ZZ plants are popular among homeowners because they’re low-maintenance. Moreover, they have shiny and beautiful leaves that make the plant look almost artificial.
However, some novice gardeners make several mistakes while growing ZZ plants. These mistakes can stress your plant and make it prone to several pest infestations and diseases.
So, what are the ZZ plant light requirements? Can this plant survive in low light conditions?
Keep reading to find the answers to these questions.
ZZ plants survive in several light conditions. Being such low-maintenance allows them to last for a long time in your home.
These plants grow to be two to four feet tall in their natural habitat, so they thrive under the canopy of giant trees in the forest. So, you should mimic these lighting conditions to help this plant survive at your home.
To keep your ZZ plant healthy, you should provide plenty of indirect bright sunlight. Keeping the plant next to a south or west-facing window will work best because it will satisfy its lighting needs.
ZZ plants need access to bright indirect sunlight. Filtered light works best for these plants and allows them to thrive.
Generally, your ZZ plant will grow best when it receives between six and eight hours of bright indirect sunlight.
This depends on the direction of the windows in your space and how obstructed they are.
South, west, and southwest-facing windows can be an excellent source of bright indirect sunlight, especially when they’re unshaded. These windows receive the most light in the early morning and late afternoon, so your ZZ plant’s light requirements will be met.
Having such a window gives you several options while placing your plant pots because you can put your plant three to five away from the plant. This allows you to rearrange the room and pick the best location for the planter.
Having a sheer curtain will protect your plant from getting scorched. At the same time, it will guarantee that it’s receiving enough light.
You should provide shade if you’re growing your ZZ plant outside. This plant thrives in USDA zones 10 to 12, but direct sunlight can burn the leaves.
So, you should grow this plant as an understory plant, next to taller bushes and trees, or next to buildings. Providing this plant with shade will protect the leaves and allow it to thrive in your garden.
The lack of natural light in your home or office space can be pretty irritating.
Access to natural light won’t only affect your mental and physical well-being but also the well-being of the plants you grow indoors.
Luckily, ZZ plants aren’t that picky about their light requirements. They can survive in low light conditions and will benefit from growing under the fluorescent lights of commercial spaces and offices.
If you have access to light, you should keep your ZZ plant next to a south or west-facing window, so it can receive some light in the morning and late in the evening.
The intense afternoon sun can be too much for your ZZ plant and will scorch the leaves.
Providing your plant with the right amount of light is crucial to keep it healthy, preventing pest infestations, and allowing it to resist different diseases.
In the right conditions, adequate light exposure will also encourage your ZZ plant to produce its white and yellow flowers in the spring.
Unfortunately, some less experienced gardeners might be mistakenly choosing the wrong location for the ZZ plant pot. As a result, it might be exposed to too much light or doesn’t receive enough sunlight to support its growth.
Several signs can help you understand if your plant needs more light or shade. Understanding these signs will prompt you to change the plant’s location to keep it in good shape.
Knowing that the ZZ plant originates in West Africa might encourage you to put it where it can be exposed to bright direct sunlight throughout the day.
Nevertheless, this short plant is always protected by the shade of taller bushes and trees in its natural habitat. Too much light will dry the plant, scorch the leaves, and might eventually cause the plant’s death.
Here are some signs your plant needs some shade.
- The stiff and erect leaves of your ZZ plant start to droop. This is usually the first sign that your plant is stressed due to inadequate growing conditions.
- Your plant’s foliage fades and loses its deep green color. In most cases, these fading leaves will fall off the plant.
- The leaves get scorched, so you’ll see brown patches around them. They also tend to become dry and crispy due to the moisture loss.
- The plant will have curled leaves, trying to decrease its surface area to prevent moisture loss.
- When you touch the plant, it feels hot.
- The soil looks dry all the time. It starts to crack, and you feel that you need to water your plant more often.
Homeowners know that ZZ plants are pretty resilient. As a result, they might be tempted to keep them in low-light environments.
This plant can indeed handle some shade, but too much shade can make it prone to diseases and make it lose its beautiful foliage.
Here are some signs your plant needs more light.
- The plant becomes leggy, growing taller stems and fewer leaves. This is how the plant adapts, trying to reach out for more sun.
- New leaves appear smaller because the plant doesn’t have enough energy to produce luscious foliage.
- Your upright plant might lean or twist towards one side to be able to reach more light.
- The green leaves become pale or yellow, with some browning on the tips.
- Your plant will experience slow or no growth.
- The soil doesn’t dry out for weeks, which can also lead to the formation of root rot.
ZZ plants can fully recover if you place them in the right spot where they get enough light. They won’t immediately die if you expose them to too much or too little light.
So, if you’ve been growing your plant in the wrong light conditions, here’s what to do.
- Immediately move your plant’s pot close to a window n where it can get at least six to eight hours of bright indirect sunlight.
- Make sure a sheer curtain shelters the window to prevent scorching the leaves.
- Trim the brown or dying leaves to preserve the plant’s energy.
- Use grow lights if there’s no light in your office or house.
- Water your ZZ plants when the soil dies out and examine it regularly to avoid overwatering and underwatering.
ZZ plants are hard to kill and don’t need natural sunlight to thrive. This makes them an excellent choice for office spaces and homes without sun access.
They can also survive for long periods without water, so they’ll work for lazy gardeners.
Fluorescent and grow lights will be more than enough to provide your ZZ plants with energy. So, if you have a dark room where plants rarely survive, ZZ plants will work for you.
ZZ plants are pretty resilient and not that picky about their growing conditions. They can survive in low light conditions but thrive in bright indirect sunlight.
You can monitor your plant to see if the leaves aren’t healthy or if the plant is experiencing stunted growth because you might be keeping it in too much or too little light.
Luckily, adjusting the plant’s location and providing enough water will solve this issue.
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.