ZZ Plant Care

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ZZ Plant in green pot in front of white board back drop
My ZZ Plant

Have you heard about all the great benefits of having houseplants, but you have no luck keeping them alive at your home or office?

Then I have the perfect houseplant for you!

It’s the ZZ plant (short for the botanical name Zamioculcas zamiifolia)!

It’s great for several reasons and thrives in almost all adverse indoor environments!

First, it does not like to be in the direct sun.

It prefers to be in indirect light.

Get to Know ZZ Plants
Common NameZZ Plant
Botanical NameZamioculcas zamiifolia
Native Eastern Africa
Houseplant TypeSucculent
Garden Plant TypeHerbaceous perennial
Hardiness Zones9 to 10 (U.S.)
Mature Height2-3 feet
Mature Spread2-3 feet

Overview of ZZ Plant Care
Light RequirementsBright, indirect light, avoid direct sunlight, tolerates low light
MoistureAvoid overwatering, especially in low light environments
Watering FrequencyAllow soil to thoroughly dry without become hard and compacted
Water TypeTap water is fine
HumidityTolerates lower humidity
AirDoes well in home and office environment
SoilSucculent mix
Fertilizer NeedsLow, 1 time per month in growing season
ContainerWith drain holes, remove excess water from saucers, doesn't mind being slightly pot bound

A room with plants as An ad for the Ultimate Indoor Plant Guide


It’s perfect for offices with fluorescent lights as it’s one of the houseplants that tolerate low-light.

Secondly, it looks like a tropical foliage plant, but it really is a succulent.

This means that it’s like a cactus or other desert plant.

It has rhizomes (bulb-like structures under the soil that store water) so it is naturally adapted to survive prolonged periods without water.

Rhizomes of the ZZ plant in green pot
Rhizomes that store water

Watering the ZZ Plant

The ZZ plant only needs to be watered about once a month or so- when the top inch or two of the soil gets dry.

The best way to check is to put your finger in the soil about an inch and a half to two inches and see if it is dry or not.

A sure way to kill it is to overwater it!


ZZ Plant Maintenance & Care

Another great feature of this plant is that it has very few pests and disease problems.

As with most plants, it gets fungus gnats if the soil stays too wet.

The leaflets are a rich deep green color with a waxy coating that makes them almost look artificial.

The ZZ plant tolerates low humidity so you won’t see any brown tips that are often common with tropical houseplants.

It really doesn’t need to be fertilized much- maybe a diluted application in spring and then again in summer.

In northern climates, ZZ plants can be acclimated to be grown outside on a deck or patio for the summer after nighttime temperatures remain above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

They will have to be re-acclimated to the indoor environment before nighttime temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.


Propagating a ZZ Plant

Leaf propagation is one way to propagate a ZZ plant.

However, it may take several months for roots to form on the nodes.

Another method of propagating a ZZ plant is by dividing it.

This is best done when it is clear that it needs to be repotted.

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Caution with Pets, Children & Sensitive Skin

The ZZ plant’s leaves are poisonous, so you may want to consider other plants if you have a pet or child that has a tendency to put plants in their mouth.

Some adults notice minor skin irritation when handling the leaves.

I have not had that issue and it is not considered to affect everyone.

A room with plants as An ad for the Ultimate Indoor Plant Guide

ZZ Plant FAQs

How big does a ZZ Plant get?

The standard ZZ plant can grow to 2-3’ tall and wide if allowed.

There are dwarf varieties that will naturally stay much smaller.


How do you fix a drooping ZZ Plant?

It’s common for ZZ plants to get arching stems as they get older.

One option is to stake the branches, but on a larger plant that might be unsightly.

A preferred method is to occasionally prune off (at the base) some of the longest ones and root them in water (or soil) to make new plants.

It can take a long time (many months sometimes) to get these leaf cuttings to root.

New shoots will form on the main plant where you cut the old ones off and then the new shoots will be more compact.

Removing the branches slowly, over a period of time keeps the plant rejuvenated.

Also, in some instances, a drooping ZZ plant could benefit from being divided into two plants and being repotted to rejuvenate it.

Although ZZ plants tolerate low light, providing more bright, indirect light will encourage the new growth to be compact and sturdy.

If you would like to try adding houseplants to your home or office, I highly recommend trying the ZZ plant.

Their ability to adapt to low light, go long periods without water, and disease and pest resistance make them the perfect houseplant.

Their stylish, modern appearance has made them a trendy, hip home décor accent.

Not surprisingly, they have become incredibly popular!

I hope you will give them a try!

Watch the video below to learn more about the ZZ Plant!


Pinterest Pin: ZZ plant with text overlay with easy houseplant to grow

29 thoughts on “ZZ Plant Care”

  1. Hi Holly

    I recently bought two zz plants, the leaves on the green plant is turning yellow? Was inside I moved it outside. The raven just died due to overwatering can I propage it there is still a 4-6cm stem with leaves. How do I go about it and what medium do I use. Water propagation didn’t work so well for me, stems become squashy? Thank you. Kind regards.

    • Hi Sally, propagating a ZZ leaf is very slow. It can take months for roots to appear. If there is still a green leaf, I would try to save the plant. Don’t water and give it a lot of indirect bright light. However, there are no guarantees either way if the plant is compromised! If you would like to propagate it, I suggest using hormone powder and rooting in soil. I have an article that will help with the steps: https://trilliumlivingllc.com/how-to-propagate-plants/ Best wishes with it! – Shannon

  2. Hi, Shannon. I have ZZ plant for a couple of years now. It has grown really big. The problem is the old stems don’t dry out. They just stay there so the pot is full of old stems. It stressed me out. What should I do?

