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9 Reasons for ZZ Plant Not Growing (And Solutions)

You may think the ZZ plant is just like any other succulent, but it’s a unique flower in the Aroid family, hailing from Madagascar and Africa. This plant loves dry and sandy soil, but don’t expect it to store water in its leaves like other succulents do. No, the ZZ plant keeps its water stash in underground tubers.

So, you’ve got your hands on a ZZ plant and you’re ready to see it grow…but wait, why isn’t it growing? Before you hit the panic button, let’s take a closer look at its characteristics. Understanding the causes of its lack of growth will help us find the solution and get that plant thriving in no time!

Reasons for ZZ Plant Not Growing

This plant doesn’t require a lot of attention, especially in terms of watering, so go easy on it. At the same time, the plant stores moisture in the tubers rather than the leaves.

But even a plant that can survive in harsh conditions can stop growing. So is there anything else I can do if the ZZ plant doesn’t grow?

Zz Planted Incorrectly Won’t Grow

You have to come back to the pot over and over again. But you might think, “If the pot is the right size, what else is there to do?” ZZ may not grow if your pot is too deep.

For ZZ to grow well, the tubers need to be lightly covered with soil. The tubers shouldn’t be protruding above ground, but they should be near the soil’s surface.

You can quickly determine whether or not you planted ZZ correctly. If you can feel the tubers but can’t see them, you did it right. How do I fix it if it’s not right? Repot ZZ without going too deep with the tubers.

Improper Watering

Like other succulents, ZZ plants don’t need to water or spray often. As a result, it starts to rot and becomes easy prey for rot and parasites when it gets too much water.

ZZ Plant Potting Soil Dried out

Watering should be done every 12-15 days for optimal results. I recommend allowing the soil to dry completely and remain in this state for two to three days. These conditions are as close to natural as possible for the ZZ plant.

Overdrying the plant will not kill it but cause it to wither, turn yellow, and eventually drop off. However, if your resume is watering, you’ll soon see new leaves sprout.

Zamioculcas can survive without water for long periods because underground tubers store it.

The Zz Plant Can’t Grow Because Its Tubers Are Damaged

You may have overwatered your ZZ plant in the past, causing the tubers to rot, or you may have accidentally damaged the tubers during a previous repotting. Could you fix this?

It depends on the circumstances. If the infected tuber has already begun to develop, you can cut it down to healthy tissue and cover it with charcoal (ash or activated charcoal).

If you can see the rot, soak the soil or tubers for 20 minutes in a manganese solution to kill the rotting fungus.

You can’t be sure that the ZZ plant will live and grow, but if you take care of the roots and tubers the same way, the chances are better. Instead of letting the ZZ plant slowly die, it’s better to take that risk.

There Isn’t Enough Light For The Zz Plant To Thrive

You usually won’t find the ZZ plant on a window sill, except for tiny ones. Larger plants are typically put a little bit away from the window.

So if you have a southern window and the ZZ plant is pretty close to it, the lack of growth probably isn’t due to a lack of light.

And if the ZZ plant is in a dark corner, the only way to fix the problem is to move it somewhere with more light.

Zamioculcas Need Nitrogen For Growth

The fact that ZZ plants are classified as succulents has led to the widespread belief that they don’t need regular watering or fertilization. It’s not like that at all.

The ZZ plant and other common indoor plants, like succulents, also need them. As a macronutrient, nitrogen is essential for ZZ plants when they are actively growing.

There are usually other symptoms in the plant when nitrogen is lacking, and you’ll need to learn to recognize those so you can apply fertilizer effectively.

For example, the leaf tips and old leaves of the ZZ plant will turn yellow because of nitrogen deficiency.

Important! Adding nitrogen fertilizer will usually solve the problem with ZZ plant growth as long as there are no other problems.

The ZZ Plants Not Growing Because of Pests And Diseases

Always keep your plant clean and inspect it for disease. Your ZZ plant might be sick, so it’s not growing.

It’s easy to prey for things like spider mites, scales, and aphids, and it can even catch diseases like root rot and leaf spot.

What’s the best way to fix this? Depending on the pest that caused the disease, only thorough treatment of the entire plant will be effective.

ZZ Plant Stops Growing During Dormancy Period

The ZZ plant may pause its growth due to dormancy under normal development and favorable conditions. The dormancy period usually happens in late fall and winter.

You don’t need to do anything because the flower will wake up when the weather gets warmer. Reduce watering and stop feeding your ZZ plant during dormancy.

It’s Time for The Adaption Phase

If any of the following conditions are met, then the ZZ plant enters its adaptation period:

  • You just recently moved the ZZ plant to a new pot.
  • You just brought the plant home after buying it.
  • Just treated the ZZ plant for diseases or pests.
  • The growing conditions have changed, especially humidity and temperature.
  • Stem and leaf growth ceases during the adaptation period, and the ZZ plant requires time to resume growth. In a week or two, everything should be back to normal.

The Zz Plant Does Not Grow After Repotting

The ZZ plant is easy to care for but is sensitive to mistakes when repotting. Moving a plant to a new pot can disrupt its growth, so avoiding the most common mistakes is essential. Some of them are:

  • Root tubers should go deep enough that they aren’t visible above ground but shallow enough to be felt when the soil is touched. If you’ve piled too much dirt on top, you’ll want to remove it carefully.
  • Choosing a pot that is too deep. If the container holding a ZZ plant is too deep, the plant will not thrive. There should be at most two inches between the drainage layer and the root system.
  • Repotting when the soil is wet. When repotting, wait until the ground in the old container is dry. After replanting the ZZ plant, give it water and fertilizer to help it grow roots.
  • Take your time with repotting the ZZ plant. If the plant is less than five years old, I suggest doing it once a year, and if it’s older than five years old, I’d recommend doing it every two years.

How To Make Zz Plants Grow

The rate of growth depends on age. No noticeable change in appearance after one year is standard for a newly planted ZZ plant. 

The tuber is being developed at this stage, and the root system is set in place.

Therefore, I would only recommend rooting cuttings in huge pots if you have two or three years to wait for growth.

Once the stem is growing, the tuber keeps growing with the help of water and nutrients. Finally, you can expect new leaves to grow on the branch itself.

It is normal to see one or two stems per year after three years. After seven years, one branch is formed annually (provided the plant has not been previously repotted into a larger container).

I recommend not to go accelerating growth with fertilizer or hormones. The ZZ plant is one of those that grows slowly, and speeding it up artificially might not be safe for the plant.

Spring is the most critical growth and development time, lasting until September.

Shock therapy is used to encourage growth. To do this, it’s essential to:

  • Do not water for at least two weeks.
  • Place the plant in a cool location. Temperatures in the air shouldn’t dip below 15, with a sweet spot somewhere between 17 and 20 degrees.
  • Zamiokulkas is returned to normal conditions and watered after three weeks. Apply fertilization, preferably with a high nitrogen content.

However, it is vital to remember that this shock therapy stimulates tuber growth, not plant growth.

Therefore, there may be no visible results at first. Then, when the tubers begin to develop, you can anticipate the rapid emergence of one or two stems and the accelerated development of leaves on the old stems.

The slow rate of growth is pretty average, so stopping the plant from growing isn’t something that usually comes up.

Most of the time, sluggish growth can be traced back to neglect and unfavorable conditions. However, as soon as you change how you treat the plant, it will start growing again.

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