The ZZ plant is a popular houseplant because it is easy to care for and can tolerate neglect and abuse quite well. This makes it perfect for beginners.
The plant also grows quite quickly once it has established itself.
As such, at some point you’ll need to repot it. And if you want to grow more of this beautiful plant, propagating your ZZ plant is the way to go. Plus, it’s free!
How do you propagate ZZ plants? The ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) can be propagated from stem cuttings, leaf cuttings and division. Each of these methods vary in how you propagate as well as how long it takes before you see shoots and new leaves appear.
Since the plant grows from rhizomes, both stem and leaf cuttings take longer than division to propagate the ZZ Plant.
How to Propagate ZZ Plants
One of the best things about the ZZ plant is that there are many ways to propagate it. Additionally, there are many different options you can go with each method.
Here are most common ways of propagating a ZZ plant:
- From leaf cuttings
- From stem cuttings
- By division
One important thing to note is that propagating a ZZ plant is fairly easy and straightforward. But the entire process actually takes a while.
That’s because the plant grows very slowly once you got the leaf or stem cuttings in place.
At times, it can take weeks before you see small development.
As such, the most important thing here is to have patience and monitor the new plant. Make sure that it is healthy.
As long as it is healthy, it will just be a matter of time before it starts growing.
ZZ Plant Propagation from Leaf Cuttings
ZZ plant leaf propagation is probably the simplest method at least when it comes to the process itself. That’s because the plant has many leaves.
And you can take quite a few leaves to grow a bushier new plant.
However, do note that while ZZ plant leaf propagation is more convenient in the beginning, it also takes the longest among the 3 methods I’ll be showing here (leaf cuttings, stem cuttings and division).
So, you’ll need to be more patient before you start seeing shoots and leaves appear from your leaf cuttings.
The reason is that the new plant will need to develop a rhizome then roots from the leaf cutting.
In contrast, with stem cuttings, the stems are already there. And with division, you get a semi-grown plant once you’re done.
So, the order is basically reversed in that the easier the propagation method the longer before you get a new plant. In contrast, division takes more work during propagation. But you end up with new plants that already have roots and leaves.
That said, here’ how to propagate the ZZ plant from leaf cuttings.
Step 1: Take leaf cuttings.
You’ll want to take a few leaves. That’s because not all leaf cuttings will successfully propagate into new plants.
Additionally, having multiple leaves will give you the option to group several of them together later on to make your new ZZ plants bushier.
To take leaf cuttings, cut the leaf with as close as you can to the stem, include the petiole or part of the petiole with the leaves.
Step 2: Dip the Leaf Cuttings into Rooting Hormone
This step is optional. But it helps increase propagation success rates at least based on my experiments. I’ve also observed that the leaf cuttings grow faster with rooting hormone.
Step 3: Plant the Leaf Cuttings into Potting Mix
Plant all the leaf cuttings into a pot filled with well-draining potting mix.
You want to have the leaves point up with the tip towards the ceiling.
Plant the leaf cuttings so the petiole and part of the leaf is in the soil. Make sure to space the leaves out on the soil to give each of them space.
Step 4: Water the Soil
You’ll need to water the soil to keep it moist. Allow the soil to dry between waterings.
The most important thing here is to avoid overwatering or getting the soil all wet and soggy. This will kill your leaf cuttings even before they begin.
You’ll usually only need to water once every 2 weeks.
Step 5: Place the Pot in Bright, Indirect Sunlight
Keep the cuttings in medium to bright indirect sunlight indoors. Avoid direct sunlight.
The leaf cuttings need good lighting to grow.
Ideally, the location should be warm (not cold) and with good humidity. This will make it ideal for faster development.
Step 6: Wait
Now the hard part, waiting.
It will take at least a few weeks for something to happen. More importantly, you’ll need to wait about 2 to 3 months before the rhizomes will develop and a few roots will appear.
Yes, it takes that long.
And through that process, your goal is to be patient.
Additionally, water the soil and keep it moist while making sure the leaf cuttings stay in a warm location with bright indirect light.
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ZZ Plant Propagation from Stem Cuttings
ZZ plant propagation from stem cuttings will yield much faster results. So, if you’re not the patient type, this is probably a better option compared to leaf propagation.
Additionally, you have a couple of options here.
- Propagate your ZZ plant in water
- Propagate your ZZ plant in soil
The two methods will make use of stem cuttings. And they are similar with just a few minor differences.
