When you are looking for an office plant, there are usually a few important considerations when choosing the right one. First, there is the appearance of the plant, which must be attractive and fit in with the decor of the office.

Second, it must be easy to take care of because a busy office is a tough place in which to focus on plant care. Third, it should benefit the overall health of the environment using a plant’s air purifying abilities and other healthy attributes. Finally, it should not require much in the way of light or water so that it can be long-lasting indoors.


All of those requests explain why, in recent years, one of the most popular indoor plants has become the Zamioculcas, which is more commonly known as the ZZ plant. A plant that, before 1996, was probably not known to anyone outside of the continent of Africa, but has now become one of the most popular indoor and office plants around.

Here are the details about the ZZ plant, and why they have become so popular for interior landscaping projects and office environments.

History of the ZZ plant

The plant, of course, has been around for centuries. It was first mentioned in a publication of plants released in 1829, placed in the genus Caladium zamiifolium. This was eventually changed to Zamioculcas in 1856, but given its current name of Zamioculcas zamiifolia in 1905.

The plant was seen in Africa and found in areas from Kenya and south to parts of South Africa. This is where the plant grew, outdoors, for years. It wasn’t until Dutch nurseries located in South Africa saw the potential of propagating the plant and making it available for distribution around the world in 1996. From that point forward, the ZZ plant made its way around the world and into offices and homes all over.

What the ZZ plant looks like


ZZ plants are known as flowering plants, but they very rarely produce flowers. Instead, the plant is known for its wide, dark green leaves. They can make great desk plants or floor plants and can grow quite tall if left alone. The leaves can be 40-60 cm long. The flesh of the plants is smooth and shiny.

The ZZ plant has a rather unique-looking root system. Beneath the plants that you see above the soil are thick, potato-like roots known as rhizomes. These store water, which is why the plant can often be subject to over-watering, but does well during droughts and places where frequent watering is not always easy. It is another reason the plant does so well indoors.

The dark green color is an indication that they absorb light from even a minimum of sources, which makes them perfect for indoor use.

Are ZZ plants poisonous?

While the ZZ plant is a fantastic plant to have because of how easy it is to care for and its benefits to the environment, it also has a reputation for being poisonous. Keep in mind, that it is the most poisonous if a person is consuming the leaves, and can only cause minor burning and irritation to the touch. However, this plant has been known to not be particularly friendly to cats, and cats are more likely to take a nibble out of a plant if left unattended. If you have pets, exercise caution to protect them from a trip to the vet. In general, it’s best to touch them if you’re wearing gloves

ZZ plant care

What makes the ZZ plant so popular among interior landscaping, around offices, buildings and homes is the ease of care that they need. Their very makeup is such that they do well in areas with low light and their maintenance is very easy. Although it does not require daily watering, you still have to water it. Pay attention to it and make sure that you are not starving it to death. Although it does not require a lot of light, it does require some, so don’t put it in a room that is rarely used or has no light.

ZZ plants will grow well, albeit slowly, and their branches may intrude across a desk or into an area where it gets in the way. That branch can be safely removed from the plant via standard pruning methods and tools. They can also be easily redirected if that is preferred.

The plants will flower and the time for flowering is usually in mid-summer to early autumn. The flowers are small and tend to vary in color from bright yellow to brown or bronze. The flowers are usually hidden among the bases of the leaves and are usually not considered particularly attractive. They can be removed without damaging the plant.

ZZ plant benefits

The ZZ plant looks great and brightens up any office. Of course, any living floral added to drab, interior spaces can do that. What sets the ZZ plant apart from the others is that they have been studied and documented to have air-purifying capabilities. A study released by the Department of Plant and Environmental Science from the University of Copenhagen studied a number of indoor plants and found that the ZZ plant was capable of removing significant amounts of xylene, toluene, benzene and ethylbenzene from the air.

Call the interior plant experts

At Ambius, we take the guesswork out of caring for plants, and the ZZ plant is just one of several indoor plants that are available for your office or property. It pays to brighten offices and interior spaces using living floral, including ZZ plants. Call us today and tell us about the interior landscaping needs you have and one of our interior design experts will reach out to you about your plant needs.