The ZZ plant is certainly one of the most popular types of houseplants in the world. They’re always referred to as ZZ plants by people because the actual name is Zamioculcas zamifolia, and that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.
If you are one of the many people who own ZZ plants, you likely enjoy them quite a bit. They look really nice and they seem to add a lot of aesthetic charm to a house.
Sometimes people have issues with ZZ plants turning yellow, though, and this is certainly a sign that something isn’t right. If you have noticed the leaves on your plant becoming yellow over time, you’re going to want to take action and figure things out.
If you’re able to get to the bottom of the situation quickly, you’ll definitely be able to try to turn things around by taking the right steps.
Read on to learn more about why ZZ plants will start to turn yellow and what you can do to remedy the situation. You’ll also get some important tips about how to care for them so that they can thrive.
1 – Lighting Issues
Lighting issues can cause your ZZ plant more problems than you would think. That’s because ZZ plants thrive in low to medium light conditions.
It’s going to be important to ensure that your plant is getting the right level of light because too much light will lead to various issues.
If your ZZ plant is in the sunlight for too many hours per day, it’s going to be very detrimental to the plant. You might notice the leaves turning yellow and burning.
In this situation, you need to move your plant to an area that is going to be safer for it.
Your ZZ plant does so much better in low light conditions than it does in full sunlight. If you want to take care of your plant the right way, you should try to find a good spot for it where the sun can’t harm it.
Even a darkened corner of a room is going to be much more appropriate than a spot with too much sun.
If you want to have your ZZ plant in a prominent place in your house, you might need to adapt things to suit the plant. For example, it might be necessary to keep the curtains closed so that light is only peeking through them.
If too much light is present in a specific location, you’re really going to need to move the plant for it to survive and do well.
2 – Watering ZZ Plants Too Much
Lots of people like keeping ZZ plants in their houses because of how easy they are to care for. You actually don’t even need to water these plants all that often, and it’s simple to give them enough water to keep them going.
If you’ve noticed that your ZZ plant has yellowing leaves, it’s quite possible that you could be watering it too much.
Overwatering a ZZ plant is one of the leading causes of yellowing leaves. Many people get overzealous when watering these plants because of how much more water many other houseplants need.
If you’re watering your ZZ plant in the same way that you’re watering some of your other plants, you’re making a mistake.
ZZ plants need very little water to survive and it’s best to only water these plants when the top half of their soil is dry. You’ll need to use your fingers to check the soil each time to ensure that the top half has dried out well before giving the plant water.
If you don’t do this, you’re going to run the risk of watering it too much.
When you’re watering your plant, you want to do a good job by watering until the water is draining from the bottom of your pot. You also need to be mindful of getting rid of the excess water since your ZZ plant doesn’t like having the water stick around.
Leaving the moisture near the bottom of the pot could lead to issues such as root rot and it’s easy enough to avoid by just discarding the water from the saucer or dish after you’ve watered your plant.
3 – Watering ZZ Plants Inconsistently
You might not realize this but watering your ZZ plant inconsistently could be causing issues as well.
If you let your ZZ plant completely dry out sometimes and then you wind up watering it so much that the soil is wet for a longer period of time, it’s going to shock the plant. Essentially, when your timing is erratic, it’s going to cause the leaves to start yellowing.
If you want to avoid yellowing problems, you’re going to need to try to maintain a consistent watering schedule.
Overall, ZZ plants are not very tough to care for. You just need to pay a bit of attention and ensure that they aren’t being totally neglected when it comes to water.
Most often, you can solve these yellowing issues by just trying to be more mindful about when you’re watering the plants. Try to maintain a consistent schedule as best you can without watering the plant too much.
If you’re putting in this kind of effort, you’re surely going to get better results.
4 – Ensure That Your Soil Drains Well
ZZ plants don’t need to have a special type of soil but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay attention to the soil that you’re using.
As mentioned earlier, ZZ plants don’t react well to having too much moisture stick around. After you’re done watering the plant, you’re not even supposed to let the drainage water linger near the bottom of the pot.
Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that you’re going to need soil with good drainage. If your soil isn’t giving you the right type of drainage, you’re going to have a hard time getting your plant to do well. You could notice yellowing leaves or other issues if your drainage isn’t being done right.
