Houseplants

Happy Houseplant Appreciation Day!

ZZ Plant

Yup, today is the day designated to take a moment and appreciate everything our houseplants do for us. They are attractive décor of course, but they also give us a chance to keep our thumbs green in winter, and they clean the air we breathe.

My favorite houseplant is the ZZ plant. It is botanically named Zamioculcas zamiifolia which explains why everyone just calls it the ZZ plant.

Typically, they grow about 2 feet tall. If given ideal growing conditions they may grow taller. Thick, upright stems – swollen at the base – present dark green leaves so shiny, they almost look plastic.

ZZ Leaves Close Up
The leaves are so shiny they almost look like plastic.

Water & Fertilizer Requirements
Native to eastern Africa, the ZZ plant has adapted to survive drought conditions. It grows from underground stems called rhizomes that store food and water. This makes ZZ plants perfect for forgetful waterers. They actually prefer to dry out between waterings. In fact, they can survive months without water! When they reach a ‘too dry to survive’ point, they start dropping leaves. Even at this point most ZZ plants can be revived if given a thorough watering.
I have never fertilized my ZZ plant and it is doing fine. If you are a ‘must nurture’ gardener, feed with a balanced liquid fertilizer – at half strength – once in the spring and once in the summer.

Thick stems rise from the soil. A new stem is emerging.
Thick stems rise from the soil. A new stem is emerging.

Light Requirements
ZZ plants prefer bright, indirect light but grow quite satisfactorily in lower light situations. Direct sunlight will burn leaves. Curling leaves is an indication the plant is in too much light.

Nobody’s Perfect
ZZ plants grow slowly – very slowly – so they are usually expensive to purchase. On the bright side, their slow growth means they rarely need repotting.

All parts of the ZZ plant are toxic so if you have pets that graze or toddlers that put everything in their mouths keep them far out of reach.

Say thanks to all your houseplants today and if you don’t already have a ZZ plant, consider buying one to celebrate Houseplant Appreciation Day and garden with me!

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