12 Plants That Start With Z - Urban Agriculture

12 Plants That Start With Z

Here’s a great list of plants that start with the letter Z.

Zamia

Zamia is a genus of deciduous shrubs, meaning that they shed their leaves.  They look a little bit like shrubby palm trees.  They’re native to the Americas, from Georgia and Florida in the United States down to Central America and the Caribbean and even South America as far south as Bolivia. 

However, they tend to be quite adaptable and can also be successfully grown in subtropical climates, though they will need to be protected from the cold and given good drainage.  They’re a good choice if you’re looking for something to grow in your garden – they produce beautiful crowns of leaves and branch as they get older.

Zebra Plant

If you look at a Zebra Plant, you’ll find that there’s no mystery about where they get their name.  The bold stripes on its leaves will put anybody in mind of a zebra.  They’re common house plants, but they require quite specific conditions if you want to get the best out of them. 

They need lots of light, but direct light isn’t good for them, so it’s a balancing act of putting them in a place where they receive lots of light but nothing too direct.  Without enough light, they are unlikely to bloom.  They’re also very particular about how much water they need. 

Too much or too little could turn the leaves brown and eventually see them fall off.  It’s best to water Zebra Plants little and often, instead of less regular, thorough waterings.  Its temperature needs are also fairly particular, thriving best in temperatures between 65°F and 70°F.

Zinnia

Zinnias are popular plants to grow and for very good reasons.  They produce bright, beautiful flowers and unlike other plants like Zebra Plants, are easy to grow!  Depending on the exact species of Zinnia you have, the flowers’ petals may be in a single row or several rows. 

They love sunlight, not being troubled by the peaks of temperature in the summer, and need moderate amounts of water.  However, they are very frost-sensitive and will die come the first frost of the year.  Do pay attention to the exact type you’re buying as they can range in height from four inches to forty. 

As a bonus, they can also attract hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden.  Zinnias are native to North and Central America, but they have also been grown elsewhere, including in space!  

Zephyranthes

This is a genus of flowering plants that’s native to both temperate and tropical climates.  It includes over 70 recognized species, which often have their own names.  Be careful if you have children or pets as many parts of the plant are toxic, including the leaves. 

Nevertheless, they have been used in various forms of traditional medicine from China to Africa as a way of treating everything from headaches and the common cold to diabetes and breast cancer.  The flowers themselves come in various colors, including pink, yellow, and white. 

Some species have a particularly sweet, pleasant fragrance that is a lovely addition to any home.  Time of bloom also varies by species – some bloom only in spring, while others continue into autumn.  One of the common names – rain lily – comes from the fact that some species will bloom quickly after heavy rainfall.

Zauschneria

This plant is sometimes called California Fuschia and, as you might expect from the name, is native to California and the surrounding areas.  They grow best in conditions similar to the climate in California, meaning that they like direct sunlight and need relatively little water. 

They do, however, need to be shielded from the wind.  Zauschneria can grow to around 24 inches tall but aside from height, can vary widely in the way they look.  Things like the shape and color of the leaves, as well as the overall shape of the plant, can be very different between different plants. 

Despite being native to California, Zauschneria is named after Johann Baptista Josef Zauschner, an 18th century Prague botanist.

Zantedeschia

Native to Southern Africa, the plants in this genus have long been admired for their beautiful flowers and leaves.  They now grow on every continent except for Antarctica.  The flowers themselves come in a range of colors, including pink, white, and yellow. 

Zantedeschia plants are generally quite hardy, but some are more so than others, particularly when it comes to resisting the cold temperatures of winter. 

They can generally grow in a wide range of climates and soil types, though they grow best when they can get large amounts of water.  Zantedeschia has often featured in art, often being painted by Georgia O’Keeffe and Diego Rivera, among others.

Zygopetalum

Zygopetalum is a genus of the orchid family that’s native to South America, particularly Brazil.  The flowers it produces are wonderfully fragrant and long-lived and as the plant is fairly easy to grow, its flowers are commonly sold as cut flowers. 

Those flowers can be burgundy, brown, or even leopard print, and they stand out wonderfully in a living room.  Since they naturally grow on the rocks and tree trunks near the ground of the Amazon rainforest, they’re relatively hardy plants. 

This environment means that they need light that is bright but not too direct.  They need more water during warmer months and less in cooler months, but regardless of the time of year, it’s important that you don’t let Zygopetalum dry out between waterings.

Zingiber Officinale

Also known by its more common name, ginger.  The part of the ginger plant that we use in food is actually the root (though, if you want to get technical about it, it’s actually a rhizome).  However, what you might not know is that the same plant also produces beautiful flowers that can really liven up a garden. 

This is particularly true of types of ginger that are specifically grown for ornamental purposes, rather than to be eaten.  You’ll be able to find ginger varieties with bright red and pink flowers in a variety of shapes. 

They’re usually too large to grow in your house, but many can be grown quite well in a garden or greenhouse.  In fact, they can grow so well that you should take care that they don’t take over the whole garden.

Zexmenia

Zexmenia is a kind of sunflower native to South America.  It’s a hardy plant that can grow well even in poor soil and resists strong summer sunshine too, making it easy to grow. 

It’s also a very attractive plant and its beautiful yellow/orange flowers will add a wonderful, summery feel to your garden.  If you’re in a warmer climate, then zemenia will remain evergreen but will be deciduous if you live somewhere with cold winters.

 Zenobia

Also called a honeycup, this genus is native to North America.  It is a hairless shrub with elliptical or egg-shaped leaves that produces bunches of small, white, bell-shaped flowers.  These flowers smell pleasantly of aniseed and look very similar to lily of the valley flowers. 

Unlike lily of the valley, however, which is extremely poisonous, zenobia is not toxic at all.  Zenobia does well in acidic soils and in conditions of full sun to partial shade.  If you’re growing Zenobia, remember to keep it protected from cold winter winds, which it might not be able to resist. 

 Zebra Grass

This is another plant named after the zebra, and it gets its name for a similar reason – the yellowish horizontal stripes on the leaves.  This unusual appearance only becomes apparent after midsummer because it’s dependent on the temperature. 

It’s also the reason that zebra grass is best grown in light shade, as extended exposure to direct sunlight will scorch the plant and you won’t get the stripes.  Even in the winter, however, the silver seed-heads will remain, meaning that the zebra grass will still be lovely to look at. 

Make sure to give it lots of room, as the plants can grow taller and wider than a fairly large human being.  It can be easily planted in groups to create hedges or borders or else used as an accent plant.

 ZZ Plant

The name ZZ plant comes from its scientific name (zamioculas zamiifolia).  Whatever you call them, ZZ plants make fantastic houseplants.  They’re widely kept in houseplant collections and can often be seen on social media. 

It’s ideal for growing indoors: it can tolerate low light, neglect, drought, and grows slowly so that you won’t always have to be changing its containers.  It even removes certain toxins like benzene and xylene from the air!  Do be careful, though – the plant is toxic itself, so don’t let children or pets eat it. 

Wash your hands after handling it as well, to be on the safe side.  The attractive, rich green leaves will grow well enough with just a little water and occasional liquid fertilizer.  They can also flower, but unfortunately, the flowers are nothing all that special, so ZZ plants are mainly enjoyed for their leaves alone.

Caroline Roberts
Latest posts by Caroline Roberts (see all)