Therefore, don’t worry.
I’ll take you through the steps for both propagating in water and propagating in soil below.
But before we get there, let’s take care of getting the stem cutting ready first.
Here’s how to propagate the ZZ plant from stem cuttings.
Choose a healthy stem or stems. You can take one or take a few stems.
To do so, cut off the stem at the base of the plant. You can leave a half inch or an inch of stem coming out from the soil.
When cutting, make sure that you sanitize your pruning shears or knife beforehand. You can wipe the blades with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.
Once you have the cuttings, it is time to decide whether you want to propagate them in water or propagate them in soil.
Propagating a ZZ Plant in Water from Stem Cuttings
ZZ plant propagation in water using stem cutting is the more popular method because many home gardeners like to be able to see the rhizome and roots as they develop.
To do so,
- Place the stem cuttings into a glass of water. You can use any kind of container as long as it is deep enough to submerge a good part (but not the entire stem).
- If you have multiple stem cuttings, you can put them in one container or if you have thin, tall containers, use one per cutting. Either way works.
- Keep the cuttings in bright, indirect light but avoid direct sunlight.
- Replace the water every 1-2 weeks before it gets cloudy. Although you can take much longer. The goal is to avoid having stagnant water for too long as mold will eventually develop.
It takes a few weeks for the rhizome and a few roots to develop.
The rhizome will look like a small potato at the end of the stem. And from that rhizome, you’ll see some roots begin to grow.
The final step is to wait until the roots get over one inch long.
When this happens, you can pot up the stem cuttings into a container with well-draining soil.
If you want to grow multiple new plants, place 1-2 stem cuttings into each pot.
If you want your new plant to look like that in the store, put multiple stem cuttings in one pot. This will make it look fuller.
In a few months, you’ll see the plant develop new shoots then leaves.
Propagating a ZZ Plant in Soil from Stem Cuttings
ZZ plant propagation in soil using stem cuttings is similar to water propagation. But this time, you’ll skip the steps of placing the stem cuttings in water.
Instead, you’ll plant them directly into soil.
Here’s how to do it.
- Prepare a pot or pots and fill them with well-draining potting mix. Make sure you use pots with drainage holes at the bottom.
- Again, you can put all the cuttings in one pot or separate them into different containers.
- Before you plant, dip the stem cuttings into rooting hormone. This is an optional step but it helps a lot in terms of how fast the new plant roots and in increasing propagation success rates.
- Plant the cuttings into the soil then tamp the soil to keep the cuttings in place.
- Water the soil to keep it moist.
- Place the pot or pots in bright, indirect light.
When you propagate a ZZ plant in soil, you don’t need to move it like you would when propagating in water.
This makes it more convenient if you’re a busy person.
The only time you’ll need to repot it is when the new plant or plants have outgrown their pots.
ZZ Plant Propagation by Division
Propagating a ZZ plant by division is a bit different from propagating via leaf or stem cuttings.
That’s because you won’t be taking part of the leaf or stem. Instead, you’ll be dividing or separating the plant’s root ball.
Here’s how to divide a ZZ plant to propagate it.
Start by taking out the ZZ plant from its pot. This may or may not be easy depending on how firmly it has grown in the pot.
I remember having to use a light saw to separate the root ball from the sizes of the pot for one of by ZZ plant. Hopefully, you won’t need to do so.
The simplest way to take the plant out of the pot is tilt it or tip it on its side and carefully slide the root ball out.
Once you have the ZZ plant out of its pot, it is time to divide the plant.
Inspect the plant’s root ball. Check for root rot, pests, disease or any other problems. If there is any, fix that first before you propagate the plant.
Remove some of the excess soil to help you see where you can divide the plant.
You can divide it into even sizes or have one bigger plant while the others are smaller. Similarly, you can divide your mother ZZ plant into 2 smaller plants or multiple smaller plants. It is all up to you.
Once you’ve decides, take a sterile knife and cut root ball into the divisions.
The only rule here is that each division needs to have sufficient rhizomes and roots to support the stems and leaves above it. Don’t take a stem and leaves with no roots. That won’t survive on its own.
Once you’re done dividing the rhizomes, plant each division into its own pot with fresh, well-draining soil.
Water all the pots and keep their soil moist.
Place each of the pots with the new plants in bright, indirect light.
That’s it, you now have propagated the ZZ plant into two or more smaller plants. Each of these smaller ZZ plants will eventually grow to be like the parent plant.