ZZ plants are hardy little plants are known for their ability to survive in a variety of conditions, which makes them a great choice for plant newbies and black thumbs alike.
But one question that often comes up is: do ZZ plants need light? It goes without saying that “it depends” is the definitive response to this question.
“But wait,” you say, “I thought plants needed light to survive.” And you would be correct! However, the ZZ plant is something of an anomaly in the plant world.
It is able to tolerate low light conditions and can even thrive in rooms with little or no natural light. But before we get into all of that, let’s first talk about the different types of light that plants need.
The Spectrum of Light
Just like with humans, different types of light can have different effects on plants. The most important type of light for plants is called “photosynthetically active radiation” (PAR for short).
PAR is the light that plants use to create energy through photosynthesis. This light is found in the visible spectrum, which ranges from violet to red.
In addition to PAR, plants also need a certain amount of ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) light. UV light helps with the formation of chlorophyll and other pigments, while IR light helps with overall plant growth and health.
So, How Much Light Does a ZZ Plant Need?
Now that we’ve covered the basics of light and plants, let’s get back to the question at hand: do ZZ plants need light? The short answer is yes, but as we discussed earlier, the ZZ plant is able to tolerate low light conditions.
In fact, it’s often recommended to keep ZZ plants in rooms with indirect light or in areas that receive only a few hours of direct sunlight a day.
But here’s the thing: just because a ZZ plant can survive in low light, that doesn’t mean it will thrive. Like all plants, the ZZ plant needs a certain amount of light to grow and stay healthy. So, if you want your ZZ plant to reach its full potential, it’s best to give it as much light as possible.
What About Artificial Light?
There is no need to be concerned if your home does not receive a lot of natural light. You can still give your ZZ plant the light it needs with the help of artificial light. A grow light, for example, can provide the PAR, UV, and IR light that your ZZ plant needs to thrive.
Just keep in mind that artificial light is not the same as natural light, and it’s quite important to provide your ZZ plant with a balance of both.
Also, if you’re using artificial light, make sure to keep your plant at a distance of at least 12 inches away from the light source to prevent burning or damage to the leaves.
Let’s say you have a ZZ plant and you’re unsure about how much light it’s getting. You notice that the leaves are looking a little yellow and the growth is slow. This could be a sign that your ZZ plant is not getting enough light.
So you decide to move the plant to a window that gets a few hours of direct sunlight a day. After a few weeks, you notice that the leaves are looking more green and the growth is more active. This is a good indication that the plant is getting the right amount of light it needs to thrive.
Alternatively, you have a room in your house that doesn’t get any natural light. You decide to place your ZZ plant there, and after a few weeks, you notice that the leaves are looking yellow and growth is slow. This is a sign that the plant is not getting enough light.
To solve this, you decide to add a grow light to the room. You set the light to be 12 inches away from the plant and after a few weeks, you notice that the leaves are looking more green and growth is more active.
This is a good indication that the plant is getting the right amount of light it needs to thrive, even if the light source is artificial.
So, Yes! ZZ plants do need light to survive, whether it’s natural or artificial. It’s always a good idea to observe your plant and see how it’s responding to the light conditions.
If you see that the leaves are yellowing, the growth is slow, or the leaves are being burned, it’s a sign that the plant is not getting the right amount of light it needs and you should adjust the light settings.