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Why Does My ZZ Plant Rhizome Have No Leaves? (8 Causes)

Why Does My ZZ Plant Rhizome Have No Leaves? (8 Causes)

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ZZ plant propagation needs a lot of patience. You can’t watch what’s happening underground, and it takes months to see growth.

Because of the long wait time, it’s natural to feel worried if you made a mistake during the planting. However, it’s best to wait before you disturb a growing ZZ!

Today, I’ll walk you through eight reasons why your ZZ plant rhizome isn’t growing any leaves.

By the end of this article, you’ll know whether you should make adjustments to the rhizome’s growing environment!

Do ZZ Plant Rhizomes Grow Leaves?

Yes! On top of storing water, rhizomes have nodes that develop roots and shoots.

Leaves grow from these shoots, and each rhizome can turn into a new adult plant over time. This means you can separate or cut the rhizomes to propagate a ZZ plant.

How Long Does It Take for ZZ Plant Rhizomes to Grow Leaves?

Rhizomes grow downward and laterally before moving upward. What this means is the roots grow first before shoots and stems develop.

In general, it takes two months for a ZZ plant’s rhizome to grow roots. If your ZZ plant is in an unfavorable environment, you can expect to wait longer before roots come out.

Note that leaves will only come out after the roots form!

The best advice I can give you is to remain patient with your plant. You can check the soil conditions regularly as well.

8 Reasons Why Your ZZ Plant Rhizomes Have No Leaves

Here are some factors that can prevent your ZZ plant rhizome from forming leaves.

1 – You Planted During the Wrong Growing Season

The seasons can affect your ZZ plant’s growth rate.

These plants develop one to three new stems from spring to summer. Meanwhile, it stops growing during the winter.

You should consider planting it at the right time to give your ZZ plant rhizome a better chance of developing leaves.

2 – The Temperature Is Too Low

According to a study by Michigan State University, ZZ plants need warm days and nights to grow. The ideal temperature should be 76˚F-90˚F.

An environment below 76˚F will delay the emergence of the shoots and leaves!

You can place heating mats near the plant to help you grow ZZ plants in cold weather.

3 – There’s Insufficient Light

Even though the rhizomes are below ground, lighting still affects the development of leaves.

Researchers found that roots develop thinner and shorter in the dark. On the other hand, light induces root growth by improving sugar production.

In short, your ZZ plant may need more sunlight, and you should consider moving it to a window!

4 – Your ZZ Is Experiencing Water Stress

Too much moisture can cause root rot in ZZ plants. It can prevent your rhizomes from developing leaves.

The best time to propagate a ZZ plant is when it’s due for a watering. Ensure the soil is dry before splitting the stems and rhizomes.

You should only water the rhizomes after planting them in fresh soil. This way, you can avoid overwatering!

5 – The Roots Broke During Transplant

Since rhizomes develop roots before producing stems, damage to this area can delay the leaves.

To prevent broken roots, you should be careful when separating stems and rhizomes for propagation.

6 – Inadequate Soil

The type of soil you use for planting the ZZ rhizomes affects how long it takes for leaves to develop.

Soil is a source of nutrients for the rhizomes, and it has an impact on the health of the plant.

A 2018 study shows that ZZ rhizomes grow leaves faster in equal parts sand and rice husk charcoal. Peat moss is another great choice!

7 – The Plant Isn’t Mature Enough

If leaves aren’t growing out of the rhizomes, it may be a sign that they’re not mature enough!

ZZ plants take three to five years to fully grow.

Before you divide a ZZ plant, you should make sure that it has many stems and rhizomes. The plant must be two to four feet high.

8 – Your Planting Depth Is Too Deep

Planting depth is how far into the soil you bury your rhizomes. Of course, if you push it in too deep, it’ll take longer for the leaves to emerge.

What’s more, you can affect the growth and produce a weak ZZ plant.

As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t go deeper than twice the diameter of the rhizome.

Final Thoughts

ZZ plants are easy to care for, but they grow slowly. When you’re starting from a rhizome, it may take months before leaves emerge.

Factors like the season, temperature, maturity, and lighting can delay leaf growth. Too much moisture and broken roots can stunt your ZZ’s growth as well.

It’s best to plant your ZZ in warm weather with adequate sunlight. Avoid overwatering and choose the correct soil types.

Lastly, patience is the key when it comes to propagating ZZ plants. Trust that as long as you care for it, it’ll produce leaves in a few months!

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