Are you looking for a reliable and easy to care for houseplant? Then the lucky feather is just what you need. The lushly foliaged Zamioculcas zamiifolia (or ZZ plant for short) may be hard to pronounce, but it couldn’t be easier to grow. It may look exotic, but it’s tough as nails and will thrive anywhere with minimal supplies. Here are our tips for the best Zamioculcas care.
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What is a lucky feather plant?
Zamioculcas zamiifolia has been around for centuries and originated in drought-prone Africa (where it thrives outdoors). Several decades ago, Dutch nurseries in South Africa recognized the plant’s propagation potential and began distributing it worldwide in 1996. Since then, lucky feather plants have found their way into homes, offices and hearts worldwide.
The lucky feather bears a striking resemblance to an olive branch, but is more succulent and has a shiny, almost waxy surface. Believe it or not, it is actually a flowering plant. Zamioculcas plants grown exclusively indoors, however, can rarely produce small, white, spatulate flowers near the stem that are almost identical to the flowers of a peace lily.
Proper care for a zamioculcas.
The lucky feather is a favorite among houseplant growers who love indoor green plants that don’t require much care or a perfect growing environment. This plant is also prized for its stunning foliage, which is so green and glossy it almost looks polished. If you want to try something even more exotic, look for new Zamioculcas varieties with variegated or deep purple leaves, like Raven and Variegata.
Zamioculcas care: grow the houseplant properly.
- Light: Place your plant in a bright and warm location. Avoid direct sunlight, which can burn the leaves. No window? No problem. The ZZ plant does well under fluorescent lighting.
- Temperature: if you want your Zamioculcas to look its best, make sure the temperature in the room is consistent. The best temperature range for healthy growth is between 18 and 24 °C.
- Humidity: It is not important to consider humidity when caring for a lucky feather, as it can handle average humidity and even some dry air at home. However, if you want to replicate the humidity in the natural environment of the plant, you should aim for it from 40 to 50%.
- Soil: Most well-drained potting soil mixes that contain a high percentage of perlite or sand will do. Since Zamioculcas has succulent characteristics, cactus soil is also excellent for growing this houseplant. Good drainage holes at the bottom of the pot are essential.
- Watering: water your plant every 2-3 weeks, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Water more frequently in stronger light and less frequently in weaker light. The only thing that can kill a lucky feather is overwatering, so when in doubt, water less rather than more.
- Fertilizing: Because this plant can store nutrients in its roots, it doesn’t need frequent fertilizing. Fertilize it about once a month during the spring and summer with a balanced liquid fertilizer that is diluted. Do this after watering. Rinsing the soil prevents the accumulation of too many mineral salts that cause leaf burn.
- Leaves: To keep the foliage beautiful and shiny, clean it with a damp cloth as needed to remove dust. Spraying the leaves occasionally will also reduce dust buildup. Keeping your plant dust-free will also be good for its health, as the leaves will be able to absorb more sunlight.
- Repotting: Zamioculcas plants grow slowly, so you won’t need to repot them frequently . This means you should probably repot them every two years even less frequently.
The lucky feather: what else should you look out for?
Zamioculcas is a tough houseplant and will survive some neglect. However, there are a few things you should be aware of when caring for this low-maintenance houseplant.
- Lower leaves turn yellow: It is quite normal for some lower leaves to turn yellow and fall off. If many leaves are turning yellow, make sure you don’t over water.
- Leaf tips turning brown: This is likely caused by dry air and low humidity. Spraying the leaves can help improve humidity.
- Leaves turning brown: Overwatering is the most common cause here, especially if the leaf feels somewhat damp and not dry.
- Diseases: Root rot is the main problem with the Zamioculcas plant, usually caused by overzealous plant growers. Moisture in the soil rots the rhizome, and fungal diseases can quickly attack the plant. Common signs of disease, such as yellow leaves, are usually due to problems with irrigation.
- Poisonousness: all parts from this plant are considered poisonous if ingested. Keep lucky feather away from children and pets and use caution when handling the plant.