ZZ plant, scientifically known as Zamioculcas zamiifolia, is a popular indoor plant from East Africa, South Africa, Tanzania, and Kenya. The plant has tall upright stems with glossy green foliage and is a part of the aroid/arum plant family.
The plant’s rhizomatous roots allow it to withstand temporary drought-like conditions, making it an extremely adaptable houseplant. Although, expect the plant to grow and reach maturity slowly, as it has a slow growth rate. One of the essential growing tips for the ZZ plant is patience.
You may also find the ZZ plant under the names of Zanzibar gem, Zuzu plant, aroid palm, eternity plant, and emerald palm.
Zamioculcas zamiifolia Plant Care
Caring for ZZ plants is straightforward. All you need is the correct information to ensure it thrives.
Below you will find plant care tips about fertilization, watering needs, lighting requirements, and more!
A free-draining soil, a potting mix with a pH of 6.1-6.5, and peat moss or bark are suitable for growing the Zanzibar gem. You also want to ensure that you place the soil and plant in a potting container with adequate drainage holes. This will help you avoid root rot when you water your ZZ plant.
One of the most important things to note about ZZ plant care is letting the soil dry between waterings. Oversaturation can cause damage to the roots. But you want to keep it from going too long without water as this can cause leaf drop. It’s crucial to give the ZZ plant only a little water.
When grown outdoors, ZZ plants flourish under bright sunlight. But the plant still grows under low light conditions indoors. Avoid direct sunlight as it can harm the plant. It will thrive if you can place it by a window where it receives bright but indirect lighting.
Humidity & Temperature
ZZ plants enjoy a tropical climate with temperatures between 65°F and 90°F or 18.3°C and 32.2°C with a humidity level of 40%-50%. Temperature below 50°F or 10°C can cause harm to the plant. If you struggle to keep the humidity at these levels, consider surrounding the plant and its pot with other plants. This will help it maintain the humidity levels.
Due to the slow-growing nature of ZZ plants, they can significantly benefit from using fertilizer. A low dose of liquid fertilizer is optimal. It should be applied to the plant following manufacturer instructions twice a year.
You can propagate a Zanzibar gem through root division or stem cuttings. Root division requires a clean and sharp blade to divide the tubers, or it can sometimes be done by hand. Once separated, you can place the new tuber into a free-draining soil and pot and continue with your ZZ plant care.
When it’s time to repot the ZZ plant, choose a pot that allows enough room to grow. If you only have one tuber, cut it with a knife and let it dry before planting. It is best to avoid watering for up to two weeks before starting this process.
If you wish to propagate the plant through stem cuttings, cut a stem with a few healthy leaves from the base of the plant, and place it in water. It’s that simple. The water should be changed every three to four weeks.
Ensure that you place the plant near a window where it can receive bright but indirect sunlight. The plant can take three to four months to form proper roots until you can place it in a pot.
Diseases & Pests
Pests are typically not a problem for the ZZ plant, but diseases like root rot can occur. This happens when there is an excess amount of water in the soil. You can avoid this by letting the soil dry between waterings and choosing a soil and planter for adequate drainage.
Is a ZZ plant toxic? That is a question people often pose about this plant. We advise you to keep this plant out of reach of children and pets. Every aspect of the plant is toxic to humans and animals. In part because they contain calcium oxalate crystals. When ingested by humans, it can cause pain, burning sensations, and swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue, and throat. 
Varieties of ZZ plant
- Zamioculcas zamiifolia ‘lucky variegated’
Zamioculcas zamiifolia, ‘lucky variegated,’ also known as lucky white, is a variegated variety of Zanzibar gem. It is rare and distinctly characterized by its white and sometimes yellow coloring amongst the traditional glossy green.
- Zamioculcas zamiifolia ‘raven’
The raven Zamioculcas zamiifolia has all the standard features of an emerald palm or Zuzu plant, except the leaves become a darker and darker green as the plant ages. The dark green color is black, lending to its raven moniker.
- Zamioculcas zamiifolia ‘zamicro’
Zamioculcas zamiifolia ‘zamicro’ is a small cultivator of the Zanzibar gem plant. You get a Zanzibar gem’s beauty in a miniature compact version. It has the same stunning green foliage, except it is shorter.
ZZ Plant Benefits
The ZZ, an eternity plant, is more than just a stunning addition to any houseplant collection. It also comes with unique benefits.
Eternity plants can remove benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene from indoor air . Benzene can cause damage to the immune system and affect the production of red blood cells . It can improve your air quality and subsequently protect your health.
Additionally, the plant is straightforward to care for and can survive in varying lighting and moisture conditions. That’s why caring for ZZ plants is so rewarding; they’re resilient and able to adapt, bringing beauty and purifying benefits to your indoor environment.
Zanzibar Gem (Zamioculcas zamiifolia): QPIC. Children’s Health Queensland. (2017, July 19). Retrieved October 27, 2022.
Sriprapat, W., & Thiravetyan, P. (2013, March). Phytoremediation of BTEX from indoor air by Zamioculcas zamiifolia. ResearchGate Logo. Retrieved October 27, 2022.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018, April 4). Facts About Benzene. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 27, 2022.