How Often To Water Your ZZ Plant? (Complete Watering Guide)


Contrary to its unusual name, the ZZ plant is not entirely unique to see as part of your houseplants.

In fact, because of its tolerance and “easy to take care of” characteristic, not only homeowners but also restaurants and office owners are enticed to have this plant in their place.

Though it’s not that challenging to take care of your ZZ Plant, you need to understand that it should receive the adequate water requirements that your plant’s system needs.

Watering your ZZ Plant is not complicated, you don’t need to rely on a schedule instead, you need to either observe the color and dryness of the soil, check the weight of the plant, or use a humidity checker to identify your plant’s water preference.

Factors That Impact Watering ZZ Plant Frequency 

Generally, your ZZ Plant doesn’t actually need too much of your attention with regards to watering. It can survive a couple of weeks without water.

But for your plant to achieve its maximum potential, you need to consider some factors that might affect your watering process.

Seasons

One crucial factor that you need to consider is the current season that you have. The watering process of your ZZ plant should vary according to the season.

So instead of following your strict schedule, you need to adhere to how much water your plant currently needs. To make it clear, please refer to the guidelines below.

In Summer

Due to the warm and dry climate that this season brings, your plant might experience fast water absorption and evaporation.

Apart from that, leaves become more active in the photosynthesis process, causing too much water usage.

With that, your ZZ Plant will need an increase in water intake, probably once every 5 to 7 days.

In Winter

You certainly know that plants become dormant during this season, which causes the evaporation and drying process to become slow.

In this situation, your plant needs less amount of water intake to avoid soaking and waterlogging.

By reducing the watering process, you’re not just helping your plant dry faster, but you also prevent pathogen infestation.

In Spring

Basically, watering at the right time during the spring season will create an impact on your houseplant’s growth.

The best time to water your plant during this season is before its leaf out date.

After that, additional watering will only be needed if the soil turns dry, especially if you live in a hot, dry area.

During Flowering

During the flowering season, your ZZ plant tends to consume a more generous amount of water than its regular intake, thus requiring you to be mindful of your plant’s water requirements.

Though your plant needs much water in this season, still the best thing to do is to check if the soil is dry within 2 inches deep.

Size of The Plant

Water requirement varies with the size of the plant. The larger your plant, the higher the water frequency it needs.

The reason for this is larger plants have much more soil and have higher physiological activity compared to smaller houseplants. (Source: University of Georgia)

Temperature

You should closely monitor the room temperature when you’re growing plants at home since the temperature will affect your watering frequency.

Your ZZ plant’s transpiration rate is high when the temperature rises and the rate slows down when the temperature drops.

Since temperature, light, and water is closely linked in the photosynthesis process.

It is advisable that you provide adequate water according to the current temperature and amount of sunlight to avoid shortage in undergoing photosynthesis.

In watering your ZZ plant, remember that the lower the temperature, the lower the water intake it will need since dense air can only hold few water vapors.

Otherwise, your plant will need more water in places with high temperatures since air can handle much water vapor making your plant dry out. 

Though your ZZ plant is very adaptive in its environment, you also need to remember that it comes from a tropical region which can only tolerate temperature between 72 and 82° F (22 – 28°C).

If your house temperature exceeds that bracket, you may need to frequently monitor the soil condition of your plant so you can quickly assess its water needs.

Humidity

It is also beneficial to consider the humid level in your house since it will determine the watering frequency for your ZZ plant.

Low humidity causes a higher rate of evaporation, therefore you need to frequently water your plant.

For most of the houseplants, relative humidity between 40% to 50% is the most considerable humid level.

If your area tends to have a greater or lesser humid level, you might need to adjust your watering process.

Type of Potting Mix

A well-draining potting mix is the perfect soil for your ZZ plant. Typically, a combination of perlite, coarse sand, and compost is enough to form an excellent well-draining pot.

If you’re using that kind of potting mix, you will most likely need to water your plant every 5 to 7 days since the water will be easily drained.

For best results, make it a habit to check your plant’s watering needs through the soil’s dryness.

Type of Pot

Ideally, a porous or clay pot is the most advisable pot to use since it can transfer water and oxygen through its walls, thus preventing your plant from overwatering.

