Use code TWOPEAS to get $150 off a Gardyn and membership here.

Must-Read: 22 Helpful Black ZZ Care Tips


Black ZZ is a low-maintenance plant and is a good choice if you are planning to spruce up your indoor garden. In fact, it is one of the easiest houseplants to care for. This houseplant, having rich purple-black leathery leaves and thick stems, is well-loved in the community of plant collectors with its distinct feel and appearance.

In this post, we’re sharing important tips and tricks you’ll need to know to successfully raise a Black ZZ!

If you want one for yourself, we have a few reasonable options for you to explore. Continue reading this complete guide to learn more about this Zamioculcas’s interesting attributes.

What Is Black ZZ?

The Black ZZ is also known as Raven, Black fern arum, and Zanzibar Gem.

This perennial from the Araceae family is well-known for its green colored leaves but usually almost black foliage. It has ovate-shaped and bright green and gradually turns black with time-colored leaves.

We will mainly talk about the ideal conditions when caring for the Black ZZ indoors, but it can also thrive outdoors in hardiness zones 9-10.

Origin And Family

The Black ZZ plant is a member of the Araceae family. This variety of Zamioculcas comes from the dry grasslands and along the riverbanks of Eastern Africa, Kenya, and South Africa regions. It canould also be found in the United States. As an indoor plant, it thriveshas thrived in most households when it has a lot of access to dark conditions or air conditioners.

Where To Buy

You can purchase Black ZZ at many nurseries and local plant stores. Ordering online from Etsy is hassle-free and a more cost-efficient option. The Black ZZ usually comes in decently expensive prices ranging from $16 to $50.

Black ZZ Plant Size

The Black ZZ grows about 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide indoors at its maturity. Considering this plant’s growth potential, light needs, and moderate humidity requirements, you can place it in any indoor setting.

Black ZZ Care Needs

Your Black ZZ will thrive beautifully when it’s properly cared for. The best way to take care of it is to plant it in relatively dry soil and put it in bright indirect light. In most situations, you’ll want to water your Zamioculcas Raven when the top half of the potting mix has completely dried out. Drench the soil heavily until you see water leaking out from the bottom of the pot. As a bright light-loving plant, it will be in its best health when provided abundantly with this requirement.

We’re making it easier for you to care for your Black ZZ with the extensive list of tips below.

Care Difficulty

In terms of care difficulty, the Black fern arum is easy to take care of. What you should consider the most for this beauty is the amount of light and water. The easiest way to take care of it is to put it in indirect sunlight and avoid putting in excess water.

Growth Rate

Zanzibar Gem’s growth rate is typically slow. As it matures indoors, it should reach about 3 feet in height.


We recommend using ceramic pots in terms of potting containers, although most materials, including plastic pots, will work perfectly. Note that the Black ZZ plant is susceptible to root rot. Make sure to use enough drainage holes in its pot.


One way to keep your plant healthy is to transfer it to a bigger pot when it grows to a certain size. If you see signs that it’s root-bound, you’ll know that it’s time to repot.

On average, Black ZZ grows at a slow pace and needs to be repotted every 2 to 3 years. The soil will lose its natural nutrient components over long periods, so it’s better to add some well-draining soil when you’re repotting.


A well-draining soil is best for Black fern arum. High amounts of perlite and vermiculite are the ideal components for the soil. Aeration and good drainage are a must for this plant.

