Raven ZZ Plant

Elegant Raven ZZ Plant Thrives in Perfect Lighting
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Air-purifying qualities

If you’re seeking to infuse a distinctive element into your garden or indoor area, break the green dominance by introducing the Raven ZZ plant ( Zamioculcas zamiifolia ‘Raven)


The Black ZZ Plant emerged in 2019 as a part of the Costa Farms ‘Trending Topicals’ collection and swiftly gained attention thanks to its unique leaf coloring.


It is characterized by deep purple, almost black foliage which arises from heightened pigment concentrations, primarily chlorophyll.


Raven ZZ Plant, recognized as 2018th “Best New Plant” at the Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition, has made its entry in the market, and could be found today in most nurseries and garden centers. 


Just like the ZZ plant, pet owners and parents should consider that this plant is toxic to cats and dogs and even humans if ingested.

Here’s what you should know if you plan on adding this topical plant indoors.

Raven ZZ Plant Benefits​

Low Maintenance

You might have heard of the standard ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia), which is known for its low-maintenance and resilient nature. 


Just like its counterpart, the Raven ZZ Plant inherits the same characteristics.


This plant is hardy and can thrive with a minimal care, making it the perfect choice for gardeners just beginning their botanical journey.


The Raven ZZ Plant, originated from Eastern Africa, particularly Tanzania and Kenya, has evolved to adapt to different circumstances, from arid to a more humid environment. 


The Raven ZZ Plant stores moisture in its thick rhizomes, which makes it resilient and drought-tolerant. So, if you missed your watering schedule, your plant will remain unfazed.


The Raven ZZ plant can improve the quality of the air you breathe, even to a modest degree.


It engages in photosynthesis, a process of exfoliating CO2 and releasing oxygen into the air, which makes it a great addition to your indoor space.


Before you start to grow this plant, you need to know that the new leaves emerge as lime or light green, and as they mature, they take a deep purple or black hue.

Raven ZZ Plant Care

"Raven ZZ Plant's Enigmatic Black Foliage
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So, How do you take care of a ZZ Raven plant?



Because of its native habitat, Black ZZ can adapt to different environments ranging from amid to humid, and can flourish in a spectrum of lighting conditions, spanning from bright indirect light to lower light levels.


The Raven ZZ plant could definitely thrive with an irregular watering schedule and minimal care.


Here’s a guide to black ZZ care.

Light Requirements

While Raven ZZ can survive in low light settings, it’s best to expose the plant to bright indirect light in order to protect its variegation patterns and black leaf color.


For a healthy and black ZZ plant, place it a few feet away from a north or east-facing window, and avoid exposing it to harsh afternoon sunlight, as it can cause leaf burn.


Also, if you’re considering changing the plant location, give the plant time to adjust, sudden changes in light levels can cause stress to the plant.

How often to water raven zz plant?

This plant has a water storage system that could retain moisture in its leaves’ tuber-like rhizomes.


That makes it drought-tolerant and doesn’t need to be watered frequently.


 In fact, over-watering Black ZZ plants can cause root rot which will kill it.



During summer, the plant is actively growing, water a small amount every two weeks.


The Raven ZZ plant is dormant in Fall, water once a month.


Allow the soil to dry out entirely before watering again. 


You don’t really have to worry much about soil, since Black ZZ is adaptive and versatile.

However, your plant will grow healthier and bushier when potted with a mixture of potting soil, perlite, and pumice or sand.

This combination provides adequate aeration, moisture retention, and nutrient availability. 

Humidity and Temperature Needs

Think of The Raven ZZ’s original habitat. Eastern Africa, a warm and dry climate. The plant doesn’t demand high levels of humidity.


Nevertheless, it has the versatility to thrive in humid environments when placed alongside other indoor plants.

Humidity level of around 40% is ideal for the plant. 


Black ZZ is comfortable in typical indoor room temperatures ranging from 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C).

Your plant could be sensitive to sudden changes in the environment. 

As such, When you’re planning to relocate a plant to a different humidity and temperature conditions, give it some time to acclimate to avoid stressing the plant.

Raven ZZ Plant Propagation

The Raven ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia ‘Raven’) is a patented variety. This meant that propagation and commercial sale of this specific plant variety is restricted to registered nurseries who have a deal with the original breeder.


If you’re only preparing a backup Raven ZZ Plant in case yours dies, then here are a few ways to do it. 

These propagation techniques are valid for all ZZ Plant varieties.

Raven ZZ Plant Propagation by Division

This method focuses on separating existing growth rather than fostering new growth from scratch, which is what propagation is all about.


