planting zz plant outdoors
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Can ZZ Plants Grow Outdoors? Growing and Caring for a Zamioculcas

If you’re a fan of houseplants, chances are you’ve come across the ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) at some point. This hardy and low-maintenance plant is a staple in many indoor spaces, but have you ever wondered if it can thrive outdoors?

The good news is that ZZ plants can indeed be grown outdoors, provided you follow a few guidelines. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about caring for ZZ plants and optimizing their growth in an outdoor setting.

Key Takeaways

  • ZZ plants can live outside with the right care and conditions
  • Proper watering, light, and soil conditions are key to healthy ZZ plant growth
  • Outdoor ZZ plants may face challenges in different climates but can adapt with proper care
outdoor garden with plants

ZZ Plant Care Basics

If you’re considering growing a ZZ plant outdoors, it’s important to understand its basic care requirements. Proper care will help your plant thrive and adapt to its outdoor environment.

1. Watering

ZZ plants are drought-tolerant and do not require frequent watering. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other issues.

Water your ZZ plant only when the soil is completely dry to the touch. In outdoor settings, rainfall may provide enough moisture, but be sure to monitor the soil and adjust watering as needed.

2. Light Conditions

ZZ plants love bright, indirect light, although they may also withstand dim light. When cultivated outside, they should be put in a shaded or filtered light environment. Too much direct sunlight might cause leaf damage.

3. Soil Preferences

ZZ plants prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Use a mix of potting soil and perlite or sand for optimal drainage.

When planting in outdoor gardens, ensure that the soil is well-draining and has adequate nutrients.

4. ZZ Plant Maintenance

ZZ plants are relatively low-maintenance. As the plant grows, it may produce new stems and leaves. Remove any dead or yellowing leaves to promote healthy growth. You can also prune the plant to control its size and shape.

zz plant leaves with water droplets

Proper ZZ plant care requires attention to watering, light conditions, soil preferences, and maintenance.

Can ZZ Plants Survive Outdoors?

One of the most frequent questions asked by ZZ plant enthusiasts is whether the plant can survive outdoor conditions.

Given the plant’s origin in Eastern Africa and its propensity for thriving in low-light indoor environments, it’s a valid concern. However, ZZ plants can indeed survive and even flourish when grown outdoors, provided they are given the right conditions and care.

The ZZ plant’s hardiness and adaptability make it an excellent choice for outdoor growth. Unlike other houseplants, it can tolerate low to bright light levels and can withstand dry or humid environments.

Additionally, the plant is highly resistant to pests and diseases, making it ideal for outdoor settings.

ZZ Plant Outdoor GrowthZZ Plant Hardiness
The plant’s natural habitat in Eastern Africa includes dry, arid regions that can reach extreme temperatures. As such, ZZ plants can thrive in various outdoor conditions, from hot and humid to cold and dry.The ZZ plant’s hardiness zones range from 9 to 11, meaning it can survive in temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-6.67 Celsius) and as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.89 Celsius).

So, can ZZ plants survive outside? The answer is a resounding YES. With proper care and attention, your ZZ plant can thrive in outdoor environments and bring a touch of green to your garden or patio.

outdoor plants sketch

Considerations for Outdoor Growth

When growing ZZ plants outdoors, it’s important to consider the specific conditions they require to thrive. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:

  • Outdoor growing conditions: ZZ plants prefer warm, humid environments with moderate shade. They can tolerate temperatures between 60-85°F and require well-draining soil.
  • ZZ plant outdoor requirements: These plants need to be protected from direct sunlight and strong winds. They must also be watered regularly, but not overwatered
  • ZZ plant pest control: Common pests that affect ZZ plants include mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects. Regular inspections and treatment can help prevent infestations.

Planting ZZ Plants Outdoors

Planting ZZ plants outdoors requires careful consideration of several factors. These include the type of soil, spacing, and transplanting techniques. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Choose the right spot: ZZ plants prefer well-draining soil with moderate to bright indirect light. Consider the climate and weather patterns in your area to determine the best location.
  • Prepare the soil: Use a good-quality potting mix with perlite or sand to improve drainage. Amend the soil with organic matter and fertilizer for optimal growth.
  • Space the plants: Leave enough room between plants to allow for growth and adequate airflow. A distance of 12-24 inches is recommended.
  • Transplant with care: When transplanting ZZ plants, avoid damaging the roots and handle them gently. Water the plant thoroughly after transplanting.
zz plants thriving in outdoor conditions

ZZ Plants in Different Climates

When contemplating outdoor growing for your ZZ plants, it is critical to examine your region’s environment.

ZZ plants are native to East Africa, where they are exposed to warm temperatures and high humidity levels. However, with proper care and attention, ZZ plants can adapt to a range of different climates.

If you live in a colder climate, make sure to protect your ZZ plants from frost by covering them with blankets or moving them indoors during the winter months. ZZ plants are capable of withstanding some cold temperatures, but extended exposure to frost can damage or kill the plant.

In addition, be sure to plant your ZZ plants in well-draining soil to prevent water from freezing and causing root rot.

