Zz plants: the beauty of low overhead

Indoor plants have a way of making a space feel like home. If you want to get a plant, the top question isn’t “Where can I get a fiddle leaf fig to make my rental look like it belongs in Architectural Digest?”

The first question is: how much effort do I want to commit to keep this plant alive?

Because a plant that’s dead by next week doesn’t do you any good.

This is an area where it makes more sense to choose based on the current reality you live in–not the aspirational life in your Pinterest dreams.

There are some plants that are finicky. They might or might not be beautiful too, but they require specific amounts of indirect sunlight, 50 ml of water twice a day, a slight breeze, and maybe classical music on weekends to stay alive.

And then there are Zz plants.

Zamioculcas zamifolia’s are described like this:

“virtually indestructible”

“for people with the ultimate brown thumb”

“can take months of neglect and low light and still look amazing”

“will do better if you leave them alone”

“requires very little effort”

“suited for the forgetful gardener”

Tips for caring for a Zz plant basically say: it likes lots of light. It likes very little light. It likes lots of water. It likes very little water. It likes low light. It likes sunlight.

Zz plants are so hardy that they used to be found in malls and office complexes where people thought they were fake plants.

Before you think it must be an eye-sore….

The best thing about the Zz plant is that it looks like a normal plant.

It has deep green, glossy leaves. It’s indistinguishable from plants that require twice the effort. If your goal is to become a botanist or amateur gardener, sure, spend time studying plants. But if your goal is to add some greenery to a low-light living room that’s not hospitable to plants, find plants that thrive in the environment you have.

Before you fall in love with a specific plant (or a marketing tactic), think about whether there’s a lower overhead way to get what you’re looking for.

PS The fastest way to getting a green thumb might be picking the right plant.