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ZZ Raven Care: 5 Awesome Tips For a Thriving Plant

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ZZ Raven is a stunning twist on the common ZZ plant and has become very popular. One of the easiest and least fussy houseplants you can grow in the home, the dark purple (approaching black!) leaves stop you right in your tracks. Keep reading to find out more about how to take care of this versatile, amazing houseplant!



The botanical name is Zamioculcas zamiifolia ‘Dowon’ and it was patented by Costa Farms as the Raven ZZ Plant. It is part of the Costa Farms Trending Tropicals collection.

This stunning cultivar of ZZ plant was discovered in 2015 in Asia and Costa Farms was given the exclusive rights to propagate in North America.

The species Zamioculcas zamiifolia is native to eastern Africa.

The ZZ Raven cultivar won the TPIE Tropical Plant International Expo Award in 2018 and for good reason!

Before I go into the care of this plant, let’s look at some distinguishing ZZ Raven plant features that make this plant so attractive.


Unlike regular ZZ plants with plain green leaves, ZZ Raven boasts rich purple-black leaves. Just take a look at the difference in the foliage.

Here is the plain old ZZ plant, which I still love.

The plain old “regular” ZZ plant

And here is ZZ Raven.

ZZ Raven

One beautiful feature of ZZ Raven is that it has bright green new growth that slowly changes over time to the characteristic dark purple/black foliage of ZZ Raven.

Take a look at the lime-green color of the new leaves:


Over the course of the next few weeks, here is the progression:


Once it has unfolded, it looked like this:


Gradually, the bright green leaves start to turn darker and darker until they reach their final near-black, rich coloration.



ZZ Raven is extremely versatile when it comes to light. My own plant is sitting in front of two large walls of windows where it receives mostly bright indirect light with a little bit of direct sunlight in the morning.

Although it is tolerant of low light conditions, it will not grow as quickly as plants that are given an abundance of natural light or even artificial light.

They will grow perfectly well in front of windows that don’t get any direct sun at all, but they can benefit from a little sunshine indoors.

I would not recommend direct sun all day, but light provided by Eastern (morning sun) or Western facing windows (late afternoon sun) would work very well in most cases.

This is one of the few plants I’m comfortable with setting further away from a window, but know that it will just grow more slowly in low levels of light.

If you have windowless areas, but have fluorescent lights on all day (such as in an office setting), this plant is a good choice!



Water your plant thoroughly, but do allow all excess water to drain away completely. I like to wait until at least the top half of the potting mix, if not ALL of the potting mix, to dry out before watering again.

This is one of the easiest houseplants you can grow and it will easily survive (and even thrive) with some neglect.

The plant stores water in its potato-like rhizomes, so it can even survive weeks without water.

ZZ Raven has thick tuberous rhizomes that store water and help it survive periods of drought and neglect.


ZZ plants don’t require much fertilizer, but I do fertilize during the main growing season of Spring and Summer time. Use a balanced liquid fertilizer.

My favorite fertilizer that I use for most of my plants is Dyna-Gro Grow.

Although my ZZ plants sometimes shoot out new growth during the winter months, I normally refrain from fertilizing during the winter months.


I always say that if you are comfortable, your plant will be comfortable too. Average indoor temperatures are just fine. I would avoid any temperatures below 50F. They will do best in the 60-85F range.

Unlike many of the houseplants we grow indoors, there is really no need to increase humidity.

Low humidity is perfectly fine, although if you are running a humidifier for any humidity loving plants, ZZ Raven won’t complain about that either!

Nothing beats the dark foliage of ZZ Raven

5. POTS and SOIL

Pot and soil type makes a big difference in the health of any plant.

A very important key for ZZ Raven is to make sure that the potting mix dries out pretty quickly. ZZ plants hate soggy soil.

Here are some specific tips to help your soil dry out quickly enough:


Whatever type of pot that you choose for your ZZ Raven, always choose a pot with a drainage hole. Good drainage is a must and all excess water needs to drain away otherwise there is a risk of root rot.

ZZ Raven will not tolerate soil that stays wet for long periods of time.


Pot types and size can make a big difference in how quickly your soil dries out. Terra cotta pots will always dry out the quickest.

For more detailed information, check out my blog post on pros and cons of different pot types.


In order to maximize drainage, I like to mix in 1/4″ pumice into prepackaged potting mixes. I will use 2-3 parts of a potting mix (even a cactus/succulent mix will work) along with 1 part pumice.

My go-to pumice is the 1/4″ pumice from Bonsai Jack (available on Amazon). I’ve purchased tons of this stuff and use it often!

If you’re looking for an amazing potting mix that you can use straight out of the bag for your ZZ Raven, check out the Grassland Soil Blend from Oh Happy Plants. This is an amazing mix and you will get 10% off at checkout automatically if you use my link.


Why is my Raven ZZ not turning black?

ZZ Raven leaves start out bright green and gradually turn darker over time. It can take up to a couple months or so to turn the beautiful black color. Ensuring that your plant is receiving enough light will also help out.

Is ZZ Raven toxic to pets?

Like any aroid, ZZ Raven plants contains insoluable calcium oxalte crystals which are toxic to cats and dogs.

How big does ZZ Raven get?

With good care and time, it can even reach at least 3 or 4 feet tall and wide!

Looking for other types of ZZ plants? Be sure not to miss my blog post on ZZ plant varieties. There are many, uniquely beautiful types!

maggie barringer

Thursday 18th of April 2024

Does the Raven need a large pot for root growth or will a smaller pot do? Thank you.

Raffaele Di Lallo

Saturday 20th of April 2024

Hi Maggie! As a general rule, I only go up one pot size (2 inches in diameter bigger). Then once it's root bound, you can keep doing that again.

Kimberly Smith

Thursday 30th of March 2023

I just received a ZZ Raven from a fellow plant lover. It has been growing in water since propagating I believe. I want to pot it in soil. I have your recommended pumice and Miracle Grow potting soil. Any additional advice for keeping it healthy in the transition.


Friday 31st of March 2023

If it's a small plant, you'll want to keep it a little moister than you think. More mature plants can take drying out a lot, but for smaller ones, I'd only let the top inch or two dry out before you water thoroughly again. Seedlings and smaller plants need more nurturing.

Joanna Pierce

Wednesday 14th of September 2022

BEST…. Is it best to use a terra-cotta pot?


Wednesday 14th of September 2022

Terra cotta would be appropriate for a ZZ plant, but you don't have to use a terra cotta pot for ZZ. They will dry out more quickly than other pots, so as long as you can keep up with the watering, you're fine. Part of it is personal choice.

Joanna Pierce

Wednesday 14th of September 2022

Is it neat to use a terra cotta pot?


Wednesday 6th of July 2022

I have had my Raven plant for about 4 months. It is in an eastern facing window and gets several hours of morning sun. The plant is healthy, however, has not shown any new growth. What should I try?


Wednesday 6th of July 2022

They typically don't grow quickly at all, so I'm not surprised. The only other thing you can do is fertilizing if you haven't been doing so already. Good luck!