Droopy ZZ plant stems, why?

nick_b79(4/5 Southeast MN)July 4, 2008

I have a ZZ plant that is ~2 ft tall, but the largest stems keep bending over all the time. It looks healthy enough; the leaves are a nice deep green and it has sent up 4-5 new stems for the 2 years I've had it. The stems are firm, not soft like if there were rot starting, and it receives enough water. I don't think it's overwatered, and it is in a terra cotta pot to prevent waterlogged soil.

I have it pushed up against the wall of our patio to help support the stems because I'm scared they will break off if they continue to lean. I've tried using rocks to prop up the stems as well, with limited success. Other ZZ plants I've seen have strong, erect stems, and I want mine to look like this too.

Any tips? Thanks a lot.

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It might be a lack of nutrients if it hasn't been fertilized in awhile. If you google for ZZ plant related ailments, you might find information on nutrient deficiencies, which is what I did when my pineapple started having issues earlier this summer.

I guess yellowing leaves are more of a sign of overwatering, so if you don't have those...

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 1:02AM
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Mine once got droopy when I forgot to water it.
Now it's about every 6 weeks and has been fine since.
It's in a 12 inch pot and about 4 feet wide and 3 feet tall. 3 years I've had it probably about 10 new stalks.
I have a small one in a 6 inch pot about 15 inches tall and it gets water about once a month. It is growing 5 new ones right now.
They both could use more light but would fry if I put them outside.
I'm not sure what else to tell you, perhaps posting a pic someone could help.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 1:40AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Sometimes I'll stake mine if they need it, but usually anything floppy, I think I'd check the mix & the drainage.

Some of my younger ones (I've grown 4, all from single leaves, stems or both) are thinner stemmed, so I'll sometimes rig up a stake to something while it matures & its stem thickens.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 9:33AM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

My guess is that it needs more light. ZZ's in bright light grow quite upright. ZZ's in lower light will have stems that arch, kind of like the curve of a rainbow. If you can gradually move it into a brighter spot, the new stems should be straighter.

Sounds like you've got the watering right. ZZ's will yellow if they are either too dry OR too wet.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 12:56AM
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nick_b79(4/5 Southeast MN)

Would overpotting a ZZ plant cause drooping stems? I've been doing some research on Google, and that seems like the only thing I can think of that might have caused this. It receives plenty of light even in winter, being next to an eastern bay window and near the fluorescent lights I use to keep pothos, cacti, spider plants, etc alive. The soil isn't heavy enough to get soggy either.

Thinking back, the drooping started after I transplanted it to a larger, shallow clay pot from the tall, narrower plastic pot it came in. Has anyone else seen this happen before? I think I might repot to a smaller pot and see what happens, along with staking the stems for a while.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 2:53PM
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Ok what am I doing wrong? I've noticed that the new stems of my plant seems to be lighter in color and drooping. I have them held up by other stems of my plant. They also are not as firm. I water about once per month but I am getting worried. Please see my photo of Grace any ideas? I bought this plant during a difficult time in my life and for some reason it made me feel better. I want to make sure she gets whats needed. She stays indoors, I've had her about 4 months or so, and she gets minimal light from my patio door through the sheers that hang above the door. Please fellow ZZ lovers I need help. Is this normal? She is not as dark green as she used to be either.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 9:25PM
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whip1 Zone 5 NE Ohio

You answered your own question. Lack of light. I put mine outside in the summer in a mix of sun and shade. In winter it sits in a room with lots of west facing windows.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 8:09AM
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Jason J

Agreed needs more light, think of these as a succulent.

The new growth will always be more pale then the mature growth, it will darken with age. Just move it to a porch or really sunny window.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 10:07PM
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