The ZZ plant, or Zamioculcas zamiifolia, is a drought resistant plant originally from Africa. It made its way around the world in the ‘90s and became a common office plant because it can survive in less-than-friendly environments. It has waxy leaves that make it look almost fake, but it’s a very real plant that can even help improve indoor air quality.
In terms of care, a ZZ doesn’t need much. “It can take very low light, and it doesn’t require a lot of water,” explains Sam Ferris, Operations Manager at Terrain in Westport, CT. “Water it every week and a half to two weeks. Treat it more like a succulent.”
The worst thing you can do to a ZZ plant? “Give it no light or not water it at all,” says Ferris. So unfortunately, your windowless bathroom is not the right spot for this guy (or pretty much any living thing, let’s be honest). But over-watering will lead to root rot—so err on the side of neglect.
Say you’re traveling for a month—could you forget about the ZZ plant entirely? Not quite. “A month would cause great stress to the plant,” Ferris says, gravely. Two weeks, however, and it should be fine.
And if you love transferring your plants into new pots, the ZZ plant is happy to move from cute vessel to cute vessel. “It shouldn’t be a problem,” says Ferris.
While the ZZ plant can get quite large, it grows very slowly. So buy the size you need now, and don’t expect a tiny plant to fill an entire corner of your living room in few months. For a greener look, try clustering a few ZZ plants together in mismatched pots. You’ll get the lush effect you’re after, and you won’t have to worry about killing your indoor garden.