Outdoor Zamioculcas – planting, pots and care for ZZ plant outside

ZZ plant outside

The ZZ plant is a beautiful leaf plant, but it fears cold, wet outdoor weather.

Outdoor ZZ plant facts

Name: Zamioculcas zamiifolia
Common: ZZ plant, emerald palm
Hardiness: 32°F/0°C ⚠️ No freezing

Outdoor Height – 2-3 feet (0.6-1 m)

Soil type: well draining        –         Exposure: part shade, shade

This fabulous glossy leaf plant will make your outdoor life easy and beautiful!

Planting ZZ plant outdoors

Your ZZ plant will do equally well in a container as it will in the ground. In containers, it’ll need a little more care.

ZZ plant in the ground

ZZ plant outdoorsThis is only possible in areas with very mild winters. A ZZ plant will survive outdoors if temperatures never drop below 40°F (5°C). Freezing will kill the plant.

As a result, the coldest possible hardiness zones for Zamioculcas are:

  • USA, zones 10+ (zone 11, etc)
  • UK, H2 and above (H1c, H1b…)

Note that with winter protections, you can gain yet another zone: zone 9 for the USA and zone H3 in the British Isles.

  • When temps drop to freezing 32°F (0°C), protect your ZZ plant and it may survive.
  • However, since the ZZ plant is a slow grower, fronds that die off may take a while to grow back.

The ZZ plant will thrive in shade and part shade outdoors. Proper drainage is again important. If the soil in your garden is heavy, read up on how to make clay soil lighter. In extreme cases, plant your ZZ atop a mound or in a raised garden bed.

Pot with ZZ plant outside

Excellent news: you can bring your indoor ZZ plant in and out of the house without any problems at all!

Just make sure it doesn’t go directly from a shaded bath chamber to a hot full-sun patio. It’s best to harden it over a period of 2 weeks:

  • Zamioculcas pot outdoorsFirst day, bring it out for an hour in the morning. Then, bring it back in.
  • Increase by half an hour every day, until the whole day is spent outside.
  • Remember to water more if weather is warm, windy and dry.
  • Also, bring it indoors if temperatures drop by a lot at night (down to near-freezing).

Watering outdoor Zamioculcas

Once your ZZ plant is well established, you’ll only need to water once a month if there isn’t any rain. Clearly among drought-resistant options for dry gardens.

  • Since it grows best in the shade it shouldn’t dry out too fast and the tuber-roots are good at retaining water.
  • Water more often in summer to spur growth.
  • No need to water in winter (dormant period).
  • If in the colder areas (below 40-50°F or 5-8°C), do your best to keep water out. Cold isn’t the first winter enemy: cold water is.

Water potted ZZ plants twice as often: every fortnight.

Which ZZ plants varieties do best outside?

They’ll all do equally well – or equally badly in times of freezing.

What matters more is the usage you plan to have for each ZZ variety: these are excellent for outdoor landscaping!

  • For instance, taller “Lucky giant” will do great at the back or side of a flower bed. Bright flowers will look stunning against the smooth, rounder leaves.
  • Short Zenzi plants are excellent for low edges, lining them with neat, lush fronds.
  • ZZ raven, of course, is a must-have in a black-themed garden.

Landscaping with Zamioculcas

zz plant landscapingAn excellent choice in office and urban settings:

  • Zamioculcas is pollution-resistant. It even filters pollutants from air.
  • It doesn’t need frequent pruning
  • and won’t drop any slippery fruits, leaves, or berries around to clean up!

All in all, emerald palm (another name for the ZZ plant) is clearly a great option for outdoor growing, as long as it doesn’t freeze!

Images: CC BY-SA 2.0: Wendy Cutler; dreamstime: Masta4650; Pixabay: Reija Hirvonen, CC BY 4.0: Kim & Forest Starr