Here are a few excellent growing medium options to choose from:

Photo Title Price Buy
Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting...image Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix 6 qt., Grows beautiful Houseplants, 2-Pack $12.96 ($0.03 / Ounce)
Burpee, 9 Quarts...image Burpee, 9 Quarts | Premium Organic Potting Natural Soil Mix Food Ideal for Container Garden-Vegetable, Flower & Herb Use for Indoor Outdoor Plant $12.99 ($0.04 / Ounce)
Sun Gro Horticulture...image Sun Gro Horticulture 8-Quart Black Gold 1310102 Purpose Potting Soil With Control, Brown/A $14.73 ($0.06 / Fl Oz)
Miracle-Gro Potting Mix Miracle-Gro Potting Mix $32.46
FoxFarm Ocean Forest...image FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix Indoor Outdoor for Garden and Plants | Plant Fertilizer | 12 Quarts | The Hydroponic City Stake $23.99 ($0.06 / Fl Oz)


For the Zanzibar Gem, you’ll want your soil to have a neutral to acidic pH, approximately between 6.0 to 7.0. A well-draining soil has a pH level near that range, so you won’t need to be overly concerned. If it’s necessary to raise the pH of your soil, you can add a bit of baking soda, calcitic lime or dolomitic lime, or wood ash. On the other hand, if you’re worried that the pH is too high, you can lower the pH with sulfur or aluminum sulfate. To identify the soil’s pH value, use common soil moisture meter devices which double as a pH tester.


Your Black ZZ plant will want the soil to stay dry in between watering schedules. Check by feeling the soil with your finger and check when the soil has completely dried out. If this is the case, drench your plant thoroughly until water leaks out from the bottom of the pot. One of the most common causes of plant mortality indoors is overwatering. When in doubt, it’s usually preferable to be an underwatered than an overwatered Black ZZ plant. Avoid inconsistent watering and infrequent watering. To ensure that your plant’s roots aren’t getting drowned, use a well-draining soil and a pot with drainage holes.


This houseplant prefers indirect light for approximately 12 hours a day. Too much light and black spots will show up on the stems. Too little light and the new stem will become long, with the leaves far apart. If you’re worried that your Black ZZ isn’t getting enough light, move it closer to a window or consider using artificial lights. Here are some basic options for you to consider:


Water, sunlight, and soil provide the necessary nourishment for houseplants. Over time, soil can lose its nutrient value and needs to be supplemented with plant food. If you want a thriving Black fern arum, fertilize it once every six months or so during the spring or summer. You may opt for a balanced liquid fertilizer. You can also use other fertilizers but make sure to dilute it first if it’s highly concentrated.

Propagating Black ZZ

It is possible to propagate a Black ZZ plant with the right methods. Here are various techniques for propagating this houseplant.

Stem Cuttings In Soil

One basic method to grow a Black ZZ plant is by directly planting stem cuttings into the soil. If you don’t have this plant yet, you can purchase a cutting from Etsy or from your local Facebook Marketplace.

It is best to propagate in the growing season to ensure that it’s easier for your plant to recover from the transplant shock.

1. Cut. With clean shears, find a healthy section you can cut off. The cutting should be at least three inches tall and with a few leaves and nodes.

2. Plant. In a pot or container with damp potting soil, bury the stem’s nodes, then pinch the soil around the stem. You may also use wooden skewers to keep the plant in place since too much movement may affect root growth.

3. Maintain. Keep your container near a window with bright, indirect light. Remember, the soil must be kept moist.

4. Wait. In about 2-3 weeks, you can expect new roots. An emerging shoot is the best indicator that your cutting has successfully grown roots!

Stem Cuttings In Water

To propagate Black fern arum cuttings in water, follow these simple steps:

1. Cut. Cut a section from your plant about 4-6 inches in length. Cuttings that are too long could grow lanky.

2. Submerge. Keep the cutting in a glass of water until it grows roots. Check and remove leaves that are below the water level to avoid rotting.

3. Refill. Refill the glass every 3-5 days with clean water and keep the plant nodes submerged for faster rooting.

4. Transplant. When the roots are long enough, you may transplant your cutting into a sterile potting mix. Ensure your plant is frequently moistened to help the roots transition into the soil.

Humidity And Aeration

Black ZZ loves moderate to high humidity. Keep the humidity level between 40-50% at all times. Check the area of your Black ZZ’s air moisture level using a simple hygrometer. If the reading is too low, improve the area’s humidity with these methods:

• Plants release moisture out of their leaves through the process of transpiration; therefore, keeping houseplants close together will help them.

