Zamioculcas: Plants that Detoxify the Air


Plants that Detoxify the Air

ZamioculcasThe Zamioculcas is an ornamental plant, appreciated mainly for its attractive glossy foliage and air-purifying qualities. This is an easy and impressive plant for semi shady rooms.

Important Considerations:

  • Toxicity: All parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested. Not recommended


The Zamioculcas grows to 45-60 cm tall, from a stout underground, succulent rhizome. It is normally evergreen, but becomes deciduous during drought, surviving drought due to the large potato-like rhizome that stores water until rainfall resumes.

The leaves are pinnate, 40-60 cm long, with 6-8 pairs of leaflets 7-15 cm long; they are smooth, shiny, and dark green.

The flowers are produced in a small bright yellow to brown or bronze spadix 5-7 cm long, partly hidden among the leaf bases; flowering is from mid summer to early autumn.

Planting / Care:

  • Temperature / Climate: It can be kept outdoors as long as the temperature does not fall below around 15 °C (59°F); best growth is between 18 °C to 26 °C (64.4° - 78.8 °F). Hot temperatures give an increase of leaf production. In temperate regions, it is grown as a houseplant.
  • Watering: Over watering may destroy this plant; erring on the side of dryness is preferable to risking tuber rot.
  • Do not use leaf shiners.
  • Fertilizer: A quarter or eighth strength liquid fertilizer such as fish emulsion or worm-cast liquid may be used once a month at the warmest period for potted specimens.
  • Light Exposure: Bright, non-direct light is best for Zamioculcas, although it will tolerate very low light. Some sun will be tolerated, very early in the morning for hot districts - morning or afternoon for cooler districts.

Medicinal Applications:

  • The leaves of the plant have been used by the sjamans in the jungles of Ghana to relieve severe stomach ache.
  • When consumed in large quantities it can be deadly.
  • When cultivated with coffee for years, the plant can obtain heavy psychadelic effects.

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