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Can You Grow ZZ Plants in Water? (Plus the Pros & Cons)

Can You Grow ZZ Plants in Water? (Plus the Pros & Cons)

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The ZZ plant, otherwise known as Zamioculas Zamiifolia, is a beautiful houseplant that’s quite hardy and easy to care for.

Being so low-maintenance, many people often ask, “Can you grow ZZ plants in water?”

The quick answer is yes and no.

ZZ plants have a unique root system that develops much better in soil. So, they won’t thrive in water for long periods.

That said, you can propagate these humble plants in water as a way of keeping an eye on their growing roots. Then, when they’re ready, you can move them into a pot filled with fresh soil.

Interested in finding out more? Keep reading!

Can You Root a ZZ Plant in Water?

Yes, you can root a ZZ plant in water. However, to do this successfully, you need to pick the healthiest and thickest piece of the stem from the mother plant.

It should also have consistent coloring without any brown or yellow parts.

Stems with leaves tend to grow faster than those without. So, we recommend finding a stem with 3–4 healthy, glossy leaves near its upper tip.

Once you’ve found the part of the stem you’re looking for, it’s time to cut.

Keep in mind that water propagation isn’t as certain as soil propagation. So, be prepared to cut at least three stem cuttings to ensure quick and effective rooting.

You can also use healthy leaves and propagate them in water. Yet, you’ll need a much shallower container so that the leaves don’t fall in. The water should only cover the cut ends of the leaves.

Follow the steps below to ensure a successful propagation:

  1. Wash your gardening scissors or pruning shears to avoid getting bacteria into the cutting.
  2. Put on gardening gloves to protect your hands against the fluids inside the Zamioculcas zamiifolia plant, which are known to cause skin irritation.
  3. Next, place the shears at the base of the plant, and snip off the stem.
  4. Remove the leaves on the bottom three inches of the stem to keep it exposed when placed in the water. You can use the leaves to propagate more ZZ plants either in water or soil.
  5. Lay the cuttings on a dry, warm surface away from direct sunlight for several hours until a callus forms at the tip of each stem. These calluses will develop new rhizomes from the stems, which will help the plant start developing roots in the water.
  6. Next, place the stem cuttings in a clear vase, jar, or water bottle, and make sure the water covers the tips of the cuttings. The important thing is to find a container with a small opening where you can rest the upper leaves and prevent the cuttings from slipping into the water.
  7. Fill the container of your choice with clean, fresh water. Tap water works fine, but it may contain chemicals like fluoride, which can harm the plant. In that case, filtered water may be the safer choice. Be prepared to change the water in the container 1–2 times a week. This will effectively remove any mucky build-up that may have accumulated and could harm the ZZ sapling, causing it to wilt and rot.
  8. After placing the cuttings in the container, move it to a location that’s warm and bright. Yet, make sure the leaves don’t get any direct sunlight, which can burn the cuttings and kill the fragile plant.
  9. In general, water propagation takes longer compared to propagating plants in soil. Add to that the fact that ZZ plants are slow-growing. This means you need to be patient when propagating them in water. You can expect to wait a minimum of 6–9 months before seeing new roots start to develop.
  10. Allow the root system to mature for several months. When they’ve reached at least 1.5 inches long, you can safely place them in a pot with fresh soil.

Growing ZZ Plants in Water: Pros and Cons

Because ZZ plants are known for their resilience and versatility, it’s not a surprise to see why so many houseplant enthusiasts can’t get enough of them.

Luckily, it’s easy to make more of these stunning plants using the propagation method above. Although, water propagation does come with several benefits as well as a couple of drawbacks.

Take a look.


The best thing about propagating these houseplants in water is that it removes the guesswork. You can easily keep track of when the roots started to grow and how long they’re taking.

Another advantage to this method is that it’s cleaner and neater. So, if you live in a small space, water propagation means less mess and fewer clean-ups.

Finally, when these versatile plants grow in water, they hardly reach more than a few inches in height. This makes them suitable to use as desk plants or place on your kitchen counter.


Propagating ZZ plants in water makes them more fragile than if the rhizomes had grown in a potting mix.

Also, because they’re such slow growers, they’re more susceptible to withering and dying because of natural causes. This often happens even before any root systems have begun to form.

Caring for your ZZ Plants

Now that you’ve successfully propagated your Zamioculcas Zamiifolia plant in water and it’s ready to be potted, here are a few maintenance tips to ensure it’s healthy and happy.


Similar to almost all houseplants, ZZ plants prefer bright, indirect light. The best place for them would be facing a window that doesn’t get any glaring sunlight.

If all your windows receive direct sunlight, then move the plants back several feet. You can also use a sheer curtain to block the harsh sun rays from reaching the plant to prevent burned or discolored leaves.


ZZ plants are drought-tolerant. They’ll forgive you if you go more than a couple of weeks without watering them, but not much longer.

You should only water them when the top two inches of soil are dry, which takes about 10–14 days depending on the season. Then, water generously until the water runs through the drainage holes.


Because they’re not that picky, ZZ plants will do fine in almost any type of soil, as long as it’s well-draining and loose.

The perfect potting mix for these hardy houseplants consists of three parts general potting soil and one part cactus or succulent mix. Some growers also like to add in a handful of perlite or bark to make the soil more airy.


Since Zamioculcas Zamiifolia plants are tropical, they thrive in warm spaces. Ideal temperatures should be between 65℉ and 85℉. Cooler temperatures can make them wilt and die.

They also prefer high humidity levels. So, if you live in an area where the air is dry, consider placing a humidifier near the plants.

You can also place them on top of a pebble tray for 15 minutes each week. It’s a low-tech way to ensure the plant’s environment gets a healthy boost of humidity.


As we’ve said, ZZ plants aren’t that demanding. Yet, they like it when they can get an extra dose of nutrients now and then.

Only fertilize during the growing season, from early spring to early fall. Use a diluted houseplant fertilizer and apply it once a month.

Stop fertilizing during the colder months. Then, begin again when spring rolls around.

Final Thoughts

So, can you grow ZZ plants in water? Yes, but they’ll take longer to develop roots than if you were to propagate them in soil.

Yet, keep in mind that even the most seasoned gardeners often lose a plant or two. The important thing is to give your plants time to grow and develop.

As long as the leaves on your ZZ plants continue to appear glossy and healthy, then you’re doing something right and your water propagation techniques are working.

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