ZZ Plant Care

Placement

PRO TIP: Every month or so, use a microfiber cloth to wipe any dust off the leaves of your ZZ. This helps to maintain their lovely glossy sheen and ensures your plant is able to absorb light more efficiently.

The ZZ, or Zamioculcas zamiifolia, is a semi-succulent native to the semi-arid regions of Eastern Africa. It is accustomed to long periods of dry conditions interspersed with bursts of generous rain. As such, the ZZ has evolved a rhizomous root system that holds on to as much water as it can absorb, as well as fleshy, moisture rich leaves. It is crucial to let your ZZ dry out between watering. This is a plant that thrives on neglect and is a great choice for frequent travelers and those who occasionally forget to water. 

The ZZ is an ideal plant for the home or office. This plant requires little attention and does well in almost any type of container. Indirect bright light is ideal for a ZZ, yet they are also content in low light situations, and do fine in direct light making it a versatile and near foolproof indoor plant.

If you are unsure of the lighting conditions in your home of office, we have a guide for how to measure light in your space.

ZZ Plant Leaf

ZZs are one of the hardiest plants in nature, and can be propagated from a single leaf.

Routine Maintenance

PRO TIP: When it doubt, let it drought! The most common mistake made with these plants is overwatering.

Always be sure to assess your plants watering needs upon receiving it.  Before giving your plant a drink, it is best to check the moisture level in the soil first. ZZ’s like to dry out completely between waterings. The most common mistake made with these plants is overwatering. You won’t need to water your plant  more than once every 10 days (at most) during the growing season, and make sure that you are letting the soil thoroughly dry before giving your plant water. ZZ’s are susceptible to root rot, so it’s very important that you do not water the plant if you detect any moisture in the soil. During the winter months, watering frequency should decrease, sometimes to as little as once a month.

For regular upkeep, dust the stalks regularly so the plant can photosynthesize properly. When dusting, take the opportunity to inspect the crevices and keep an eye out for pests. Using fertilizer spring through fall will enhance your plants foliage and promote new growth. Rotate your plant periodically to ensure even growth on all sides.

Remember each plant is a unique living thing and may have varying needs, especially in their individual locations. Pay attention to the condition of your ZZ  and its watering needs and you will have a long and happy relationship.

Standard Planter Instructions

There are two types of standard planters offered by Greenery NYC, those with drainage holes, and those without. Within those two categories are an array of sizes and styles to choose from. All these factors play a role in the quantity and frequency of water given to your plant.

Plants purchased in a pot without a drainage hole, have been set up with a built in drainage system. A layer of hydro stones (porous, absorbent material made of recycled glass) has been placed beneath the soil to act as a reservoir and retain any excess water that flows through the soil. You will need to be slightly more cautious not to pour too much water into these containers as there is no way for the water to escape. We suggest pouring small amounts of water in bit by bit, until you have reached the desired moisture level in the soil.

For plants with a drainage hole, water until it begins to come out the bottom of the pot and into the catch tray. Empty the catch tray before returning the plant back to its location.

Always be sure to assess your plants watering needs upon receiving it. Refer to the routine maintenance section for moisture requirements. 

We suggest 3 - 5 standard measuring cups of water for the initial watering, but check in with the soil of your plant and how quickly it’s drying out to determine if it requires more or less. For the desktop ZZ we recommend ¼ - 1 standard measuring cup.

Self Watering Container Instructions

The self-watering planters require a good, solid watering of the topsoil after they are first placed. This is important, because the roots of the plants need to grow into the reservoir in order to drink from it. Follow the standard planter instructions for the first four weeks until the reservoir is ready to be tested.

TEST: After four weeks, fill the reservoir until the red indicator reaches the MAX line. If the indicator goes down over the first few days, it means the plant is ready for reservoir servicing. If not, be sure to continue top watering for a few more weeks, until the plant starts drinking from the reservoir.

RESERVOIR SERVICING: Once the indicator goes down, do not refill the reservoir right away. Similar to how humans need a breath of air between gulps of water, almost all plants require a drying out period.  ZZ’s typically appreciate a longer drought period, so once the reservoir is empty, wait 7-10 days (or until the soil has completely dried) before you refill. Always allow for the reservoir to empty all the way, and after the drying out period, be sure to fill it until the indicator reaches the MAX line.

From here on out, you should NEVER topwater the plant. If you water from the top, it can drown the plant. In the Self Watering Container, the top layer of soil will eventually become extremely dry and hard, and may even pull away from the edges of the pot. This is not a cause for concern, but simply because the plant is drinking directly from its roots in the water reservoir.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I tell if I am overwatering my ZZ?

  • Overwatering results in mushy brown stalks and yellowing of the leaves. Dropping leaves can also be an indication of overwatering. Hold off on watering and prune your plant. Once the soil is completely dry all the way through the pot then your plant is ready for a drink.

How can I tell if I am underwatering my ZZ?

  • Underwatering results in dry crispy tips on the plants leaves. If this is the case, prune your plant and increase your frequency of watering.

Can my ZZ tolerate really low light?

  • It can, however this is likely to stunt the growth of your plant. Also the risk of over watering becomes heightened, so take extra care when placing you plant in low light conditions.

How often should I fertilize my plant?

  • In general, house plants will thrive when they are fertilized spring through fall. Fertilize once a month with an organic houseplant fertilizer, following the package instructions for dilution and administration. Greenery NYC uses an organic potting mix with a slow release fertilizer in the soil so your plant will not need fertilizer within the first 6 months of receiving it.

How often does my plant need to be repotted?

  • For smaller desktop plants, we suggest repotting once every 12-18 months. Typically you want to choose a potting vessel 1”- 2” larger in diameter to allow for growth. Don’t choose a pot much larger than the previous as this could drown the plants roots. If you prefer to maintain the current size of your plant, repot into the same vessel, providing new soil and trimming away some roots and foliage. Repotting in the spring or summer is ideal.
  • For larger floor plants, we suggest repotting every 18-24 months. Typically you want to choose a potting vessel 2”- 4” larger in diameter to allow for growth. Don’t choose a pot much larger than the previous as this could drown the plants roots. If you prefer to maintain the current size of your plant, repot into the same vessel, providing new soil and trimming away some roots and foliage. Repotting in the spring or summer is ideal.

Additional Care Guides