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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!

ZZ-Raven

STORY BEHIND ZZ RAVEN

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.

RAVEN ZZ PLANT FEATURES

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.

regular-zz-plant
The plain old “regular” ZZ plant

And here is ZZ Raven.

ZZ-Raven-New-Leaves
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:

ZZ-Raven-new-growth

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

ZZ-Raven-Care

Once it has unfolded, it looked like this:

ZZ-Raven-New-Leaves

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

ZZ RAVEN PLANT CARE

1. LIGHT

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!

ZZ-Raven
ZZ-Raven

2. WATER

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

3. FERTILIZER

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.

Dyna-Gro Liquid Grow Quart
$23.98

This is an amazing, nutritionally complete, all purpose formulation that contains all the micro and macro nutrients that plants need to thrive. It is urea-free so it will not burn your plants.

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09/27/2021 03:57 pm GMT

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

4. TEMPERATURE & HUMIDITY

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!

ZZ-Raven-New-Leaves
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:

DRAINAGE HOLE

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 TYPE & SIZE

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.

SOIL MIX

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!

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09/27/2021 05:07 pm GMT

COMMONLY ASKED ZZ RAVEN QUESTIONS

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!