Zamioculcas zamiifolia, commonly known as ZZ plant or Zanzibar Gem, is a flowering plant native to parts of Southern and Eastern Africa.
The perennial plant is popular for its glossy green leaves and unique growing qualities, which makes it an excellent choice for an ornamental plant. However, the advantages of having a ZZ plant in your house don’t end here!
In today’s guide, I’ll walk you through a brief guide with all the ZZ plant uses and benefits that you should keep in mind if you’re interested in growing these beauties.
The advantages of having a ZZ plant in your house can cover multiple aspects, so here’s a brief overview of the top benefits and uses of the lovely plant.
Kicking off the list with one of the most unique properties of the ZZ plant, which makes it a highly reputable houseplant.
ZZ plants are excellent natural air purifiers that can massively help improve the quality of the air indoors.
The plant does this not only by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen all day long but also by removing a variety of toxins that could be suspended in the air.
Many studies were performed over the years to assess these natural air-purifying qualities of the plant, such as this study from 2013.
Based on its findings, ZZ plant leaves were capable of absorbing xylene, benzene, toluene, and ethylbenzene from the air, reducing their concentration effectively.
This can have a remarkable effect on our health in various ways. For example, these air pollutants cause a continuous sensation of fatigue along with a reduction in cognitive functions.
So, by reducing their concentration, you’ll feel more radiant, energetic, and innovative while saving you the cost of additional air purifiers and filters!
Indoor plants like the ZZ plant have a unique way of calming the soul and reducing both psychological and physiological stress. These brilliant effects are true whether you’re working at home or just chilling out.
According to a 2015 randomized cross-over study, interacting with an indoor plant and taking care of one can suppress your autonomic nervous system’s activity, which results in improving mood and reducing stress.
Of course, these effects would be more pronounced if the plant is fairly easy to care for and works passively to reduce air pollutants that may cause stress!
ZZ plants may not be the flashiest and most attention-grabbing plants out there, but they sure are beautiful!
Something unique about these plants’ glossy, dark green leaves and upright stems makes them a perfect fit for almost all types of household styles.
Not only that, but the plant can also work perfectly for professional settings like businesses and offices, which is where their non-distracting look really comes in handy!
That being said, you still need to clean the plant from time to time to maintain its glossy and aesthetic appearance, as it collects some dust over its leaves.
Technically speaking, all ZZ plants out there come from a single species of the Zamioculcas genus. However, you’re not out of options if you’re looking for something a bit different.
Thanks to the popularity of ZZ plants, many growers out there raced to create new variants of the plant, which can have a remarkably unique look for extra sophistication!
For example, classic ZZ plants have dark green leaves, but the ZZ Raven variety is known for its ultra-unique purplish-black color.
Alternatively, you can opt for the variegated varieties of the ZZ plant. These varieties have characteristic double-toned colors where the foliage can be bordered, striped, or blotched.
In addition to coming in a variety of colors and styles, ZZ plants are slow growers that come in a wide size range, starting from 6 inches up to 30 inches.
This allows you to pick the one that suits your preferences and the location where you’re going to set it up.
The ZZ plant has a remarkable presence in Feng Shui practices, and the plant is often associated with positive aspects like fortune, growth, and good luck. The plant is also said to bring other advantages, such as improving relationships and communication in a household.
Many Feng Shui experts believe that the plant deflects negative energy and covers the house with protective energy, especially when you keep them in the southeastern corner of your home.
If you can’t keep the plant at such a spot, you’re not totally out of luck, as many Feng Shui experts argue that only keeping the healthy plant within your household is good enough.
Of course, while placing the plant in your house, you should also take other factors into account for the well-being of the plant. For example, avoid keeping the plant in a spot with bright direct sunlight, as it can scorch the leaves.
Many plants that hail from semi-arid and arid regions developed special techniques to metabolize carbon dioxide other than regular photosynthesis. One of these methods is crassulacean acid metabolism, also known as “CAM photosynthesis”.
Surprisingly, the ZZ plant is the only species in the Araceae family that has this unique property. As a result, the plant is capable of absorbing carbon dioxide and providing clean oxygen, even during the night!
This makes the plant a perfect choice for bedrooms because it increases the concentration of oxygen in rooms, which enhances your sleep quality, especially if you live in a high-altitude region.
Pests can be one of the biggest problems associated with keeping a plant indoors. However, many of these pests are mainly attracted to plants to consume their sap.
Of course, ZZ plants produce sap, but at a remarkably lower concentration, so they’re not a favorable option to pests. This makes it a perfect choice if you don’t want to bother with these tiny critters.
That being said, the plant may occasionally attract mealybugs, aphids, and spider mites. However, you can easily avoid them by spraying some neem oil near the plant, which is a powerful deterrent to ZZ plant pests.
Although the ZZ plant is toxic (more about that later), it was used in low quantities in some traditional medicine applications.
For instance, the ZZ plant was used to treat some forms of inflammation and ulcers as well as ear aches.
Of course, keeping the plant in optimal conditions can help the plant thrive and maintain its health. However, the plant is fairly low maintenance and can accept a variety of conditions, such as:
- Infrequent watering
- Low light conditions
- Low humidity
This makes it a perfect choice if you leave your household for long hours or you live in an apartment where your rooms don’t get much sunlight per day
Lastly, the plant is one of the easiest indoor options to propagate, which allows you to use leaf cuttings to create a whole new plant.
This method requires patience but is remarkably easy, and it can actually be a nice business on the side if you’re into growing plants.
As you can see, ZZ plants are good for a variety of aspects. For instance, the plant is remarkably low maintenance and highly adaptable.
This makes it perfect for beginners and those who are starting their journey with growing indoor plants.
The plant is also ideal for those who have a bit of experience but are looking for one that isn’t a hassle to keep.
Additionally, since the ZZ plant can thrive without direct sunlight, it can be a perfect ornamental plant for rooms that don’t get plenty of direct sunlight.
This also applies to professional settings like offices, all thanks to the plant’s non-flashy yet elegant look.
Unfortunately, the ZZ plant is toxic for both humans and common pets like cats and dogs. This is because the plant contains calcium oxalate crystals in almost all of its parts (the leaves and stems are the most toxic parts of the plant).
Ingesting any parts of the ZZ plant can cause severe irritation in the mouth, which is accompanied by immediate pain and swelling where the plant makes contact, including the tongue, throat, and stomach.
For that reason, you should always keep the plant away from the reach of children and pets. Also, after handling the plant, you should wash your hand carefully to remove the residue of these crystals on your hand.
If you’re looking for an alternative that is safe for pets, you should consider options like spider plants or sword ferns.
The answer to this question heavily depends on where you live, as the plant’s availability and price can are fairly affected by this factor because it’s an imported plant.
Ideally, ZZ plants are widely available online, and you can find several reputable sellers out there to buy the plant from.
The price of the plant is usually dependent on its size, and you should expect the plant to cost you a little higher than other indoor plants.
Another aspect that can also affect the availability of the ZZ plant is its variety. While it’s quite easy to get your hand on a classic ZZ plant variety, finding a special variety like the Dwarf and Raven variety may incur extra shipping costs, especially if you don’t live in a large city.
ZZ plants are among the best indoor plants to consider for your household. Besides being elegant and beautiful, they’re excellent air purifiers and come in a variety of patterns and sizes to suit your house.
The plant is also a major addition to your collection if you’re into Feng Shui and can have plenty of health benefits for you, such as reducing stress and improving your sleep.
That being said, the plant can be quite toxic for humans and pets, so you should keep it out of children’s and pets’ reach.
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.