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Hello, house plant lovers! Are you looking for a new plant to include in your plant collection for the office or living room? Consider the ZZ plant.
The ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) is an easy-to-grow succulent houseplant member of the Araceae (ariod) family (Source: North Carolina State University)
It needs less attention and is easy to maintain, even for busy people who frequently travel or are simply distracted by life’s hustles and bustles. You might wonder How often to fertilize ZZ plant?
Generally, it is recommended to fertilize ZZ plant once every six months with a general-purpose fertilizer labeled for usage on houseplants. If you want your plant to grow stronger, larger, and faster, you can also fertilize your ZZ plant more frequently.
Many people are mesmerized by its shiny, plastic-like dark green leaves. If you have never heard about the ZZ plant, don’t worry, you are not alone.
And many houseplant lovers are beginning to love the ZZ plant as a houseplant, and you could join the bandwagon with accurate information on taking care of it.
This article will familiarize you with a ZZ plant and how to fertilize it for proper growth.
How Often Should You Fertilize The ZZ Plant?
If you use the correct fertilizer, you should fertilize the plant twice during its growth periods (from spring to fall). Ensure you dilute the fertilizer to half-strength since too strong plant fertilizer can damage the roots and foliage.
Choosing the right fertilizer can be confusing, with so many options to choose from in the industry. However, we will make your decision-making process because we have researched the best fertilizers for the ZZ plants, which we will present later in this article.
ZZ plants should not be fertilized during the winter period when they are dormant because it would lead to salt accumulation on the soil and roots of the plant. Excess salt damages the roots, thus affecting their ability to draw water and nutrient.
Your ZZ plant may experience leaves turning yellow or brown; if the excess fertilizer is not flushed out, it may lead to premature death. But what combination should you use?
You can use the 5-5-5 or 4-5-4 liquid fertilizer, which you should dilute to half. Alternatively, you can use 10-10-10 fertilizer diluted to quarter strength for a healthy ZZ plant.
If you wonder what these numbers mean, worry not; you will learn about them in a few minutes.
Components Of a ZZ Plant Fertilizer
A houseplant fertilizer is rich in several ingredients, often categorized as micronutrients and macronutrients. The fertilizer’s primary macronutrients are nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.
They are called macronutrients because house plants need them in large quantities for healthy growth. However, plants also need small amounts of secondary macronutrients, such as calcium, sulfur, and magnesium.
Micronutrients are also essential for your ZZ plant’s development, but they may be required even in smaller quantities. The micronutrients in regular house plant fertilizers include zinc, iron, copper, manganese, chlorine, molybdenum, and boron.
Let’s discuss the numbers we promised to discuss in this section.
Macronutrient ratios (N-P-K Ratios)
If you buy any house plant fertilizer brand, you will likely see these three numbers on the packaging. You may see a number like 6-10-4, telling you the macronutrient ratio in the fertilizer.
N stands for nitrogen, P stands for phosphorus, and K represents potassium. What about the numbers? They represent the macronutrient percentage in the fertilizer. For instance, if you see 10-10-10, it means that the fertilizer has 10% for each of the micronutrients.
The type of fertilizer you choose is determined by the plant you want to feed. For example, the fertilizer you use for your backyard may not be the same as what you use for your ZZ plant. Interestingly, even different houseplants may need different macronutrient ratios.
Nitrogen aids with the photosynthesis process, which promotes green foliage. We all love to see the shiny dark green leaves on a house plant.
Phosphorous helps with the development of healthy root structures and aid with flowering. ZZ plants need it for proper water and nutrient absorption.
Potassium is also vital for the ZZ plant since it helps it endure unfavorable conditions, especially for drought-resistant plants. Furthermore, this macronutrient enhances the plant’s ability to ward off diseases and regulates water uptake.
If you want the house plant’s leaves to enhance your décor, a fertilizer with high nitrogen percentage is ideal. However, high phosphorous content will be a suitable fertilizer if you want beautiful flowers.
Therefore, you could use a balanced fertilizer mix to support the leafy green growth with nitrogen and build the root system with potassium for better water absorption.
Before we consider some suitable fertilizers for your ZZ plant, let’s briefly consider the range of fertilizers on the market. House plant fertilizers are mainly classified as either organic or inorganic.
