ZZ plant: tips for propagating, repotting & caring for Zamioculcas

Sarah
Sarah
Sarah
Sarah

For me plants are some of the most exciting living beings, even though they live in slow motion. They have fascinating abilities and just so much potential! That's why I studied organic farming. However, since plants are rather thin on the ground in my city, I often spend time hiking in the nearby mountains at the weekend. In the future I would love to run a farm myself.

Favourite fruit: strawberries and gooseberries
Favourite vegetable: courgettes

The ZZ plant is almost indestructable as a houseplant. Here, you will learn what to consider when buying, caring for and propagating Zamioculcas.

Potted ZZ plant indoors and chair
The ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) is a very popular houseplant [Photo: New Africa/ Shutterstock.com]

Do you love houseplants, but your office or apartment is just too dark? Are you looking for an elegant companion for your windowsill? Do you long for a shiny new green roommate? The ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) has so much to offer and is also very easy to care for.

In recent years, the ZZ plant has become a must-have designer plant. Since it was offered on the market almost 20 years ago, it has become a firm favourite in offices, medical practices and designer apartments. It is the epitome of modern design as far as houseplants are concerned. But what makes the plant so extraordinary?

ZZ plant: origin and properties

Zamioculcas has an extremely elegant appearance: The long petioles are adorned with numerous pairs of leaves that shine in a deep dark green. So, in appearance, the ZZ plant perfectly corresponds to the current fashion of elegance and simplicity. With a height of around 60 centimetres, you can also always find a place where it can grow happily. However, with very good care, the ZZ plant may well reach a height of 1.5 metres. Originally, it comes from eastern Africa. Tanzania and the associated island of Zanzibar are its main distribution area, which is why it is also called the Zanzibar gem. The ZZ plant grows in mountainous regions. Its adaptation to the rainy and dry months and inhospitable conditions there has made it a low-maintenance houseplant.

When does the ZZ plant flower?

The ZZ plant does not always bloom, but with the right tricks you can make it produce flowers. It usually blooms in the summer or early autumn, as is typical for arum (Araeceae): a white bud emerging from a green envelope. To stimulate your Zamioculcas into flowering, you should keep the plant a little cooler in the winter. So it can rest over the winter. However, never allow the plant to grow at less than 12 °C . In addition to winter dormancy, regular watering promotes flowering.

Close-up of ZZ plant flower
Like other arum plants, ZZ plants have inconspicuous flowers [Photo: Mala Iryna/ Shutterstock.com]

Zamioculcas varieties

The Zamioculcas genus consists of only one species Zamioculcas zamiifolia. Nevertheless, there are a few different varieties – the best known is the classic form, whose name is simply Zamioculcas zamiifolia. The two varieties ‘Variegata’ and ‘Raven’ are striking. ‘Raven’ is a new variety, bred only in 2017. It is characterised by its extremely dark, almost black leaves. On the contrary, the leaves of the ‘Variegata’ variety are white and variegated. It is extremely decorative, but unfortunately rare and expensive.

Close-up of ZZ plant flower
A healthy ZZ plant can bring you joy for a long time [Photo: merindadesigns/ Shutterstock.com]

Repotting ZZ plants

Repot your ZZ plant about once a year. The best time for this is the spring, when the new growing season begins. However, you should not give the plant too large a pot, otherwise it will put most of its strength into root growth. If your Zamioculcas is a bit older, repotting every two to three years will suffice. Whether the selected pot is bigger in width or depth is not so important. The plant adapts well to either. Our peat-free and sustainably produced Plantura Organic All-Purpose Compost is ideally suited as a substrate for this rather undemanding plant. If you mix it with about one-third sand, the water permeability will improve. Otherwise, the Zamioculcas is particularly susceptible to root rot when waterlogged.

Plantura Organic All Purpose Compost
Plantura Organic All Purpose Compost

Peat-free & environmentally-friendly:
for all house & garden plants,
100% natural ingredients,
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How to propagate ZZ plants

Zamioculcas reproduces best vegetatively, that is, by runners from its rhizome rather than by seed. So you can easily propagate the plant itself, even without flowering.

Propagating Zamioculcas from cuttings

Taking cuttings is probably the simplest method of propagation. For this, you have the option of taking either shoot or leaf cuttings.

Instructions for propagating Zamioculcas from cuttings:

  • Shoot cuttings: Cut off an entire shoot with leaves at the bottom. Place the cuttings in a glass of water. Since the formation of roots takes some time, you should wrap the glass with paper or something similar to prevent the formation of algae. Once the shoot has formed enough roots, you can plant it in soil. The advantage of this method is that you virtually get a proper houseplant from the beginning, even if it takes a while for additional shoots to sprout.
ZZ plant cutting in glass jar
If you want to propagate ZZ plants via cuttings, you will need the entire shoot [Photo: Ratchanee Sawasdijira/ Shutterstock.com]
  • Leaf cuttings: For this you need only one leaf instead of the whole shoot. Cut it off and stick it about two inches deep in damp soil. After that, you should move the container with the leaf cutting to a bright location. Now you just have to wait and see. Do not worry, even if the leaf wilts and withers at first, it usually forms tuber in the soil. This provides the basis for new growth. The whole process however, can take quite a bit of time, so you may have to wait up to a year before the plant shows any signs of growth above ground.

Propagating ZZ plant by division

Another option for propagation is division of the underground rhizome. When repotting in the spring, you can simply pull the plant apart a little. How to decide where to best divide it. To do this, take a clean and sharp knife to cut it apart and repot both parts. Alternatively, you can also plant a water-storing underground tuber separately.

Person dividing ZZ plant
When dividing ZZ plants, carefully pull the root ball apart to see how best to divide it [Photo: mountaira/ Shutterstock.com]

ZZ plant care

Undemanding as it is, the ZZ plant needs just a little care. It takes things in its stride and does not let anything get to it too quickly. Always allow the soil above ground to dry before the next watering and fertilise sparingly. A single feed in spring with a plant-based slow-release fertiliser such as our Plantura All Purpose Plant Food provides the plant with all the nutrients it needs throughout the year. Light is one of the most important factors for just about any plant. But here, too, the lucky feather is frugal and takes whatever it can get.

Plantura All Purpose Plant Food
Plantura All Purpose Plant Food

With a long-lasting effect, for healthy soil, child & pet friendly

We have compiled more information about caring for your Zamioculcas here.

Yellow leaves on Zamioculcas

Yellow leaves on the ZZ plant often come from too much water. Therefore, it is better to water your plant a little less often. To prevent or reduce root rot, it is best to repot your plant as soon as possible. This is how you can prevent it from getting worse.

We have summarised how to handle yellow leaves on a Zamioculcas for you here.

Is the ZZ plant poisonous?

If you enjoy rhubarb pie, then you are familiar with the tart flavour of rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum). This comes from the oxalic acid it contains. This acid is toxic in too high a dose, especially when uncooked. Still, you certainly would not think of dismissing rhubarb as poisonous and banning it from your garden, would you? Then you can certainly come to terms with the slight toxicity of lucky feather, because it also contains oxalic acid in all parts of the plant and is therefore easily considered poisonous.

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