Someone gave me ZZ plant with one leaf and a very healthy root system, last spring.
It has only grown one leaf since then and looks very green and healthy...
Is it normal for this plant to be such a slow grower?
I have read some people say they are Mike.
But you have seen mine and it pushes out several new branches every year usually starting in Feb.
It started in a 10inch pot and 2x2 tall and wide now its probably 3 feet tall (not including the pot) and 4 feet wide.
When you say one leaf, do you really mean one leaf or one branch with numerous leaves on it?
It might be establishing roots still...but shouldn't take this long. Have you fertilized it? I know you have the soil and watering down good so I'm convinced thats not a problem.
One branch with many leaves...
It am not regularly feeding it though, and I only have to water it about 3 times a month..It seems to like being negelecting, but maybe there is my problem?
By the way, I never forgot your advice on mold spores...Thanks for that and all your advice.
Yes, they tend to be VERY slow growing (at least all of mine have been & I've started most of mine from single leaves).
That said, I tend to deliberately neglect them which (as mentioned above) they DO seem to prefer. I water them maybe every 2nd week, unless it's blazing hot summer, then maybe a bit more. I doubt these plants need much fertilizer.
IME, they tend to have to big growth spurts, September & February, when they tend to push out new shoots.
Also, I grow these in bright indirect light only; I'm not sure how they'd respond to stronger light, I hope to try that soon.
They do thrive on neglect like a Jade does. They store water like a jade does so maybe you could back off a little bit.
My biggest one gets watered about every 6 weeks. In the winter its in an east window but this summer I put out on south facing patio but has several layers of screen to protect it from sunburn. I think I've only fed it once a year.
I have 2 others I bought, both were in 4 inch pots, I put them together in an 8 inch pot and water about once a month and still getting new shoots today.
They are indeed slow. You were basically correct when you referred to a single rachis with a number of leaflets being a single leaf. That is scientifically correct you are looking at a compound leaf. Each rachis (stalk)is supported by a tuber which is the true stem. Each leaflet also has a small petiole as a support. A rachis with all the leaflets composes one single leaf. A pot filled with these plants does not compose a large plant but only a group of single plants, each with a tuber, rachis and leaflets.
Lots of folks have adopted a number of methods to grow this plant but in nature they grow primarily in a semi-tropical rain forest in portions of Africa. I know several scientists that grow them in totally tropical conditions with near daily water. To do so you need to duplicate their soil conditions in nature which most people don't want to mess with.
If not watered regularly the plant will eventually go dormant just like an Amorphophallus species. If you were to read what the scientists that have studied this plant say about it and the way it grows naturally you would probably shake your head in disbelief. I won't even bother trying to explain.
I can tell you I have grown one successfully since 2005 in our tropical atrium and right now we water 5 days a week for 6 minutes at a time.
If you are interested in the facts of the species you can read them at the link below. The information is based on the scientific text The Genera of Araceae that includes the species as well as multiple email exchanges with the authors. If you are pleased with the way your plant is growing, feel free to ignore this post in its entirety.
All that said please let me clearly state the following:
Please read: The author of this post does not claim to be a botanical expert. The quotes and/or sources used are noted solely to provide information from qualified and trained scientific experts. Credits are given to the owners of scientific information since that is considered proper protocol in botany. No attempt is being made to associate this author with these experts as a peer, only an interested grower. Accepted facts in horticulture and botanical science sometimes differ so if the answers or remarks given differ from what you have already accepted to be factually accurate please feel free to dispute the information, ignore this post, or preferably attempt to communicate directly with the botanical sources via the FACEBOOK account http://www.facebook.com/pages/South-Miami-FL/International-Aroid-Society/291094100787 of the International Aroid Society www.Aroid.org The sole goal is to share information.
I am an officer of the IAS but I have learned it is often futile to try to attempt to change the minds of those that have already adopted a given position and explain how a plant should be grown as Nature has determined. I just attempt to study plants in the family Araceae (aroids) and pass along the best info I can find. The IAS is currently working on several pages of the IAS site that will answer frequently asked questions about species such as this. Hopefully people will then decide to take a second look at the way they have chosen to grow some plants but we shall see.
