Variegated Raven ZZ Plant Care Infographic
Variegated Raven ZZ Plant Care Infographic

The variegated raven zz plant is a rare type of plant that turns darker as it ages. The most attractive thing about this plant is how simple and easy it is to look after it. This is quite possibly the dream plant for all busy bees and couch potatoes out there.

Go through our complete guide to learn what makes this plant so unique and special.

What Is Variegated Raven ZZ Plant?

The variegated raven zz plant is a brand new variety of the famous zamioculcas zamiifolia plant. The young leaves of this plant are much lighter in color, and as it grows, its leaves get darker and blacker. This gives the plant its classic striated appearance. Nicknamed the zanzibar gem, it is quite rare and hard to come by.

Variegated Raven ZZ Care

Your zz plant care includes indirect bright light and watering every second or third week during the growing months. It needs a moderately warm temperature and high humidity with regular fertilizing, even though it will survive without both. Learn all about its requirements in this care guide. 

– Water Requirements

The plant care for raven zz, like all other zamioculcas zamiifolia plants, includes watering it each time the soil becomes dry. Use copious amounts of water and pour it slowly.

Find out more in detail below.

– How Often To Water This Plant

potted zz plantYour variegated zz plant needs to be watered at least once a week during the summer. In the fall and winter, you will need to decrease this frequency to only once or twice per month. 

This plant should only be watered when all of its soil becomes dry. This is because it has roots like a potato, and these roots tend to store water in them. That is why you should never water them unless the soil is dry through and through.

In order to check if the soil is dry, insert a short stick in it. Insert it near the rim of the pot so as not to damage the plant’s roots.

Take it out and observe it. If it is dry all the way through, this means your plant is ready to be watered.

– The Right Way To Water

Here is the proper way to water your plant:

  • Because this plant is not supposed to be watered too frequently, it needs to be given ample water each time.
  • Direct the beam of water towards the base of the plant. Take your time watering so that it soaks through the soil completely.
  • When the water starts to come out of the pot’s drainage hole, stop watering. This means that all of your soil has been watered enough.
  • There is no need to water the plant’s stem and leaves each time. This water takes a lot of time to evaporate, which predisposes the plant to the development of fungal infections.

– Light Requirements

Your ZZ plant will continue to grow successfully even in conditions of low light. In fact, sometimes low light has been known to encourage more growth. But it will grow better in indirect bright light. This makes it an ideal live houseplant.

– Best Spots in the House

Here are the best places to display your beautiful plant at home:

  • Light from the east-facing window is tolerable for this plant. This light comes on only for three to four hours each day and it is mild enough to not cause sunburn.
  • The west-facing window is also a good spot for your plant. This window lets in direct light of moderate intensity only during the mild evening hours. You can place your plant near this window safely.
  • As mentioned above, your plant will survive in low light conditions as well. The darker corners of your home will benefit from this property of your indoor plant.
  • If the window near this plant is a southern-facing one, then you need to be careful. This window receives very intense sunlight during the afternoon hours. Always cover this window with curtains or it will cause severe sunburns to the plant.

– Temperature Requirements

More than 50 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures are what this plant thrives under. Most homes have temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit during the summers. You can easily keep this plant indoors or even outdoors in the summertime.

This plant cannot tolerate temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Its leaves will start to wilt and droop, and it might even start experiencing rapid leaf fall. That is why you cannot keep it outdoors during winters.

In order to protect your live plant from frost damage, you will need to move it inside the house.  Fahrenheit, and don’t keep the windows in the room open. This is especially true at night timMaintain the temperature above 50 degreese. Also, keep the plant away from cold air coming from air conditioners and air vents.

– Humidity Requirements

The ZZ plants can tolerate relatively low levels of humidity quite well. However, higher humidity levels of more than 40 percent are always welcome. In order to determine the exact humidity around your plants, an instrument called a hygrometer might come in handy.

Learn how to improve the humidity around zz raven using our tips given below:

  • Keep similar plants close together. This naturally improves the humidity around them.
  • Mist this plant only once or twice each week, and keep it very light. We recommend that you to mist in the afternoon so that all the excess water evaporates well before temperatures drop at night.
  • Why don’t you try keeping a humidity tray under the pot? Simply take a shallow tray and fill it with pebbles and water. Place the pot over this tray, taking care that it doesn’t rest on the water but on the pebbles. The water in the tray evaporates over time, improving the air moisture content.
  • A humidifier can be pretty expensive, but if you own one, it will really help improve the humidity around this plant.

