The ZZ plant or Zanzibar gem, also known as the eternity plant, is sometimes mistaken for an artificial plant, thanks to its deep green waxy flawless leaves. This slow-growing plant is known to be low-maintenance, so it’s a good choice for beginners as it can handle some mistakes.
This plant thrives in indoor environments and can handle surviving long periods without water. But having a wrinkled and mushy stem might damage the look of this attractive plant.
So, why does my ZZ plant have a wrinkled stem? How can this problem be fixed? You’ve come to the right place to find the answers to these questions, so let’s dive in.
ZZ plants are known to have stiff stems and leaves that almost look artificial. However, some homeowners forget about examining these plants because they’re low-maintenance.
If your ZZ plants have wrinkled stems, this could be due to natural aging or a problem related to the plant’s care routine.
In most cases, this shouldn’t worry you, as it doesn’t mean your plant is dying.
Plants are highly adaptable and can look mushy or wrinkled to protect themselves in stressful environments. Once you’ve addressed the problem’s root cause, your ZZ plant’s gorgeous look will be restored.
Your ZZ plant might have a mushy stem due to the following reasons.
- The rhizomes of the ZZ plant are damaged by overwatering or underwatering.
- You’re growing your plant in old or hydrophobic soil.
- You might need to divide your ZZ plant.
- The ZZ plant isn’t receiving enough sunlight.
- The plant is replacing the old stems with new ones.
Having wrinkled stems on your ZZ plant isn’t a significant cause of concern. Here are some solutions to deal with this issue.
ZZ plants grow from rhizomes that store water. However, some novice gardeners make the mistake of watering them according to a preset schedule.
This can lead to overwatering, leading to root rot and making the stems look wrinkled and mushy.
Ideally, you should water your plant once a month or every couple of weeks, depending on the climate.
You should examine the soil and water the plant when the soil is completely dry. In general, your ZZ plant can handle underwatering better than overwatering.
If the plant is too dry, deep soak it to restore moisture.
You should water your ZZ plant until the excess water passes through the drain holes. You can also put the pot in a bucket of water to provide the roots with more moisture.
Your ZZ plant might be growing in old soil that repels water. Old soil might develop a coating on its particles, preventing it from holding moisture.
As a result, your ZZ plant won’t be able to absorb enough water, and the stems will look wrinkled and mushy.
Old soil affects the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients, so your plant might be prone to diseases and pest infestations. So, it’s best to replace it with a new potting mix that keeps it healthy and allows the rhizomes to absorb water and nutrients.
Deep water your plant after repotting it to allow it to overcome the transplant shock.
Your plant might have mushy stems because it’s rootbound. Rootbound plants have grown too big for their current pot, so they’re unable to absorb water and nutrients.
ZZ plants are slow growers, so you shouldn’t worry about repotting them too often. You might need to do this once every two or three years or only when you see the rhizomes pressing against the pot’s corners.
It’s best to divide your plant in the spring or summer because this will improve your plant’s survival chance.
Tilt the pot to the side and squeeze it to pull out the rhizomes. Then, gently brush out the old soil to replace it with new and fresh soil, but be gentle to avoid damaging the roots.
You can prepare the plant for repotting by leaving it without water for a few weeks because the dry soil will be easier to remove.
Pick a pot one or two inches larger than the old one and fill it with fresh soil. You shouldn’t try to break the bulbs if they’re connected, and try to pick a rhizome with a few healthy stems to grow in a new pot.
Water your ZZ plant thoroughly and press the soil to help it settle.
Your ZZ plant might have wrinkled and mushy stems because it’s not receiving enough light. ZZ plants tolerate various lighting conditions, so they thrive as indoor plants.
However, too little light can make the plant leggy, and the stems mushy.
So, it’s best to keep your plant next to a south-facing window where it can get plenty of filtered or indirect light. Beware because too much direct sunlight can burn the leaves of your ZZ plant.
The old stems can become wrinkled and mushy as your plant ages. This is quite normal, as the new sprouts will replace them.
There’s nothing to worry about, and you should leave the plant without doing anything until the new stems grow.
Seeing a wrinkled stem on your ZZ plant doesn’t mean that it’s dying. This can be caused by natural aging or might happen due to a problem with your plant’s maintenance routine.
Your ZZ plant is pretty resilient, so changing the watering schedule, repotting it, and picking a better location will solve this issue.
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.