Cardboard Palm Plant

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

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Zamia furfuracea

How to keep them thriving indoors in Melbourne!

Please Note: The information below is specific to this particular variety. For more detailed notes on the general growing conditions required for all Indoor Plants, check out our ‘Growing Indoor Plants Successfully’ factsheet.

Not a palm at all, but from the ancient cycad family, this is a wonderful character filled house plant. Low maintenance, fun and architectural. So slow growing and long lived it can be passed down the generations like a family heirloom. You finally get to see who the favourite child is!


The Zamia holds water in its trunk, so can take a bit of neglect when you go on holidays. Generally, allow the top 2cm of potting mix to dry out in between watering. Water less in the cooler months. Never let it sit in water.


Bright indirect or direct light. To keep the round rosette shape balanced, turn the pot a quarter turn regularly to stop it leaning towards the light.

Temperature and humidity

Normal indoor temperatures suit the Zamia. Prefers low humidity. Suits the often dry office environment.


Hardly at all. At most twice a year with slow release indoor fertiliser, and only in the warmest months.


Maintenance is minimal. If necessary wipe down the leaves with a damp cloth. Prune off any dead leaves, other than that, no pruning required.


• Best done in spring.
• Use a good quality potting mix and pots with good drainage. Older Zamia can be top heavy, so choose a sturdy well weighted pot for balance.
• Go up one size, if you choose too big a pot, then the excess potting mix retains moisture and can lead to fungal problems and root rot.
• Pat down firmly (removes air-pockets) and water in well using a weak seaweed solution.



Can get spidermite, if this occurs (unlikely, but you never know), treat with natrasoap.


• Old leaves naturally turn yellow as they age, before turning brown and dying.
• Overwatering can lead to yellowing and in extreme cases of overwatering the crown can rot, if this happens unfortunately you cannot save it.