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ZZ Plant Care (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) – GIY Plants

zz plant in pot sitting on table next to window

ZZ plant, scientifically known as Zamioculcas zamiifolia, is a popular houseplant. That originates 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 reach maturity slowly, as it has a slow growth rate.

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

ZZ plant care is easy and straightforward. All you need is the correct information to ensure it thrives.

Below you will find information about fertilization, watering needs, lighting requirements, and more!


A free-draining soil with a pH of 6.1-6.5 and peat moss or bark is 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. That will help you avoid root rot.


One of the most important things to note about aroid palm 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 with water as this can cause leaf drop.


When grown outdoors, ZZ plant flourishes under bright sunlight. But the plant still grows under low lighting indoors. It will thrive if you can place it by a window where it receives bright but indirect lighting.

Humidity & Temperature

ZZ plant enjoys 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. That will help it maintain the humidity levels.


Due to aroid palm plants’ slow-growing nature, it can significantly benefit from the use of fertilizer. A low dose of liquid fertilizer is optimal. And 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 using 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 care for the plant as usual.

If you only have one tuber, you can 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. It can take three to four months for the plant to form proper roots and until you can place it in a pot.

Diseases & Pests

Pests are typically not a problem for the aroid palm, but diseases like root rot can occur. That 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 that allows for adequate drainage.


Is a ZZ plant toxic? That is a question people often pose about this plant. We advise that you should 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. [1]

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 shade of green as the plant ages. The dark green color has a black appearance, 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

ZZ plant, also known as 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 [2]. Benzene can cause damage to the immune system and affect the production of red blood cells [3]. It has the potential to improve your air quality and subsequently protect your health.

Additionally, the plant is incredibly easy to care for and can survive in varying lighting and moisture conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How big do zz plants get?

The average ZZ plant, also known as aroid palm, can reach 4ft in height and 3ft in width once mature. Although, it will take some time before reaching this size because the plant has a slow growth rate.

How long do zz plants live?

Aroid palm or ZZ plants may be slow growers, but they are long-lasting. Their stunning foliage can last up to six months without water. You can expect aroid palms to last five to ten years or more with proper care.

Why is my zz plant getting yellow leaves?

The most common reason for a ZZ plant or eternity plant’s leaves turning yellow is oversaturation. To avoid this problem, ensure that soil dries out in between waterings.

Where should I place a zz plant in my house?

ZZ plants can grow in various conditions, even in low lighting. But the best place is near a window where it can receive bright but indirect lighting.

Do zz plants purify air?

Zuzu plant, also known as ZZ plant, is an air-purifying plant. It is able to remove benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene from air. [2] These organic compounds occur in crude oil and cause health problems. This combination of organic compounds, known as BTEX, also arises from volcano gas emissions and forest fires.


[1]Zanzibar Gem (Zamioculcas zamiifolia): QPIC. Children’s Health Queensland. (2017, July 19). Retrieved October 27, 2022, from https://www.childrens.health.qld.gov.au/poisonous-plant-zanzibar-gem-zamioculcas-zamiifolia/

[2]Sriprapat, W., & Thiravetyan, P. (2013, March). Phytoremediation of BTEX from indoor air by Zamioculcas zamiifolia. ResearchGate Logo. Retrieved October 27, 2022, from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257673816_Phytoremediation_of_BTEX_from_Indoor_Air_by_Zamioculcas_zamiifolia

[3]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018, April 4). Facts About Benzene. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 27, 2022, from https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/benzene/basics/facts.asp#:~:text=Benzene%20works%20by%20causing%20cells,loss%20of%20white%20blood%20cells.

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