ZZ Plant: Real or Fake?

Zamioculcas zamiifolia or the ZZ Plant is a more recent addition to the standard houseplant. Though available in South Africa for centuries, they did not find their way into greenhouses until 1996 when Dutch nurseries in South Africa thought that the plant would be worth propagating and bringing into homes and offices. Since then, these plants have become one of the most popular houseplants due to the simple care and the fact that it is difficult to kill. These plants are often confused for a fake plant due to the waxy appearance of the leaves. The main benefit of these plants is that this is another example of an air purifying plant.

                This may actually be the easiest plant to care for; they can go months without watering due to the potato like root system which can hold onto water for a long period of time. However, these plants are more apt to grow when they are being watered more regularly. Because of this, it is probably not surprising that this plant is very prone to overwatering and root rot. The simple solution is to only water them when the soil in dry. These plants prefer bright indirect lighting in a southern window, however, growing lamps are a feasible option when lighting may be less than ideal of whatever reason. However, these plants are able to draw in light from minimal sources.

                An important thing to note is that these plants can be poisonous to humans, cats, and dogs. In humans, touching the plant can cause minimal burning and discomfort. It is best to wear gloves when handling the plant.  However, this plant is most poisonous to a human consuming the leaves. This plant is also unfriendly to cats or dogs who may nibble on the leaves. That means that this plant should either be left out of reach of curious babies, infants, cats, and dogs or left out of the house entirely if that is not possible. I don’t want to scare you out of keeping this plant in your home, there are many examples of this plant causing minimal to no harm to its owners, but there is also the possibility of causing harm. These risks need to be weighed when considering plant ownership.

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