Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Home » ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia): Plant Care and Growing Guide – House Plants Expert

ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia): Plant Care and Growing Guide – House Plants Expert

by Elyssa Goins
This article was fact checked.
Helpful: 100%

The Zamioculcas zamiifolia plant, more commonly known as the ZZ plant, is an easy-to-grow and care-for indoor plant that displays small glossy green foilage on stems that can grow up to 3 ft long indoors. Colors can range from almost yellow to black making an interesting plant for your home.

The Zamioculcas zamiifolia (botanical name) can tolerate a wide range of environments. They grow well in low to bright lighting and survive with little water or thrive with more. I have grown and propagated this plant for years now so let’s see if this is the right plant for you.

ZZ Plant Care

Temperature:Average warmth is fine of approximately 60-75°F (15-24°C) and no lower than 45°F (8°C).
Light:Average house humidity is advised but increase humidity if the artificial heating within the home or workplace is quite dry. A humidifier helps most of your plants.
Watering:Allow the soil to become dry at the top to the touch between watering and do not overwater. It’s best to water this plant less than too much because over-watering can cause stem, root rot, and rhizome rot.
Soil:Most well-draining potting mixes will suffice that contain a high amount of perlite or sand within the mix (you can add more perlite or sand if needed to a mix that is bought). Good drainage holes at the bottom of the pot are essential.
Re-Potting:Water your plant to loosen the soil. Remove the pot and prune any loose or dead roots. Place into pot 1 to 2 inches larger. Pour a couple of inches of soil into the pot bottom and then place your plant back in. Add top soil. The new soil level should be a couple of inches below the top so water does not overflow.
Fertilizer:During the main growing season (April – August) feed with a balanced liquid fertilizer which is diluted, once a month.
Humidity:Average house humidity is advised but increase humidity if the artificial heating within the home or workplace is quite dry. A humidifier help most of your plants.
Propagation:You may propagate by dividing rhizomes or with leaf cuttings. Leaf cuttings have to be placed in a pot with a plastic covering and then they wait for roots to begin growing, which could take up to a year.
Pruning:Cutaway leaflets that are turning yellow near the base of a stem. Once a stem has grown much longer than all other stems you can remove that stem or cut it to size at the tip. The problem with cutting it to size at the tip is it can look quite odd, so removing it completely might be the best option.

Zamioculcas zamiifolia Description

Zamioculcas Zamiifolia ZZ houseplant

This is a rhizome plant that’s a real joy to grow and to have displayed within a home. Many people mention it’s a slow grower, mine grew two feet in three years, which is not that slow for an indoor house plant. The growth rate will depend on how much sunlight the plant gets (do not allow the plant to sit in direct sunlight – though) and how you meet the other needs of this plant. There is also a smaller version called the Zamicro that is a third smaller.

As mentioned above the plant tolerates low-light conditions, bright indirect light, and different levels of watering. You will find the watering needs depend on how much light it receives (i.e., less light = less water, and more light = more water).

How It Looks

This houseplant grows similarly to tree plants or palms. It has stems with many leaves. The leaves are a fleshy type a couple of inches in length and an inch or so in width. Some of these stems from the plant will grow straight up and then others arch over, which may encourage you to prune odd-looking stems to keep the plant looking full and shaped well. A nice side benefit is you can propagate these cutting and share you plant with others.


zz plant flower

The ZZ plant does produce small flowers at the base of the plant when it’s grown in its natural habitat outdoors. The flower is a spathe type with a spadix that is not easily seen even when it does grow – because foilage can hide the flowers. Flowers will grow at the base of the stems. With advances in indoor lighting, temperature, and humidity control you may be able to produce flowers inside the home.


ZZ Plant in glory

The ZZ plant isn’t that fussy about where it is displayed. The place where it grows just needs to be able to accommodate its size in diameter, which can become over 2ft once it matures – making a table a nice place to display the plant.

Chameleon ZZ plant Zamioculcas zamifolia
Chameleon ZZ Zamioculcas zamifolia

Here’s my Chameleon plant. I have both a Raven zamioculcas zamiifolia and this gorgeous Chameleon plant cultivar. New growth comes out bright yellow and hardens off a green. Like many cultivars, the Chameleon plant is a patented mutation and came out of Thailand in 2017.

While it looks like it, this plant is not truly variegated. The chameleon plant has some leaves that are variegated, while others are pure yellow and some pure green. That is the difference.

The chameleon plant is metachromatic. This means that the leaves start out yellow, then turn variegated green, and finally turn solid green. The leaves will not change color again once they are solid green. It makes such an interesting plant and a conversation for your plant geek friends who don’t have one!

Is it Poisonous?

All parts of this plant are toxic if ingested by children, cats and dogs.

Zamioculcas Zamiifolia Facts

Origin:Eastern Africa
Names:ZZ plant (common). Zamioculcas zamiifolia (botanical/scientific pronounced zam-ee-oh-KUL-kass zam-ee-FOH-lee-uh), Zanzibar gems, eternity plant, Zuzu plant, aroid palm.
Max Growth (approx):Stems length 3ft (30 cm).
Poisonous for pets:Toxic to cats and dogs.
Zamioculcas Zamiifolia looking healthy

Potential Problems

This house plant is a tough cookie and will survive a certain amount of neglect. The easiest mistake to make and most common is overwatering.