This kind of pot is perfect, especially if you love to frequently water your ZZ plant.

Technically, 5 to 7 days of water interval is enough for your plant’s draining process if planted in this kind of pot.

If you opt to use plastic or ceramic pots, you’ll need to wait for 10 to 15 days before watering your plant since it will take some time to complete the draining process. You will notice that your plant’s soil dries slower in this kind of pot.

Size of the Pot

Technically, when the pot is large, the more potting mix it contains. Therefore it will require much water intake to reach the roots underneath.

On the contrary, if you’re using a small pot for your ZZ plant, the water supply towards your plant’s roots is much easier and faster, therefore it will only need minimal watering on your end.

Golden Rules of Watering

The best thing about indoor gardening is you don’t need to have a green thumb in growing houseplants.

You only need the proper understanding and care that your ZZ plant needs in terms of watering, amount of sunlight, humidity, and adequate nutrients.

To give you some tips on how to properly water your plant, you may refer to the golden rules of watering below. (Source: University of Vermont)

Keep the Soil Evenly Moist

Even though your ZZ plant can survive days without being watered, it is important to keep the soil evenly moist and avoid too much dryness for your plant to thrive excellently.

The ZZ plant only requires evenly moist soil and not into water logging or soaking level, leading to root rot.

Dry Between Watering

The drying process is also important so that water is drained correctly to avoid pathogenic invasions and diseases.

If you’re living in a hot and dry area, then most probably, your plant’s soil will quickly dry.

Otherwise, if you’re in a cold part of the country, then your ZZ Plant requires a much longer time to dry up.

Water Early Morning or Late Evening

Correct timing is a very important factor in watering your ZZ plant. Naturally, the best time is either early in the morning or late evening,.

Because, during this period, the sun is not extreme yet, thus allowing water to go deep into the roots without being evaporated.

Early Morning

The best way to do this is by watering your ZZ Plant before 10 am so that the roots will be adequately hydrated to boost your plant’s growth cycle.

Late Evening

The proper way of doing this is by watering when the sun is already not at its peak but not too late, or else the leaves will stay wet through the night, which invites fungi to build up.  

Do Not Wet the Leaves

If not necessary, it’s best not to water the leaves of your ZZ plant, especially in cold, humid areas.

Moisture build-up might cause different kinds of pathogenic invasions, putting your plant’s stake at risk.

Ensure Water Reaches the Roots

Ensuring that water reaches the roots is very important since roots play a significant role in transporting water and nutrients that your plant system needs.

In watering, to verify that water reaches the roots, make sure that there will be excess water flowing underneath your pot.

Avoid Waterlogging

Waterlogging might trigger different diseases in your ZZ Plant, and that includes root rotting.

Follow the golden rule in keeping the soil evenly moist and allow time for drying in between watering, then your plant will be far away from having waterlogged soil. 

If possible, you can drill additional holes in your pot to aid the drying process of your ZZ plant’s soil.

Use Well Drainage Capacity Soil

Aside from proper watering, it is also essential to use well-draining soil for your ZZ Plant to provide additional help in your plant’s drainage system. With that, you are lessening the chance of overwatering the soil.

How Do You Know if ZZ Plant Needs Watering?

As a good houseplant owner, you must understand your plant’s water requirements.

The good thing about growing a ZZ Plant is it usually signals visible signs that you can easily detect.

But to help you further determine if your plant needs water, you refer to the practical steps provided.

Test Moisture Level through Finger or Stick

  • If you want to feel a little bit of connection with your plant, then testing the soil using your finger is the best method for you. 
  • Practically, all you need to do is stick your finger for about 2 inches deep within the soil. You need to add another 1-2 inches more in-depth to make your testing more reliable for bigger pots.
  • If the soil feels rough and dry, then your plant is telling you that it needs water. Otherwise, if it’s a bit wet and dank, then the soil still contains moisture, and you will have to wait for a couple of days before watering it.
  • If you’re not into sticking your hands on the soil, you may opt to use a barbecue stick. If the stick comes out neat and clean, then the plant is very much ready for another round of water intake. If it has soil sticking around, then your plant needs more time to complete its draining process.