• Underneath the plant’s pot, place a flat tray of pebbles and water. The plant gets some nutrition from the evaporating water.

• Purchase a humidifier for your plants. This will allow the constant release of steam and raise the humidity in a room.


Like most Zamioculcas plants, your Zanzibar Gem will do best in a location under humid conditions. Maintain the temperature around 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Because your houseplants are sensitive to temperature changes, keep your Zanzibar Gem away from heat sources like vents, furnaces, hand dryers, and other appliances. Similarly, throughout the winter season or winter months, avoid exposing your plant to frigid drafts and frost spells.


If you can maintain your plant happy and offer the ideal circumstances for it, you might see some blossoms, albeit they are usually small. However, you should be aware that most plants prefer to bloom outside.


Unfortunately, the Black fern arum is toxic to humans and pets (including cats and dogs). If consumed, expect the following symptoms: skin and eye irritation and stomach ache, vomiting and diarrhea if ingested. This plant is deemed non-life-threatening in most cases.


Pests, Diseases, And Other Problems

The Black ZZ is not a disease and pest-resistant plant. Here are some of the common diseases, problems, and pests, along with how to treat them.

Scale Insects

Adult scales are usually sedentary and covered in a waxy coating, although they will give birth to extremely small crawling bugs. You can scrape off armored scales, but you will need to do it gently with an old ID card or your fingers. Be careful not to rip the leaves of your Black ZZ.

Use neem oil, insecticidal soap, or horticultural oil to eliminate scale insects. When you see active crawlers, use a general pesticide spray and follow it up with a second application after a week. We recommend some products below:

Drooping Leaves

A wilting, droopy appearance on your Black ZZ simply means distress. Drooping leaves could be from overwatering, underwatering, excessive light exposure, lack of light, and low humidity.

Yellow Leaves

If the leaves on your Black fern arum are yellowing, you may need to explore various aspects to figure out what’s causing it. Is your plant getting too much or too little water? Is there enough light for your plant? Have you lately fertilized your plant? Are there any unexpected weather changes?

Of course, yellowing bottom leaves could simply indicate that your plant is expanding and the leaf’s energy has been depleted. Simply remove the yellowing leaves so the plant may concentrate on developing new green leaves.

Similar Plants

Love Black ZZ plants? Here are some similar plant options you should try:

Jungle Warrior ZZ Plant – This new black leaf type is equally resilient as the green-leafed Zanzibar Gem, with glossy dark green new growth that matures to a rich purple-black on robust stems. Once grown, this plant is low maintenance and requires minimal attention, even in dry conditions.

Zenzi ZZ Plant – The Zenzi ZZ Plant is a fairly fresh arrival on the scene. It’s a small ZZ Plant cultivar with thick, compact foliage and very dark green leaves. This fascinating, uber-modern houseplant is absolutely perfect as a desk plant, guaranteed to lighten the mood, no matter how dark the office! Please keep in mind that these plants prefer to be pot-bound, and grow pots are frequently twisted into an oval shape.

Lucky ZZ Plant – The black leaf of the Zamioculcas Zamiifolia’ Dark Zamicro’ begins to turn brilliant green and darkens with time. Before the leaflets along the stem unfurl, it has leaf spores that develop upwards. Unlike other dark leaf Zamioculcas varieties, the Zamicro has tight, compact foliage and a small leaf.


The Black ZZ is a stunning plant and is truly a delight to care for. Your care efforts for this plant will be rewarded when you witness its almost black foliage unfold.

Can’t get enough of Zamioculcas plant guides? Check out these helpful articles from Two Peas In A Condo!

Help us grow! This post contains affiliate links, which means we receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something recommended. All opinions, however, are our own, and we do not accept payments for positive reviews.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our Pea Pod!

Receive top indoor gardening and hydroponics tips directly to your inbox.

    © 2023 Copyright Two Peas In A Condo