begin to develop. Although it takes time, it is an easy process. Just follow the steps that I have given below!

Step 1: Using a sterilized and sharp cutting tool, cut the entire stalk, including the leaflets.

Step 2: Put the stalk in water after removing the bottom leaves from the stem.

Step 3: Put the container in indirect light. Within a few months, roots should form. Also, to prevent bacterial growth, change the water weekly.

Step 4: Upon substantial root growth, pot the plant in a potting mix.

How to take care of ZZ plants?

Even gardeners with black thumbs can keep ZZ plants alive with minimum care as they are low-maintenance and easy to care for. A good watering every couple of weeks is all ZZ plants need. However, don’t forget to water your ZZ plant, as they grow from rhizomes, which store water under the soil.

In Africa, it thrives outdoors, but elsewhere, it grows best indoors. Whenever the weather turns chilly, bring the potted plant indoors. If you want to grow it outside, use containers that can be brought in when the temperature drops.

The naturally shining leaves of ZZ plants can become dull over time as dust accumulates on them. However, you should never use commercial leaf shine on Zanzibar gem leaves, as it will clog the plant’s pores. Instead, use a damp washcloth to remove dust and debris.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the factors that you need to know for caring for ZZ plants!

1. Sunlight requirements for ZZ plants

Although it can tolerate low indirect light, the ZZ thrives in medium to bright indirect light. As long as it gets 6 hours a day, it will be happy. Also, it can thrive during the warmer months. 

Nonetheless, make sure to keep it away from direct, intense sunlight. Consider moving the window towards the middle of the room. Another option is to cover south-facing windows with sheer draperies

2. Water requirements for ZZ plants

Thanks to their thick rhizomes, these plants are highly drought-tolerant. It is generally recommended to water ZZ plants once the soil dries out completely. This is usually done every two weeks, depending on their growing conditions. 

You should water your plants less rather than too much. Also, it is important to water the soil thoroughly until the water runs out of the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot. Additionally, make sure the excess water is drained.


3. Temperature requirements for ZZ plants

Most houseplants prefer temperatures between 65°F and 85°F (18°C and 30°C). Keeping the ZZ plant at 60°F (15°C) as a baseline is best. However, don’t let the temperature get much lower.

4. Humidity requirements for ZZ plants

When caring for a ZZ, humidity levels are not important. It can handle average home humidity and even somewhat dry air. However, to get the same humidity levels they would encounter in their native climate, aim for 40-50%. It can increase the humidity level in the room by grouping plants together. Moreover, you can add a humidifier or pebble tray.

5. Soil requirements for ZZ plants

To prevent root rot, ZZ plants need well-draining soil. For better drainage, you can mix in perlite or a cactus mix with your favorite potting mix if your pot has good drainage.


6. Fertilizer requirements for ZZ plants

It is generally not necessary to fertilize ZZ plants regularly for them to thrive. However, fertilize your ZZ plant one to two times during its active growing season with diluted indoor plant fertilizer.

7. Leaf care requirements for ZZ plants

To keep the ZZ plant foliage clean and shiny, wipe it with a damp cloth when necessary. Occasionally misting the leaves will also help reduce dust buildup. Also, it’s good for your plant’s health to keep the leaves dust-free. Additionally, it will be easier for leaves to take in light if they are dust-free.

8. Pruning and shaping requirements for ZZ plants

It isn’t necessary to prune a ZZ plant to encourage new growth. However, sometimes it’s necessary to improve the shape of your plant and remove yellowing or damaged foliage.

With a sharp knife or pruning scissors, you can cut away entire stalks if your plant is overgrown. Also, ensure that you wear gloves to prevent skin contact.

9. Potting and Repotting ZZ Plants

Once ZZ plants have outgrown their potting container, they should be repotted. If the rhizomes are pressing up against the edge of the container, or if the container is warped, repotting is necessary. In addition, if the plant has become root-bound, it may show signs of stress.

For most houseplants, it is best to repot them in the spring or summer. In spring and summer, they are better able to tolerate being disturbed as it is an active growing season. Also, make sure your plant is planted in a potting container that is one size larger with ample drainage holes.


10. Pest and Disease of ZZ plants

ZZ plants are virtually disease-free, but watch out for pests like mealybugs, scale, fungus gnats, and aphids that may infect them. To eliminate most pest problems, use insecticidal soap.

