ZZ plants add a lush, tropical look to any room, thanks to their deep green, glossy leaves, and offer a host of beneficial properties, symbolic value, and Feng Shui uses. But these popular houseplants may be most well-loved for their forgiving, low-maintenance nature. Zamioculcas zamiifolia is not only undemanding, but it’s also easy to propagate. Best of all, there are several ways to propagate: Stem cuttings, leaf cuttings, and division. Read on to learn how to propagate ZZ plants.
- How to Propagate ZZ Plants – The Essentials
- Can ZZ Plants be Propagated? Is it Difficult?
- Key Considerations when Propagating a ZZ Plant
- How to Propagate a ZZ Plant
- Common ZZ Plant Propagation Problems, Questions, and Remedies:
- Wrapping Up
How to Propagate ZZ Plants: The Essentials
Propagate ZZ plants in three ways: Stem cuttings, leaf cuttings, and division. The first two methods involve cutting a stem or leaf, letting the cut end form a callus, placing the cut end in water or soil, and waiting for it to root. A mature ZZ plant may be divided when rhizomes multiply.
Can ZZ Plants be Propagated? Is it Difficult?
Not only can ZZ plants be propagated, but you can also propagate them using three different methods: Leaf cuttings, stem cuttings, and division. None of these methods are complicated, though cuttings take much longer than division.
Once your ZZ plant is mature, its rhizomes (or tuberous roots) will start to form new plants. These are known as pups. You can gently dig up the rhizomes, separate the pups, and replant them in soil. This is the easiest and fastest way to propagate.
You may also take leaf cuttings. After letting the cut leaf form a callus, place the cut end in water or soil and wait for it to form roots. Similarly, you may cut a stem, allow the end to callus, then place the cut end in water or soil until it grows roots. These last two methods may take a year under normal in-home conditions or a few months under greenhouse conditions.
Key Considerations when Propagating a ZZ Plant
Level of Difficulty
Thankfully, the propagation of ZZ plants isn’t complex. Division is the easiest, fastest method. Though you must wait for the “mother” plant to mature enough to create pups, it’s simple to separate rhizomes and replant new ZZ plants in their own pots.
Taking leaf and stem cuttings is easy, too. However, it may take many months for roots to form. It will take even longer for stems to emerge.
Can ZZ Plants Grow in Water or Soil?
You can propagate ZZ plant leaves and stem cuttings in water or soil. Both methods are effective but will take months (up to a year or more) to work.
Can You Propagate ZZ Plants From Just a Leaf?
You can propagate a new ZZ plant from a single leaf. It would be best to allow the cut leaf to form a callus overnight, then insert it into soil or water. Then sit back and be patient, as it can take a year or more for the cutting to root and grow a new stem.
How to Propagate a ZZ Plant
You’ve got several options when it comes to propagating a ZZ plant. Let’s start with the fastest and most straightforward: division.
How to Divide a ZZ Plant
A mature ZZ plant will form new rhizomes with tuberous roots that resemble potatoes. Each can grow its own plant; when you see the rhizomes push up out of the soil, you can divide them using the following technique:
- ZZ plants are considered mildly toxic, so it’s prudent to wear a pair of gardening gloves throughout the process.
- Lay down a tarp or newspaper to protect your work area
- Prepare new containers for your divided ZZ plants, filled with a well-draining, slightly acidic soil mix
- Grasp the ZZ plant around its base, next to the soil, and gently remove it from the pot
- Lay the plant on the tarp and carefully separate the clumps of rhizomes
- You may need to slice through if the rhizomes are entangled
- Plant the divided clumps into their new pots
- Lightly water the new plants, place them in indirect light and let them recover
- Hold back from fertilizing your ZZ plants until the plant has had a chance to take root and develop without the extra nutrient hit.
You can propagate using leaf and stem cuttings. Let’s start with leaf cuttings.
