The plant has a short, sometimes subterranean trunk up to 20 cm (2 feet) wide and high, usually marked with scars from old leaf bases. It grows very slowly when young, but its growth accelerates as the trunk matures. Including the leaves, the whole plant typically grows to 1.3 m (4 feet) tall with a width of about 2m (6 feet).
Cardboard palm maintenance is minimal. Zamia thrives in moderate to bright light, and does well in good potting soil as long as the container has excellent drainage.