Care for a ZZ Plant – the care of Zamioculcas zamiifolia

Houseplants are an enrichment for our living space.

The air quality improves and the harmonious greenery is a treat for the eyes and mind. Unfortunately, the living situation and your own talent for plant care determine the flora in the home’s four walls.

If you’re looking for an uncomplicated and low-maintenance houseplant, the Zamioculcas zamiifolia or ZZ plant is worth a look. This decorative green plant makes few demands and will quickly forgive you if you don’t water it weekly.

Zamioculcas zamiifolia care
© Nicole Lienemann –


The home of the ZZ plant is eastern Africa. It was not until the beginning of the 21st century that the popularity of the plant increased.

The home of the Zamioculcas is the eastern Africa and especially in the warm areas of Kenya and Tanzania, as well as on Zanzibar the plant is strongly spread.

Appearance and Characteristics

The ZZ plant belongs to the arum family. Characteristic for this plant genus are the sprouting single leaves. As a typical representative of this species, the Zamioculcas zamiifolia forms rhizomes and alternately sprouting leaves on the entire stem.

In healthy plants, the leaves are thick-fleshed and have a shiny surface. A distinctive feature is the horizontally growing rhizomes. Due to this position, the stems or pinnae have an upright growth, which is the decorative elegance of the plant.

Location of the ZZ plant

Zamioculcas prefers a bright location, without being in direct sunlight. Despite its origin, the plant does not require high light intensity.

The plant you have purchased usually comes from a cultivar and is well adapted to European climatic conditions.

A place by the window to the west or east side is optimal, alternatively, the plant can be placed in a bright room. The more light the Zamioculcas has available, the faster the plant grows.

In a darker location, filigree pinnae form and the leaf green is lighter.

Zamioculcas copes very well with warm summer months and dry heating air in winter.

The plant survives vacation weeks with ease and does not require a special location for the winter months.

It is one of the mildly toxic plants. Although the toxic effect is low, but the location should be chosen so that children and pets can not reach the zamioculcas.

When caring for the Zamioculcas zamiifolia, you should take care to maintain good hand hygiene so as not to accidentally swallow something of the plant.

A ZZ plant in the garden or on the balcony

Zamioculcas is a decorative container plant that can spend the summer months outside. For the perfect location, the same conditions apply as for the indoor plant.

The ZZ plant is not a hardy tub plant and must be moved to protected winter quarters at temperatures below 41 °F.

The substrate

As substrate for the Zamiifolia you can use plant soil*.

To improve drainage, you can mix in expanded clay (10% – 15%).

Watering the Zamioculcas

Caring for a Zamioculcas zamiifolia is easy. The hardest part is watering. The only mistake you can make in caring for it is to water too much.

Waterlogging will cause damage, which will show up very quickly in the leaves turning yellow. A Zamioculcas forms thickenings between the stem and rhizome.

These parts of the plant serve as a water reservoir from which the houseplant draws during dry periods. Before watering, it is best to check with your thumb whether the soil has dried out.

If waterlogging has formed, repotting is a good precaution. Good sellers of plants will have placed the ZZ plant in the appropriate plant pot before selling it.

This means you don’t have to immediately arrange for a larger container after purchase. A zamioculcas likes matching pots that aren’t too big.

If you have been too good with water and the pot used is not too small, it is enough to replace the soil.

Commercial loose potting soil, possibly with a fertilizer additive is a good choice for the houseplant. A drainage layer in the pot can provide protection against waterlogging. Expanded clay balls from garden supply stores are especially good for absorbing excess irrigation water.

Fertilizing a Zamioculcas zamiifolia

In addition to light and water, every potted plant needs nutrients. When purchased and using pre-fertilized soil, the ZZ plant is well taken care of.

The first fertilizing should be done after eight weeks. To care for a Zamioculcas, a weakly dosed No products found. is suitable, which is added at four-week intervals with the watering water.

Commercially available slow-release fertilizers* can also be used. One fertilizer application in spring is then sufficient for the whole year.

Zamioculcas zamiifolia care
(Image: © zeralein –

Repotting the Zamioculcas zamiifolia

If your plant has grown after you bought it, spring is a good time to repot it.

During this time, injured roots heal faster and the growing season begins. Repotting is necessary when the roots are visible at the top of the pot. A rhythm of three years is optimal.

