Some advice from the pros on growing Zamioculcas zamiifolia, the "ZZ" plant.

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by photopro, Aug 4, 2007.

  1. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    I often see a lot of questions asked on this board about Zamioculcas zamiifolia, often called the ZZ plant.

    This species is an aroid. In the first week of August, 2007 one of the world's best known aroid botanists, Dr. Tom Croat of the Missouri Botanical Garden, asked a group of well qualified aroid growers, experts and researchers, some botanists and professional growers from all over the world, this question via the discussion group Aroid l (L). Dr. Croat does not specialize in African species.

    "A colleague here at the Gardens asks what are the best soil conditions and general care for this species. We have it in the greenhouse where it thrives but do any of you grow it in your house. Does it require special care? I would appreciate it if anyone has any advise"

    The answers were quite varied, and surprising! I thought those who are set in their ways that there is only one way to grow this plant might find the responses interesting.

    "Keep it well drained. It can be grown in an orchid compost (tough or graded bark mixed with an equiv vol of pet moss) or peat moss - perlite (5-0 mm) equiv mix or in sand (5-0 mm) - peat 3:1 mix. I got an overwatered one, and I kept it dry for 2 months now it looks better."

    "It’s a Weed for me, you can stick a piece of a leaf in just about any soil & poof ,Ya got another plant real soon, as long as it’s watered regularly… some try to pass this off as a Cycad & charge a lot ,due to the name similarities care is variable as it can be grown as a house plant ,but outside ,some frost, no hard freeze ..will come back from it’s own roots if froze any regular potting mix will do fine , treat it like any indoor philo"

    "The plant is nearly bullet proof. If you grow it in a house it will grow very slowly. In a greenhouse it will grow like mad. Mine was 10 cm tall, in a room with no natural light and rare waterings after a year it looked the same. Moved to the greenhouse fed and watered it, and in a year it was more than a meter tall."

    "It prefers not too heavy soil with pH about 6. I use the universal flower soil available in every shop and my plant is 120 cm tall, puts new healthy leaves and once it bloomed. As a succulent it doesn't tolerate overwatering. http://www.wschowa.com/abrimaal/araceum/zamioculcas/zamioculcas.htm"

    "I grow both forms of Zamioculcas zamiifolia, or is Z. lancifolia now considered a distinct species? They both grow in plain old potting soil that I let get almost dry between waterings, in East-facing windows with good morning sun."

    "My daughter gave me one about two years ago. I read everything i could find and according to what I can locate Zamioculcas zamiifolia enjoys drier arid conditions. Supposedly, it likes water in the rainy season and little moisture during the dry season. That just didn't fit into the way I grow aroids in my tropical atrium, so I just planted it! In fact, it is just feet away from my large Anthurium regale. The plant is watered as often as all the other tropical aroids and does just fine! It is in very loose soil with lots of sand added. But other than that, we don't do anything special. To be honest, I wasn't crazy about the thing. But my daughter read it was an aroid so she got it for me. It may eventually not survive, but for several years it has tolerated my "tropical conditions" well."

    "Less is more' philosophy has always worked for the "ZZ" plant here in central Florida. Ritually, I water once a month and it is in it's 5th year and happy as a lark in the house. Those in the greenhouse had to get moved for there was too much humidity for them. They reside happily in the office now and on the same regime, once a month."

    "I agree with what (name removed) reported, both on what research will tell you the plant wants, some moisture and then a dry season, and on what his reality was, and mine as well. We planted ours in an upper planter pocket in the rain forest simulation at UNC Charlotte, where it was fairly well drained but pretty constant moisture as well, and it just thrived, flowered, the whole nine yards. It got some sun, but not much - just good bright light, well drained soil, and good moisture. It got real good sized for us under those conditions."


    Some of these folks are professionals and botanical experts. One runs a botanical garden. As a result, I'd say it is not critical how you grow Zamioculcas zamiifolia! Just put it in the soil and do your thing! In the wilds of Africa, the plant endures long periods of dryness followed by a wet rainy season. That certainly does not appear to be critical to keeping it alive. In fact, it seems the people who water it more actually have better results! BUT, the key appears to be in having well draining soil. You can even grow a new plant by simply placing a leaf in the soil.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2007
  2. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    This additional post just came through. One of the largest aroid growers in the country posted this one and I just had to post this here for others to read!

    "We joke about growing this plant indoors. I gave one to my father here in S. Florida as a house plant 4 years ago. He has watered it 5 times in 4 years. He is often out of town for months at a time. The only thing he has ever done to it is repot it once. It's the closest thing to a plastic plant there is. Apparently the only way to kill it is to over water it."
     
  3. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    I came across some great new info on the ZZ plant, Zamioculcas zamiifolia. This info came from one of Americas's top experts as the result of studies by Dr. Simon Mayo at the Kew in London and botanist Pete Boyce in Singapore. You might find this interesting.


    http://www.exoticrainforest.com/Zamioculcas zamiifolia pc.html
     
  4. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    I have to admit I have totally changed my mind on some of my last posts. How you grow the ZZ plant is important since it will naturally go dormant and drop every leaflet without sufficient water. Once dormant the plant appears to be dead and too often ends up in the trash even though it is very much alive.

    Through the help of several botanists in Europe I have completely revised the article above so anyone that wishes to keep this plant healthy should read the entire article. The ZZ must have water in order to produce photosynthesis and sugars to feed itself. Without water it dries up and appears dead just as it does in nature. However, the plant can endure for fairly long periods with little water which is not advisable.

    http://www.exoticrainforest.com/Zamioculcas zamiifolia pc.html

    Steve
     

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