Zamioculcas zamiifolia is an aroid that does not live in a desert as most people assume. Instead, it grows on the edges of subtropical rain forests but sometimes also in harsher conditions.
If you choose to read the link below you will find all the documentation to support what is explained.
Best wishes and good growing
Here is a link that might be useful: Zamioculcas zamiifolia
I found this very interesting....HUM..maybe because I have been ignoring it and letting it stay dry for long periods of time, there is no growth. It is in a very well draining soil and from this, it should be watered more often to promoter growth..Hum....
Some sites including eHow also give very poor advice on how to grow the plant including recommending the use of "rich soil". Even though a specimen can survive for an amazingly long period of time in rich soil that holds water that does not mean the plant enjoys the condition in which it is being forced to survive. The information to use rich soil is not based in science since the plant grows naturally in fast draining sandy soil.
Rich soil eventually suffocates as well as "drowns" a specimen causing the roots to rot due to the growth of saprophytes. A saprophyte is an organism such as a fungus or bacterium that grows on and derives nourishment from dead or decaying organic matter. When the roots of Zamioculcas zamiifolia are kept in wet soil they cannot easily gather oxygen and thus begin to decay. The end result is rapidly rotting roots and eventually a dead plant.
Following Mother Nature's example the soil mixture should be close to that used for cacti and should contain some soil along with a greater volume of sand, gravel and materials including Perlite that will slowly allow the roots to gather moisture while not being starved for oxygen. The plant should be regularly watered but not allowed to stay wet! In nature the ZZ can survive for long periods only as a naked rachis but as a house plant it certainly won't be attractive without the leaflets. Just as a human or animal can uncomfortably survive for periods of time with no food and water so can the ZZ plant. Even though nature has designed the species to survive with little water that does not mean it should be purposely dehydrated! The assumption the ZZ plant should be kept dry year round is a total internet myth and house plant seller's fabrication.
It appears sellers are actually promoting this plant as a house plant because they claim you can forget to water it for long periods of time. For short periods perhaps, but not indefinitely! The plant may survive but it will also not prosper and in time will look quite bad just as your cat or dog would look terrible if not fed and watered. It is likely a very large number of plants are thrown away every year once all the leaflets drop because the grower incorrectly believes it is dead. In most cases, unless the plant has endured a very long spell without water, it can be easily saved with time and water!
Appears you chose to read what I've learned with the aid of several botanists since you chose to quote me. I hope you find it useful and your plant flourishes.
Lots of growers prefer to follow the advice of the sellers but if you understand how the plant grows naturally some of the problems growers complain about including the sudden dropping of all the leaflets makes perfect sense.
Ma Nature has designed the plant to go into a life-preserving mode which we all call "dormancy" and then survive that way until the rain returns. When we keep the natural wet season away from the plant we only encourage dormancy.
Mother Nature is a pretty wise lady.
Mike, you said you water 3 times a month that isn't a long time inbetween. Mine is watered about every 6 weeks and is constantly growing most of the year. New shoots started in Feb and still getting new ones last week and usually continue thru the summer.
I assume you are still using A1 mix or similar so yeah its gonna need water more frequent as not much is held. But ZZ's hold it in tubers so be careful.
I use something similar to that with about 30-40% perlite.
I get from a local nursery and add the perlite.
You have been down the road with overwatering and bad soils before and you know most houseplants are killed by overwatering. I believe its the most common addressed problem on this forum.
I am going to take a picture of it tonight.
I will post a picture here tomorrow and of the soilless mix..You are right, it is one of the mixes I learned from Al that dries out rather rapidly..
Please watch for the picture and tell me what you think when I do,ok. I would really appreciate it.
At that time I will also give a better more detailed description of my cultural practices with it.
You are the best
I forgot, thank you Steve for the info and for helping too.
Also, thank you Pirot Girl for your exoerience and info also...
