ZZ plants are slow growing but you can encourage new stems and leaves by placing it in a warm place out of direct sun, water it deeply once per month and use a good quality slow release fertilizer once per year. ZZ plants will grow new stems in spring to summer or when the weather warms up.
It can take up to 4 weeks for a new stems to sprout through the soil and reach its full height. ZZ stems can easily grow 3 feet long once the plant has established.
This article will explore all you need to know about encouraging new growth on ZZ plants. Here are my 7 easy steps to add new growth on your Zanzibar Gem.
1. Place it in a warm place 3 feet away from a window
The perfect position for ZZ plant for good growth is a position in bright light at least 3 feet away from aw window and direct sun. Glass windows can also radiate a large amount of heat that can burn the plant.
Warmth is key to encourage new growth on your ZZ plant. When the weather warms the rhizomes will be stimulated to send up new stems. You will see a small spike poke through the surface of the soil which will quickly grow up into a longer stem.
2. Water deeply once per month
To encourage new growth on your ZZ plant it is important to water it regularly and deeply. Watering the plant once per month thoroughly is what you plant needs to grow well. Any more water than this can rot the rhizomes.
The rhizomes act like sponges and absorb and hold water incredibly well. Adding more water than this is usually too much for your ZZ plant. The best way to water your ZZ plant is to take it over to your sink and water it thoroughly across the surface of the soil.
Always make sure you allow the excess water to drain out of the bottom to avoid root and rhizome rot. You can then return the pot to the pot tray to catch any drips.
3. Use slow release plant fertilizer once per year
Fertilizing once per year will keep your ZZ plant growing strong. I like to use a top quality slow release fertilizer that lasts for 6 months and delivers all the nutrients your plant needs. Add this to the surface of the soil at the start of spring and water it in to start to release the nutrients.
You can repeat this again in fall if you have a large plant, but small plants will grow well with fertilizer one per year. They actually need very little as far as extra nutrients. They will grow new stems and leaves and send up stems faster with fertilizer given in the spring.
4. Repot into fresh soil after 2-3 years
A great way to give your ZZ plant more room and to encourage new growth is to repot it every 2-3 years. Once the plant has filled out the pot, you can see roots escaping out the drainage holes or the pot feels very firm it is time to repot.
While ZZ plants don’t mind being pot bound, repotting them can stimulate new growth quickly. When I repotted my ZZ plant in spring this year, the rhizomes sent up new stems within 2 weeks.
Simply tip your ZZ plant out of its original pot. You can separate the rhizomes if you want to make multiple plants or leave them together and shift it to a larger pot.
Use premium potting soil when repotting your ZZ plant to give it good drainage and some slow release fertilizer. Water your ZZ plant to settle the soil around the root base and keep it growing strong.
5. Empty out your pot tray and outer pot
The next tip to keep your ZZ plant healthy and encourage new stem growth is to keep the rhizome healthy. Avoid overwatering and damaging the rhizomes by emptying any excess water out of the pot tray and outer pot.
This will avoid overwatering your ZZ plant as it sits and absorbs too much water. After you water you plant, allow it to drain in your sink or outdoors before putting it back on the tray.
6. Add some seaweed
For outdoor ZZ plants you can encourage new and healthy growth by adding some seaweed solution. When watering your ZZ plant, add a small dash of seaweed solution to your watering can. Seaweed solution will help your plant to grow lots of healthy roots and stems and grow healthier in the long term.
Seaweed solution does smell so I usually avoid using it on indoor plants. You could give your indoor ZZ plant a holiday outdoors for a few days in a shady position and give it some seaweed. Remember to protect it from harsh sun and bring it back indoors when you are ready.
7. Wait until spring
Another key tip to getting new growth on ZZ plants is to wait until the warmer part of the year. ZZ plants will naturally send up new stems and grow new leaves in spring and summer when the temperature increases.
It is tricky to recreate these conditions in winter but a humidifier can help to encourage new growth in dryer areas. These are cheap and will help other indoor plants to grow well including pothos and monstera.
How to Encourage New Growth on a ZZ Plant | Summary
ZZ plants are easy care indoor plants but can take a long time to grow. To encourage new growth faster it is important to water them once per month, fertilize with top quality indoor plant food and make sure they are growing in good quality, all-purpose potting soil.
ZZ plants are a great way to add extra height to your indoor plant display and can grow long stems from their small, potato shaped rhizomes. Make new plants for free by separating the rhizomes where they naturally come apart. You can get many new plants from a small pot and give away extras to friends.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.