ZZ plants, also known as Zanzibar Gems or Zamioculcas zamiifolia, are popular tropical plants known for their smooth, glossy leaves in beautiful bright green hues.
These evergreen plants are native to the hot regions of Eastern Africa.
Aside from their captivating appearance, these perennials are also low maintenance, making them the perfect houseplant for busy individuals.
Moreover, they add an aesthetic appeal to your interior by incorporating a touch of modern vibes. They’re also helpful in alleviating stress and purifying the indoor air.
With new leaves sprouting from time to time, I sometimes can’t help but wonder what causes new growth on a ZZ plant.
It turns out that growing a ZZ plant is easy despite it being a slow-growing plant. That’s why it’s no surprise that new leaves pop out from time to time, even with minimal care.
Placing ZZ plants in an environment where they receive the right amount of nutrients and sunlight allows them to grow new sprouts despite not receiving high-quality care.
Moreover, seeing new growths on ZZ plants is common during their growing season.
These plants thrive best and grow new sprouts during early spring and throughout the summer, which usually starts around March until September.
Additionally, Zanzibar Gems grow new leaves when they get substantial amounts of sunlight, heat, and water to support growth.
ZZ plants are slow-growing perennials; it takes up to five years for them to reach their mature size. The average size of ZZ plants is two to four feet tall upon reaching full maturity.
That said, fertilizing is one way to accelerate growth and encourage the development of new leaves.
While fertilizing is crucial in plant care, it’s often overlooked. Fertilizing will only yield good results if done in healthy frequencies and with the right product.
Overfertilization of Zanzibar gems may result in unsightly burns or desiccation of roots that’ll eventually lead to plant death.
Choose a well-balanced fertilizer to nurture your ZZ plants. Ideally, a well-balanced nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium fertilizer is recommended.
You can use either a 20-20-20 or 10-10-10 liquid fertilizer to fertilize the plant at least once a month throughout its growing season
When fertilizing my Zanzibar gems, I dilute the liquid fertilizer to half-strength or according to manufacturer guidelines.
Yes, cutting off some stems or leaves and replanting them is one way to reproduce your plants and encourage the existing plant to produce more foliage.
Propagating Zanzibar gems is easy, and there are three methods: through leaves, stem cuttings, and splitting the plant into half after removing it from the pot (also known as division).
Among the three, propagating through removed leaves is the slowest method, and propagating through division yields better results but is quite tricky.
In this guide, I’ll focus on propagating through stem cuttings which is less complicated than the third method but yields results better than the first one.
- A clean, sharp pair of pruning shears or knife
- Potting mix or well-draining soil mix
- A new pot
Follow these steps to propagate a stem cutting:
Select one that protrudes from the edge of the pot to prevent the plant from outbalancing.
Cut the stem from the base using clean or properly disinfected pruning shears.
It’s essential to use clean cutting tools to prevent the transfer of plant diseases that may hamper stem cutting’s growth later on.
Remove the leaves above the cut end to make room for planting. Ensure that the leaves on the upper portion of the stem are intact.
Transfer the stem cutting to the pot with soil and anchor the stem firmly onto place.
Water the plant and place it in a warm, humid environment for optimal growth.
ZZ plants will stop growing or making new leaves at some point. This happens because the plant is rootbound and has grown bigger for the pot.
Aside from the lack of new growth, another sign that the plant is rootbound is when roots poke out of the draining holes.
When the ZZ plant is rootbound, it’s essential to replant it to a bigger pot right away.
New ZZ plant growth usually starts from the rhizome, and new leaves are pale or light green.
For the Raven variety, new leaves appear dark green and eventually transition to purple-black.
Therefore, seeing a much lighter or different color shade on new leaf growths may indicate the presence of distress or insufficient care.
The two leading causes of new growth turning yellow are overwatering and plant stress. Aside from yellow discoloration, new growths may have brown edges and show signs of wilting.
Since ZZ plants are drought-resistant, they don’t need much water to survive. Watering them when the top layer of the soil dries out is substantial, and you don’t need to water them daily.
Furthermore, they thrive best in warm, humid environments, but too much direct sunlight or heat can cause plant stress and impair growth.
That said, it’s best not to put plants near machines or vents that produce excess heat. At the same time, avoid exposing them to direct sunlight for more than eight hours per day.
Here are some care tips to ensure healthy plant growth and encourage new sprouts in Zanzibar gems:
Because of their fleshy rhizomes that can store water, ZZ plants can survive with minimal water.
Therefore, watering your ZZ plants once a week or every two weeks is substantial. Wait until the soil is bone dry before watering the plant again.
When watering the plant, pour water directly into the soil until it leaks out of the draining holes. Avoid using water sprays or overhead watering as it promotes fungi growth.
Zanzibar gems prefer indirect light, so placing them by a curtained window where they get hefty amounts of filtered sunlight is adequate.
Meanwhile, direct sunlight can scorch their leaves and cause them to wither.
ZZ plants thrive best in humid areas (around 50% humid) with temperatures between 55 to 85 degrees F.
A neutral to acidic, well-draining soil favors ZZ plant growth. I prefer mixing the soil with sand or perlite for better drainage.
Zanzibar gems are low-maintenance houseplants that thrive best in warm, humid environments. When given the right conditions, these plants develop new growths that are light green-colored.
New growths may turn yellow due to overwatering or heat stress. To prevent this phenomenon, water the plants once every two weeks and keep them away from direct sunlight and other heat sources.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.