Nevertheless, it’s an effective technique that should be catered with precaution.



To divide your Raven ZZ Plant, remove it from its pot and inspect areas where rhizomes can be divided and broken apart without altering the root system.


Note: The stems, especially at the rhizome junctions, can be delicate. Handle them gently to avoid unintentional breakage. 



The goal is to redistribute healthy rhizomes to cultivate new growth while preserving the attached root system of the existing plant.


Raven ZZ Plant Propagation by Stems Cuttings

This propagation technique focuses on initiating new growth by stem cuttings.

  • Begin by selecting healthy stems with a few inches of length.
  • Make a cut just below a leaf node, which is where a leaf attaches to the stem.
  • Place the cut stem in water, and remember to change it each 3-4 weeks. 
  • The cutting needs to be exposed to bright indirect light to stimulate growth.
  • Once you notice at least 1 inch of new roots, bring it to repot!  

Raven ZZ Plant Propagation by Leaf Cuttings

This propagation technique requires attention and patience as the process is gradual but rewarding.


  • Begin by carefully cutting a healthy leaf from the Raven ZZ Plant
  • Pull out each leaf delicately and make sure you get a little hit of the stem (This detail is crucial in the creation of new growth)
  • Let the stems sit for a couple of hours in bright indirect light.
  • In a potting mix, submerge the leaves end, stem facing down, 
  • Leave about 5 cm between each leave and water

Roots will develop, in about a month, at the base of leaves as they did for stems.


Reminder: Raven ZZ Plant first emerges with bright lime green leaves. Don’t freak out if your Black ZZ is green, it will darken over time.


Repotting Raven ZZ Plant

Raven ZZ Plant in White Elegance
Credit: fastgrowingtrees.com

Repotting depends on the plant’s growth sequence.

Raven ZZ plants, in particular, are characterized by their slow growth. You should consider repotting them once they have clearly outgrown their pot. 


Typically, after around 3 years or more, you might notice that the roots have become visibly cramped, and in some cases, they might even start growing out of the pot’s drainage holes. 


This is a clear sign that the plant has exhausted its current space and needs to be repotted, to allow roots to spread out freely and grow healthily.

Tip on Repotting Raven ZZ Plant

  • Black raven zz plant grows more actively during summer and spring, so repotting is ideal during this period 
  • Consider a slightly larger container 
  • Prepare a rich mixture of soil, perlite, pumice, or sand for extra drainage.

Your previous container should already contain it if not then consider adding 20-30% of perlite.

  • Gently Remove the Plant and place it in its new container 
  • Water Black ZZ thoroughly until water starts draining from the bottom 

This helps settle the soil and allows the roots to establish contact with the new soil.

  • Resume your regular care routine, keeping an eye on watering and providing appropriate light and humidity.


Slow growth is normal, especially if you’ve propagated your Raven ZZ plant by leaf cuttings, but no growth at all indicates issues that could be linked to poor care or problematic environment.

  • The plant might not be having adequate amounts of bright, indirect light. Consider relocating it.
  • Check your watering schedule, over-watering as under-watering could stress the plant and interfere with its growth process
  • Pests or diseases can weaken the plant and hinder its growth.
  • Plant care involves protecting it from environmental stress such as sudden changes in temperatures, or exposure to harsh direct sunlight which can affect its health and growth.
  • Your Black ZZ could have outgrown its current container and has its roots tightly packed, which can logically hinder its growth.

Consider correct repotting to provide more room for the roots to expand.

Many other factors could alter the plant’s growth process. Proper care and knowledge of the plants’ needs and specificities could help overcome this issue.

Generally, leaf discoloration could be attributed to these factors:

  • Overwatering
  • Under-watering and incredible dry soil
  • Harsh direct sunlight
  • Increase the humidity
  • Water Quality containing salts, chlorine, minerals and fluoride
  • Pests infestation
  • Deficiency in nutrients

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), calcium oxalate crystals are present in all parts of the Raven ZZ Plant. While this chemical is not particularly toxic, it can be irritating.

Ingesting small amounts of the plant can cause digestive problems like vomiting, diarrhea, and irritation to cats, dogs and even children.

The main difference between Raven ZZ and regular ZZ plants lies in the leaves’ color. Raven ZZ has dark purple-black leaves, while the regular ZZ has green foliage. 


Raven ZZ might need slightly more light, to protect its dark foliage, compared to its green counterpart.

Propagation and commercial sale of Raven ZZ Plant is restricted to registered nurseries who have a deal with the original breeder.

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