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ZZ Rescue

Posted by ariel7576 7b (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 12, 14 at 18:47

I've been away for a while because life got hectic, but, obviously, I'm back.
Several weeks ago, I rescued a ZZ plant from the clearance rack at my favourite local nursery. It has a number of problems, and I'm hoping to get some advice here.
I haven't even taken it out of the plastic pot it came in; it is bumping out the sides of the pot. I know it will need to be repotted into a more suitable medium. I guess my first question is: should I try to divide it? The first picture here gives a decent general overview.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: ZZ Rescue

Another overall shot. This one also shows my next area of concern: some of the leaves are yellowish.


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RE: ZZ Rescue

This shows a close up of the inside of the pot. Clearly there were stalks (rachis?) that have been cut out. There are also a number of bulbs (?) apparent. Does this impact the decision on whether or not to divide?


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RE: ZZ Rescue

Perhaps a better shot showing what's going on (or went on) in the pot.


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RE: ZZ Rescue - Part II

And (finally), this is another ZZ plant. It also seems to be suffering from yellowing leaves. I think I actually bought this on ebay. Her sister died. Suggestions?
I'm thinking about digging it up & checking out what's going on in the roots. Good start?


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RE: ZZ Rescue

just pull it carefully out of the pot to look at roots. post a pic (of both).
i'd say the large pot has very few stalks - it does not need a larger pot - they do better when severely pot bound.
the main concern with yellowing leaves is root/tuber rot. but they do decay normally too - now is the time they go into active growth. it might be a nutrient defficiency though - give it some diluted liquid fertilizer. but you need to look at roots first. if anything is rotting inside - it'll be obvious.
so just pop it out, take a pic, and pop it back in. then we'll see.


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RE: ZZ Rescue

Thanks.

I unpotted today (had to cut the pot to do it!), and what I was afraid I would find is not what I found. I expected to see lots of rotted roots. While these aren't the healthiest roots ever, they're not mushy & rotted. If anything, some look desiccated.

Here's the picture of what the bigger plant looked like before I started really getting in there....


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RE: ZZ Rescue

A bit closer up. I know that the roots look a bit brown, but they are surprisingly NOT mushy. They feel firm & fleshy, if a bit dry.
I suspect that the "soil" the plant was in (there really wasn't much--when I picked it all out, it was maybe half a cup) was just so compacted, that it caused the problem. Would that cause yellowing? It was pretty compacted, not quite concrete, but it took me a while to pick it out.


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Another BEFORE pic

Another before pic.


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I untangled the roots

So, I decided to untangle the roots. I picked out some dead roots (there surprisingly weren't many). And I loosened up/picked out the soil. This is the end result.


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Cleaned up

Another picture


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Separated

As I untangled the roots, the plant separated into 3.


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Little Guy

Here's a closer version of the smallest of the 3 plants.


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The totally distinct plant

I'd earlier posted that I also had another ZZ, which was likewise suffering yellowed leaves. I removed it from its pot as well. There's not a whole lot of root development, but I'm happy to see that some tubers are forming. This plant was much more damp than the other one. The roots, such as they are, are darker. They're still not mushy, but I think I pulled it out just in the nick of time.

So, does anyone have any suggestions? Should I leave the bigger plant separated into 3? I think I should put them (however grouped) into a medium as close to the gritty mix as I can mix up. Anything else? I had a huge, rapidly growing ZZ when I lived in Miami Beach, but I gave it away when I moved, and the recipient managed to kill all of my plants except the key lime tree we planted in her courtyard.


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RE: ZZ Rescue

Let me add, to the BEFORE pics, those really are BEFORE! There was NO SOIL at the bottom of the pot, just roots. There was a bit of soil compacted in the middle of the root ball, but mainly, the soil was just super hard compacted stuff on top of the roots.


