STUNNING INDOOR PLANT THAT THRIVES ON NEGLECT NOW HAS AN INTRIGUING NEW FAMILY MEMBER
Ilove having plants in my home, and really enjoy experimenting, trying lots of different plants in various positions. But I must admit I’m a bit neglectful, so I need plants that aren’t too fussy. I’m doing really well with fiddle leaf figs, so well in fact that I’ve had to prune a couple as they grew so tall they reached the ceiling. Peace lilies are another favourite, and there are always a few flowering phalaenopsis orchids somewhere in the house. Dieffenbacchias, monstera deliciosa and even maiden hair ferns are also achievable if I put them in the right position. But one of my absolute favourites is the Zanzibar Gem (zamioculcas zamiifolia). This beautiful thing thrives on neglect, which suits me very well. With glossy, deep green leaves resembling a cycad, a Zanzibar Gem will sit in a pot, even in a dark corner, with barely any water and look great for years. I water mine only about once a month in summer, and even less in winter, and it just sits there in its pretty pot looking gorgeous. So imagine my excitement when I learned about a new form of this plant, being sold here in Australia under the name Jungle Warrior, and known in America as Raven. The big difference between this one and the one plant neglecters have come to know and love is that the leaves emerge bright green, but then turn black. During the growing season, the plant will have both green and black leaves. During the more dormant period, the leaves will all be black. Jungle Warrior is as tough as its more widely grown cousin, tolerating very dark positions as well as brighter ones, and preferring to be kept quite dry. These plants grow quite slowly, which is great for an indoor plant because it means you don’t have to keep repotting and trimming to keep it to a manageable size. My Zanzibar Gem has been in the same pot for four years and continues to produce new leaves. It may need to be repotted into a larger container next spring. I fertilise it with a slow release fertiliser a couple of times a year, and that’s all it needs. Like many other member of the aracae family, these plants may be harmful if eaten, so please don’t be tempted to taste them. Because the Jungle Warrior is new to the market here, it may be a bit hard to find and will be a bit more expensive than the green Zanzibar Gem, but it is definitely worth looking out for.