Ok guys, I’m really excited to introduce you to this next houseplant. My favorite houseplant. Maybe you think I say that about all my houseplants – and, there are definitely a lot on the list of “one of my favorites” – but, for real, this is one great plant. And if you’re looking for a plant that will really help your brown thumb get a little greener, then this is the plant for you.
So what is this plant, you may ask? It’s the Zz plant. (Isn’t that a great name?) Sometimes known as “aroid palm”, it’ most often referred to by the initials of its scientific name: Zamioculcas zamifolia. Though it’s a fairly common houseplant, I didn’t get introduced to it until my internship at Longwood Gardens. One of my roommates had one and I realized how great it was – not only does it have great structure and shiny, glossy, dark green leaves, but it really tolerates low light well and it can stand up to a lot of neglect.
When I came home from Longwood, I’d try and keep my eye out for a zz plant in the garden centers, but I just couldn’t seem to find any. The library at USU, though, has a ton of these plants and I kept wondering if I could just snag a leaf and start my own from a cutting. In the end, though, the one I have was gifted to me. I’d gone over to the house of a friend of a friend for a game night. The first thing I noticed when I got there was this awesome collection of plants in the kitchen and I thought, “someone here must be a horticulture major.” Sure enough, the roommate of the friend, and owner of the plants, was a horticulture grad. And, funnily (or awkwardly) enough, he had been in both the woody plants class and the weeds class when I was a TA for each of them. He came home from work just as I was headed back to my home and I complimented him on his plant collection. And, happily for me, he gave me a zz plant to take home.
Like any plant, the zz plant needs light. Don’t be fooled by those pinterest pins claiming to tell you about “10 plants you can grown with no light”. It just doesn’t work that way. Plants need light. But, when I say this plant tolerates low light, I really mean it. I mentioned earlier that they are all over the USU library, but you’ll also find them frequently in other office or shopping spaces that don’t get a lot of natural light. If you think about, these spaces also aren’t very conducive to fussy plants with really specific watering requirements. And the most basic watering requirement for the zz plant is: don’t water it very much. It can go a month or so without water. Granted, it will grow faster if watered slightly more often, but I only water mine every other week – so about twice a month. Really, when it comes to growing this plant, that’s it. All you have to remember is two things:
- You can stick it anywhere in your house – except for maybe a closet – and it will be fine. A windowless bathroom? Sure. A sunny kitchen. Of course (but keep it out of direct sunlight as the leaves may scald). Find a spot and put your plant there.
- More is not better when it comes to water. Put a reminder in your phone to water the plant on say, the first and third Saturdays of every month, and you should be good to go.
If you’re new to this whole “houseplants” thing, the zz plant is definitely a good place to start. Buy it and forget it.