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RE: ZZ Rescue

a-aa... it's really better to find out what needs to be done BEFORE you bare-root the plant. so you're ready with the mix,etc. and not leave the plant bare-rooted and waiting. hope you wrapped the roots in smth? do not mist them.
your roots are very healthy and normal for this plant.
so my guess is, it was just withdrawing nutes from older leaves to initiate new growth. give it a warm position (70F) and dappled weak sunlight is good too. don't keep it in a dark corner!
gritty is good - but do as for sansevieria: the smallest pot you can stuff it in - not plastic! best some sort of thick-walled clay, unglazed or unglazed inside (it will absorb extra moisture).
there's lots of posts about repotting zz : just search in this forum, you'll get all pro's and con's.
i stick to my prior advise not to trim the roots (can surely cause root/tuber rot), not to rinse the roots/tuber, not to water it after the repot for a week or so.
do not even premoisten the gritty - just pot up in very small amt of mix, dry. and leave it. don't water much until you see some growth. certainly do not drench it to run off - that will be too much without the active growth.


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RE: ZZ Rescue

No, I didn't wrap the roots or mist or anything. The plants, with roots untangled, are just sitting in the mangled plant I had to cut open. I didn't think it would be much worse than how it already was, given that there was next to no soil anyway & what was there was just super-compacted. It was not a well-aerated soil at all.

Great suggestions, though. I might as well keep the three together, and maybe even add the other plant in also. I have a couple of candidate pots; I just need to go size them up with the poor plant to see what fits, but just barely. It will probably take some shaking/skewering to get the thing seated well.

The present spot is a south-facing window, but it is fairly decently shaded by a big tree. It sounds like that should work.

I'll update in a week. Thanks again.


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RE: ZZ Rescue - UPDATES

I have a few updates on the ZZ plants.
First, the one that was in a small green plastic pot was put in a small clay pot with two of the extra little guys that came out of the bigger plant. As you can see below, the formerly-small-green-guy isn't doing well. My hope is that, because the tuber and root development was so good, this shoot (is it a rachis?) can just do what it is doing, but eventually other new growth should emerge. Maybe I'm wrong. We'll see.


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RE: ZZ Rescue - UPDATES

And in other ZZ news, the larger plant found a new home, as well. This is glazed ceramic, but the inside is only glazed for about the first inch at the top, then it seems to be unglazed. Maybe not ideal, but hopefully it will work. I potted it in soil + lots of perlite. I'm slowly coming 'round to surrendering & going for the gritty mix. Maybe that will happen this summer.

But, this ZZ seems happier since the repot. I'm not finding any additional yellowing. Some of the small shoots started to grow a bit, so I did finally give it another watering today (after the pic was taken).

Success so far!


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RE: ZZ Rescue - I'm IMPATIENT!!!

Because I'm big on immediate gratification, last weekend I saw this big ZZ, and it was on sale for about $12, so I had to buy it. It has all kinds of growth--old shoots, small new ones, and just emerging shoots. I heart it.

Sorry the picture is somewhat (a LOT) blurry. I know I need to repot it, soon, because what it is in is very fluffy peat. I hope it will tolerate what it is in until I secure gritty mix supplies and a pot I like (I can't seem to find any I like that aren't very expensive). About the pot, the plastic pot it is in is about 9.5 inches tall. That's a bit deep for these guys, isn't it? The tallest "shoot" is only 19.5 inches from the surface of the soil. Do you all agree that I could likely go with something shallower?


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RE: ZZ Rescue - I'm IMPATIENT!!!

Here's a closer shot of the fluffy stuff it is in currently.

Also, with a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water, I've been working on the water spots on the leaves. I love ZZ plants' shiny leaves.


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RE: ZZ Rescue

Congrats on the new ZZ! Hope your rescue plants are coming along. I purchased a large ZZ just like yours. I didn't get it on sale, though. Way to go!

Mine has done fine in the same soil and pot that it came in. I've only had it since December. Hopefully it will stay happy. I love this plant.

I had a smaller ZZ that the cat attacked. It lost several stalks. I repotted it and, after much waiting, it has started sending out new shoots. Maybe one day it will be lush and thriving again.


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RE: ZZ Rescue

Good Lord, $12?! I'd have to strut out the store with a few of those babies!