You are welcome Mike. My only goal in making explanations such as this is to give a growers all the information to make up their own mind. We've had a pretty descent success rate here in Arkansas growing rare aroids, primarily because I enjoy studying the way they grow naturally.
However you choose to grow your plant, you will be able to understand what you observe with the potential to correct any problems early. I wish you only success.
Mine grows relatively rapidly considering the wide range between 'slow-growing' and 'fast-growing'. I have mine outside on a SW deck with no cover being fed once or twice a month. It sends out 2-3 new stalks every couple of months. One of my fav plants, personally speaking.
Wow, now I'm really mixed up. I have some of my houseplants on the porch, I placed my zz plant so it wouldn't get hit with the sprinkler, my husband noticed it was dry and watered it, no water in the tray though. Now lots of the leaves turned yellow and fell off. I was giving it a drink about every 2 weeks, my friend has one and its popping up new and tall shoots, looks very healthy, she hardly waters it. has the same amount of light as mine does. We also use the same soil. I thought she just has a green thumb, because all of her plants do better than mine. We also purchased the same size plant together. Now I'm ready to buy another one.
thanks for all I have learned on this site, Carol
Don't assume to toss this yet -- they're VERY rugged, sturdy plants, I'm betting it can recover.
You could unpot it to check the roots for rot. I'm guessing take off the yellowing leaves (as they won't recover, sorry) then give it some time & it's likely to get better (am GUESSING, have never had this happen to me).
Perhaps speak to DH, that while you appreciate his trying to help, if he waters the plants w/out asking (& you're watering too), it's likely to be a problem.
Carol, I agree with PG. Check the roots first. Don't give up on it just yet.
It might be getting some spray from the sprinklers as a mist...not good.
If its getting any direct hot sun or reflected heat from the house that isn't good either.
Carol, your plant is entering natural dormancy. It happens all the time once a plant determines it no longer has enough water stored to survive with out regular watering. Some people get luckier than others and don't see it often. The plant is not dead. It will need a month of dryness but then start watering it again and it should return. The scientists recommend regular water, not intermittent watering.
Take several dropped leaflets and look at them with a good magnifying glass. Chances are you will see a tubercle forming at the point where the leaflet and the short petiole join. If you'd like to grow more plants that is not difficult to do, just time consuming.
Although I realize many people doubt the accuracy of my earlier post it is all based in science but if growers to believer otherwise that is certainly their right.
I realize this will be complicated to digest without some background in botany but at least you can read for yourself I did not make any of this up.
The scientific treatment of Zamioculcas zamiifolia:
From the Royal Botanic Garden Kew website, CATE Araceae
Tuber subcylindric, 3-4 cm. in diameter or more, tough, woody. LEAVES: Petiole green with darker transverse blotches, 15-35 cm. long, 1-2 cm. in diameter near base; blade 20-40 cm. long; leaflets 4-8 per side, subopposite, distant, oblong-ovate to -elliptic to -obovate, sometimes oblanceolate, fleshy, dark glossy green, 5-15 cm. long, 1.5-5 cm. broad, shortly acuminate, sessile or shortly petiolulate, articulated to rhachis, cuneate to rounded basally; rhachis terete, marked like etiole. INFLORESCENCE: Peduncle 3-20 cm. long, 0.4-1 cm. in diameter, erect at first recurving strongly in fruit, pushing infructescence into ground-litter. Spathe 5-8 cm. long, coriaceous; tube shortly cylindric to ellipsoid, 1-1.5 cm. long, 1-2 cm. in diameter, green on outer surface; limb broadly oblong-ovate, 5-6 cm. long, 3.5-5.5 cm. broad, rounded and cuspidate at tip, pale green to whitish or yellow. Spadix 5-7 cm. long; staminate part cylindric to clavate, 4-5 cm. long, 1-1.5 cm. in diameter, narrowed at base; pistillate part shortly cylindric-ellipsoid, 1-2 cm. long, 0.7-1.7 cm. in diameter. Tepals white; stigmas yellowish. INFRUCTESCENCE: Berry white, surrounded by persistent tepals, with septal suture, up to 1.2 cm. broad, 1-2-seeded. Seeds brown, ellipsoid, Â± 0.8 cm. long, 0.5 cm. broad.