How to Propagate ZZ Plants with Leaf Cuttings
- Cut or pinch healthy leaves from your ZZ plant, cutting as close to the stem as possible
- Allow the leaves to sit out for a few hours (or even overnight), so they form a callus on the cut end
- Place the cut end in water
- Replace the water regularly to keep it fresh
- Wait for several months (and up to a year or more) for rootlets to grow
- Once roots form, you can plant the cutting in a proper soil mix
You may also propagate leaf cuttings in soil using the following method:
- Cut or pinch leaves, cut off the bottom quarter of the leaf
- Let the leaves sit out for a few hours to form a callus
- Insert the cut ends into a moistened soil mix
- Place a plastic bag over the top of the container to increase humidity
- Let the plants rest in the moist soil; after several months, roots will form
How to Propagate ZZ Plants with Stem Cuttings
The stem cutting propagation method is similar. You can choose water or soil propagation. Here’s how to propagate ZZ stem cuttings in water:
- Cut a healthy stem close to the base
- Let it sit for a few hours until the cut end forms a callus
- Place the cut end in water
- Keep the water fresh by replacing it regularly
- Wait for nine months to a year (or sometimes more) until roots form
- Plant the rooted stem in a well-draining soil mix
You may also propagate ZZ stem cuttings in the soil. Here’s how that method works:
- Cut a healthy stem and allow a callus to form
- Place the cut end in well-draining, moist soil
- Place the pot in indirect light and let it rest
- Roots should develop after several months; this process may take a year or more
Common ZZ Plant Propagation Problems, Questions, and Remedies:
When is the best time of year to propagate ZZ plants?
As a general rule, it’s best to propagate ZZ plants during the spring and summer months when the plant is most virile. This is also the best time of year for pruning, and repotting ZZ plants.
How long does it take a ZZ Plant to root in water?
Under greenhouse conditions, rooting a leaf or stem cutting in water will take a few months. The rooting process takes a year or more in the conditions typically found in an average home.
Can a ZZ Plant live in water forever?
No, ZZ plants cannot live in water forever. Once roots form on a leaf or stem cutting, transfer the cutting to a container filled with the right potting soil mix.
How long does it take ZZ Plant to propagate?
When propagating by the division method, propagation is almost instant, as you’re replanting a ZZ plant that’s already growing. Propagating through leaf or stem cuttings can take up to a year or more.
Are ZZ Plants hard to propagate?
ZZ plants are easy to propagate. The division method is quick, and the leaf/stem cutting methods are easy but take months.
Can you grow a ZZ Plant from a broken leaf?
If a broken leaf is placed into water or soil and maintained, rootlets will form over time. Be patient, as this process takes many months.
Can a ZZ Plant grow from one leaf?
ZZ plants can grow from a single leaf. Simply insert the cut, callused end into water or soil and keep moist. The plant will form roots, and a stems after many months.
Why is my ZZ Plant not rooting?
There are many reasons why a ZZ plant doesn’t form roots. In most cases, growing conditions aren’t right; for instance, the growing environment may be too cold, hot, wet, or dry (common causes of yellowing or drooping ZZ plants as well). In addition, keep an eye out for common ZZ plant pests and diseases.
ZZ plants are beloved by indoor gardeners for their lush, tropical appearance that adds an attractive touch to any room. They’re also popular due to their forgiving nature, and with due care and attention, ZZ plants can live for years. This low-maintenance nature extends to propagation: You can easily propagate ZZ plants in three ways: Dividing rhizomes, taking leaf cuttings, or taking stem cuttings. With some patience and care, propagation is a great way to increase your collection of ZZ plants.
If you’re looking for your next ZZ plant, see our in-depth guide to the best plant shops delivering ZZ plants nationwide.
Linsay is an American copywriter based in the Pacific Northwest with a background in academic writing and research. Linsay holds Master's degree in both Anthropology and Library and Information Sciences and has written for numerous national and international publications including USA Today, SFGATE, Hunker, and The Bump across an array of topics in the gardening, green living, and travel sectors. When she's not writing, you'll usually find Linsay reading, kayaking, sailing, snowboarding, or working in her garden.
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