Everything You Need to Know About Repotting ZZ Plants at Home

Ever wonder why the ZZ plant is such a popular choice for indoor gardeners? The Zamioculcas zamiifolia, also known as the Zanzibar gem or zuzu plant, is one of the easiest care houseplants available. This guide will go through everything you need to know about when and how to repot your ZZ plant at home.


Repotting ZZ Plants – The Essentials 

ZZ plants grow slowly, so only need to be repotted every two to three years. Repot into a new container with good drainage that’s only 1 to 2 inches larger in diameter. Only repot during the ZZ plant’s active growing season in spring or early summer.


Why Repotting ZZ Plants Might be Necessary

Why Repotting ZZ Plants Might be Necessary

ZZ plants are slow growers, so they don’t require repotting too often. But there are times when ZZ plants may need a new container.

One of the most common reasons to repot a ZZ plant is growth. If a ZZ plant grows too large for its current container, the plant’s roots may fill the pot. If you see roots protruding through the top of the soil or through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot, that’s a sign that your plant needs a larger container.

When plant growth exceeds container size and it’s left for too long, the plant’s roots may become pot-bound or root-bound. This means that the roots may form a dense mat, or encircle the entire container. Neither situation is good for your ZZ plant’s health/

Roots that are too tightly packed cannot take up the water and nutrients that the plant needs to survive and thrive. Your ZZ plant’s foliage growth depends on root growth, so the entire plant suffers when there’s not enough space for roots to do their work.

Repotting may also be necessary due to disease or pest infestation. Issues like mold, root rot, fungus gnats, and other soil-related issues may be resolved by repotting a plant in a fresh potting mix.

That fresh potting mix will also provide your ZZ plant with the nutrients it needs. Over time, the soil in a container will give up all its nutrients, making it difficult for plants to get their food. Repotting helps replenish the essential macronutrients and micronutrients that ZZ plants need to thrive and grow.

How Often Do ZZ Plants Need Repotting?

How Often Do ZZ Plants Need Repotting?

ZZ plants grow slowly, so they don’t need frequent repotting. Usually, you should repot your ZZ plant about once every two or three years.

However, your ZZ plant’s growth rate depends on several different circumstances. For instance, if your plant is in low light exposure, it may grow more slowly.

Pay attention to your plant to determine when you should move it to a larger container. You may need to repot more often if you notice the following:

  • Roots pushing up through the surface of the soil
  • Roots protruding from the drainage holes in the container
  • Roots become tightly meshed or form a dense mat
  • Slower than normal growth (not due to environmental conditions)
  • Problems such as root rot, fungus gnats or mold

Best Times of Year to Consider Repotting

Like many plants indigenous to tropical climates, the ZZ plant’s active growing season is in spring and summer months. It’s best to repot (and propagate) during the growing season so your plant has the energy and resources to recover from the change and adapt to the new container.

The Best Soil Mix When Repotting ZZ Plants

The Best Soil Mix When Repotting ZZ Plants

ZZ plants are known for tolerating a range of growing conditions, including different soil types. However, they grow best when they’re provided with the right soil mix.

For a thriving ZZ plant, repot into a container filled with potting mix that holds moisture and nutrients yet drains quickly. A mix of two parts all-purpose potting mix, 1 part sand and 1 part perlite is a good choice.

Aim for a slightly acidic pH level, from 6.0 to 7.0. You may add pine bark fines if you need to acidify your pH level.

What Tools Will I Need When Repotting ZZ Plants

What Tools Will I Need When Repotting ZZ Plants

When repotting your ZZ plant, gather the following tools:

  • A new container with a 1- to 2-inch-larger diameter than the current pot
  • Fresh potting mix
  • Gloves
  • Tarp or newspaper to protect surfaces
  • Snips or plant scissors if you need to prune, or trim pot-bound roots

Size & Types of Potting Vessel Considerations

When choosing a new container for your ZZ plant, don’t go too much larger than its current pot. If you use too large of a container, the soil may stay too wet for the ZZ plant’s liking. Roots may not be able to access water and nutrients as efficiently in too large of a pot, either.

ZZ plants prefer dry, rather than wet, conditions. Choose terra cotta pots, as they allow the soil to dry faster than plastic or ceramic pots.

Most importantly, choose a pot that has adequate drainage holes. Though ZZ plants are famously tolerant of diverse conditions, they don’t grow well in wet soil.

How to Repot Your ZZ Plant

How to Repot Your ZZ Plant

Here’s how to repot your ZZ plant, step by step:

  1. Gather your supplies (new container, fresh potting mix, something to cover your work area, gloves and plant snips)
  2. Spread tarp or newspaper over your work area to protect the surfaces from soil
  3. Grasp your ZZ plant firmly around its base (at the soil line) and carefully slide the plant out of the container
  4. Gently shake your ZZ plant to remove any clumped soil
  5. If roots are roots bound, loosen them with snips
  6. Add a few inches of potting mix into the bottom of the new pot
  7. Place your ZZ plant on top of the soil, and check to see if it’s at the right level; add/remove soil until you reach the correct level
  8. Holding your ZZ plant in the center of the container, fill the open spaces around the roots with soil until the plant is at the same level it was in the original pot
  9. Tamp the soil gently to stabilize the plant
  10. Water lightly

Post Repotting Care

Post Repotting Care

Repotting can be hard on plants, even the tolerant ZZ plant. Give your plant plenty of time to recover from the shock of being transplanted.

Place your ZZ plant back in the spot it was before you repotted ensuring suitable ambient temperature and humidity levels where possible. Being in the same environmental conditions can help with recovery, so try to minimize changes.

Don’t fertilize for a few weeks after repotting. Water your ZZ plant on your normal schedule, or when the soil feels dry.


Repotting ZZ Plants FAQs:

Should I soak my ZZ Plant before repotting? 

You do not need to soak your ZZ plant before repotting. ZZ plants don’t like wet soil and prefer drier conditions.

Should you water a ZZ Plant immediately after repotting? 

You may water sparingly after repotting. In most cases, you should simply continue with your plant’s watering schedule (every three to four weeks) or water when soil feels dry.

Do ZZ Plants like big pots? 

ZZ plants don’t necessarily like big pots; when pots are too large, they can retain too much water, which ZZ plants don’t like. Instead, choose a new pot that’s only slightly larger than the original pot.

Why is my ZZ Plant limp after repotting? 

Repotting can be hard on plants. Only repot during spring and early summer, the plant’s growing season, when they have the energy to recover. After repotting, keep your ZZ plant in the same environmental conditions it’s used to minimize shock.

Should I mist my ZZ Plant after repotting? 

No, you don’t need to mist your ZZ plant after repotting. They prefer drier conditions.

Should I fertilize my ZZ Plant after repotting? 

No, do not fertilize your ZZ plant after repotting. They need minimal fertilizer, so stick with your scheduled feeding.


Wrapping Up

ZZ plants bring drama and color to any room with their glossy foliage and strong stems. They’re also famous for being low-maintenance, and that easy care extends to repotting. Generally, you’ll only need to repot your ZZ plant every two to three years. Be sure to choose a container with plenty of drainage, and only repot during the ZZ plant’s active growth period.

If you’re looking for your next ZZ plant, see our in-depth guide to the best plant shops delivering ZZ plants nationwide.


Author

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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