– Soil Requirements

You don’t really need a special potting mix to grow this plant in. They simply need soil that is well-draining but also retains adequate moisture. In order to improve the drainage of the soil, you must add perlite and vermiculite to it. This creates space for the fully rooted plant to grow and also prevents waterlogging.

In order to improve its moisture retention, you can add compost, peat or sphagnum moss to the soil. Adding a layer of mulch on top of the soil also helps. Old leaves, wood chips, grass clippings and pieces of cardboard are all effective mulching materials.

– Fertilizing Requirements

The zz plants need to be fertilized at least once per month during the growing period from March to September. In the fall and winter seasons, you can decrease the frequency of watering to only once every two to three months. Don’t worry if you don’t fertilize it, your indoor plant will still survive, but its growth will definitely slow down.

Use a balanced fertilizer for this plant and check the label at the back of the packet. If it says 1:1:1 or 20:20:20, then you are good to go. This means that your fertilizer has an equal amount of Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus in it.

Continue reading to find out our top tips on fertilizing safely:

  • Always water the plant abundantly before watering. Wet roots are less prone to getting fertilizer burns as compared to dry roots.
  • Always dilute the fertilizer by adding more water. A fertilizer used at half or one-third of its recommended concentration is your safest bet.
  • Every two to three months, use copious water to flush out toxins and salts from the soil. These chemicals are a natural byproduct of using fertilizers.
  • You can also add compost, peat or casting worms to the soil. These substances need to be added at the time of repotting the plant. They are natural fertilizers that don’t pose the risk of chemical burns to your plant.

– Pruning

An important aspect of zz plant variegated care is to regularly prune its stems and leaves. Pruning is especially important in the fall before the winter dormancy period. Cut off all diseased, old and yellow leaves near the base of the plant.

The branches of this plant also tend to be quite long. They will take over your whole space if you aren’t careful. Take care while cutting the branches, though, as the sap of this plant can be irritating to bare skin.

Always use clean, sterile knives and scissors when pruning your live indoor zz plant. You can use 70 percent isopropyl alcohol to clean the instruments properly. Otherwise, you risk spreading potential infections and pests from one plant to the other.

 

Propagation

You can easily propagate your variegated zz houseplant using leaf or stem cuttings. The most successful method, however, is to take out one or two rhizomes for propagation during repotting.

Because it is a rare plant, learning how to propagate it is going to be a very useful skill. Find out how to perform all three methods of propagation in detail here.

– Stem Cuttings

Here is how you can propagate with stem cuttings:

  • This variegated plant can be easily propagated through stem cuttings. Always use a sterile and sharp knife to take a cutting. This improves the chances of success for your plant.
  • Choose a healthy stem that has no signs of disease and pests. It should not be too young or too old.
  • Cut at the base of the plant. The cutting should be at least 8 inches in length.
  • Place it on a piece of tissue paper. Allow the cutting to dry for at least one day. 
  • Take a long jar and fill it halfway with clean water. Place the stem cutting upright in this water. It should be half-submerged in water.
  • Keep this jar near a window where it receives bright, indirect light and warm temperatures. 
  • Don’t forget to change the water in the jar once a month.
  • Wait until a new rhizome and a couple of roots emerge from the cutting. When the roots have grown at least a couple of inches long, you can take them out carefully and repot it in the soil.

– Leaf Cuttings

The variegated black zz plant can also be propagated using leaves. Find out all the steps of this process below:

  • Cut a fresh, young but mature leaf. It should be cut as close to the stem as possible. Your cutting ideally should have some part of the stem in it too.
  • Allow it to dry a bit. Apply rooting hormone on the cutting to improve the chances of success.
  • Fill a pot with fresh soil, then add the stem of the cutting into it.
  • It is better to take multiple leaves for the cutting. This not only increases the chances of propagation success, but your pot will also look better this way.
  • In a couple of months, new shoots and leaves will emerge from the plant.

– Root Tubers

Your zz plant is best propagated via root tubers, but you need to wait until repotting so that you can carry out this endeavor. Carry on reading to find out the steps of this type of propagation:

  • Very carefully loosen the soil around your plant. You can use a knife around the edges of the pot to carefully lift the plant out of the pot. Shake loose the soil attached to the roots.
  • You will notice that the stems of this plant shoot out from several underground rhizomes. These rhizomes look very much like potatoes.
  • Now all you have to do is to separate one rhizome from the rest for propagation. Very gently and carefully untangle the roots coming out of each rhizome. 
  • Repot both the parent plant and the separated rhizome in fresh soil in two different pots.
  • Keep the pots in a bright, warm and humid place. Moisten the soil prior to potting for better results.