The reprint the entire text from the scientific text The Genera of Araceae. Please recall that since the original information was written this species has been scientifically determined to consist of only a single species found in the genus Zamoculcus:
Zamioculcas Schott, Syn. Aroid. 71 (1856). TYPE: Z loddigesii Schott, nom. illeg. "Caladmm zamiaejbUum Loddiges, Z. zamiifolia (Loddiges) Engler).
HABIT: seasonally dormant or evergreen herb with short, very thick rhizome. LEAVES: few to many, erect, leaflets deciduous during dormancy leaving persistent petiole. PETIOLE: terete, base greatly thickened and succulent, geniculate at apex, sheath ligulate, free almost to the base, very short, inconspicuous. BLADE: pinnatisect, leaflets oblong-elliptic, thickly coriaceous, capable of rooting at base once shed and forming new plants; primary lateral veins of each leaflet pinnate, running into marginal vein, higher order venation reticulate. INFLORESCENCE: 1Â2 in each floral sympodium, held at ground level. PEDUNCLE: very short. SPATHE: entirely persistent to fruiting stage, slightly constricted between tube and blade, green without, whitish within, tube convolute, blade longer than tube, expanded and horizontally reflexed at anthesis. SPADIX: sessile, female zone subcylindric, separated from male zone by short constricted zone bearing sterile flowers, male zone cylindric, ellipsoid to clavate, fertile to apex. FLOWERS: unisexual, perigoniate; tepals 4, in two whorls, decussate. MALE FLOWER: tepals subprismatic, apex thickened, stamens 4, free, shorter than tepals, filaments free, oblong, thick, somewhat flattened, anthers introrse, connective slender, thecae ovate-ellipsoid, dehiscing by apical slit, pistillode clavate, equalling tepals. POLLEN: extruded in strands, extended monosulcate to perhaps fully zonate, ellipsoid, large (mean 60 urn.), exine thick, fossulate-foveolate, apertural exine verrucate. STERILE FLOWERS: each consisting of 4 tepals surrounding a clavate pistillode. FEMALE FLOWER: tepals strongly thickened apically, staminate nodes lacking, gynoe-cium equalling tepals, ovary ovoid, 2-locular, ovules 1 per locule, hemianatropous, funicle very short, placenta axile near base of septum, stylar region attenuate, stigma large, disco id-capitate. BERRY: depressed-globose with furrow at septum, 1Â2-seeded, surrounded by persistent tepals, white, infructescence ellipsoid. SEED: ellipsoid, test a smooth, brown, raphe conspicuous, embryo large, rich in starch, endosperm nearly absent, present only as a few cell layers at chalazal end.
CHROMOSOMES: 2n = 34.
DISTRIBUTION: 1 sp.; tropical east and subtropical southeast Africa:Â Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa (Natal), Tanzania (incl. Pemba, Zanzibar), Zimbabwe. ECOLOGY: tropical moist forest, savannas; geophytes on forest floor or in stony ground.
I have discussed all of this at length with the authors of the text mentioned earlier as well as with Dr. Thomas B. Croat, Curator of Botany at the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Feel free to do anything you choose but the advice I gave is scientifically accurate.
There is definitely something wrong with mine too..
If it has taken over a year for one leaf to grow, and it is still not growing a leaf from ignoring it, I am willing to try the other method..That is what I have been doing since this thread, and it seems happier, for now, than ever before..I will let you know as soon as it grows a new leaf or croaks.... It definitely looks a lot greener than ever though.
I grow it under a skylight, in a well draining mix, one that dries out within a couple of days, even in winter, and no direct sunlight..
I was treating this plant like a cactus, only without the direct sun, now it is time to treat it like a tropical plant..If I fail, I hope my good friends here don't say I told you so..:-). Part of the fun of having this plant is too see the new leafs unfurl, and it has been a long time in waiting..Here is hoping it works..
Keeping my fingers crossed...
As I sort of alluded to before I just wonder if the mix just isn't staying moist long enough for the tubers to absorb to survive.
