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ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

ZZ Plant Overview

Scientific name:

Zamioculcas zamiifolia



Water requirements:


Light requirements:

Indirect Sun


Air Purifying, Low Maintenance

Table of Contents

The ZZ plant, scientifically known as Zamioculcas zamiifolia, is an incredibly unique houseplant that makes a fantastic addition to any office environment. With its exotic looks, air purifying abilities, and ultra-low maintenance needs, it’s no wonder the ZZ plant is becoming increasingly popular in workspaces.

One of the ZZ plants’ standout features is its ability to thrive in low light conditions that would cause other plants to wither. Its thick, waxy leaves allow it to happily grow in shaded office corners and cubicles with minimal sunlight. Even fluorescent lighting is sufficient to keep a ZZ plant healthy. This adaptability makes it an obvious choice for an office plant.

In addition to being low-light tolerant, the ZZ plant has an impressive resistance to droughts. Its rhizomatous stems and leaves store water like succulents, so it doesn’t need frequent watering. Just water a ZZ plant every 2-3 weeks and it will continue looking fresh. This makes it great for busy office workers who may occasionally forget to care for their plants.

Air Purifying Properties

The ZZ plant also purifies indoor air by removing pollutants like formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide. These chemicals are common in office buildings, emitted from furniture, cleaning products, and office equipment. The ZZ plant absorbs these toxins through its leaves and roots, improving air quality and health.

Visual Appeal

Visually, the ZZ plant has an exotic look with its glossy oval leaflets arranged in pairs along a central stem. The leaves emerge directly from the soil, with no visible stem. Mature ZZ plants reach 2-3 feet tall, making a bold statement wherever they are placed. They add a touch of nature to sterile office spaces. For all these reasons, the ZZ plant is the perfect low-maintenance green companion for an office environment. Providing beauty, clean air, and durability, it’s a plant that keeps on giving with very little required in return.

Detailed Description of ZZ Plant

The ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) is a unique and easy-to-grow houseplant known for its lush, tropical foliage. With its thick, waxy, and oddly-shaped pinnate leaves emerging from swollen underground stems, the ZZ plant has an exotic appearance unlike many other common houseplants.

Distinctive Features

Some key features that make the ZZ plant stand out include:

  • Thick, glossy, dark green leaves with a leathery texture
  • Leaflets arranged in pairs along a central leaf stem, giving a pinnate or feather-like appearance
  • Leaves can grow up to 12 inches long
  • Swollen potato-like stems underground store water and nutrients
  • Slow but steady growth over time, reaching up to 3 feet tall
  • Occasionally may produce small yellow-white flowers

Growth Habits

The ZZ plant grows from rhizomes under the soil, swelling and storing water much like a potato. This gives the plant great drought tolerance. Above ground, the ZZ plant focuses its energy on producing lush foliage rather than rapid upward growth. It can take several years for a ZZ plant to reach its full height potential of 2-3 feet. Once established, the ZZ plant requires little care and can handle some neglect. It’s happy to grow at its own slow pace in a bright corner of your home. Just be sure not to overwater this drought-resistant plant. Its waxy leaves and underground tubers retain moisture well. Too much water can lead to root rot.


The ZZ plants’ foliage is its most stunning feature. Each leaf can grow up to a foot long, emerging directly from the soil. The leaves are arranged in pairs, giving them a feather-like or pinnate appearance. The leaflets are a rich green color with a thick, glossy, almost plastic-like texture. This waxy coating helps the ZZ plant retain moisture in its native dry African habitats. Indoors, it gives the leaves a smooth, shiny appearance that adds to the plant’s tropical flair. While new leaf growth tends to be upright, mature leaves can droop downwards. So be sure to give your ZZ plant adequate height clearance to show off its graceful, cascading foliage.

Optimal Care Guide

The ZZ plant thrives in bright, indirect light. Place it near a sunny window, but out of the direct rays which can scorch its leaves. A minimum of 6 hours of indirect light per day is ideal. In lower light conditions, growth may slow but the plant will happily tolerate less light without drama.