- Organic fertilizers are derived from animal or plant products such as compost, ash, coffee grounds, fish meal, etc. They often have a low nutrient concentration, which fungi and bacteria must be converted to an absorbable form.
- On the other hand, inorganic, also called commercial fertilizers, are what you buy at the store. Their nutrient content is in the absorbable state, speeding up the fertilization process; however, you have a higher chance of overfertilization.
Companies manufacturing inorganic fertilizers produce them in various forms, including granules, liquids, and bars. You can choose the format you love depending on the plant.
Now, let us consider some best commercial fertilizers for your ZZ plant you can buy.
Coffee Grounds are an excellent organic fertilizer. If you are interested in Coffee Grounds as a fertilizer, I encourage you to read this article: How To Use Coffee Grounds as Fertilizer.
Types Of Fertilizers For Your ZZ Plant
If you want to choose an ideal fertilizer for your ZZ plant, you should first know the different types of fertilizers in the industry and then choose the best fit.
Here are some common types of house plant fertilizers.
1- Liquid Fertilizers
Liquid fertilizers are the most popular plant foods for most house plant owners. You can quickly dilute the liquid fertilizer to meet the required strength to benefit the plant.
Although they are in powdered form, they come with instructions on how to mix them with water. You will spray the mixture on the ZZ plant leaves for improved health.
You might also like reading: How To Turn Granular Fertilizer Into Liquid: A helpful and quick guide.
2- Granular Fertilizers
Granular fertilizers look like pellets and are often pushed into the soil next to the roots or sprinkled on top of the earth and allowed to dissolve. You can also use a garden fork to mix the soil with the granules for easy absorption.
Remember to water after fertilization to help activate the granule fertilizers, especially for outdoor gardens.
3- Organic Fertilizers
Organic fertilizers generally are made from natural plant and animal wastes in compost. They do not have chemicals or pesticides and are considered environmentally friendly.
Nevertheless, organic fertilizers are expensive, and since they are not processed, it takes a long before the ZZ plant breaks them down for absorption.
4- Synthetic Fertilizers
In general, synthetic Fertilizers are products of processed synthetic chemicals and minerals ready for absorption. Most house plant enthusiasts love them because they are pocket friendly.
Furthermore, the ZZ plants utilize them faster as athletes regain energy from glucose. However, you want to exercise care not to overfertilize because it is easy to do so with synthetic fertilizers.
3 Best Fertilizers For ZZ Plant
If you are looking for a recommendation on which fertilizer to buy, you probably skipped this section, which is understandable.
When I want someone to tell me what to buy, I often run to the recommendation section before reading the article. I will give some tested fertilizers you can use on your ZZ plant.
1- Jack Classic
Try Jack’s Classic- All Purpose Fertilizer for lush ZZ plant leaves. This fertilizer has worked for me for several years with my house plants, and I am convinced you will love it too.
Its macronutrient ratio is a 20-20-20 mixture, and the recommendation is to dilute it to a quarter strength before application once a month. This means that we use a quarter teaspoon for every gallon of water.
Since you will use only a small percentage of the fertilizer on every application, you may reduce the expenses. Jack Classic is pocket-friendly and does an excellent job with your ZZ plants, providing adequate nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous.
2- Espoma Organic Indoor Fertilizer
Espoma organic indoor fertilizer has a balanced macronutrient ratio of 2-2-2. I dilute it to half strength, meaning that 7ml of the fertilizer is mixed with half a gallon to spray on the ZZ plant once every month.
Since the bottle is smaller, it will not last long. Nevertheless, it is ideal for those looking for organic and non-stinky fertilizer for their plants.
3- Earthpods Organic Indoor Plant Food
Earthpods is a high-quality concentrated organic plant food ideal for developing the ZZ roots and stems. It also contributes to the foliage color vibrancy, allowing your plant to enrich your living spaces with beauty.
They come in a pre-measured capsule and have 100 pods per packet. One packet can last you for five years for a house plant, making them pocket friendly.
You do not have to struggle to feed the soil with the pods; simply push them into the soil near the roots and allow them to break down and release nutrients for plant growth.
You can fertilize your ZZ plants once a month during their growth period but fail to do so during winter when they are dormant.
The macronutrient ratio differs from one fertilizer to the other; however, the most common fertilizer ratio for ZZ plants is 10-10-10.
Evaluate the type of fertilizer you want to buy and follow the guidelines on the package, and your plants will thank you later.
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