I use a well draining mix also but not as much as yours.
You might make a note of the quantity of water you give it compared to the quantity that washes thru each time. That should tell you how much is really staying in the pot. Of course as you know there is no set amount any plant should get each time cuz of the environment, size, temps etc.
ZZ's absorb it and hold it in tubers like a Jade does in leaves. I assume you have your Jades in same mix?
Don't forget new shoots are usually a lighter green and then darken up later...at least mine are.
Here is a picture of it...
Yes gobluejm, I have most my Jades planted in the same mix...Then maybe I should treat it as I do a Jade, and not so much my tropicals..With my tropicals, I water as soon as the soil mix dries out, or they will wilt..
Now, it probably would be more water than it was use to getting if I watered it a couple days after the soil mix is dry to the bottom, instead of dry for days beyond that.
Thank you very much for being here and seeing we do well with this plant, everyone..
I think that pot is too big for the plant, maybe that's what's keeping it too moist. (I find mine do best if potted not much larger than the base of the plant.)
I'd also (if it were mine) do something to bring those two stems closer together. I'd probably use a couple of pipecleaners wound into S-shape & then close their ends to bring the stems together gently. I'd probably put the first one in where the left stem has a bend in it. Maybe another one 6" higher up.
Have you checked the roots for softening? IMO stems splaying like that MAY be suspicious (& early indicators of rot).
I'm hesitate to say this, but I think just maybe a little bit heavier soil might be better. It would retain more for it to absorb and not dry out as fast but wouldn't be wet.
My assumption in the light mix is it's only getting enough to survive not enough for new growth. I have some plants in my garden that are just surviving as I can't give them more cuz it will kill something nearby. I need to move them.
Even though it's not in the ground I'm a fan of watering deep and throughly to promote deep roots instead of little bit of water more frequently.
It looks to be a 6-8 inch pot? How much water do you give it? And how much runs out? Is it a clay pot?
The pot it's in is an azelea pot..It is shallow, 8inches across, 5inches deep, and it is clay. The particles of mix are kind of bigger than usual, which might explain why it dries out so fast.
I water with a hand held watering can with a sprinkler on the end, and the water comes out very quickly..There is hardly any peatmoss in it.It was one of first tries at making a 5.1.1.mix and I don't think I added enough peat now that you brought it up. It is almost an all bark and perlite mix.
The roots are light color and very healthy looking, but have not grown that much or spread out that much to fill the container..
The leaves have been like this since I potted it, split apart, and pulling them together is a great idea, which is what I will do.
What do you think? Thanks a lot..
Mine are spreadout some also Mike, but it is much bigger as you know. Some new shoots do come out a bit slanted, but that doesn't worry me much. I do think yours is over potted. I also think you need some soil in there. The clay pot is probably absorbing anything that doesn't run thru.
Give it some soil for the roots to grab onto.
When I bought 2 4inch potted babies there was about 4 stalks in each and rootbound. I put them both in an 8 inch pot about 8 inches deep and that was about 2 years ago. Both have grown and several new shoots since then.
In fact goblejm, I did notice that everytime I lift the pot for any reason, the plant is very loose in the soil, like it is not stable and wants to fall out of the pot..I have to watch that it does not fall out if I tilt the pot a little too much.
I do not think the roots are anchored, which might explain a lack of soil fro the root to hold on too as you say...
What size pot would you suggest I plant this into, and do you suggest I do it as soon as possible with a better mix?
Yes in your area I believe this is a good time with a little heavier soil...not to heavy. You know by now what is to heavy ;). You've been thru that and we don't want you going down that path again.
You could probably fit it in a 4-5 inch clay. Since it is so tall it won't fall over if clay or ceramic is used.
They can be a bit top heavy like jades are if roots not anchored. This looseness I believe explains the lack of growth.
I'm gonna post some pics over in the gallery of some recent growth you'll find interesting.
Sounds great..I can't wait to see them, your pictures that is..
And thanks again..I will post after the plant is repotted.
