Information about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld


Zamioculcas zamiifolia

ZZ plant, Zanzibar Gem®

The somewhat daunting scientific name of this plant has led to it being commonly known by its initials: "ZZ plant". (Zanzibar Gem® is a registered trademark of wholesale nursery Oud's Amazone Trading Pty.Ltd.. Because the plant has been marketed as such in Australia, it's become popularly known by that name here.)

In 2009, The Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscape Association (USA) included Zamioculcas zamiifolia in their ten Plants of the Decade, celebrating a decade of the "Florida Plants of the Year" (More information at the FNGLA website).

Zamioculcas zamiifolia featured in the 01-11-2019 edition of Get Results Gardening, an email mini-magazine for Australians, with an emphasis on the subtropical South East Queensland region. Get a free trial without obligation with a simple email request. Learn how at

ZZ plant in the Landscape


Propagation of Zamioculcas from leaves

Leaflets were taken March 2012 and the ends inserted in potting mix. Initially, a plastic bag was placed over one of the pots, but when this appeared to make no difference, it was removed and pots simply located in a sheltered location outdoors. (In a frosty climate, protection in winter would probably be necessary.)
Zamioculcas zamiifolia Zamioculcas zamiifolia
Six months later, there was no obvious development above-ground.On removing a leaf, however, it could be seen that a tuberous swelling with emerging roots had formed on the cut end.
Zamioculcas zamiifolia Zamioculcas zamiifolia
By March 2013, all but one of the original leaflets had rotted off but a small plant could be seen emerging.Removal from the mix showed all four leaflets had developed tubers and evidence of a shoot. These were then potted up separately.
Zamioculcas zamiifolia By December 2013, all are showing signs of shooting (the tiny shoot in the lower left pot is not obvious in the photograph), although the results are variable.

This trial indicates propagation from leaflets is quite easy, but requires patience. It could be a long time before you get a decent-sized plant.

Zamioculcas zamiifolia Zamioculcas zamiifolia
These whole fronds were struck in water, changing the water periodically to keep it fresh.Unfortunately the time wasn't recorded, but the above were in water for probably 3 or 4 months.
Zamioculcas zamiifolia Zamioculcas zamiifolia
About 6 weeks later, roots have further proliferated but are starting to rot in the water.The tops of the fronds were trimmed off and the root masses potted, with mix barely covering small tubers.
Zamioculcas zamiifolia About eight months after transfer to pots, new plants are shooting up all around the remains of the original leafstalk.

The whole fronds produced more substantial plants faster than the individual leaflets, although it was still a slow process.

Next time, I would try striking whole fronds in pots without the water stage, or directly even in the garden, using a stake to keep the top-heavy fronds firmly in place until well-rooted.
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