Growing new ZZ plants from cuttings is a fun and rewarding way to multiply an already beautiful houseplant.
If you want to increase your ZZ plant collection, the easiest way is through stem cuttings. Growing a new plant from a cutting is a relatively simple process requiring only basic gardening tools and a little patience.
Follow this guide for step-by-step instructions on propagating your ZZ plant with stem cuttings.
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Propagate a ZZ Plant from Stem Cuttings
1. Gather the Necessary Materials
When propagating ZZ plants, it's essential to gather the right materials.
A container that has enough drainage holes.
Potting soil specifically designed for houseplants.
A pair of clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears.
To disinfect the scissors or shears, wipe them down with a disinfectant solution or soak them in a disinfectant solution for a few minutes before use.
Gloves protect your hands from sharp objects and chemicals that may be present in soil, fertilizers, or pesticides. They keep your hands clean, provide extra grip, and make gardening a more enjoyable experience.
2. Choose a Healthy ZZ Plant
Before starting, select a healthy ZZ plant for your cutting. The healthier the mother plant, the more likely the cutting will take and grow quickly.
Choose a healthy stem with the following:
dense leaf growth
deep green leaves
Look for mature stems that are at least a few inches in length.
3. Cut the Stem
To propagate your ZZ plant:
Cut your chosen stem just a few inches from the bottom. Or you can cut the entire stem.
Tip: Once the stem is cut, it won't grow back. Removing the whole stem helps your plant look tidier.
Cut the stem into 4-inch (10 cm) or longer sections.
Keeping longer cuttings will make them look more established as they develop roots.
Pull the leaves off with your finger or trim them off with scissors.
Tip: Don't throw the leaves away – you can use them to grow even more ZZ Plants.
Place the stems on a warm, dry surface for a few hours.
Allow the stem cuttings to heal (creating a callus) for about an hour before putting them in water. When your plant has a chance to create a hard layer over the cut, it prevents rotting when you plant it in a moist environment.
Like most stem cuttings, you can root your ZZ Plant in water or soil.
Water allows you to keep an eye on the rhizome and root growth.
Soil produces stronger roots that are more resistant to transplant shock.
4. Root in Water
Choose a glass tall enough to keep the cuttings upright.
Make sure it is clean.
Fill the glass halfway with clean, room-temperature water.
Drop your stem cuttings in the water, only the bottoms submerged.
There should be no leaves submerged in the water.
Place the glass in a bright spot away from direct sunlight.
Replace the water every few days to prevent bacterial growth.
It might take a few weeks for the roots to develop in water. The fun thing about rooting in water is that you can track and monitor the roots' development.
5. Root in Soil
Prepare a mixture of well-draining potting soil.
Make a few holes in the soil with your finger and plant the cutting.
You can plant several cuttings in the same pot.
Press around the cutting to anchor it in place.
Water the soil until it's wet throughout.
Place the pot in a bright spot with plenty of indirect light.
Keep the soil moist but not soggy until signs of new growth emerge.
How to know if your ZZ plant has developed roots?
Give the cutting a slight tug. If you feel resistance, that means roots have developed.
The leaves will start moving upwards as stems begin to grow.
The stem and leaves above the soil will look green, shiny, and firm.
6. Transplant To a Bigger Pot
Once the rhizome has developed roots an inch or two long (it'll take a few months or a year), you're ready to transplant your cutting into a bigger pot.
Fill a larger pot with houseplant soil mix.
Make sure the pot has enough drainage holes to prevent root rot.
Carefully remove the cuttings from their containers.
Plant one or two cuttings in the same pot.
Press around the plant to remove air pockets and water immediately after replanting.
Use a short bamboo stake to support the plant while the roots settle in.
7. Monitor and Care for New Growth
Once you have propagated your ZZ plant, monitoring and providing ongoing care is essential.
Plants must be kept moist but not become overly wet or soggy, which could cause them to rot.
If necessary, occasionally mist the propagated cuttings to ensure plenty of moisture.
Keep the propagated ZZ plants in bright, indirect light.
Do not disturb or move them until they have taken root.
Look for any discoloration, wilting, or other signs of distress in the newly emerged leaves.
It is crucial to take note of any potential issues as soon as they occur to ensure your ZZ plants stay healthy and happy.
The Bottom Line
You must be patient when propagating your ZZ plant, but it's well worth it. If you're willing to wait for results, you'll be the proud parent of plenty of baby plants. The key is to ensure that the parent plant is healthy, and with proper care and attention, the propagated ZZ plant should develop into a healthy and attractive plant. So, don't hesitate to try it and enjoy the satisfaction of growing your ZZ plants!