Spotlight on: ZZ Plant

Our houseplant series continues, this week, as we focus on the ZZ plant.

The ZZ plant, also known as the Zanzibar Gem or Eternity Plant, is a popular houseplant prized for its easy care and elegant appearance. Native to Eastern Africa, this tropical perennial thrives in both low light and drought conditions, making it perfect for beginner plant parents and busy individuals. 

  • Appearance: The ZZ plant boasts distinctive foliage, with glossy, deep green leaves that emerge as lime green shoots. These oval-shaped leaves grow in clusters along thick, upright stems, adding a touch of lushness to any space. Unlike some houseplants that take over your space quickly, the ZZ plant grows at a leisurely pace, reaching a maximum height of 4 feet. This makes it ideal for smaller apartments or tabletop displays. The ZZ plant can also produce little white, spathe-type flowers near the base of their stalk, which is almost identical to the flowers of a peace lily.
  • Care: ZZ plants prefer medium to bright indirect light but can tolerate low light conditions. Avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves.Water your ZZ plant only when the soil is completely dry to the touch. Overwatering is the most common mistake to avoid, as it can lead to root rot. To help avois this, use a well-draining potting mix. Cactus mix or a standard potting mix with added perlite or sand is ideal. Fertilize your plant once a month during the growing season (spring and summer) with a half-strength liquid fertilizer. ZZ plants are generally pest- and disease-resistant. However, watch out for mealybugs or scale insects, which can be treated with insecticidal soap.
  • Benefits: ZZ plants help remove toxins like formaldehyde and benzene from the air, contributing to a healthier indoor environment.
  • Toxicity: ZZ plants are toxic to pets and humans when ingested.
  • Symbolism: In some cultures, the ZZ plant is believed to bring good luck and prosperity. It's also associated with eternity and everlasting life, making it a popular gift for new beginnings and special occasions.
  • Fun facts: In a NASA plant study, the ZZ plant was one of the top air purifiers – specifically adept at removing copious amounts of toxins, like xylene, toluene, and benzene from the air. Dutch nurseries started wide-scale commercial propagation of the plant around 1996.

Overall, the ZZ plant is a versatile and forgiving houseplant that adds a touch of greenery and sophistication to any homewith minimal care needed.