Houseplant of the Week: ZZ, the Eternity Plant

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We’ve been doing the research but we don’t know quite how Zamioculcas zamiifolia (say that three times fast) got one of its nicknames.

Not “ZZ” (that one’s kind of obvious) or “Fat Boy,” which come from the tubby little rhizomes under the soil, but its very popular name, the “Eternity Plant.”

We’re guessing, however, that it’s because you can’t kill it. Or at least you’d have to try really, really hard.

This is one of the most forgiving plants you’ll find in our nursery. Miss a watering (or three) and it still shows off it’s glossy, feathery wings. It’s not particular about soil; anything that drains well will do. It’s not even fussy about light, which makes it very popular in places where there’s little natural light, like an office cubicle, or cities where most days are overcast. It also has no identified pest or disease problems.

No wonder this beauty is the star of so many Instagram posts!

Are there any downsides? Well, yes. Much like our recent houseplant of the week, Dieffenbachia (or Dumb Cane), your Eternity plant can be an irritant to sensitive skin. You don’t need to wear gloves around it, but you probably should wash your hands thoroughly after touching it, and you definitely shouldn’t consume it, so keep it away from pets and small children.

Caring for Your Eternity Plant

  • Light: As mentioned, “ZZ” is pretty tolerant of any lighting situation, but it does its best with bright but filtered light.
  • Water: The bulbous rhizomes under the surface contain water, which is why your Eternity plant will forgive you for missing a watering, but also be careful not to overwater, because that will cause the rhizomes to rot. You’ll know if you have overwatered because the leaves will start to turn yellow.
  • Fertilizer: Feed once a month during the spring and summer growing season.