ZZ plants are incredibly popular all over the globe. That’s because the florae are hardy and they come with stunning leaves.
They have oval foliage that’s a bright green shade. This makes ZZ plants the perfect addition to any home.
Besides that, the florae are exceptionally low maintenance. You won’t have to do much to keep them alive.
Yet, even though the plants are resilient, they are prone to several issues. For instance, the root bulbs can become exposed over time.
So, if you’re wondering why your ZZ plants have exposed root bulbs, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the issue.
I’ll also cover what you can do to remedy it and ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Before I jump into the causes of the issue, there are a few basics you should know. For starters, ZZ plants don’t technically have root bulbs.
Instead, they grow structures called rhizomes. These are fleshy, swollen stems that adapt to store excess water and minerals.
That’s why ZZ plants are so durable. They can pull nutrients from rhizomes when the soil is lacking.
Moving on, the main difference between bulbs and rhizomes is their shape. Bulbs are round, almost spherical structures, while rhizomes grow horizontally.
While there is a distinction, people usually use the two terms interchangeably.
Since the rhizomes are full of water, they’re prone to root rot. For that reason, gardeners need to keep the structures close to the surface of the soil.
This will allow them to stay rigid and healthy.
Yet, because of that, the root bulbs can become exposed easily.
Now that you have the basics down, I can move on to the sources of the issue. There are a few culprits that may be responsible for the exposed bulbs.
In this section, I’ll cover some of the major causes.
The most common reason behind exposed root bulbs is over-watering. As I mentioned, rhizomes rest incredibly close to the top of the soil.
In most cases, it’s about an inch deep from the surface.
So, if you water too often, the top layer of soil will wash away. Thankfully, all you have to do to resolve this issue is add a fresh batch of soil on top.
Plus, you may want to revise your watering schedule.
There are countless types of soil on the market. Although, not all of them are suitable for ZZ plants.
These florae need a well-drained growing medium to stay healthy. This should be sturdy enough to keep the root bulbs covered.
Yet, other soils with higher moisture levels won’t be as effective. Weather conditions like strong winds can cause the top layer of the medium to erode.
So, to avoid this issue, make sure you use the right soil type for ZZ plants.
If you’re growing your ZZ plants in a small container, there’s a chance they may become pot-bound. That happens when the roots no longer have any space to grow.
In that case, they’ll form a dense, tangled mess. This can force some of the rhizomes to the surface.
The only way to handle this issue is to replace the pot. You’ll need to find a larger container that’s big enough to accommodate future root growth.
Most people will use a hose to water the plants in their gardens. While this will get the job done in a flash, it’s not the best option.
That’s because water comes out of the hose at high pressure. This can cause the top layer of soil to erode.
While exposed root bulbs aren’t a major issue, they can lead to severe problems. In this section, I’ll cover some of the drawbacks that they can cause.
The most notable effect of exposed root bulbs is dehydration. When the rhizomes spend a lot of time in the sun, they’ll begin to release water to keep the plant alive.
This will lead to the florae drying out quickly. Best-case scenario, you’ll have to increase the watering frequency.
Yet, in some situations, this may lead your ZZ plants to fade away entirely.
Root bulbs don’t supply water exclusively. They also provide ZZ plants with nutrients.
So, if the rhizomes dry out, your florae won’t be able to access the extra minerals. This will lead to several problems, including weakened immunity.
In that case, your plants won’t be able to fight off any diseases.
There are a few pests that particularly enjoy snacking on ZZ plants. These include scale insects, aphids, blights, whiteflies, and mealybugs.
The critters will look for any exposed part of the florae and build a nest.
So, with exposed rhizomes, the pests will have more surface area to infest. That’ll cause your plants to wilt away in a few weeks.
If you’re dealing with ZZ plants with exposed root bulbs, there are a few possible causes behind the issue.
First up, it may be because you’re over-watering the florae or using excessive water pressure. Plus, the culprit may be soil erosion.
Moving on, root bulbs can move closer to the surface if your ZZ plants are root-bound.
While exposed roots aren’t a big deal, they can have a negative impact on your plants. For instance, they can cause dehydration and weakened immunity.
Other than that, they leave your florae more prone to pest infestations.
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.