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ZZ Plant, Care, and Common Problems - Varnish + Vine

ZZ Plant, Care, and Common Problems

ZZ plants are widely favored houseplants, and rightfully so. They are low-maintenance, thrive on minimal water due to their robust foliage, and exude sheer elegance. The burning question remains: how best to nurture them?

In this guide, we will cover all aspects of ZZ plants, such as their origins, characteristics, and essential care tips for optimal growth.

What is the ZZ Plant?

The ZZ plant is a sprawling succulent that's also known as Zamioculcas Zamiifolia. A perennial, tropical flowering plant in the same family as calla lilies and philodendrons. Prized for its foliage, growing up to 3 feet tall and wide, ideal for hanging baskets or large containers on your patio or porch.

The leaves of a ZZ plant are robust and durable, featuring shiny green surfaces that transition to a vibrant yellow under sunlight. Arranged in pairs along each stem rather than spirally like most tropical plants, making them unique among houseplants.

There are a few different types of ZZ plants that you might encounter when shopping for succulents, such as the large ZZ plant, the black ZZ plant, and the normal variety of Zamioculcas. All of them are beautiful and look great in-home décor designs and backyard gardens.

Where Does the ZZ Plant Come From?

Originating from the rainforests of South Africa and Brazil, the ZZ plant is a tropical species. It grows naturally in subtropical regions, thriving on rocky outcrops under direct sunlight.

The ZZ plant can reach up to five meters tall in its natural habitat but typically grows to about three feet in indoor settings.

How To Care for a ZZ Plant?

ZZ plants are simple to maintain, adhere to the advice provided, and you should encounter minimal issues with your ZZ Plant.

1. Lots of Indirect Sunlight

ZZ plants thrive with ample indirect sunlight, making a well-lit room ideal without direct sun exposure. To keep your plant healthy, you should also avoid placing it near windows with no curtains or blinds, as these can cause the plant to burn.

2. Keep the Soil Moist

ZZ plants thrive in environments with high humidity and poor drainage, requiring frequent but not excessive watering. Over-watering is a common problem among ZZ plant owners.

To avoid drowning your plant, check its soil every few days and water only when the soil feels dry or when you notice leaves wilting.

3. Avoid Over-Watering

To prevent overwatering your ZZ plant, utilize the 'drip method.' Insert a bamboo skewer into the pot and withdraw it after 10 seconds; lack of water indicates the need for watering.

4. Add Fertilizer

ZZ plants are succulents and require minimal water, but a small amount of fertilizer is necessary. Once monthly, apply a small dose of water-soluble balanced fertilizer to the soil and give the plant a thorough watering.

Common Problems with ZZ Plants

ZZ plants require minimal upkeep, however, neglecting them is not recommended. If neglected, this succulent can develop root rot, wither, and die, just as any other plant can. That said, there are ways to aid your ZZ plant in flourishing at your house or garden.

To start, ensure the ZZ plant is positioned in an area with ample indirect light. This way, the leaves and stems will be green. If the leaves turn yellow and fall off or become brown, your plant may not be receiving adequate light.

If you see signs of root rot (the roots are soft and slimy instead of firm), this could be caused by poor drainage in your potting mix or over-watering. So, cut back on the amount of water you are giving your ZZ. It's also important to make sure that there isn't any standing water at the bottom of your pot since this can cause fungal diseases that can damage or even kill your ZZ plant.


The ZZ plant is a great addition to any home, office, or dorm room. It's relatively easy to care for and can even be grown in low light conditions. So, if you are looking for a beautiful plant that doesn't require much maintenance, then the ZZ plant may be the perfect choice for you. Just remember to give your ZZ plenty of indirect sunlight, keep the soil moist (but not wet!) And give it a bit of fertilizer every now and again. 

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