How To Care For And Grow Your ZZ Plant

ZZ Plants


Native to: East Africa

Watering needs: Low (every 2–4 weeks)

Lighting needs: Low – tolerates most light conditions (just not total darkness!)

Difficulty: Near-unkillable

Great for: Beginners, anyone with low light, anyone who travels a lot

Pet-Safe: No

Looking for a quick introduction?

We've summarized all the essentials in our short ZZ Plant video, here:


1.0 Choosing Your ZZ Plant

2.0 Picking The Right Spot (Lighting, Air Conditioning, Temperature)

3.0 Caring For Your ZZ Plant (Watering, Dusting, Re-potting)

4.0 Beginner Questions

5.0 Some Common Problems

6.0 Buying ZZ Plants Online

1.0 Choosing your ZZ Plant

Looks aren't everything, but a ZZ Plant's looks can tell you a lot.

It’s Alright If You See:

Pinkish Shedded Skin

The result of stems growing out and shedding off their old skin, these can be gently pulled out and discarded.

Light Green Leaves

ZZ Plant leaves darken over time, so light green means younger, newer leaves and dark green simply means older leaves.

Black Pigmentation on Stem

A perfect imperfection — nothing to worry about as long as they are not soft and feel part of the stem’s exterior. 

But, Watch Out For:

Yellow Leaves

This means that the ZZ Plant has received too much water or heat.

Soft Cavities on the Stem (Usually Look Like Wrinkles)

Too little water, in this case, causing the plant to dry up and conserve water.

2.0 Picking The Right Spot (Lighting, Air Conditioning, Temperature)

Half of plant parenthood is choosing the perfect spot.


The more light it gets, the taller and faster your ZZ Plant will grow. So, how do you provide your ZZ Plant with as much light as you can, without overdoing it? 

To keep your ZZ Plant as happy as possible, you need to provide it with as much bright indirect sunlight as possible, whilst ensuring it doesn’t get any more direct sunlight than it can tolerate.

When you bring it home, place it as close to a window as you can, making sure it has the largest possible view of the sky. Then, keep an eye on it for a few days:

  • If it remains sturdy and the stems feel stiff, then it’s happy in that spot!
  • If it starts to dry out (i.e. the stems start feeling soft; it starts to droop; or you start seeing wrinkles) but you can feel moisture in the soil, then it is getting too much direct sunlight. Move it a little further away from the window. Come back a day later and check again.

While ZZ Plants will survive in low-light conditions (literally anywhere except total darkness), we highly recommend placing it near a window for the first month, so it gets acclimated to its new home. Otherwise, you may soon witness drooping stems, yellowing leaves, or it may start to shed its leaves altogether.

If your ZZ Plant receives no light at all, it will enter a state of dormancy and stop growing. 

Air Conditioning

ZZ Plants can tolerate dry AC air better than most other plants. Their thicker epidermal layer — an adaptation to growing up/evolving in a desert environment — helps retain moisture, which makes them more tolerant to dry AC air than most plants.

But they will still be happiest placed away from the direct air escaping your vents.


Like most houseplants, ZZ Plants are happiest between 18 °C – 30 °C. However, they will tolerate temperatures as cold as 8 °C. As a general rule: if you're comfortable, then your ZZ Plant probably is too.

3.0 Caring For Your ZZ Plant (Watering, Dusting, Re-potting)

How to keep your plant alive (and also show your love).


Water when the soil is completely dry

The most important care tip when it comes to ZZ Plants is to let their soil dry out completely between waterings. This could take anywhere between 2–4 weeks, depending on how much light it gets (the more light, the faster it will dry out) and how high the temperature is (the hotter it is, the faster it will dry out). An easy way to check if it's time to water is to insert your finger into the soil. If you feel even a little moisture, then it's best to wait a bit longer. If you’re unable to come to an answer based on soil alone, another way to check if your ZZ Plant needs water is by observing its stems. Wrinkles or softening of the stem mean moisture is being lost, and it’s time to water.


Once a month, gently wipe away any dust on your plant.

ZZ Plants have thick waxy cuticles on top of their leaves for protection, which is what makes them such resilient plants, but this also causes them to gather dust quite easily.

Wiping your ZZ Plant free of dust with a damp rag once a month will help it soak in light and breathe through the little pores on its leaves (stomata).