Potting Soil Color

  • Another easy and practical way of checking is by looking at the color of your plant’s soil.
  • Typically, if your ZZ Plant shows a darker soil color, then your plant is still wet and should not be watered yet. If it shows lighter, then the soil is already dry and ready to be watered.

Wilting or Drooping leaves

  • If you find out that some of your ZZ Plant leaves are slowly wilting, you must consider it as a possible sign of water shortage. But before watering it, kindly check the soil property since there are relatively few other reasons why your plant leaves are drooping.
  • Based on the previous method, if the soil indicates moisture, your plant will most likely need water intake.
  • If it doesn’t show any signs of moisture, then you need to check further since your plant might be suffering from a particular dysfunction.

Brown Leaf Tips

  • The most common reason why your ZZ plant has brown leaf tips is that it receives too much inconsistent water. The roots of your plant tend to rapidly absorb a higher amount of water than the leaves could process.
  • It could also be a symptom of root damage because of being soaked in the water for an extended period, thus hindering the process of transporting enough water to the leaves.
  • If this happens, you might need to slow down in watering your ZZ Plant to avoid further damage.

Leaves Wrinkling

  • If you haven’t watered your ZZ Plant for a while and display a symptom of Leaf wrinkling, then it’s a sign that your plant is thirsty and needs an adequate water intake.
  • But if you find out that your plant leaves are wrinkling after watering, then most likely, your plant is telling you that it has been soaked in water and needs immediate draining.

Leaves Turning Brown or Yellow

  • There are many possible reasons why the leaves of your ZZ Plant are experiencing discoloration, such as temperature problems, usage of tap water, lighting issues, or lack of nutrients. Still, the most common reason is improper watering. 
  • If the leaves are turning yellow, it’s a possible sign of root rot or fungal infestation due to an abundant build-up of moisture within the roots. Take note that overwatering is the main reason why your plant is experiencing root rot. 
  • If the leaves are turning brown, then most likely there’s a shortage in water supply since it didn’t reach the leaves of your ZZ Plant.
  • If you’re in doubt about whether to increase or decrease your plant’s water intake, the best solution is to always check the soil.

Measure the Weight of The Pot

  • Usually, wet soil is much heavier compared to dry soil. To check if your plant needs watering, you just have to lift the pot up and assess using its weight.
  • If you are new to this process, you might be confused about the weight of your pot. The best way to solve that is by lifting your pot before and after watering it so that you will have a clear distinction of its weight.
  • Over time, you will become used to this process and can quickly assess it by just checking on the weight alone.

Leaf Drying Out and Falling Off

  • Leaf drying out then falling off are signs of underwatering because your plant’s root is unable to transport enough water and nutrients towards the leaves. 
  • If you find out that the soil is dry, then allow your plant to intake water.
  • If the soil is relatively wet, stop watering your plant for a week or two, then observe for other possible symptoms.

Use Moisture Meter

  • If you’re into accuracy and scientific process, then a moisture meter is a suitable device for you. You can purchase this in your local garden shop.
  • All you need to do is stick it in your ZZ Plant’s soil, and it will produce movement on the scale.
  • When reading it, you will see a dry and wet indicator in which you can quickly determine the condition of your plant’s soil and take the appropriate course of action.
  • For a more accurate result, try to test the soil on different sides of the pot.

How to Water Your ZZ Plant?

There are relatively few methods that you can apply in providing your ZZ Plant with its desired water intake. Here’s the step-by-step process in watering your ZZ plant.

Watering from Above

This process is the most usual watering method.. But in case you need a reminder, you can check the procedure below.

  1. Using a watering can or container, pour out enough water to thoroughly soak the soil of your ZZ Plant.
  1. Continue pouring out until water starts to flow underneath the pot.
  1. After 10 to 15 minutes, remove all excess water from your pot saucer to avoid reabsorption from your plant’s soil.
  1. Make sure not to use sprinklers because it can cause moisture to build-up on the top portion of the leaves.

Watering from Below

You can also try watering your ZZ Plant underneath to ensure that your plant leaves don’t get wet.

  1. Pick a container where you can place your pot. Preferably a saucer or a basin.
  1. Put your plant inside the container and slowly add water until up to half of the pot.
  1. Wait until the water is absorbed by roots through the drainage of your pot.
  1. Keep adding water until the soil stops absorbing.
  1. Move your plant out of the container to avoid overwatering.

