When ZZ plant stems are broken or bent you can fix stems using a splint. Tape popsicle sticks along the stem using propagation tape to hold the stem up. If the stem has broken completely you can prune the base and propagate a new plant in a jar of water. Wait for 6 weeks for roots to grow and move it to a pot with good quality potting soil.
ZZ plants are relatively slow growing so it is great to save any stems that bend or break. While the stems can break when you are moving or repotting the plant they can be saved or grown into new plants.
This article will explore all you need to know about fixing and propagating from ZZ plant broken stems.
How to fix bent stems on ZZ plants
Bent stems on ZZ plant can be supported and will recover if they are not too damaged. If you have accidentally bent the stem when moving the plant or if the plant has been knocked over by a pet you can save your stem.
Step 1. Straighten and inspect the stem
The first step is to straighten the stem. Have a look and if there is no visible break the stem can be saved. Wear garden gloves when you do this because the sap from the stem can irritate your skin.
Step 2. Use popsicle sticks or chopsticks to support the stem
Use chopsticks, popsicle sticks or wooden skewers to tie them to the stem to hold them up. These will work like splits allowing the water and nutrients to flow up and reach the ends of the stems. When water and nutrients can travel again then the stem can recover and repair.
You can use propagation tape, stretchy material or soft pantyhose ties to hold it to the stem.
Step 3. Leave the split for 3-4 weeks
Leave the split on the stems for 3-4 weeks. This will give the stem the time to repair and strengthen again. After this time you can take the splits off and the stem should be able to support itself.
Will broken ZZ plant stems grow back?
Broken ZZ plant stems with damage will not grow back but can be taken as cuttings. If the stem is bent but not broken you can splint the stem to hold it up and in place. After 3-4 weeks the stem will strengthen and repair.
Stem cuttings placed in water can grow roots and be propagated in new potting soil. Cleanly cut the stem straight across and trim the rest of the stem down to tidy up the plant.
Guide to cutting broken ZZ plant stems
Here is my simple guide to trimming and cutting broken ZZ plant stems to repair the plant.
Use gloves as the substance that comes from the stem can cause skin irritation. Wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly after.
Trim the broken stem down to ½ an inch above the soil using sharp secateurs or clean kitchen scissors. Cut the stem straight across and the stem can be discarded. If the stem has a break too close to the top there is no point in taking a stem cutting as it will be unlikely to grow.
How to propagate a ZZ plant from a broken stem
It is possible to grow new ZZ plants from a stem that is broken. A freshly broken stem can be rescued and placed in a jar of water to grow new roots. Here are my easy steps to propagate a ZZ plant from a broken stem.
1. Use a healthy stem
Choosing a healthy stem even though it has a break is important. If the stem is freshly broken or has been damaged when you moved the plant this will be perfect. Old, broken stems that have started to turn yellow or brown will not work for cuttings.
2. Cut the stem straight
Take sharp secateurs and cut the stem off above the break with sharp secateurs. Make a straight cut and make sure it cuts cleanly. Trim the bottom part of the stem off down to ½ an inch above the soil to tidy up the plant.
3. Let the stem dry on the bench for 2-3 hours
After cutting the stem place it on a bench for 2-3 hours to allow the end to dry and form a callus. This will help to protect the stem from rotting when you place it in water.
4. Put it in a jar of water to grow roots
Take the piece of cut stem and put it into a jar of water. The stem only needs around 2-3 inches of water or enough to submerge the base of the stem in water.
5. Wait for 6-12 weeks to grow roots
Leave the stem in the jar for 6-12 weeks to grow roots. Place the jar in a bright position near window to give the stem enough light to photosynthesize.
6. Replace the water every week
Replace the water in the jar every 2-3 weeks. This will keep it clean and prevent algal growth.
7. Put the stem in a pot with good quality soil
When the stem has grown roots that are 2 inches long the plant will be ready to place into potting soil. Choose good quality potting soil and bury the stem 3-4 inches into the soil. Water thoroughly to begin with and then reduce the watering to once per month.
You can use the stems with rhizomes attached and plant them directly into soil. This is another option if you are transplanting your ZZ plant.
Check out my previous article here on repotting ZZ plant for more on this method: How to divide a ZZ plant | Easy 8 Step Guide
ZZ Plant broken stems | Summary
Broken stems on ZZ plants can be repaired or used to grow new plants. If the stem is bent you can straighten it using chopsticks and wait for the plant to strengthen and repair it. ZZ stems with more severe breaks can be cut off cleanly and sprouted in a jar of water. Transplant these after 6 weeks into soil and you will have new ZZ plants for free.
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.