Light: The ZZ plant can tolerate a range of low to high light. Keep it out of direct, afternoon sun as the rays may scorch the leaves. While this plant can survive in relatively low light, it will grow most robustly in medium to bright ambient light.

Water: The ZZ plant is drought-tolerant and stores water in its leaves and rhizomes. Overwatering will cause rot and yellowing leaves. Depending on the amount of light and the size of the plant, you may only need to water every 3-4 weeks. In higher light, water closer to once every 2 weeks as long as the soil feels dry before adding water.

Environment: Native to east Africa, the ZZ is a tropical perennial plant, growing in the Zanzibar range from Kenya and Tanzania south through Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and South Africa. This area often has pronounced wet and dry seasons, which helps to understand how the ZZ plant can take a lot of water (given enough light) but still be prone to root rot.

Toxicity: Reported to be potentially toxic for pets if ingested.

Of Note:

  • ZZ plants are a ‘monotypic’ genus, meaning it is the only species in the genus. 
  • The easiest way to propagate a ZZ is to divide the rhizomes. Leaf cuttings can be propagated but can take several months to grow.
  • The ZZ plant can be a great starter plant for new plant owners or for people who travel, due to their low maintenance needs. That said, they still need water, light, and good soil like any plant.
    *When planting in a pot without a drainage hole, avoid over watering by estimating 25% of the container’s overall volume, with appropriate drainage materials incorporated when planting.