Leave it in its nursery pot

ZZ Plants love being root-bound, as it reduces the chances of overwatering (A ZZ Plant’s Kryptonite). As such, you won’t need to worry about re-potting until it begins for at least 2-3 years. 

Having said that, ZZ Plants’ roots also grow rather quickly so if you’d like to repot yours sooner, you can do so as early as 6 months after getting it (for smaller ZZ Plants) and 1 year for taller.

Time to re-pot

When re-potting, use a high-quality potting mix and transfer your ZZ Plant into a pot that's about 1–2 inches in diameter larger than its current one (or one or two sizes up). ZZ Plants are highly susceptible to overwatering; so the right mix must have a high percentage of aggregate materials (such as perlite and pine bark) that will provide adequate drainage and prevent the soil from absorbing too much moisture and holding it for too long.

Whatever you do, avoid a bag of pure peat moss. This is what you’ll get in most bags that say “potting soil” or “gardening soil”. When in doubt, reach out to our team at, and we’ll help you identify whether the soil bag you’re considering will work for your ZZ Plant.

Make sure its rhizomes (the potato-like roots) are covered by soil, so they’re protected from the elements.

Remember, always go for a pot with drainage holes.

Pro-tip: To keep watering simple and easy, you can simply re-pot your ZZ Plant into a larger nursery pot and place that nursery pot in a larger planter.

4.0 Beginner questions

Ask away, grasshopper.

How easy is a ZZ Plant to care for?

ZZ Plants, are native to the rocky, arid terrain of East Africa, evolving to be nearly unkillable:

  • Native to dry arid climates, like Cacti, ZZ Plants are tolerant to lower levels of humidity, so common in the UAE. 
  • They're also incredibly drought tolerant and need to be watered, at most, once every 2–4 weeks.
  • Native to large fluctuations in temperature, ZZ Plants will do well when kept anywhere between 7ºC-30ºC — well within the range of most households in the UAE.
  • They're highly tolerant of nearly all light levels and
    will be able to acclimate to anything from bright direct sunlight by a window (as long as it's indoors) to low-light. The most light it gets, however, the faster it will grow (and the more water it will need).
  • As with Cacti and Snake Plants, the greatest risk to ZZ Plants is
    overwatering; as long as there is a window in the room, and its drinks are infrequent, this plant will be a companion for years to come.

However, like most indoor plants, ZZ Plants are sensitive when it comes to the chlorine and calcium found in UAE tap water, however. To combat this, make sure to:

  1. Leave tap water out for 24-48hrs before using it. This allows the chlorine time to evaporate.
  2. When watering, make sure to water all the way through the soil until water is dripping out the bottom of the nursery pot. This will ensure any excess build of calcium (and other minerals) is flushed out from the soil.
Can I use UAE tap water to water my ZZ Plant?

Yes. ZZ Plants can be fed using UAE tap water.

However, like most indoor plants, they are sensitive to the chlorine and calcium found in the water.

To combat this, make sure to:

  1. Leave tap water out for 24-48hrs before using it. This allows the chlorine time to evaporate.
  2. When watering your ZZ Plant, make sure to water through the soil until it is dripping out the bottom of the nursery pot. This flushes out any excess build-up of calcium (and other minerals) from the soil.
Will AC harm my ZZ Plant? What temperature should I set it to?

ZZ Plants are built to survive in a wide range of temperatures and humidity levels, so you don't have to worry about your AC harming it!

Do I have to re-pot my ZZ plant as soon as I receive it?

In short, no.

Once you receive your plant, place it in the spot you plan to keep it in (whilst still in its nursing pot) and allow it at least 6 months (ideally 12) to acclimate to your home's temperature and light levels.

Once acclimated, you can choose to either re-pot your plant or leave it in its nursing pot.

5.0 Some Common Problems

Don't let this list scare you — trust us, ZZ Plants are easy to care for.

Black Spots on Leaves

Cause: Fungus or bacteria 

Suggestion: Cut off the infected leaves or stem and re-pot your plant.

Black Spots on Stem

Scrape your finger against the stem to identify if the spots are hard or soft.

If hard and there is no difference in texture from the rest of the stem, then don’t worry, that’s just a characteristic of the ZZ Plant.

If the spots are soft, then it’s a fungus or bacteria, so you must cut off that stem and re-pot your plant.