This is something that you can remedy quite simply by just buying soil with better drainage. Ensure that your ZZ plant has soil that will be able to drain very thoroughly so that you won’t encounter problems.
It’s well worth taking the time to do this and you’ll have much better luck with your plant.
5 – Pest Issues
It’s even possible that the yellowing leaves on your ZZ plant could be caused by pests. There are various types of pests that could be bothering your plant. Spider mites are among the most common and they are known to sap moisture from ZZ plants.
When pests are bothering ZZ plants, it will put them into an agitated state. You might start noticing signs on your plant such as yellowing leaflets or fronds. It’s very likely that you’re dealing with spider mites, mealybugs, or some other type of indoor pest.
If you don’t solve this pest problem in the early stages, it can actually get pretty bad. The yellowing problem will get even worse due to the pests biting the plant. You want to take the right steps to get rid of the pests to protect your ZZ plant from further harm.
You can try to get some type of safe pesticide to use on your houseplants. This is going to be the easiest way to solve the problem and it might be ideal to look up specific information about how to kill spider mites.
If you know the type of pest that you’re dealing with, it should be relatively simple to buy the right stuff to kill them.
Feeding Your ZZ Plant
You don’t need to go overboard when it comes to feeding your ZZ plant. Most people who give fertilizer to these plants will try to do so sparingly.
You can feed it once per month to keep your plant as healthy as can be and this can even be done during the time when you’re watering it.
For the best results, use a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer. This should give your ZZ plant the nutrition that it needs so that it can keep growing strong for you.
If your ZZ plant is still recovering from having issues with pests or some of the other problems mentioned above, this could help it out in various ways.
Houseplant fertilizer is very inexpensive and it isn’t a bad idea to utilize when you’re trying to get your plant back to good health. You’re going to be able to apply the fertilizer easily and it shouldn’t be a big deal so long as you don’t go overboard with it.
Just be mindful of how much you’re using and be sure to keep track of the dates so that you don’t fertilize your plant too often.
Remember That ZZ Plants Are Toxic
Another important thing to keep in mind when you’re caring for a ZZ plant is that these plants are toxic.
If you have pets, you’re going to want to be especially careful with where you’re keeping your plant. If your pets were to take a bite of this plant, they would get very sick.
Sometimes cats will get curious and try to jump up to high places to nibble on plants. This is problematic when you’re caring for a ZZ plant because you don’t want your cat to get sick.
You should do your best to keep this plant out of the reach of your cats to protect both the plant and your cats.
It’s also important to note that children need to be kept away from these plants. Kids don’t always do rational things and it isn’t outside the realm of possibility that a young child could try to eat a leaf from a ZZ plant.
To avoid any potential issues, you can just keep the plant away from any kids.
Finally, you should know that you need to wash your hands after handling a ZZ plant. You might wash the leaves from time to time and this will require you to touch it.
It isn’t necessary to wear gloves but you will want to wash your hands to avoid any potential skin irritation due to prolonged exposure.
Trimming Your ZZ Plant
When your ZZ plant is doing really well, it’s possible that you might see it start to grow out and extend itself.
Sometimes the leaves will reach out a bit too far and they might even start to get in your way. Thankfully, it’s easy to just trim your plant without repercussions.
You don’t have to worry too much about harming the ZZ plant when you cut its leaves back. If it is becoming too large, you can feel free to trim it with a clear conscience.
Don’t worry too much about the plant flowering either since it’s mostly a foliage plant. The flowers are very small and not incredibly appealing.
Your ZZ plant will typically flower sometime in the mid-summer or the early part of autumn.
ZZ Plants Are Among the Best for Beginners
You might be worried about caring for a ZZ plant after reading the information above but it’s actually quite easy.
These plants are popular specifically because they’re among the best plants for beginners to keep. You can get these plants to bounce back very easily and it’s going to be hard to kill the plant even when you forget to water it.
The yellowing problems can be a bit of an issue but you can remedy things by making some minor adjustments.
As long as you’re not keeping the plant in direct sunlight, it’s going to be very simple to get results. Just water it sometimes without going overboard and you’re going to be well on your way.
If you ever need to get a gift for a friend who is interested in starting to keep houseplants, buying them a ZZ plant is a great idea. Just inform them that the plant is toxic so that they can take the necessary precautions.
It’s a wonderful plant that is a very attractive addition to any household.
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.