ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia) Care and Growing Guide


If you’ve ever thought you just “can’t grow plants” because you have a huge brown thumb, then I have a surprise for you….

The zz plant is the plant for you! It’s almost like it was designed for new gardeners that tend to kill plants. It’s one of the hardiest houseplants you’ll come across, making it the perfect choice for a beginner gardener.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at the incredibly zamioculcas zamiifolia, more commonly referred to simply as the zz plant.

ZZ Plant Overview

ZZ Plant
The zz plant is one of the easiest houseplants to take care of!

Zamioculcas zamiifolia is in the aroid plant family, along with the Aglaonema, Spathiphyllum, Philodendron, and the Anthurium plant families. It’s native to East Africa.

You wouldn’t guess that just by looking at it, though! It looks similar to the cycad zamia furfuracea, also known as the cardboard palm.

These plants are also some times thought to be part the snake plants family but are not part of their family.​

Zz plants have thick, fleshy, and glossy leaves. They were used extensively in malls and public spaces and people thought they were fake because they looked so glossy!

Planting the ZZ Plant

You’ll probably pick this plant up at a nursery or garden center, so ​you don’t need to worry about growing it from scratch. But you might want to propagate from cuttings or leaves. If so, scroll on down to to the propagation section!

You can use the same size pot that you purchase your zz plant in forever if you want. They do just fine in a small pot. But if you do want to repot your zz plant, just plop them in a larger pot and prune the roots a bit to avoid them getting root-bound.

Overall, zz plants are a slow growing. They can get up to 3′ tall indoors, which is actually much taller than they get in their natural habitat.

ZZ Plant Care Guide

Zamioculcas zamiifolia is one of the hardiest houseplants you can grow. It can survive — and even thrive — in almost any conditions. You could even say it “thrives on neglect.” What a perfect plant for someone with a brown thumb, right?

Sun / Light

Zz plants do just fine in both high and low-light environments. Just be sure that it isn’t in bright, direct light as the leaves will burn.


If you have your zz plant in a high light environment, you’ll need to water more often than if it’s in a shady or filtered sun area. Be sure not to over water in either situation though, as you can cause the roots to rot.

Wait until the soil dries to around 2″ deep before watering again.

Soil and Fertilizer

Zz plants don’t need to be fertilized often. Once a quarter is more than enough to keep them looking happy and healthy.

When you do fertilize, use a standard liquid houseplant fertilizer and dilute it by 50%. Be sure not to pour directly onto the foliage, as the strength of the fertilizer may burn the leaves of your zz plant.​

ZZ Plant Propagation

It’s relatively easy to propagate from cuttings of your zz plant, just be aware that it takes a while for cuttings to root.

Either take a leaf or a small branch and plop it into some water or some damp soil, and then be prepared to wait a few months!​

Pests and Diseases

Part of what makes the zz plant so hardy is its near-complete resistance to all pests and diseases. There are no known pests that bother this plant, so you won’t have to worry about any pesky scales or mites (for once).

Diseases can strike, but they’re mostly caused by high humidity or too much moisture on either the plant’s leaves or soil (rot). Avoid those conditions and you’ll avoid all diseases as well.​

Is the ZZ Plant Poisonous?

This is a common question, and an important one to answer! Being a member of the Aracaeae family, the zz plant contains calcium oxalate, which is toxic to pets.

To remove any risk, simply keep them in an area that’s inaccessible to your pets! And even if a pet does nibble on it, you’ll rest easy knowing it’s not a fatal poison. It will cause diarrhea and potentially vomiting if ingested, so keep a watchful eye.


Q. A branch broke off of my ZZ plant…can I use it to propagate a new plant?

A. The answer is YES, but it takes a long time. The best way to propagate is to root the branch in water or damp soil. Make sure you have ample light and warm temperatures…but be prepared to wait. It can take a long time for the zz plant to set out new roots.

Q. My Zamioculcas Zamiifolia has stems that keep drooping over, but I’m not over or under watering. What’s wrong?

A. Although zz plants don’t need fertilizer often, if you’ve had the plant a while it may be time for a light dose of fertilizer​. The other issue could be a lack of light. In extreme shade, zz plants like to droop a bit. Try moving it to a sunnier spot.

The Green Thumbs Behind This Article:

Kevin Espiritu

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29 thoughts on “ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia) Care and Growing Guide”

  1. Hello,

    I am trying to repot my very root-bound ZZ, and this guy is very lodged into the pot! I do have a pick, running around the edges and gradually dumping out the loosened soil, but it’s not budging, even with my partner holding the pot completely upside down, shaking, pressing on the little bit of terracotta I had put partially over the hole in the bottom to filter the soil… it’s locked in there. I know the bulbs are super hardy, but I don’t wanna hack it to bits trying to dig it out. Any thoughts would be much appreciated!