Shallower would be better, yes.

Do you have previous experience with using rubbing alcohol and water? I'd just be concerned it'd harm the foliage, but if it hasn't yet, that's something new to try! I usually just get a nice damp cloth and wipe water spots off plants (even ZZ Plants) and go right behind and wipe again with a dry cloth to keep water from spotting again.

Planto


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RE: ZZ Rescue

Sarah, good luck with the recuperating ZZ. I think you'll be rewarded with a fantastic plant. The larger of the older of my (rescue) plants now has 7 new shoots coming out! I'm very excited. The smaller (of the older set) isn't doing as well. I suppose it is being typically ZZ; it is doing nothing. The yellowing leaves are continuing to die, but I decided to just let them do what they're going to do. It is only one stalk that is yellowing and I'm hoping that the decent tuber it has will end up producing stalks. If today hadn't been so gloomy, I would take new pictures.

Planto, thanks! I couldn't believe it when I saw the 9.5 inch pot FULL of ZZ for only $12. It was the only one they had that size, so I snatched it up. The bottom (actually on the sides about half an inch from the bottom) drain holes are STILL damp, so I've not watered it yet--I think HD had just watered it before I bought it. The diluted rubbing alcohol had no ill effects on the leaves, thankfully. I'd previously used it on a philodendron (from a different nursery) that had horrible water spots. I assumed if those leaves were fine, the thicker, more waxy ZZ leaves could take it. There's no science behind my assumption; maybe I just got lucky.

I haven't secured my fir bark fines for the gritty mix (or, incidentally, the ⅛ inch screen), so I have not repotted the new plant yet. I did find a really nice pot for it. I'm disappointed in the amount I spent on the pot!


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RE: ZZ Rescue

That's interesting, I've never head of using rubbing alcohol before so I had to ask. Thanks for the information. I think the biggest ZZ Plants I've seen around here are in 6 in. pots. How much did you spend on the pot?

Planto


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RE: ZZ Rescue

The pot was $53. That's probably not big news around here, but it is ridiculous to me!


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RE: ZZ Rescue

OMG... I was thinking $20 or something. The most I've ever spent on a pot was $13 and I still feel like that was too much money lol. How big is the pot? What's it made of? Mine was glazed ceramic with some flowers painted on it. I got in on sale.

Planto


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RE: ZZ Rescue

Glazed ceramic (I really like the finish!) outside, sort of drips of glaze into the inside (but the bottom is unglazed, has drainage hole. The pot is pretty big--bigger than I actually need for the ZZ, but the plant is large and is throwing up several new shoots, so I'm hoping I will be able to encourage it to get even bigger. (I know, they like to be root bound. With the gritty mix (when I eventually get it together), I'm hoping a pot a bit on the large side won't be a problem.)

I just measured: the pot is about 10 inches. That doesn't seem as large as it looks. I can't get any good pictures of it.

Now, I read in another thread that, with the gritty mix, over potting isn't much of an issue. Earlier in this thread, we agreed that shallower is better. Any thoughts on the continued need for shallower in gritty mix? (I keep basically repeating myself. Sorry.)


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RE: ZZ Rescue

Here's a bit of an update.
It is much, much happier now!
There are now 8 new growths coming up (some of which existed before, but weren't doing much of anything).
I'm very excited! Thanks again for your help with this one!


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RE: ZZ Rescue

ariel, you got so many i can't keep track of them! :)
the new one with a pic on mar 28 21pm - it is in coir peat.
it def could use some bark to dry up faster. or perlite or both . and a pot that tapers to a narrow bottom - that drains better then fat bottom nursery pots.
you can use eq. amts of coir peat (you can reuse it, if you pick out the root pieces out), med/fine orchid bark and perlite or scoria(lava rock). orchid potting mix is a good subs for bark, it contains mostly bark with some charcoal a a bit of peat, but not that much.
the last pic looks very good - all those shoots are great!