  • Lower leaves turning yellow: A small amount of lower leaves turning yellow and falling is quite normal. If many leaves are turning yellow – check that you’re not overwatering.
  • Leaf tips turning brown: The cause is likely to be dry air and low humidity. Misting the leaves can help improve humidity.
  • Leaves turning brown: Overwatering is the most common cause here, especially if the leaflet feels a bit damp and not dry.

Frequently Asked Questions about Zamioculcas Zamiifolia

Are ZZ plants toxic?

Yes, they are poisonous in all areas. Keep away from children and pets and use gloves if you are going to handle it.

How long do ZZ plants live?

This plant can live between five to ten years with minimal supervision and care. Just let it do its thing! Because of this, it’s a great starter plant.

Where should I put my ZZ plant?

They grow best in bright indirect light. Keep away from direct sunlight, it would rather be in dark conditions than the direct sun.

What are the benefits of getting ZZ plants?

The plant’s easy-going nature means there really aren’t many negatives! They are very aesthetically pleasing and have all the mental benefits that come with other houseplants, such as minimizing stress and boosting mood and creativity. It is also an air purifier, so you can pop it in any room, and it’ll eliminate toxins in the air like xylene, toluene, and benzene according to NASA.

Why is it called a ZZ plant?

It stands for Zamioculcas Zamiifolia. ZZ is used simply because the long version is a mouthful!

How fast do ZZ plants grow? 

They are typically slow-growing plants, so they can take a few years to reach maximum growth. On average, a healthy plant will grow 6 or more inches per month during spring and summer.

How much do ZZ plants cost?

Depending on where you get them from and what size you want, they can cost anywhere from $6 to $40.

What are the ZZ plant pests?

Common pests include mealybugs, scale, fungus gnats, and aphids. These can be treated with an insecticidal soap.


This is the ultimate plant for busy workers who have little time to care for their plants. The ZZ plant is almost indestructible. It will tolerate months of neglect and low light and still look great. A lot of people have mistaken these for fake plants because of their glossy-looking foliage and its ability to thrive on neglect. 

The ZZ plant is an elegant addition to any room, perfect if you just want a decorative piece that requires minimal effort. These plants grow best in bright or moderately light areas but will still survive in low light. It’s a great plant to brighten up a dark office where it will only receive artificial light. While they can tolerate direct light, either sunlight or artificial, you may want to minimize their exposure to keep their bright green color. If the plant has received too much light, you may notice the color starts to fade, as well as curling leaves, yellowing, and leaning. The leaning simply means it’s trying to escape the light source.

Like cacti and some succulents, these plants do better with less water. This plant only needs watering if you can see that the soil has dried out. If you notice the leaves yellowing, the soil molding, or a rotting smell, you have overwatered your plant. This plant is fine without fertilizer, but you can add half-strength once or twice a year (in the summer months) for maximum growth. 

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
salon bitkileri
1 year ago


Mary Lloyster
Mary Lloyster
Reply to  salon bitkileri
1 year ago

How are you and your beloved plants? Share a photo of your plants.

Iris Thomas
Iris Thomas
1 year ago

ZZ plant, also known as Zamioculcas zamiifolia, is a succulent that prefers to dry out between waterings. It is recommended to water the plant once a week or every two weeks, or when the top few inches of soil feel dry. Overwatering can cause root rot, so make sure the pot has adequate drainage and don’t leave the plant standing in water.

Mary Lloyster
Mary Lloyster
Reply to  Iris Thomas
1 year ago

Hi, Iris Thomas! Indeed! Well, I guess you are a good plant parent:) Would you like to write some plant care tips for our community? If you have some tips on how to grow your indoor plants healthy and productively, feel free to contact me by email, and we can work something out. Thank You!

1 year ago

My ZZ plant was thriving nicely until we got a new kitten. Between digging in pot and chewing stems … there is almost nothing left.
Four rhizomes and several ” branches”. How do I encourage growth???

Elyssa Goins
Reply to  Judi
8 months ago

Well the obvious answer seems to be protect it form that cat! Lots of indirect light and keep it protected so it can rebound. The ZZ is mildly toxic to cats, I’m surprised its messing with it. Good Luck!

Glenda Cody
Glenda Cody
9 months ago

I got my ZZ plant today 6 3 2023 .It needs to be replanted. What do I do

9 months ago

Hello! While I really enjoy plants, both indoor and out, I’m still learning! I was thinking about repotting my ZZ plant to give it room to grow. However, I am unsure what I should and should not use/do. Obviously it isn’t regular potting soil that it is currently planted in. But, what is it??? Also any other helpful hints are welcome. Please and thank you!

Tolga Borakan
Tolga Borakan
7 months ago

Is it difficult to grow this plant inside the house?

Elyssa Goins
Reply to  Tolga Borakan
7 months ago

Not at all Tolga. I have a couple at home, easy to find in stores, look nice and are easy to grow.

Copyright © 2013-2024 · is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to*Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc., or its affiliates. Additionally, participates in various other affiliate programs, and we sometimes get a commission through purchases made through our links.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x