The new plant pot should be about 20% larger than the old one and should not give the ZZ plant too much space.


Wilted and withered leaves are not a pretty sight and should be removed regularly. The dead foliage quickly becomes a breeding ground for disease and attracts pests.

To remove, cut the stems directly at the base with a sharp knife.

Zamioculcas does not form new petioles at the cut. Once a petiole has been removed, a dead spot will remain visible in the plant.

If a ZZ plant has grown too large and gained too much girth, it is better to divide the plant.

The tuberous rhizomes can be very easily divided into smaller plants. Freshly potted, a new houseplant will form.

Propagate a ZZ plant

Before you propagate your Zamioculcas zamiifolia, you should check if your mother plant is in a healthy and strong condition.

If it is sick or weakened, you will reduce the chances of successful propagation.

Since the plants produced by propagation have the same characteristics as the mother plant, you should choose them carefully.

The optimal time for propagation is March and April.

In this period the growth phase begins which has a positive effect on the chances of propagation. In addition, the mother plant recovers faster.

To propagate the zamia, there are two methods: Cuttings and division. We explain how it works!

Propagate Zamioculcas by offshoots

Offshoots are formed on the mother plant when it reaches an advanced age.

They are found on the rhizomes. If these are separated from the mother plant they can grow into a new plant.

  1. Check your Zamioculcas zamiifolia for offspring and offshoots with at least three leaves.
  2. Fill a small pot with growing soil
  3. Cut the offshoot as close to the mother plant as possible. Use a sharp, sterile knife to avoid infection and bruising.
  4. Place the fresh sprout in the soil, press well and water
  5. Choose a semi-shaded location with temperatures between 64 °F and 75 °F.
  6. Keep the soil constantly moist, but avoid waterlogging.

After about five to eight months, roots and tubers will form. Once this stage is reached, you can place your cutting in normal substrate and care for it as you would the mother plant.

You should avoid fertilizer for the first year.

Propagate a ZZ plant by division

Division involves cutting the root ball into individual plants. These shoots, separated from the mother plant, grow into a new plant.

This method is considered gentler because the mother plant recovers quickly.

  1. Take the mother plant out of its pot and remove the substrate from the root ball.
  2. Divide the root ball with a sharp and sterile knife into three to four equal parts. If you wish, you can treat the wounds at this point with wound sealant.
  3. Put the new root balls into fresh substrate and keep them constantly moist for the next few weeks.

After a month, you can care for your new Zamioculcas zamiifolias just like the mother plant. Again, you should not fertilize this year.

Possible pests, diseases and care mistakes of the ZZ plant

In its native habitat, zamioculcas have few pests.

Cultivated plants are more susceptible to aphids and diseases. Especially in the winter months, infestation is not impossible, and you should pay special attention to your Zamioculcas zamiifolia for changes when caring for it.

Spider mites are especially common. If you see an infestation, a first measure is to carefully wash off the pests. More advanced steps are the use of predatory mites or insecticides, which are available at specialty stores.

If white or yellow spots appear on the leaves, this indicates an infestation of the red spider mite.

The leaves gradually lose their green color and turn brown. Predatory mites can also be used for treatment here.

To prevent pest infestation, good care of the ZZ plant and regular monitoring of its condition will help.

Regular showering of the leaves can easily wash off a possible pest infestation from the leaves in the early stages and regularly removes the dust.

Symptoms of disease usually appear when the care of the Zamioculcas zamiifolia was not optimal.

Yellow leaves are a sure sign of waterlogging. First aid is offered by repotting as described above. Dry brown leaves and sunken water spouts are a sign of urgent watering.

More diseases are not known for the houseplant so far.

If your plant is infested with pests, you should try to fight them with home remedies. If that does not help I recommend using a No products found..

I will answer your questions!

Is the Zamioculcas zamiifolia poisonous for humans?

Yes, the oxalic acid contained in the plant can cause symptoms of poisoning such as redness, stomach cramps and nausea.

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Letzte Aktualisierung am 2023-03-24 / Affiliate Links / Bilder von der Amazon Product Advertising API

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About the author
Richard Schmidt
Hey, my name is Richard! In my spare time, I write about the care of indoor plants on this website. Indoor plants have long fascinated me. That's why there are many plants in my little urban jungle - from the mainstream Syngonium to true rarities. Besides my passion for houseplants, I'm a real sneakerhead.

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