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RE: ZZ Rescue

I'm very pleased with how the rescue ZZ has turned around! It had 5 or 6 new growth tips when the rescue began, but they were not doing anything at all. Lately, more have popped out and the existing ones are growing.

I've forced myself to a new watering routine for it: when I start to think to myself "OMG... you HAVE to water that poor thing" I must wait at least 3 more days before actually doing it.

I *still* haven't watered the big new ZZ (the one in the coir). It had just been watered when I got it, and the soil around the bottom holes stayed moist until just recently. It has a lot of new growth as well, so I'm happy about that.

I did buy a pot for it. I got a bit lucky, because the pot I picked out (based entirely on appearance & being big enough to fit the plant in it) does taper to a narrower bottom.

I decided I'm going to try the gritty mix. I bought a bonsai sieve, foliage pro, and pro-tekt. This week I'm going to get my bark, granite, and turface. But, I think I'm going to keep your soil recipe for plants that like water a bit more. Thanks!


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RE: ZZ Rescue

I thought I'd update this thread. The rescue ZZ seems to be doing just fine. Here's how it looks now:
 photo 6E501525-5256-45DE-A6EA-3C035A17E444.jpg

The one thing I find interesting is that the OLD stalks/rachis/whatever are continuing slowly to turn yellow & wither. I'm just chalking it up to natural ageing right now, because the new growth is just fine. Here's a closer shot of some of the old growth (and you can see a bit of it above as well):
 photo 746307E3-A16A-45B0-AA3D-1A9CC3537FC0.jpg

Of course, the LARGE ZZ continues to delight (me, at least):
 photo 06615FB6-4DC8-4EAD-90CE-239754180D8F_1.jpg


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RE: ZZ Rescue

so, i am curious,
you've been threatening with gritty for awhile :). did you do it or not yet?
your plants are doing very well.
if your tubers are near the surface you can reach with your finger and test if tubers are soft on the yellowing stalk. you'll know if they are soft. test each one. for the one smaller pot that is not doing well, may be they got rotten. then you'll need to pull them out roots and all - cause it can spread.


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RE: ZZ Rescue

IMO, ZZ Plants are no different than other plants, in that no leaf (or in this case, stem) lives forever. Old stalks will yellow and die, that's normal. But, if you notice it's quite a few, there could be a problem with rot like petrushka said.

Considering they were yellow when you bought them, they're not going to turn green again. If they were dying when you bought them, they're going to continue to die. You stated you have new growth forming, so I don't believe there's anything you need to worry about. It's possible it was kept too wet in the store (that can cause stalks to yellow and die), but now that you've repotted it in better soil and are taking better care of it than the store was, I don't think you need to worry. :)

Planto


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RE: ZZ Rescue

I did go gritty. But my transition is incomplete; I haven't put everything in it yet. The smaller ZZ pot will likely not go into gritty mix. I'm not sure I'll be able to get the plant out of the pot without breaking the pot & I don't feel like doing that just yet.
I'm not really worried about the yellowing; I assume that it is just age progression. I did massage the tubers a bit. They seem happily firm.
My update was really just an update on how pleased I am with things. The big pot of ZZ (which is in gritty mix) isn't throwing out nearly as many new stalks as when I first got it, but I knew they're not fast growers. The smaller pot is doing just fine, overall, I think. The new growth is nice and green. Even the tiny pot (with just two wee stalks) is just sort of there being green, doing nothing, which I guess is what these plants are best at doing.


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RE: ZZ Rescue

Ariel,
Oh okay. I thought maybe you were concerned about the yellowing. Firm tubers is a good sign, if they were beginning to rot, I'd imagine they'd be wrinkled and would give when poked (although extreme underwatering could cause that too!).

ZZ Plants are known for their slow growth. I think someone said somewhere that hers seems to throw out a lot of growth in the Spring and that's it for the year lol. Some say with more frequent waterings, you can receive more growth, I'm not sure myself. I really believe that depends on your soil, the amount of light, etc. If it's in a lower light situation, watering more isn't going to help. Mine is a bit far away from a window so I wouldn't even attempt that.

Planto


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