My New Best Friend: the ZZ Plant

My New Best Friend ZZ Plant houseplant care and decorating tips The Decor Guru I don't have a black thumb per se, but I've found there are certain houseplants that I get along with better than others: those that are very low maintenance. I've had the usual suspects of low maintenance plants, like pothos, philodendron, snake plants... but felt myself yearning something more exotic. It was on a pilgrimage to IKEA that I finally came across the ZZ (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) plant. I happily scooped up one plant. I'd read about its wonderful qualities, but was still cautious. Fate was on my side that day, because this plant has become my new best friend. Keep reading to find out why the ZZ plant is perfect for any home plus my tried & true tips on caring for it.

History: The ZZ plant is native to Eastern Africa and was cultivated in Dutch nurseries in the late 90s, so it’s a relatively new houseplant to the US. Even my mother, who had a jungle of plants on her sun porch, never heard of it.

Decor: My favorite aspect of the plant (aside from its easy care) is its glossy, tropical nature. The ZZ plant will complement most decor styles, although I think they do best in modern, global, beachy, or eclectic spaces. Check out these examples:

Aqua accent wall living room makeover corner vignette eclectic decor ZZ plants The Decor Guru

Toxicity: This plant also helps improve the air quality in your home. However, it is a toxic plant if eaten by humans or animals, so be sure to keep it out of reach.

Water: Because the ZZ plant originates from a dry, African climate, it’s a great choice for those who forget to water. In fact, this plant prefers a dry soil; I water mine once every 1-2 weeks. It’s easy to tell when it’s been overwatered, as the leaves become yellow and droopy.

Potting: The ZZ also likes to be somewhat rootbound, so you’ll save money on potting soil and large planters.  If you do find it’s time to repot, use a planter that is no more than 2″ wider from the edge of root ball.

When I repot mine, I use cactus potting soil because it’s a much drier mix than standard potting soil. Ensuring the plant has proper drainage is also key. It really doesn’t want to be overwatered, y’all!

Light: The ZZ plant can thrive in low light but will grow best in bright, indirect light. It does well in artificially lit spaces like offices. In its preferred lighting, it can grow up to 3 feet tall. I can’t wait for mine to get that huge!

Considering how easy it is to care for, it’s no surprise the ZZ plant is my new best friend. It’s the perfect combination of tough, exotic, and low maintenance. Plus, I just love the energy plants bring to a home.

Do you have a green or black thumb? Have you ever heard of the ZZ plant? What’s your favorite houseplant?

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6 Comments on My New Best Friend: the ZZ Plant

  1. I’ve never heard of it but now I’ve read this I’ll probably start seeing them everywhere!
    I have had mixed results with Ikea plants, they have some lovely unusual ones sometimes, some I keep alive very successfully, some, not so much!
    I think the key to keeping a plant happy is what you have done here, fine out where it is from and what it likes, then all you have to do is provide that – easy!
    Thanks for the tips, I’ll keeping my eyes open for a ZZ plant now.

  2. I have one too but never knew what it was called. It has been growing like crazy lately and I also forget to water it occasionally (or maybe regularly). Now that I’ve read about it, I’m glad my dog doesn’t eat plants. That could have been bad.

  3. I haven’t heard of zz either but while I also don’t have a black thumb per se, having a plant that prefers to be under-watered is what I need lol. the plants that I have on the porch are all cactus, the rest invariably run away!!

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