If you’re planning to grow one, you might be wondering how long they can live, and that’s where this guide comes in handy!
In this article, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about a ZZ plant’s lifespan, along with tips to maximize it. Let’s dive right in!
The ZZ plant is a perennial plant known for its longevity and remarkable resilience. In fact, one of the names the plant goes by is “eternity plant”, which refers to the plant’s fairly long life.
Ideally, if you properly care for a ZZ plant and provide it with optimal growing conditions, it may last anywhere between 5 to 10 years, which is remarkably long compared to many plants of its class.
As you can notice, the lifespan range of ZZ plants is fairly wide, as the exact lifespan of the plant heavily depends on certain factors that can extend or shorten the plant’s life.
ZZ plants are originally native to the semi-arid regions of East Africa. In the wild, the plant is provided with excellent conditions to grow, allowing them to reach the far end of the scale and live a long life of up to 10 years or longer.
One thing you should know here is that the ZZ plants usually grow in large clusters in the wild, which allows the flowering plant to easily reproduce by spreading its seeds and creating a large network of rhizomes in the soil.
As previously established, there are certain factors with a massive impact on the ZZ plant’s survivability. Here’s a brief overview of each one of them.
The first (and often overlooked) factor behind the lifespan of ZZ plants is simply the genetic quality of the plant.
ZZ plants come in a wide range of varieties that have unique properties, whether it’s different sizes, colors, patterns, or more.
These varieties will also have unique differences in terms of longevity and ability to withstand weather conditions.
Accordingly, some ZZ varieties will be labeled “higher quality”, which can grow faster, withstand harsh conditions, and have better immunity against diseases.
As a result, higher quality ZZ plants will usually come at a higher price because they’re carefully grown and sourced from reputable vendors.
ZZ plants are typically low-maintenance plants that can withstand drought and lack of sunlight for quite a while.
However, it can still be heavily impacted if the plant is left in an unsuitable habitat where temperatures, water, lighting, or soil quality are inadequate.
The more similar the current environment to the plant’s original habitat, the longer the plant is going to live on average, especially if it’s combined with good care.
Speaking of care, the more time and attention you give to your ZZ plant, the more likely it’s going to thrive and maintain its healthy look.
As a result, you should expect the plant to last for up to 5 or even 10 years, even when you grow them indoors.
To help you provide the optimal level of care to your plant, I’ll walk you through the essential requirements for a healthy Zanzibar Gem in the following sections.
Lastly, while ZZ plants are fairly healthy and resilient, they’re not completely immune to diseases and health problems. These diseases can be of fungal or bacterial origins, and they can massively impact the lifespan of the plant. (some are even fatal).
The most popular pest that attacks ZZ plants are:
- Spider Mites
Luckily, many of these pests can be treated using pesticides, especially if they’re caught early.
The plant is also prone to diseases associated with excessive watering or using contaminated water and soil. These include root rot, blight, black/white spots, and many more.
Since taking extra care of your ZZ plant goes a long way in maintaining its health and boosting its lifespan, here’s a quick look at the essential care requirements of ZZ plants:
Since the plant is originally native to Africa, it’s no wonder that Zanzibar Gems can’t withstand excessively cold weather, so you shouldn’t keep it under 40 °F (4.4 °C) or exposed to cold air drafts in the winter.
The optimal temperature range for the plant is between 60 to 75 °F (around 15 to 24 °C). It can also tolerate temperatures up to 85 °F (29 °C).
However, keeping the plant at temperatures higher than that will result in excessive dehydration, drooping, and other health issues.
ZZ plants are among the least demanding plants when it comes to soil quality. The most important aspect here is that the soil should be slightly acidic with a pH range between 6.0 to 6.9.
Additionally, the solid must have excellent drainage to prevent water-logging problems. Ideally, a commercial organic potting mix with some wood chips, perlite, and pumice should do the trick.
Tip: to improve drainage, mix your current soil mix with cactus soil mix.
ZZ plants are drought-tolerant, so they don’t need to be watered often. In fact, the plant is much more prone to over-watering than suffering from drought.
Ideally, you should water the plant’s soil once every 2 to 3 weeks during winter and every 2 weeks during summer.
Always dip your finger in the soil to ensure the top 1 inch is fully dry before watering the plant again.
Your plant will flourish in medium to bright light as long as it’s indirect. You can achieve that using lace or sheer curtains to soften the light.
Avoid direct sunlight exposure at all times because it can easily scorch the plant leaves and cause the stem to droop. Ideally, around 6 to 11 hours of soft, indirect sunlight per day should be enough for the plant.
Feeding your plant results in a healthy lustrous plant. However, too much fertilization can cause more harm than good, as it blocks water absorption and weakens the plant significantly.
Ideally, you should feed your plant with a diluted balanced fertilizer, either 10-10-10 or 20-20-20, preferably in liquid form.
Humidity is also an essential factor for a healthy ZZ plant, so you have to keep it in mind.
Luckily, however, the ideal humidity range of ZZ plants is between 40% to 50%, which is around the average humidity range of a typical room.
However, bathrooms and kitchens usually have a fairly higher humidity level, so you should install a hygrometer to keep up with the room’s humidity and move the plant if necessary.
To accommodate the plant’s growth, you’ll need to re-pot it once every year. The optimal time to do this is before the start of the growth season.
The plant might experience transplant shock for a few days. However, this is normal and you only need to remove wilted and yellow leaves, and the plant will return to its healthy form shortly after.
Propagating a ZZ plant is totally possible, and it can be a great way to extend the life of your plant by obtaining a new one with the same genetic qualities.
ZZ propagation can happen using division and leaf cutting. However, the latter is the most popular and easiest method.
After leaving the leaf in the soil for about 4 weeks (in optimal conditions), it should start germinating.
ZZ plants are known for their long lifespans, often for over 10 years, especially with proper care. However, for most people and average care, the plant typically lives for around 5 years.
You can also propagate a new plant from your existing one to get a new copy of your plant. That being said, propagating ZZ plants takes a lot of patience because of the plant’s slow-growing properties.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.