When it comes to water, ZZ plants prefer a “drench and drought” style. Water thoroughly, allowing excess to drain freely from the drainage holes at the bottom. Then allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again. This may mean watering only every 2-3 weeks in the winter when growth has slowed.

ZZ plants enjoy average household temperatures between 60-80°F. Keep away from cold drafts, as temperatures below 50°F can damage the plant. Average indoor humidity is fine for the ZZ plant, but you can mist the plant periodically or use a pebble tray if your home’s air is very dry.

The best potting mix for ZZ plants is a loose, well-draining soil. Combine standard potting mix with perlite or pumice to provide lots of air pockets for the roots. Choose a pot with drainage holes and avoid letting the plant sit in water. Repot every 2-3 years in early spring, moving the ZZ plant to a slightly larger container.

Light Requirements

Bright, indirect light is essential. Place near an east, west, or lightly shaded south window. At least 6 hours of bright, indirect light per day is best. Insufficient light will slow growth.

Watering Needs

Water thoroughly only when the top inch of soil is dry. This may mean watering only every 2-3 weeks in the winter when growth slows. Allow excess water to drain freely from the bottom of the pot.

Temperature & Humidity

Keep ZZ plants at average room temperatures between 15-24°C. Avoid cold drafts and temperatures below 8°C. Average humidity is fine, mist periodically or use a pebble tray if your home’s air is very dry.

Soil & Potting

Use a loose, well-draining potting mix amended with perlite or pumice. Choose a pot with drainage holes and avoid standing water. Repot every 2-3 years in early spring, moving just to the next larger pot size.

Benefits of ZZ Plant in the Office

The ZZ plant offers several key benefits that make it an ideal choice for offices. First and foremost is its ability to purify indoor air by removing harmful volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde and benzene. Studies by NASA have shown the ZZ plant to be highly effective at absorbing these pollutants which can accumulate in office spaces due to new furniture, carpet, paint, and cleaning products.

Having ZZ plants dotted around the office can help create a healthier work environment as well as enhance air quality. Their lush green foliage can also boost morale and productivity by bringing natural elements indoors.

Research has demonstrated that employees are more creative, focused, and energized when surrounded by plants. Beyond air purification and psychological benefits, the ZZ plant adds natural beauty to the office with its thick, waxy leaves. Its modern, sculptural look works well with most decor schemes. And since it thrives in low light and tolerates neglect, it’s perfect for brightening up those dim cubicles or neglected corners.

So if you’re looking to green up your office, purify the air, and give your employees a little mental boost, the ZZ plant checks all the boxes. Its resilience and versatility make it a no-brainer houseplant for any office setting.

Purifies Indoor Air

The ZZ plant is exceptionally good at removing pollutants like formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon dioxide from indoor air. Its large leaves and extensive root system allow it to absorb and metabolise these toxins so they don’t accumulate at unsafe levels. Keeping ZZ plants around the office can help neutralize VOCs from office equipment, furniture, cleaning solutions, etc.

Boosts Productivity & Focus

Research shows that having plants in the workplace can reduce stress, increase creativity, and improve focus among employees. The ZZ plant’s tranquil presence and air purification abilities contribute to a more positive, energised office environment. Employees working among ZZ plants consistently demonstrate higher productivity levels and greater workplace satisfaction.

Enhances Office Aesthetics

With its sculptural form and lush, deep green foliage, the ZZ plant makes a stunning addition to any office décor. Its modern look works well with most design schemes, and it can be used as a striking floor plant or grouped into eye-catching displays. The ZZ plant’s waxy leaves and graceful stems bring natural beauty indoors.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

The ZZ plant is generally very easy to care for and problems are uncommon. However, issues can occasionally arise if the growing conditions are not ideal. Here are some of the most common ZZ plant problems and how to fix them:

Yellowing Leaves

Yellowing leaves on a ZZ plant are typically caused by overwatering. These plants prefer to be on the drier side and sitting in wet soil can cause root rot and other fungal diseases. Check the roots and soil to ensure they are not staying too moist. Cut off any severely yellow or dying leaves and water less frequently. Make sure the pot has drainage holes and well-draining soil.

