Look out in garden centres this summer for an interesting new cultivar of zamioculcas, one of the most interesting and toughest of houseplants. Called ‘Raven’ it is being introduced by a Dutch grower and has very dark, almost black leaves.
Zamioculcas zamiifolia (named for its resemblance to the cycad genus zamia and culcas is an old name for colocasia) is not just an attractive plant to have in the home it is actually a very interesting plant. When you look at the thick, rubbery leaves, divided into leaflets like a feather, it is very difficult to see that it is in Araceae, the family of arum, anthuriums and monsteras. The species is native to Kenya and adjoining African countries where it often grows among rocks. The succulent leaves and large rootstock help it survive drought and, when stressed, the leaves can drop off. Interestingly, these fallen leaves can be used to propagate it. It has only been available as a houseplant for about 20 years and is sometimes called the ZZ plant.
In the home it is very tolerant and will withstand poor and bright light and considerable drought. Temperatures below 10c and wet compost are the biggest threats. It grows slowly but tells you when it needs repotting by bending or breaking the pot! It will need repotting eventually because the leaves are so fleshy and heavy and the plant may keep falling over if it is too potbound. When it does need repotting, do it in spring and use an open, cactus-type compost that is free-draining.
Anyway, ‘Raven’ looks like a very desirable new plant and the black colour will suit the sort of minimal interior that suits the shape and style of the ‘normal’ plant.
Sunday Puzzler Solution: March 26
How did you get on yesterday?
The plants were:
That gives you Y N V E E L D
Rearrange those and you get Lyveden in Northamptonshire.