  3. Had mine for over a year. The new shoots come straight up out of the middle but then drape downward over time. All the stalks do this so my plants is wider than it is tall at this point. I even cut off the ones that were more than horizontal like they were hanging way below bottom of pot, it sits on tall plant stand. but eventually everything starts draping down again. I’ve never seen a picture of one where the shoots drape downward they are always standing straight up. What could cause this?

  4. I bought mine months ago and no change..I guess that’s good? Are these slow growers? No sign of movement, boring plant. Would love to see it fill out some.

    • Hi Denise, yes, my experience is that they are slow growers. I put mine outside on my patio in the summer (once the chance of frost has passed) and the increased light and warm temps definitely stimulates the new growth. Best wishes! -Shannon

  5. Shannon, I have overrated my ZZ. I have taken it out of the pot and pulled the soft roots away and put new soil in. I’m still getting yellow leaves falling off, but I still have some very green stems. I haven’t watered it since. Can I save her?

    • There is a good chance that it may recover, however, only time will tell! I recommend gently removing the plant from the pot and allowing the roots to get air for 24 hours. This will help dry up any remaining moisture. Also, be sure to use a fast-draining succulent soil mix when you repot. I hope it recovers for you!

  6. My plant is doing great but getting long and leggy , can I cut those back?
    Also how do I propagate from this plant?

    • Hi Geri, Yes, you can remove a few of the long stems (cut at the base) and root them in water. It may take a long time (sometimes months) for the roots to form. The best way to “propagate” this plant is to divide your existing plant into two or three smaller plants since the stem cuttings take so long to root. I have an article about propagation that you can read here. Thanks! Shannon

      • hi Shannon, I have a zz plant for almost 3 years now , it haven’t grown any taller than when bought , nor it grows horizontally it is just alive 😀…during this time it actually almost died in one winter but regain strength on summer and since then it is same. what should I do to make it grow ..thanks

        • Hi Afshan, ZZ plants are notoriously slow growers, however, the key to getting them to grow is more indirect light. More light will enable them to produce new leaves and shoots, perhaps a grow light or a brighter grow light. ZZ plants will tolerate low light, but generally, they don’t grow much in that environment. Best wishes! -Shannon

  7. I have a zz plant that grew very well. But lately some leaves turned yellow on the surroundings not in the center.
    Can you tell me why is that.

    • Hi Faud, If your ZZ plant was growing well, were there any recent changes you made to its location or care? Sometimes a change in light or temperature will cause leaves to yellow and drop.
      Otherwise, the main reason for yellowing leaves is overwatering or underwatering. Also, inspect the leaves for any insects, but ZZ plants rarely get pests. Best wishes! -Shannon

  8. Hi there,
    I have a ZZ Raven for about 2 months now and have had the hardest time trying to figure what it needs from me. It had white mold on the soil so I reported it with fresh soil and moved it to a brighter location thinking maybe the soil was taking too long to dry. Then it developed brown spots on several leaves and the mold has returned. I haven’t had a new growth, I don’t know what to do. Please HELP! I have searched everywhere trying to figuring what’s to do.

  9. Hi Shannon
    I have a zz plant since 3 months . It was Oke but it starten to grow new Branches. Then they fell off. I don’t know why. Can i creatie a new plant off this branches and if so? How? 🙏 very much

    • Hi Eva, I wouldn’t recommend propagating new plants from the pieces that fell off the plant. If there is an issue with the health of the plant it shouldn’t be propagated until resolved. The major issue with ZZ plants is overwatering. I have a ZZ plant and I water it about once a month. Sometimes leaves and branches fall off due to over or under watering so that might be a good place to start. Happy Gardening!

  10. Hi Shannon,
    I have a ZZ plant, about three years old, that has grown very well, up to about 2.5 ft. tall, and in a pot that is 15 inches wide and 13 inches tall. It has been growing very well. However, just lately several stalks have turned yellow and died back. I read that I have been fertilizing it too often, and I water it every week to 10 days. Could one, or both, of these be causing the individual stalks to die back. It is continuing to send up new stalks, as well.

    • Hi Jane, I think that it is very likely that the yellow leaves are due to too much water. ZZ plants are succulents that have rhizomes (modified stems under the soil that store water, they look like little potatoes!), so they can go a while without water. Although they look tropical, think of them more like a cactus. I water my ZZ plant about once a month in the winter and I will increase that now that the warm weather is here, but not too much. I recommend letting it dry out a bit. It is a good sign that there is new growth. Best wishes and Happy Gardening! -Shannon

  11. We have a north facing screened porch which gets no direct light at all. Would a ZZ plant do well there?

    • Hi Pam, I think it would do well there. I live in Ohio and put my ZZ plant in my living room for the winter. It gets little light and is actually growing new leaves! It looks great. I am so pleased with how well it has done. It is my new favorite houseplant! Happy Gardening! Shannon

  12. Help! I have one of these that has been, up to now, very healthy with no problems. But .. at Christmas I moved it from living area for a couple of weeks to make room, and it has gone right back. It’s developed brown tips at the end of 3 big new shoots which withered and have now fallen off. Looks very sad. Old leaves are still ok. No idea what is wrong . It has not been over watered .

    • Hi Maureen, Sometimes new growth can be very sensitive to environmental changes. I think that is what happened here. I would prune off the withered shoots and now that the plant is back in its original spot, new shoots should form. It is a good sign that the older leaves still look good. Just keep doing what you were doing before and it should be fine! Happy Gardening! -Shannon


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