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Plant of the Week: ZZ Plant

A plant for those who say that they have a "black thumb". The ZZ plant is by far the most indestructible of all the houseplants on the market today. It is the perfect plant for a beginner in houseplants and for those who are on the verge of quitting houseplants all together. Don't give up until you give this plant a shot!

Plant Characteristics: The ZZ plant is a short, stocky one. It has fleshy stems that are adorned with glossy, dark green leaves. It can grow up to 4' tall and become a short, but full and substantial plant. The foliage gives it a cool, tropical feel that looks great in any setting.

Plant Care: ZZ plants are native to eastern Africa and due to the climate and rain patterns there, ZZ's are very tolerant of the conditions they are exposed to. Their roots are rhizomes; much like potatoes, and can store water during droughts. It is important to let the soil dry out thoroughly before watering a ZZ plant, since they store the water that they will need for a long time in their roots. ZZ plants can also tolerate many different light conditions from bright to dark, so long as they are not exposed to direct sun. Allow your ZZ to become root bound before potting it up in the spring. Also, make sure to protect your ZZ in the winter. They prefer winter temperatures of 55°F or above.

Uses: ZZ plants are best as container plants, kept inside your house or on a shady porch. They do love our warm spring, summer, and fall; so don't be shy about putting it outside for the growing season. They make wonderful patio decorations when the weather is right. Also, consider making a pot arrangement with other species of houseplants around this plant. The foliage has a unique texture that goes well with many other houseplants. Just keep them in separate pots as the ZZ will probably require less water than most other plants.

The ZZ plant is truly a remarkable one. A plant that is so attractive and still so tolerant, is most certainly one worth having. Take one home and let it restore your confidence in your gardening skills.

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