September is Houseplant Month
close up of a ZZ Plant

This Week: ZZ Plants

Dutch nurseries started wide-scale commercial propagation of the Zamioculcas, or ZZ plant, around 1996. This herbaceous plant grows from a stout underground succulent rhizome. It’s normally evergreen, but becomes deciduous during drought, and survives due to the large potato like rhizome that stores water until the next rainfall resumes.

Over-watering may destroy this plant; erring on the side of dryness is preferable to risking tuber rot. Bright, indirect light is best for the ZZ plant, although it will tolerate very low light. Some sun will be tolerated - very early in the morning, though.

The ZZ plant may be propagated by leaf cuttings. Typically, the lower ends of detached leaves are inserted into a moist gritty compost and the pot enclosed in a polythene bag. Though the leaves may well decay, succulent bulb-like structures should form in the compost and these may be potted up to produce new plants. The process may take upwards of one year.