ZZ plant: repotting, caring for & propagating Zamioculcas zamiifolia


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

Zamioculcas zamiifolia are the perfect houseplants for beginners as they are practically indestructible. Keep reading to find out how to care for and propagate ZZ plants.

Potted ZZ plant indoors and chair
The ZZ plant is notoriously easy to care for [Photo: New Africa/ Shutterstock.com]

Love houseplants but your office or apartment doesn’t get much sun? Looking for an elegant companion for your windowsill? Then a ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) may be just the plant for you! These easy-care houseplants are quite forgiving and can cope in low light conditions. Since the start of its commercial propagation in 1996, the ZZ plant has become a firm favourite in offices, clinics and even designer apartments. But what makes this houseplant so extraordinary?

ZZ plant: origin and properties

With their long petioles that are adorned with numerous pairs of shiny, dark green leaves, ZZ plants are the epitome of elegance and simplicity. Zamioculcas zamiifolia typically grow to about 60cm tall as indoor plants. However, with the right care, they can reach a height of 1.5m. Originally from the mountainous regions of eastern Africa, these plants were mainly found around Tanzania and the associated Zanzibar archipelago, hence they are also known as Zanzibar gems. The ZZ plant’s ability to adapt to inhospitable conditions in rainy and dry months makes it a wonderfully low-maintenance houseplant.

ZZ plant flowering time

Indoor ZZ plants do not readily bloom, but with a little know-how you may be able to coax them into flowering. They usually bloom in summer or early autumn, as is typical for plants in the arum family (Araeceae). ZZ plant flowers manifest as white spadices emerging from green spathes. To encourage your Zamioculcas to bloom, keep it in a cool location in the winter to encourage winter dormancy. That said, never allow the temperature to drop below 12 °C. In addition to winter dormancy, Zanzibar gems need regular watering to be able to produce flowers.

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


The Zamioculcas genus consists of only one species, namely Zamioculcas zamiifolia. Whilst this is also the best known variety within this genus, there are others, such as the Zamioculcas zamiifolia ‘Raven’, often simply known as raven ZZ plants. First bred in 2017, ZZ raven plants are characterised by their extremely dark, almost black leaves. In contrast, variegated ZZ plants have white and green leaves. However, as the variegated varieties are rare and highly sought-after, they are quite 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

We recommend repotting ZZ plants once a year. It is best to do this at the beginning of the new growing season in spring. Be mindful that increasing your plant’s pot size by too much can cause the plant to focus its energy on root growth. For older Zamioculcas, repot every 2 to 3 years. Our Plantura Organic All Purpose Compost is a great choice for this uncomplicated plant as it has a loose structure and is well-draining. It is also entirely peat-free and sustainably produced, making it a more environmentally-friendly option.

Note: Zamioculcas plants are susceptible to root rot. To prevent waterlogging, improve the soil’s permeability by mixing a third of sand into your ZZ plant’s soil.

Organic All Purpose Compost, 40L
Organic All Purpose Compost, 40L
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  • Perfect for all your house, garden & balcony plants
  • For strong & healthy plants as well as an active soil life
  • Peat-free & organic soil: CO2-saving composition

How to propagate a ZZ plant

Zamioculcas reproduce better by rhizome runners than by seed, making it easy to propagate this plant without needing it to flower.

Propagating Zamioculcas from cuttings

The simplest method of propagating a ZZ plant is to use cuttings. Keep reading to find out how to propagate with shoot or leaf cuttings.

Instructions for propagating ZZ plants from cuttings:

  • Shoot cuttings: locate a shoot with plenty of leaves and cut it off at the base. Place the cutting in a glass of water. It will take some time for the cutting to grow roots, so wrap the glass with paper, or something similar, to prevent algae from forming. Once the shoot has formed enough roots, plant it in soil. The advantage of this method is that you have a new houseplant straight away, even if it takes a while for new growth to sprout.
ZZ plant cutting in glass jar
To propagate the ZZ plants via cuttings, you will need to use the entire shoot [Photo: Ratchanee Sawasdijira/ Shutterstock.com]
  • Leaf cuttings: for this method, you will need just one healthy leaf. Locate a good leaf, cut it off, and insert it about 2cm deep in damp soil. Keep the container with the leaf cutting in a bright location and wait. Don’t worry if the leaf wilts initially. It is likely redirecting its energy into growing a tuber in the soil, which will provide the basis for new growth. Bear in mind that it can take up to a year before the plant shows any signs of above-ground growth.

Propagating Zamioculcas by division

Another propagation option is to divide your ZZ plant’s rhizome. A great time to do this is when repotting in spring; just gently pull a section of plant with rhizomes away from the rest of the plant or use a clean sharp knife to cut it away. Alternatively, you can simply plant a tuber.

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

Zamioculcas care

Despite being known for being one of the easiest plants to care for, there are still some things to keep in mind when caring for your Zanzibar gem. Always allow the top layer of soil to dry before watering again, and fertilise sparingly. Once in spring, apply a primarily organic slow-release fertiliser, such as our Plantura All Purpose Plant Food. Our granular fertiliser will provide your ZZ plant with all the nutrients it needs throughout the year. Whilst ZZ plants love bright indirect light, they can make do in areas with less light as well.

Find more in-depth information and tips on caring for ZZ plants in our dedicated article.

All Purpose Plant Food, 1.5kg
All Purpose Plant Food, 1.5kg
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  • Perfect for a variety of plants in the garden & on the balcony
  • Promotes healthy plant growth & an active soil life
  • Long-lasting fertiliser that is free from animal products - child & pet friendly

Yellow leaves on the Zamioculcas

If your ZZ plant has yellowing leaves, you might have watered it too much. In this case, repot your plant as soon as possible to prevent any root rot from getting worse. Going forward, water your plant less. Visit the article linked here for more detailed information about tending to ZZ plants with yellowing leaves.

Are ZZ plants poisonous?

Unfortunately, yes. ZZ plants are toxic to cats, dogs and us humans. All parts of the plant contain oxalic acid, which is toxic in high doses, especially when uncooked. Regular consumption can lead to kidney stones. If you are still set on having a ZZ plant, just make sure to keep it out of reach of curious children and pets.

Are you interested in learning about other low maintenance indoor plants? Check out our article to discover our 10 favourites.

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