Home Decor

How to Care For The Trendy ZZ Plant That Is *Not* the Fiddle-Leaf Fig

Plus, it's way easier to care for.

March  4, 2020
Photo by Urbanstems

Home is the place we feel the most like ourselves—where we kick off our shoes, share our meals, and make memories. We’re taking our love for all things home and bringing it to Instagram. Follow along at Home52 and make yourselves—well, you know.

If you’re a plant parent, you already know the fiddle-leaf fig. This tropical tree was the ‘it’ houseplant of 2019, gracing Instagram feeds all over the world with its skinny trunk and large, (fiddle-shaped) floppy leaves. It’s gorgeous, so there’s no question why it became the darling of interior designers everywhere—but man, is it hard to take care of. So, in honor of the new(ish) year, we think it’s time that the over-popular fiddle-leaf fig be dethroned as queen of indoor flora, in favor of a more modest perennial.

This year, it appears the Zamioculcas Zamiifolia, commonly known as the ZZ plant, will reign supreme. It’s been popping up all over Pinterest and Instagram, as a staple in lots of homes. We checked in with Lindsay Koenig, director of merchandising and product development at online flower and plant retailer UrbanStems, who confirmed this. “Our pick for the most popular plant of 2020 is definitely the ZZ plant because of its unique look, easy maintenance and air purifying properties. It's chic and it lasts forever,” she says.

The hearty, medium-sized plant boasts thick, waxy leaves in a beautiful deep green, making it a minimal yet eye-catching choice. Most importantly, like Lindsay says, it’s beginner-friendly and easy to take care of. Since the ZZ originated in the dry soil of Eastern Africa, it only requires water about every two weeks—make sure to water your ZZ only when its soil is completely dry—and thrives in medium to low indirect sunlight.

A slow grower, the herbaceous ZZ plant is known to reach only about two to three feet in height, so desks and side tables are more than suitable homes. Granted, the fiddle-leaf fig was popular for its space-filling size, but a ZZ doesn’t run the risk of overcrowding your home, and looks lovely perched on a plant stand for some extra height. Plus, it's known for its air-purifying qualities, which allow it to remove toxins like benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene from the air.

There is one caveat (no such thing as a perfect world). If you’re investing in a ZZ plant, you must know that all parts of it are poisonous. That means you should wash your hands after touching your ZZ, and curious children and pets should be kept at a distance for safety.

If this minor toxicity issue makes you think the ZZ isn’t your jam, consider the money tree plant, a suggestion from Bloomscape’s in-house greenery expert Plant Mom. “The money tree will be a popular plant to keep an eye on in 2020,” she says. “As we usher in a new year and decade, many people believe that money trees signal good luck and good fortune to come.” This lush plant known as the money tree is multiple Pachira aquatica trees braided together during growth, which makes for its gorgeous twisted trunk. Plus, money tree plants are often used in feng shui, believed to create positive energy in a space, and they’re low-maintenance, requiring indirect light and infrequent watering.

If you're sold on the un-killable properties of the ZZ plant, though, here are some places from where you can order one right to your door—no trek to a plant shop necessary.

The Sill, $51

Photo by The SIll

Urbanstems, $75

Photo by Urbanstems

Bloomscape, $65

Photo by Bloomscape

1-800 Flowers, $59.99

Photo by 1800 Flowers

My City Plants, $85

Photo by My City Plants

Are you over the fiddle-leaf fig tree? Tell us your new favorite in the comments!

This post contains products that are independently selected by our editors, and Food52 may earn an affiliate commission.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Nora
  • Arati Menon
    Arati Menon


Nora March 5, 2020
I love mine, I got it at Home Depot for $20! And it was in a 12 inch container!
Its a happy and healthy plan that looks very cute in my not so bright kitchen.
Arati M. March 7, 2020
I love how forgiving my zz plant is of my sometimes-inconsistent care! Such a great indoor plant!