How to care for a Zamioculcas (ZZ) Plant

The name Zamioculcas is a combination of two single words. Culcas is the collective name for a different genus of plants. Why this name was used for the Zamioculcas is a bit of a mystery, since there's not really a relationship between these plant groups. The 'Zamio' part probably comes from the Zamia ferns, whose leaves are fairly similar to the Zamioculcas'.

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  • Infrequent
  • Once every two years
  • Bright, Indirect to Low
  • Toxic
  • Monthly

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  • In the wild, this plant is found in the fairly dry places of East Africa. Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and the island of Zanzibar in particular have rich Zamioculcas populations. The exotic atmosphere of Zanzibar in particular fits well with the Zamioculcas.
  • The Zamioculcas is not the top of her class in the school of air purification. Like all other plants, it naturally ensures that CO2 is converted into oxygen, but due to its fairly slow growth, the Zamioculcas is not particularly good at this. Can't have everything, it seems.
  • The Zamioculcas is slightly toxic. Be careful with children and pets.
  • The Zamioculcas is not a thirsty plant. It belongs to the succulent plants, which store water in their leaves, stems or roots. The biggest danger with this plant is watering it too much, so that a layer remains at the bottom of the pot. The Zamioculcas hates wet feet and will quickly look bad if this happens. So let the potting soil dry before you water it again. Don't check just the top layer, but also put your finger a little deeper into the soil to check the humidity. In practice it comes down to watering about once a week during the summer and every three weeks in the winter. It's OK if you forget to water it once in a while.
  • Zamioculcas is not fussy about where it is placed. Totally in the shade isn't the best idea, but a place with half-shade or lots of sunlight works. If the Zamioculcas gets less light, it will grow slowly. Alternatively, if placed in a lot of light the plant can grow extremely fast and possibly collapse under its own weight! If you notice your 'Zamio' growing very fast, move it a little further from the window. In general, 2 to 3 meters from a window facing east or west is a great place. Directly in front of a north-facing window or 3 to 4 meters from a south-facing window is also possible. Turn the plant a little every now and then so that it grows evenly on all sides.
  • It's good to give your Zamioculcas some extra plant food once a month in the summer. You can use standard indoor plant nutrition for this.
  • The roots of a Zamioculcas are special, because they don't grow downwards like those of normal house plants, but form a large tubercle in the pot. This tuber can become wider and wider, so that it eventually reaches the side of its pot. You often see plastic growing pots bent or cracked by the roots of the Zamioculcas. This won't happen so quickly with the sturdy decorative pots, but if you want your Zamioculcas to continue to grow, you have to place it in a larger pot every now and then. If you want to keep your plant small, leave it in its original pot.
  • The Zamioculcas only blossoms in very rare cases, and usually it's a sign that the houseplant is sick!. It's almost like when a dog starts barking or moaning when he's sick. Yellow or brown leaves can occur with the Zamioculcas. Sometimes it's just old leaves and there's nothing to do about it but to remove them. It can also be due to too much water; check this carefully if your Zamioculcas get yellow leaves. You can safely cut these leaves away, and new ones will grow. This is best done by cutting them as close as possible to the trunk. Wash your hands afterwards, as the Zamioculcas is slightly toxic.
  • In general, the Zamioculcas is a plant with a strong resistance and therefore has few problems with diseases. If you notice that your plant has caught aphids or spider mites, you can easily solve this by spraying it with lukewarm water. Because of the structure of the leaf, the little pest easily rinse off.

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