Problems

Sap-sucking pests, root rot due to waterlogging, and the yellowing of leaves are the most common problems you might face with this plant. Some people also complain about their plant not producing any new leaves. Learn how to tackle all these issues here.

– Pests

Mealybugs, aphids and scale insects are the most common pests you will encounter while raising this plant. All of them are sap-sucking monsters. They will weaken your plant and cause growth retardation and leaf exfoliation.

Find out how to get rid of pests in this section:

  • Isolate the plant with the pest infestation from the rest of your plants.
  • Wash it thoroughly using soap and water.
  • Physically remove as many pests as you can using a cotton roll or water jet.
  • Spray neem oil to kill the pests. They mostly hide under the leaves as their favorite spot.
  • You can also use a mild insecticide to get rid of them.

– Root Rot

This plant can be a bit sensitive to root rot. Root rot is a fungal infection, and its primary causes are overwatering the plant, the soil not having proper drainage, or a pot with not enough drainage holes.

If your plant is suffering from root rot, its leaves will become swollen and yellow splotches will appear on these leaves. In advanced cases, brown or black rot spots will also begin to form. A distinct, rotten odor will engulf the diseased plant.

Read below to learn what to do in case of root rot:

  • Take the plant out of its old pot and soil. Discard the infected pot and soil as they are no longer salvageable and should not be recycled.
  • If the disease is advanced enough, you will need to discard and burn the whole plant.
  • If only a small portion of the plant is affected, then remove all the infected parts.
  • Repot in a new pot and soil. Start an anti-fungal regime to get rid of the fungal spores.

– Leaves Turning Yellow

Overwatering is the most common cause why leaves turn yellow. The older leaves near the base of the plant turn yellow first. They also appear mushy and swollen. Eventually, the younger leaves also start developing yellow spots on them.

That is why you should only water this plant when its soil becomes completely dry. The plant needs less water during wintertime, which is when they are most prone to overwatering and yellow leaves.

– Zamioculcas Zamiifolia Plant Isn’t Growing New Leaves

The number one reason why this plant stops producing new leaves is inadequate light. Sure it can survive under conditions of low light, but in order to grow and produce new leaves, you must keep it in a brightly lit room, especially during the growing months from mid-spring until mid-autumn.

A root-bound plant will also stop growing new leaves. When the plant has outgrown its previous pot, you will begin to see the roots creeping out of the rims and holes of the old pot. Choose an appropriate pot size and repot in fresh soil.

Did you know that fertilizer can also hamper new growth? It damages the roots and your plant doesn’t grow new foliage as a result. That is why you shouldn’t do this more than once per month. Don’t forget to flush the soil afterward to get rid of the toxins.

– Identification

This plant is often mistaken for several plants that are different from it. Here are some of its look-alikes:

  • The regular zz plant has thick, tapering leaves. The leaves of this plant are mid to rich green in color.
  • The lucky classic is a rather small-sized variety. Its leaves are almost spherical with a tapering end. They are light to dark green in color.
  • The white variegated zz plant is another gorgeous variety. It has lance-shaped long leaves. These leaves are of an elegant white color with occasional blots of green in them.
  • The dwarf zz plant is small in size. It has fleshy stems with fresh green elongated leaves.

Conclusion

Zanzibar Gem Plant in Brown Pot

Continue reading to see a comprehensive summary of the whole article:

  • The black raven plant that has variegations on it is quite rare and difficult to find, but it has very easy care requirements. Variegated zz plant propagation can be easily carried out through leaf, stem cuttings, or underground rhizomes.
  • Your plant should be kept in a bright and warm place in the house. It will survive conditions of low humidity, but it is preferable to provide at least 50 percent humidity at all times.
  • Make sure that the soil you pot the zz plant in is well-draining and loose. Add perlite as the magic ingredient and never water unless the soil is thoroughly dry.
  • Fertilize the plant using a well-balanced fertilizer only once each month. Too much fertilizer, along with overwatering and low light, might cause leaf chlorosis.
  • Mealybugs, aphids and scales are the most common pests of this plant. Make sure you keep your plant clean and well-pruned.

You only need to water this plant once every week and make sure it is kept somewhere warm and bright. Seriously, growing a plant doesn’t get any easier than this, so what are you waiting for? Grab a couple of bulbs and get started!

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