Self-Watering Pots

Another watering method that you can try is by using a self-watering pot. In this process, your ZZ plant will be provided with water coming from a reservoir system.

As long as you provide water on the reservoir, your plant will indeed receive an adequate amount of moisture it needs.

This watering process is helpful if you are traveling for a certain period of time.

It allows your plant to continually intake water and thrive even if you’re miles away from home.

With its design, your plant will only receive the adequate water it needs, thus protecting your plant from overwatering or underwatering.

There are many types and models of self-watering Pots nowadays, in fact, there are tutorials on how to DIY self-watering pots.

But to be familiarized with the primary process, take a look at this guide.

  1. While using a self-watering pot, make sure first that your houseplant becomes familiar with the container. You need to water the topsoil after placing your plant. In that way, your plant roots tend to grow into the reservoir, thus allowing your plant to drink from it.
  1. After four weeks of manual topsoil watering, you can now test if your ZZ plant is ready to use the reservoir system of the self-watering pot. Fill the reservoir with water until it reaches half of the indicator bar. 
  1. If the water indicator goes down, then most likely, your plant is ready to use this self-watering process. Otherwise, you need to go back to step 1 and try testing again for the next 2 weeks until there’s a movement in the water indicator bar.
  1. In case your ZZ Plant already adopts the process, always remember to always drain the reservoir and allow 3 to 5 days before refilling it up to the max line.
  1. Do not water the topsoil of your plant while using this system since it will cause waterlogging, which is highly dangerous to your plant.
  1. As much as possible, avoid transplanting your ZZ Plant into a self-watering pot during the winter season because your plant will have a hard time adapting to the watering process.
  1. If you see that your plant’s topsoil is drying, you shouldn’t be worrying about that since the reservoir directly supplies water towards the roots. Apparently, you may add some potting mix to make it more desirable and, at the same time, to boost nutrients needed for your plant’s growth.

How to Water Propagated ZZ Plants?

Pest and other pathogenic invasions are less likely to occur in your ZZ Plant. Still, in the worst-case scenario, you will need to consider propagating your plant to somehow rescue it from the infestation.

Aside from properly propagating, you also need to ensure that you’re providing the adequate watering process that your newly propagated ZZ Plant needs.

  1. If you propagate using stem cuttings, make sure that it has already grown rhizome before transferring it to the pot. Water thoroughly until it flows underneath the pot. You can water your plant once every two weeks or when the soil becomes dry.
  1. If you propagate using leaf cuttings, make sure that you properly place the stem 1 cm deep below the topsoil. Water the soil once every two to three weeks or when the ground becomes dry.

Watering ZZ Plants After Repotting

  1. When your ZZ plant is overgrown the current pot that it has, you should consider repotting it to a larger pot for your plant to achieve its maximum potential. Repotting is stressful to your plant, so you need to ensure that you are providing the right amount of water to help your plant bounce back.
  1. Watering is not merely a big deal when done after repotting. In fact, your plant will require a certain amount of water to produce new roots underneath.
  1. In watering, make sure that you water your plant thoroughly until it starts to leak under your pot. In that way, you can ensure that the water hits the roots of your plant.
  1. Water your plant once a week or when you notice signs that your plant is requiring water intake.
  1. After 10 to 15 minutes, remove excess water in your pot dish to avoid fungal production in the roots of your plant.

Final Words

The watering process of your ZZ plant is somehow less complicated compared to other houseplants.

As a matter of fact, you only need to properly understand and apply the golden rules of watering to avoid either overwatering or underwatering your plant.

Whether watering from above, below or by using a self-watering pot, as long as you provide it property and timely, your ZZ Plant will definitely thrive.

Remember that if you’re in doubt about whether to water your plant or not, always take time to observe and follow the methods of determining the water requirement of your plant.

Arifur Rahman

I'm the owner of gardenforindoor.com. After completing my bachelor of science in agriculture, I'm serving as a civil service officer at the Department of Agricultural Extension, Bangladesh. I started Garden For Indoor to make your indoor gardening journey easy and enjoyable.

Recent Posts