11. Common Problems With ZZ Plants

Frequently, Zanzibar gems have problems receiving enough water. When the leaves drop, the plant is dehydrated and needs water. 

In the case of yellowing and dropping leaves, you should give the plant more water. Water the plant when the soil in the top 3 inches is dry (roughly the length of your finger).

Important tips to grow and care for ZZ plants!

Now, I will discuss the important tips and tricks to grow and care for your ZZ plants from my experience with ZZ plants over the years! Let’s get to know them!

1. Water infrequently, but thoroughly

ZZ plants are prone to overwatering, but that doesn’t mean you should be stingy when watering them! Every time you water your ZZ, give it a good drink.

2. Make sure you don’t over-love them

Many plant parents show their new plants some extra love and care by watering them. However, ZZ plants do best with a little neglect. And if they are allowed to dry completely between waterings, they will thrive.

3. Shine them up a bit

You can help your plant do its photosynthesis by wiping off its leaves whenever you see a buildup of dust. You don’t need a commercial leaf shine product—just a damp cloth will do. With a soft cloth or sponge dampened with lukewarm water, gently wipe the leaves from stem to tip.

4. Avoid direct sunlight

Sunburn can cause brown patches on the leaves of your ZZ plant (yes, plants can sunburn!). Use indirect light whenever possible.

5. More light = more growth

A dim room is fine for your ZZ plant, but it won’t produce much new growth. You will need bright, indirect light to grow your ZZ plant.

6. Make sure you buy the right size ZZ for your space

Zz grows very slowly, so you won’t be potting up your plant for a long time. However, for a big ZZ plant in your office corner, you should start by buying a big plant. Otherwise, you will have to wait a very long time.

7. Rotate the pot

A Zanzibar gem grows towards the source of light as most houseplants do. Give the pot a quarter turn every few months to keep the plant growing upright and evenly.


Q1. How big does a ZZ Plant get?

Ans. If grown indoors, ZZ Plants can grow to 2-3 feet tall and wide, sometimes even more. Plants usually take 3-5 years to grow to this size, though some grow faster and gain 6 inches per year.

Q2. Is the ZZ Plant easy to grow and care for?

Ans. A ZZ Plant is a low-maintenance houseplant. Besides water and light levels, not much else needs to be considered. However, fertilizing every six months, or even months in the growing season, will provide additional nourishment. When plant pests appear, spray neem oil on the plant each week and wipe it down regularly. If needed, add perlite or lava rocks to the soil to increase aeration. Do not forget to pick a well-draining potting mix.

Q3. Is ZZ Plant safe for pets?

Ans. ZZ Plants are not pet-friendly. If the foliage is consumed by cats, dogs, or humans, it can be irritating. It is always best to keep houseplants out of the reach of children and pets.

Q4. Are Zanzibar gems easy to care for?

Ans. ZZ plants are said to be impossible to kill. Thanks to their tolerance for poor conditions and neglect, making an excellent choice for beginners.

Q5. How fast does the ZZ plant grow?

Ans. The growth rate of this plant is somewhat slow. However, it does produce a few new stems each year. In a season, it grows in spurts of two inches or more at a time.

Q6. How long can a ZZ plant live?

Ans. Due to its toughness, it is a long-lasting plant. Because ZZ plants can be passed down from generation to generation, they are also called heirloom plants.


Easily grown indoors, ZZ plants have glossy, wide, oval leaves, which shoot upward and grow quickly. Also, do you know that Zanzibar gems are often mistaken for artificial plants due to their waxy, spotless leaves?

The ZZ plant grows slowly and prefers bright, indirect sunlight. It is one of the many benefits of ZZ plants that they can thrive under many different lighting conditions. When planting or repotting the ZZ plants, you should do it during spring or summer when they are actively growing. Also, if ingested, these plants are toxic to humans and animals.

I hope you enjoyed learning about this fabulous houseplant and that my article helps you to keep your plants healthy and beautiful! So, what do you think of this spotless leaf plant? Let me know in the comment section below. Also, don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family! 

Happy Gardening to you!

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  • Manish Lakhera

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  • Vinni Balyan

    11 years ago when we left NY and started living in the suburbs, I developed the passion for gardening. I'm a mom of two, and a big time gardener here helping you pick you right battle in gardening. 🙂 Stay tuned.

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