Start the new year with a new plant, or two! Before you buy any plant, you must consider the light you have available in your home or office. Make sure the available light during the day is appropriate for your plant choice so it will flourish once settled. Some homes and many office locations have lower light areas–north-facing rooms or rooms that do not receive much sunlight–so selecting plants that don’t require a lot of light is the right choice for any aspiring or experienced gardener.
For low light areas, try the new cultivar of Zamioculcas zamiifolia (commonly called ZZ plant) ‘Raven.’ “This newer-to-the-market plant with its black foliage is very striking, especially when grown in a white pot,” says Julie Bare, Senior Estate Gardener, PHS Meadowbrook Farm. “It requires only a small amount of maintenance.” A dwarf cultivar of the ZZ plant, ‘Zamrico,’ is a diminutive, equally beautiful version of the straight species. If you can’t find it in a store, ask a friend who has one for a division or cutting.
For ZZ plants, low maintenance means watering only once a month during the winter months (instead of once a week). As days get longer and sunlight increases, watering should increase to once every three weeks. “These slow-growing plants are very long-lived,” says Bare. “They don’t require pruning, unless you want to prune off a damaged leaf,” she says. Another plus: they will tolerate any amount of light you put them in, even thriving in the darkest corners of your house or office. While these plants are super tolerant of just about any condition, you might want to give it a vacation during the warmer months, slowly introducing the ZZ plant to more sunlight over the course of a week. “You can put it outside for the summer to give it a change from the house–just be sure to keep it somewhere where it gets partial shade,” says Bare.