Brown Leaves

Cause: Underwatering

Suggestion: Maintain the same amount of water but increase how often you're watering

Browning Leaves or Leaf-tips

Cause: Dry environment 

Suggestion: If your plant is next to an AC vent, try moving it away

Browning on Edges or Tips of Leaves

Cause 1: Too much chlorine or fluorine in the water

Suggestion: Let water aerate for 48 hours before giving it to your plant, or use bottled water or rainwater instead

Cause 2: High humidity

Suggestion: Open a window to let air circulate and reduce humidity

Cause 3: Soil cannot hold moisture anymore

Suggestion: Time for a fresh batch of soil!

Leaves are Falling Excessively

Cause: Underwatering

Suggestion: Maintain the same amount of water but increase how often you're watering

Leaves Have Lost their Thickness and Shine; Starting to Droop

Cause: Underwatering or low humidity

Suggestion: Time for a drink!

Newer Leaves Not Darkening

Cause: Not enough light

Suggestion: Move your plant to a place with more sunlight, but not outdoors or under direct sunlight.

Not Growing, Gone Dormant

Cause 1: Not enough light 

Suggestion: Move your plant to a place with more sunlight, but not outdoors or under direct sunlight.

Cause: 2 Low humidity

Suggestion: Move your plant to a new spot with better air circulation

Cause 3: Natural response to the current season or weather

Suggestion: Don’t worry and continue caring for your plant as normal and it will open up eventually

Shriveled Stems or Cavities on Stem

Cause: Underwatering

Suggestion: Time for a drink!

Cause: Too much sunlight

Suggestion: Move your plant to a place with less direct sunlight

Cause: Too hot

Suggestion: Reduce temperature to below 30° C, improve air circulation, or move your plant to a cooler spot

Yellow Leaves

Cause 1: Overwatering 

Suggestion: Allow soil time to dry out completely (sometimes this can take 2-4 weeks), then slowly re-water

Cause 2: Too hot

Suggestion: Reduce temperature to below 30° C, improve air circulation, or move your plant to a cooler spot

Yellowing Along Much of the Plant

Cause: Overwatering 

Suggestion: Cut off the yellow stems with a clean pair of scissors BUT it is likely your plant is suffering from root-rot and must now be re-potted.

Yellowing Along Single Stem

Cause: Overwatering one area of the plant

Suggestion: Cut off the yellow stem entirely with a clean pair of scissors. Allow the soil time to dry out completely (sometimes this can take 2-4 weeks), then slowly re-water

6.0 Buying ZZ Plants Online

When shopping for a plant online, look out for the following:


If you're looking for a table-top plant, then go for one that's 40cm tall. A 60cm tall plant would work well on a low side-table. Plants about 1 meter or taller would work well as statement floor plants.

Note: Stated heights will always include the height of the plant AND planter.

Pot style

This is all about the vibe you're looking for, and you'll typically have a choice amongst different colors and shapes.

If you're looking for subtlety, we suggest a circular pot in white. To make more of a statement, look for contrasting shapes and colors!


It goes without saying that your plant supplier should meticulously package all plants.

When you personally buy a plant from a store, you're able to rush it home, ensuring it stays outside for as little time as possible. But when you order online, your plant will ride-share with a lot of other plants all on their way to their new homes.

Depending on where you live, weather can play a big part in your plant's health along the way.

If possible, ask your plant shop what precautions they take to ensure your plants stay as safe as possible en route to you.


Reading customer reviews is a good way to get an idea of the customer experience provided by the seller (here's ours, by the way), but you need to practice caution there.

Don't expect to be able to tell a fake review right away, some reviewers can be great con artists, and some negative reviews can be fake to harm the seller.

Your best bet is to zoom out and look at multiple comments from multiple categories to get a good overview of whether you can trust this company and/or their review section.

For example, look at how recent the reviews are, and how spread apart. Was there a sudden spike of comments in a short amount of time? Do they sound like they're all written by someone rehashing the same template? Do they all sound too positive to be real?

Yes, going all detective on reviews can be a chore, but Future You will thank you for it.

Returns and refund policies

Things can go wrong.

Sometimes it's no one's fault, and sometimes there's nothing anyone can do.

So the best practice is to offer (and honor) a no-questions asked return/refund policy. Check out the seller's policy before you make a purchase, so you know you're insured in case things don't work out.

You can check out our return/refund policy here.

Ready to adopt a ZZ Plant?

Your ZZ Plant can't wait to meet you — just choose a height and pot and let's introduce you two!