Leaf Drop

If your ZZ plant is dropping leaves, it is likely due to underwatering. Give the plant a good, thorough soak and make sure the pot drains fully afterwards. ZZ plants store water in their rhizomes and tubers, so they can tolerate some drought, but consistent underwatering will cause leaf drop.

Root Rot

As mentioned above, overwatering is the most common cause of root rot in ZZ plants. Check for brown, mushy roots and cut away any diseased sections. Repot the plant in fresh, well-draining soil and avoid watering again until the soil has fully dried out. Make sure the pot has drainage holes. Only water when the top inch or two of soil is dry.


Mealybugs, spider mites, and scale can sometimes infest ZZ plants. Check the stems and undersides of leaves for small insects or webbing. Use insecticidal soap, neem oil, or other organic pest treatments to get rid of any pests. Isolate infested plants to prevent spreading.

Preventative Care

To keep your ZZ plant healthy and prevent issues, allow the soil to dry between waterings, provide bright indirect light, maintain average room temperatures, and periodically prune dead leaves or stems. Catch problems early by routinely inspecting the plant for signs of pests, disease, or stress. With proper care, the ZZ plant is highly resilient.

Fun Facts and Trivia about ZZ Plant

The ZZ plant has some fascinating origins and unique properties that make it stand out. Here are some intriguing facts about this popular houseplant:

Originated in East Africa

The ZZ plant is native to the arid regions of Eastern Africa. Its scientific name, Zamioculcas zamiifolia, references its resemblance to the unrelated genus Zamia. This tough plant evolved to store water in its tubers and withstand drought conditions.

Natural Air Purifier

The ZZ plant is exceptionally good at filtering indoor air. Its leaves absorb toxins like formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene. By filling your home or office with these plants, you can breathe easier!

Slow Grower

The ZZ plant grows slowly, reaching about 1-3 feet tall. Its growth rate makes it low maintenance, but it can take years for a small plant to reach full size. The slow pace is worth the wait for its unique look.

Unusual Foliage

This plant has very distinct, shiny leaves unlike any other. Each leaf has multiple leaflets fanning out from a central stem. When new shoots emerge, they start out bright yellow before darkening to green.

Hardy Houseplant

ZZ plants have a well-deserved reputation for being nearly indestructible. They tolerate low light, infrequent watering, temperature fluctuations, and even neglect. These tough plants just keep on ticking.

Symbolizes Prosperity

In feng shui traditions, the ZZ plant represents prosperity. Its name “Zanzibar Gem” also suggests wealth. Displaying this plant in your home or workspace is thought to invite financial luck.

The ZZ plant has resiliently adapted to harsh conditions over time, resulting in the uniquely low-maintenance houseplant we love today. It earns its nickname “eternity plant” by persevering where other plants fail. Give the ZZ plant a try if you want a touch of the exotic that practically cares for itself!


To summarise, the ZZ plant is an excellent choice for any office environment. With its ability to purify indoor air, enhance aesthetics, and boost moods, the benefits of incorporating ZZ plants are clear. At the same time, the ZZ plant is also one of the most low-maintenance options available – perfect for busy office workers.

As discussed ZZ plants thrive in indirect sunlight and need only occasional watering and fertilization. Their thick, waxy leaves enable them to withstand droughts and thus forgive occasional neglect. By following the care tips provided, readers can ensure their ZZ plant stays healthy for years to come.

If you’ve been convinced to welcome ZZ plants into your office, a great next step is to contact Aztec Plants. Their plant hire services offer businesses across the country access to a regularly maintained plant rental service. Aztec Plants will deliver healthy ZZ plants to your office and provide ongoing maintenance, making it easy to reap the benefits of these fantastic plants.

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