I'd suggest a couple of rocks to anchor the plant into the new soil while you wait for new roots (once you've repotted). Also, I'd remove the debris (dead leaves & sheaths) from the plant.
Thank you Pg..:-)
Will post a pic when all is done..
Here's my pics as promised
This is very odd growth, but the shoot opened normally and now looks normal. Two shoots from this monster plant did this weird growth.
Full pic of the monster, kept outside for the summer under shade cloth
Pic of smaller ZZ in 8inch pot. Was 2 from 4 inch pots.
Wow! They are so beautiful!
I wish I could get mine to look like that..
EWell, considering yours look that nice, I am following your suggestions till the end..
I will have a picture here as soon as a couple of days..
Gobbluedjm, thank you for everything.
What the heck is your first name anyway?
Thanks Mike. Yours will get there in time. I think you can tell how light my soil is and both were just watered very recently.
Oh you can call me Blue. lol
I did it!
I took your advice, tied up the leaves closer together and prepared the type of mix you suggested..
It seems to me I never made it correctly in the first place..Was an oversight on my part for not putting one part peat as I was suppose too..Oh well. live and let learn..lol
I will post a picture very soon.
Thank you so much. And now the wait for a new leaf begins..lol
Ok good Mike. Give it some time to settle in and root good and you should see some new growth. Mine started in February and hasn't stopped yet...
It may not show visible signs of growth 'til Sept. My experience w/ them is that they have big growth spurts in Feb. & Sept. when they tend to push out new growth of shoots.
One in my building's laundry room bloomed a couple of months ago. I took a few pix, but sadly, my camera is in the shop.
Yes, it will need some time for sure before you see new growth.
My 2 little ZZs that I started from leaves look a lot like Mike's, only smaller. A few days ago I repotted them. I am glad I did, as all the smaller roots were gone. There were just the tubers and a thick root or two.
I put them in a better draining mix and was happy to see a new shoot growing from one of the them. So maybe the growth has started early?
How are your ZZ's doing now? I bought mine early this spring, and divided it into three pots.
Well Whip and hello.
I gave mine to my sick Aunt for a gift. She's always wanted one. So now I am without and miss it. Yours are beautiful and thanks for asking very much :) I forgot about this thread.
Hoping you are well
I have three plants. When the weather warms, remind me and we could probably work something out. ;)
Thank you so much Whip for your kindness and offer:-)
I just may by then. It will give me something to look forward to, now that I can't snow board this winter and it's going to be a long grueling winter.
Hi, new to this thread.
I just purchased 3 ZZ plants from HD the other day and re-potted 2 in a large ceramic pot and one by itself in a larger pot. I used MiracleGro Moisture Control. I did not add any perlite, etc. to the soil. I'm new to these plants.
On watering issue. How often should I water, once a week or when I see the soil completely dry? What if I added 1/2 glass of water every week; it's not too much and not too little and the roots will have to work to get to the water.
Any advice will be appreciated. One plant site under an east facing window and the other sits on my bath tub under a narrow east facing window, both are upstairs.
It would have probably been better to start a new thread about this.
If you water like that what you will do is load the soil with the mineral salts that are dissolved in your water which will sooner or later harm your plants. These minerals (also referred to as dissolved solids) are already in the water and can only be removed by reverse osmosis filtration or distilling. After some time they will damage the roots. You need to water enough to flush the soil to prevent this from happening.
It is best if your repot again with the proper type of mix. You can also use orchid potting mix to add to you soil rather than perlite
Yes, re-pot as Danny says.
Moisture Control soil is some of the WORST.
I grow my ZZs in more of a Cactus & Succulent mix w/ extra pumice (or perlite). When growing succulents, it's best to avoid mixes w/ moisture retention additives, 'cause we wish to control the moisture ourselves, not have the soil do that for us. We can water larger amounts to run through & drain fast & well.
Today I looked at several of my ZZs & notice they're pushing out new shoots which they usually do in Feb. here. One plant has a 1/2" sprout, another has the same & then also an almost 2" sprout. It's 50 degrees here today, been unusually warm, I wonder if that's why.