The ZZ plant is one of the most popular indoor plants and is known for its low maintenance and air-purifying qualities.
However, even the most resilient plants out there can experience some issues from time to time, a common example here is seeing your ZZ plant growing sideways.
There are a few reasons why ZZ plant stems droop. In today’s guide, I’ll walk you through those reasons along with ways to fix them.
Although some people might find it aesthetically pleasing, if your ZZ plant is growing sideways, it’s usually an indicator that something is wrong.
This is because, in perfect conditions, the ZZ plant should always grow straight up. In other words, leaving the plant in its current situation will lead to further issues down the road, depending on the factor that causes it.
Now that you know that ZZ plants shouldn’t be growing sideways, here’s a quick look at the main culprits behind this phenomenon and what you can do about them.
The most common reason why ZZ plants grow sideways is related to how often you water the plant.
ZZ plants are originally native to semi-arid regions in Africa where the region receives little rainfall. However, ZZ plants have a sophisticated rhizome system that stores water to overcome long periods of drought.
If you overwater the plant, it’ll become waterlogged and start drooping. You can identify that by checking the soil, which would be damp or soggy.
While the plant withstands a lack of water, it can’t go on forever. If the plant is drooping and the deep layers of the soil are too dry, your plant simply needs to be watered more often.
The ideal watering regimen for ZZ plants is to water every 2 to 3 weeks, but you should also factor in sunlight, soil drainage, and climate conditions for adequate watering
If you feed your ZZ plant too often, the salts in the fertilizer will accumulate around the rhizome, draining its water content and preventing it from absorbing water.
This results in malnourished, weak stems that can’t support their weight, leading to drooping.
To avoid this problem, you should tune down your fertilization frequency and feed the plant once every 4 to 6 months.
Luckily, ZZ plants are not picky eaters and can grow well with general-purpose, diluted liquid fertilizers.
Another popular reason why ZZ plants end up drooping is contracting some physical damage due to trauma.
This often happens due to pets or children messing with the plant. This is because the damaged stems interrupt water uptake channels, which weakens the plant’s stem and causes it to droop.
First, you should know that ZZ plants are poisonous to humans and common pets, so you need to check that they’re safe and contact a healthcare professional if they display any signs of toxicity.
As for the plant, you’ll need to cut off the damaged parts, as they take a huge toll on the plant and hardly recover.
The temperature at which you leave your ZZ plant can heavily impact its growth and stem strength.
This is true whether the temperatures are above 85 °F or below 40 °F. In that case, you may also notice leaves shriveling and falling off.
Simply transfer the plant to a spot with a favorable temperature range, which is between 60 to 75 °F.
You should also make sure that the plant isn’t placed near external air drafts, which could be too hot or cold for the plant. You should also remove any wilting or curling leaves to help the plant regain its strength quicker.
ZZ plants thrive in indirect sunlight, whether it’s medium or highly bright. However, exposing the plant to direct sunlight can cause it to droop significantly. This is often accompanied by scorched leaves, which is the telltale sign of excessive sunlight.
Transfer the plant to a spot with more adequate exposure to sunlight. Use shaders and blinds to keep the light indirect and soft to protect the plant.
Ideally, you need to re-pot your ZZ plant once every year to accommodate its growth. This should be right before its growing season (spring) for optimal results.
While it’s for the good of the plant, transplanting is usually accompanied by a period of stress where the stems end up drooping.
Luckily, transplant stress is a temporary natural reaction to repotting, so you don’t have to do much here rather than giving your plant time to accommodate, which is usually as little as 4 to 7 days.
This marks the end of today’s guide that shows you all the reasons why your ZZ plant ends up drooping and growing sideways.
As you can see, there are various aspects that can affect the plant’s growth patterns and affect the stem’s strength. By following the tips provided above, you’ll be able to detect and fix them with relative ease!
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.