  2. I noticed the plant starting to drop and the stalks of the plant are beginning to wrinkle. I’m not sure if I hVe overwatered it or not enough . Any thoughts

  3. Hi Kevin –

    My ZZ plants have new leaves that have shot up from the soil and the stems are t visible yet. They are yellow in color, but the older parts of the plant are still medium to dark green. Is this a case of over watering? In the past, new leaves have been the regular dark green.

  4. Hey
    I just got a zz plant home from the nursery and re-potted it to get it out of the heavy nursery soil and did not water it for two weeks after re-potting and it was kept indoors but not in a dark corner. Just watered it a few days back with one and a half glasses of water and there are 4 fronds in the plant.Of late i have noticed that even though the leaves look healthy, they have grown lighter in color and are more pliable to touch. Is it going to turn yellow further on or is it just a phase? Do help.

    • Do you mean existing leave, or new stem growth? New stems are MUCH lighter than existing and quite pliable. If your existing stems are lightening and getting pliable, I’d imagine it’s been overwatered.

  5. Hi Kevin!
    I inherited a ZZ plant and it seems to be quite happy under my care, it’s growing new branches and stuff. Only thing is, it’s really tall, and the new shoots are coming out looking to be just as tall – the newest shoot/branch is already over a foot before the leaves have spread even! Is there anything I can do to encourage it to put its energy towards growing more leaves rather than shooting right up?

    • To me this is usually a lighting issue – a plant will “stretch” towards the light if not getting enough. Try moving it to a slightly brighter area!

  6. Very hearty and happy indoor plant! Plant overall has grown 6″- 8″ in height and many new stalks in just 4 months. Almost too fast and getting too tall as it is above waist high, rivaling our furniture!
    QUESTIONS: When trimming plant back, should I cut at base of stalk? Does this cause new sprouting stalks from soil? Once a tall old stalk is cut (then an ugly stub) does that stalk itself continue to grow in height? Do I need to do anything to seal the cut end or will it heal itself?
    Thanks for suggestions and expertise.

  7. Hello,
    I have the same issue Kira. I’ve had my zz plant for over 2 years and it has grown well, I thought. My plant is very “leggy,” and no the leaves are not falling off it just is growing taller but not forming new leaves. Any thoughts?

  8. Hi Kevin! I have several ZZ plants that came from one main plant a few years ago. It’s rhizome bulby dude was NEEDING to be separated and it was root bound and I had no idea so i separated it and planted them all out in several pots where they are happily sending out new sprouts BUT each stem is REALLY long but very few leaves. How come my plants are so leafless? When I bought it 3 years ago it was leafier than you’d ever believe and now it is very leggy and I’m nervous to cut them back because the leaves are at the end of the stem.

    Any help is greatly appreciated!!

  9. How do I encourage my ZZ plant to grow more stems? It only has three long stems that keep growing and growing, but I would like it to look fuller. Thanks!

    • One of the best ways is to actually pick up a second zz plant and plant them together! So long as the bulbs don’t get too crowded under the soil 🙂

  10. My XX plant is thriving but I like the pot it is in and don’t want it to get too big. Should I just leave it and it will live on or do I need to prune or remove roots?

  11. Hi Kevin, I’m Sowmya from India. I would like to have your suggestions on my ZZ plant which I’m afraid that it’s drooping and dying not because of some natural cause. I purchased it last year during winter and placed it indoor and it grew well even it gave few new budding and I was so happy, and now since summer has started I have placed it in my balcony where there is filtered sunlight but since then the leaves have or the entire stem have started turning light green and I feel it is losing its fleshy healthy green look. So could you please suggest or let me know that what I’m doing wrong, and even I water them only when the soil is dry enough as you have suggested above in your article.

    • Hmmm…Overwatering can be an issue with it. I would make sure you didn’t over water or the roots aren’t rotting at all. May want to put in fresh soil.

  12. My ZZ plant was subjected to extreme winter temperatures (-20C!) while moving it from my car to outdoors and now all the leaves are dropping.

    What is the best method for recovery? Can it recover?

    • Hey Nikki – sorry to hear. I would suggest giving it optimal growing conditions indoors and seeing how the plant responds after 1-2 weeks. If the bulbs weren’t damaged, it has a chance of coming back!

  13. Please look into your comments about the plant and being poisonous. The plant is only poisionous if injested and not so much it will kill you. This is an urban legend.

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