ZZ plants will not grow new leaves if they are not getting the right amount of light, too much water, not enough water, if they lack nutrients or if the potting soil is old. Increase the leaf growth by replacing the soil with good quality potting soil, give them a dose of liquid plant food in spring, add slow release fertilizer and place them in filtered light.
This article will explore why ZZ plants will not grow new leaves as well as 5 ways to encourage fast leaf growth.
How to get your ZZ plant to grow new leaves
Here are my top 5 tips to get your ZZ plant to grow new leaves, to strengthen its stems and to grow new plants from old.
1. Good soil
To help your ZZ plant to grow new leaves always plant or repot them into good quality soil. I like to choose an organic potting mix but any premium, all-purpose potting mix will work well. It will be high in organic matter for good drainage and should contain a slow release fertilizer.
Poor soil will compact, can hold too much water or cause the rhizome to rot. If the soil lacks oxygen the plant will struggle to grow well and it can inhibit leaf growth.
For more on fixing a dying ZZ plant, check out my previous article here, How to know when a ZZ plant is dying | How to save it.
2. Liquid plant food
To give your plant a nitrogen boost give your ZZ plant some liquid plant food. The plant will rapidly absorb the nitrogen which can increase leaf growth if the plant is deficient. Use a dilute indoor liquid plant food and add it to the plant in spring and fall.
3. Slow release plant food
After adding a dose of liquid plant food, wait for 2 weeks and then add some slow release fertilizer. This will deliver a broad range of nutrients to the plant making sure it has what it needs to grow longer stems and new leaves.
4. Filtered light
Place ZZ plants in a position that gets filtered light. This will provide the plant enough UV rays to photosynthesize effectively, create food and carbon to form stems and leaf structures.
Avoid placing ZZ plant in direct sunlight otherwise the leaf can burn and turn yellow or brown. This will damage the plant slow its growth.
5. Good drainage
Making sure the ZZ plant is growing in a pot that has good drainage. Choose a pot that has at least 5 drainage holes around the outside of the pot. I like to plant my indoor ZZ plant into a plastic pot with good drainage and then place it inside an indoor pot.
When you want to water the ZZ plant, take it out and place it over a sink or outdoors. Water it deeply and allow all of the water to drain out over around 10 minutes.
6. Split and divide
Another way to encourage good leaf growth on your ZZ plant is to split and divide the plant every 2-3 years. A healthy plant will grow 2-3 extra stems each year and the rhizomes will divide under the soil level.
You can tip the plant out of the pot once it has filled the space and divide the rhizomes where they naturally come apart. I like to plant at least 3 stems in each pot so it looks full. This will give each stem more room to grow leaves and the rhizomes can send up new shoots.
How fast ZZ plants grow
ZZ plant are a slow growing indoor plant and will generally grow a few inches of growth per year. They can grow 2-3 new stems each year if they are given good soil slow release fertilizer and are watered deeply every 4 weeks.
ZZ plants will grow at their fastest in the spring when the weather is warm, increases in humidity and is bright for more hours of the day. ZZ plants will slow their growth in winter and you may not see any new leaves over this 3 month period.
Don’t worry if it looks like your ZZ plant is not growing fast, as long as the leaves are green, the stems are strong and they look a dark green or brown color.
Growing new ZZ stems with cuttings
Grow new ZZ plants by trimming off stems ½ an inch above the soil level. Choose healthy stems with good leaf growth and place them in a jar of water. Only the ends need to be submerged and after 3-4 weeks the stem will start to grow roots.
After around 6 weeks you can plant them out into good quality potting soil and you will have a new plant that will reproduce and grow new leaves and stems on its own.
ZZ plant is not growing new leaves | Summary
ZZ plants will slow their growth over winter as they go into semi-dormancy. When the weather warms in spring you should start to see new sprouts and the stems will lengthen. Make sure the plant is placed in a bright position, is given slow release plant food in spring and is watered deeply every 4 weeks.
ZZ plants are easy to grow but take care that you don’t overwater them. If you see the leaves start to turn yellow or the stems start to bend, slow down your watering and decide if you need to repot. Giving your ZZ plant more space in spring to grow new stems and leaves will give you a bigger plant quicker.
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.