If you live in a warmer climate, be mindful of excessive heat and direct sunlight. While ZZ plants can tolerate high temperatures, they may suffer from sunburn and leaf damage if exposed to too much sun.

Consider providing shade or partial shade during the hottest parts of the day, and make sure to water your plants regularly to prevent dehydration.

zz plant in cold weather

Protecting ZZ Plants in Extreme Weather

Growing ZZ plants outdoors is a great way to showcase their beauty, but they require protection from harsh weather conditions. Whether it’s frost, extreme heat, or heavy rainfall, ZZ plants need special care to survive.

A. Frost Protection

If you live in an area with frost, it’s crucial to protect your ZZ plants from freezing temperatures.

Frost can damage the leaves and stem, causing irreparable harm. To prevent this, cover your plants with a frost cloth or burlap sack when temperatures drop below 40°F.

Make sure the cover extends all the way to the ground and is secured tightly to prevent any cold air from getting inside. You may also want to consider using heat lamps or blankets to provide additional warmth.

B. Extreme Heat Protection

While ZZ plants are hardy, they cannot withstand extreme heat and direct sunlight for prolonged periods. High temperatures and excessive sunlight can cause the leaves to brown and wilt, and the plant may not recover.

The best way to protect your ZZ plants from extreme heat is to provide shade. You can use a shade cloth, umbrella, or tree cover to deflect the sun’s rays and keep your plants cool.

It’s also essential to water your plants regularly and avoid letting the soil dry out, as this can worsen heat stress.

protecting zz plants from frost

C. Harsh Weather Conditions

ZZ plants can handle some rain, but excessive rainfall can cause root rot and other problems.

If you live in an area with heavy rainfall, make sure your ZZ plant’s soil drains properly and doesn’t become waterlogged. You can use raised garden beds or containers to improve drainage.

Additionally, high winds can damage the leaves and stems, so it’s essential to stake your plants or provide support.

Common Outdoor ZZ Plant Issues

Despite being relatively easy to care for, ZZ plants can still run into problems when grown outdoors. Here are some common issues to look out for:

IssuePossible causesSolution
Yellowing leavesInadequate watering or too much direct sunlightMove plants to a brighter location or improve soil nutrients
Brown tips on leavesDry air or over-fertilizationIncrease humidity or reduce fertilizer usage
Stunted growthLow light conditions or poor soil qualityMove plant to a brighter location or improve soil nutrients
PestsMealybugs, spider mites, or scale insectsUse insecticidal soap or neem oil to control infestations
DiseasesRoot rot or fungal infectionsImprove drainage and avoid overwatering, treat with fungicide if necessary
zz plant with yellowing leaves outdoors

Advantages of Outdoor ZZ Plant Growth

While ZZ plants are commonly grown indoors, there are many benefits to growing them outdoors. Here are some reasons to consider outdoor ZZ plant growth:

  • Improved air quality: ZZ plants are known for their air-purifying qualities, and growing them outside can help improve the air quality in your surrounding environment.
  • Aesthetic appeal: ZZ plants have lush, green foliage that can provide a beautiful addition to any outdoor landscaping or garden.
  • Potential health benefits: Spending time surrounded by nature has been shown to have various health benefits, including stress reduction and improved mood. Having ZZ plants in your outdoor space can help bring these benefits to you.
  • Increased growth potential: ZZ plants grown outdoors may have the potential to grow larger and stronger than those kept indoors.
  • Cost-effective: Outdoor ZZ plant growth can be a cost-effective option, as it eliminates the need for expensive indoor plant lighting and other equipment.
indoor plants illustration frame

Tips for Successful Outdoor ZZ Plant Growth

If you’re planning on growing ZZ plants outdoors, it’s important to keep in mind a few tips to ensure they thrive.

  • Watering: ZZ plants can survive drought conditions but will grow faster and look healthier with consistent moisture. Make sure the soil is moist but not waterlogged, as overwatering can lead to root rot.
  • Light: ZZ plants prefer bright, indirect light but can also tolerate low light conditions. When growing ZZ plants outside, make sure they are planted in a spot that receives partial shade to avoid direct sunlight which can scorch their leaves.
  • Soil: ZZ plants prefer well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter. Make sure the soil is not too compacted or heavy as this can hinder root growth.
  • Fertilizer: ZZ plants don’t require frequent fertilization, but occasional application of a balanced fertilizer can help promote growth and keep the leaves looking lush.
  • Pest control: While ZZ plants are relatively pest-resistant, they are still susceptible to common pests like spider mites and mealybugs. Inspect your plant regularly for any signs of infestation and treat accordingly.
  • Weather: Make sure to adjust your plant care routine according to the weather conditions. In cold climates, protect your plants from frost by covering them with blankets or bringing them indoors. In warm climates, make sure they are not exposed to direct sunlight for too long and keep them well-watered during hot spells.


Congratulations on exploring the possibility of growing ZZ plants outdoors! With the right care and attention, these hardy plants can thrive in a variety of climates and settings.

By following the tips and guidelines outlined in this article, you can increase your chances of success and enjoy the benefits of outdoor ZZ plant growth.

Remember to consider the specific requirements for your region and to protect your plants from extreme weather conditions!

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