How To Propagate ZZ Plants

Let’s talk about propagating the ZZ Plant (Zamioculcus zamiifolia). Propagation is a method of plant reproduction that lets you get more plants without spending a lot of time or money. New plants for free… win win for you!

Also called Zanzibar Gem, Eternity Plant, Fat Boy, Emerald Palm, and Aroid Palm, ZZ plants originate from the Southeast coast of Africa. They are a shade-loving succulent and get their growth from rhizomes instead of roots. These plants use their large, thick rhizomes to retain water in them, so they don’t need much water.

You’ll want to have more ZZ plants around your house. Propagating them is one way to get more for free!

About the ZZ PLANT

easy care house plant ZZ house plant stems and leaves
ZZ Plant

Typically grown as ornamental plants, they’re known for their easy care and beautiful, glossy foliage. They grow up to 2 feet tall. Bright yellow to bronze-colored flowers are produced at the base of the leaves in mid-summer to early autumn. You have to look for the flowers, they are pretty hidden.

The leaves are very dark green and have a fleshy texture to them. The stems grow in a wand shape, slightly thicker at the base and tapering to a point.

ZZ Plants are one of the easiest houseplants you can have. It thrives on neglect, it seems. It will live under any level of light, it hardly needs any water, and it always looks great. I read that they can survive for up to four months without water and in low interior lights!

A study from the Department of Plant and Environmental Science at the University of Copenhagen in 2014 shows that the ZZ plant can remove toxins like benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene from the indoor air. Having one or more around your house could make you healthier.

Keep your ZZ plant in a warm area that does not get direct sunlight. It’s a drought-tolerant plant so water when the soil is dry.

It looks great all the time. With its upright structure and waxy coating on the leaves, sometimes people swear it’s a plastic artificial plant!

What You’ll Need For ZZ Plant Propagation:

Tools for Propagating Indoor Plants
Tools for Propagating Indoor Plants

  • Sharp Shears or knife
  • Small Trowel or Transplanting Shovel
  • Containers for Water
  • Small pots for Planting
  • Water
  • Potting mix

Propagating ZZ Plants by Leaf and Stem Cuttings

zz plant stalk for propagation
ZZ Plant Stalk

There are four methods to start a ZZ plant by cuttings.

“Apical” leaf cuttings involve rooting the top part of a stem.

  • Take a 2 – 3-inch cutting from the top part of a stem with some leaves on it.
  • Root it in moist potting soil.
  • Wait for the new rhizomes to grow.

A “Basal” leaf cutting involves rooting the bottom half of the stem.

  • Take a 2 – 3-inch cutting from the bottom part of the stem that has two or three leaves on it.
  • Root it in moist potting soil.
  • Wait for the new rhizomes to grow.

A “Stem” cutting involves cutting a stalk at the base of the plant.

  • You might have a stalk that fell away from the mother plant for this use.
  • You can see a stalk in the photo above. I took the stalk from the base of the mother plant.
  • Root it in moist potting soil.
  • Wait for the new rhizomes to grow.

You can even propagate your ZZ plant using detached leaves.

  • Stand the detached leaves cut end down in well-draining potting soil
  • Place it in a warm area that gets bright light.

Whatever method you choose, take your cuttings from mature plants. After you get your cuttings, allow the cut ends to dry out for a few hours. You’ll see a rough callous develop on the end. Once it dries out, the cutting is ready for rooting.

Rooting in Water

Here’s how you’ll propagate your ZZ plant in water.

Once you have your cutting, place it into a jar or vase that is filled with enough water to cover the cut end. Put the jar in a warm, bright location. Oxygen tends to evaporate, so change the water every 3-4 days.

Watch your cutting for the formation of roots and rhizomes. It might take a full year, but they should be visible after a few months or so.

Once the rhizomes and roots grow to an inch long, it’s time to plant the cutting in its own pot.

Rooting in Potting Mix

Here’s how you will propagate your ZZ plant using a potting mix.

You’ll take a stem cutting that has two to three leaves on it. Let the cut dry for a few hours. Then, place the cutting in a small pot that is filled with moist, gritty potting mix, cut end down.

Keep your pot in an area that gets warm sunlight, but not direct sunlight. If you want, you can put the pot into a plastic bag or container and close it up. It will take months for the baby to grow, and the leaves might even decay away.

But have faith! You’ll see small white bulb-like growths start to form in the potting mix. These are the rhizomes for the new plants. Put them into their own pots, using a standard potting soil. Soon, you’ll have new ZZ plants growing!

Please note: pulling and checking the rhizomes could kill the new plantlings. You might want to start several ZZ plant cuttings to help ensure successful propagation.

ZZ Plant Propagation by Division

zz plant rhizomes for propagation
ZZ Plant Rhizomes

You can also propagate the ZZ plant by division (dividing the plant) or by separating the rhizomes. You can see the rhizomes at the base of my plant in the photo above.

Don’t do this very often. They develop the rhizomes very slowly and taking some may damage the parent plant. And, the baby plants won’t be as large as the parent.

If the pot is crowded, though, you know it’s time to divide the plant.

  • First, remove the entire plant from the pot.
  • Cut the plant in half.
  • Loosen the roots.
  • Replant the halves in two pots, using a gritty potting mix.
  • You’ll see that the rhizomes will grow to fill the pot.

Please note: it could take 9+ months for new rhizomes to grow.

ZZ Plants

In conclusion, ZZ plants could be your perfect houseplant.

  • They’re really easy to take care of.
  • Currently fashionable, they look great in any decorating style including traditional and contemporary decor.
  • They clean pollutants and toxins out of the indoor air.
  • You’ll want to have more of these wondrous plants around.

Now you can have more without spending to buy them. Propagate the ZZ plants that you have to create more ZZ plant babies.

ZZ plants are available at Amazon.

There is a new ZZ plant variety you might consider if you can find it. It’s called Zamioculcas Zamiifolia “Raven” or the Raven ZZ plant. It has leaves that are dark maroon and look black under certain light. It could be a beautiful new addition to your living room.

If you want to know more about plants that clean the air, here’s a post for you.

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