The zanzibar gem (ZZ) is also known as the eternity plant—cos you could stick him in a cupboard and he would still last an eternity! OK, maybe not quite but he does thrive on neglect. Give the ZZ plant (Zanzibar Gem) to someone who forgets to brush their teeth four out of seven days a week and they will get along just fine.
Difficulty level – easy
Zanzibar gem thrives in medium light but will be happy as larry in low light or even no light! If you have a dark room you really want to add some greenery to then this is a great option. Similarly, if you aren’t sure how green your friend’s thumb is and you really want to give them a plant that will survive, this guy is basically unkillable!
They definitely need to be kept away from direct sunlight as it will burn the leaves, but other than that you can throw anything (or nothing) at him and he will just keep living.
Just like a succulent, the zanzibar gem wants to dry out between watering. Check the soil is bone-dry at least several inches down and then you can give it a good watering (about a tall glass worth for a 20cm pot). The number one killer of the indoor plant is overwatering, and really the only thing we have found will kill the ZZ is water! Be sure to empty the drip tray or bottom of the pot after watering and always use a pot with a drainage hole if you are potting directly into it.
Feed with a slow-release fertiliser once every six months following the instructions on the packet (remember, when you receive a plant from Green Assembly, it has enough slow-release fertiliser to last the first six months). We love Troforte slow-release for the miracle-working growth magic it seems to cast on all our indoor plants. During the warmer months, the ZZ plant likes a drink of the stinky liquid fish stuff (like Seasol) bi-monthly, again be sure to follow the dilution instructions on the packet before you add this otherwise the foliage can burn.
Yellow leaves tend to be an indication of too much water and slow or no growth means it needs more light. Other than that, Zanzibar gem is good to go!
Use a soil moisture metre (AKA the handiest indoor plant tool ever invented) to check the soil of any plant before you water. That way you don’t get your hands dirty and you get an accurate reading of just how moist the soil is. PLUS our metres can be used for all your plants and you will never need a refill.