There comes a time in every indoor plant’s life when it needs to be replanted. Plants need room to grow, especially beneath the surface where their roots are busy fighting for the right amount of water, oxygen, and nutrients to keep the plant alive. This is especially true for ZZ plants.
But what does ZZ plant repotting involve, and how do you know when to do it? This article will answer these questions and tell you everything you need to keep your ZZ plant happy, healthy, and growing.
What Is a ZZ Plant?
The Zamioculcas zamiifolia plant, shortened to ZZ plant, grows in a wand-like shape and has smooth, oval-shaped leaves with a waxy appearance. These plants are native to Eastern Africa and are used to drought-prone circumstances, allowing them to adapt to different environments. ZZ plants can reach a height of three feet in proper conditions.
ZZ plants are a popular plants that can be found in everything from offices to malls. They’re generally easy to take care of, as they don’t need frequent watering or a lot of light. Since they can handle a little neglect, they’re a great choice for beginner plant owners.
In general, ZZ plants grow quite slow. However, they do need to eventually be repotted, more so than other plants. Let’s take a look at why that is.
ZZ Plant Repotting 101
Before jumping into how to repot your ZZ plant, we have to first discuss how to know when your ZZ plant is ready to be repotted. Generally, you should consider repotting when you suspect your ZZ plant is becoming root-bound.
What Does Root Bound Mean?
When a plant is root bound, it means that its roots have formed into a tightly condensed, tangled mess. This leaves no room for roots to continue to grow. Signs that your plant is root bound include roots growing out of drainage holes and roots coiling at the bottom of their pot.
Rootbound plants are normal. As long as this condition is caught early, it shouldn’t impact your plant too much. Some plants may not be seriously impacted by bound roots at all. However, for others, such as ZZ plants, if left undealt with, it may lead to negative effects in your plant, including:
- Stunted growth
- Yellow or brown leaves
ZZ plants do not like to be root bound. What makes ZZ plants unique is their rhizomes, which are round, white bulbs that grow below the soil.
Rhizomes store your ZZ plants’ water and nutrients. These rhizomes tend to grow quite large and therefore need room to grow. If your ZZ plant’s rhizome is too big, or the container has too many rhizomes, your plant may become more susceptible to diseases, such as root rot.
If there’s more than one rhizome, you may want to consider dividing your ZZ plant instead of replanting it to give you multiple plants. You’ll be able to better assess this when you remove the plant from its pot.
ZZ Plant Repotting – How to Do It
If your ZZ plant is root bound, it’s time to replant it in a larger pot. Replanting is generally a simple process, but there are a few things to keep in mind when repotting a ZZ plant.
Firstly, only move up one size in pots. Knowing that your plant will eventually grow to be three feet tall, it may be tempting to replant it in as big a pot as possible. In reality, if you give your ZZ plant too much room, to begin with, the soil may dry out more slowly after watering, resulting in root rot.
What’s more, is that ZZ plants are harmful to humans. It’s a good idea to use gloves when undertaking ZZ plant repotting, but don’t forget to wash your hands when you’re done.
Otherwise, ZZ plant repotting is pretty simple. Start by gently removing your ZZ plant from its old pot by flipping it and sliding the entire plant out at once. Make sure that you have its new container ready, filled about a third of the way with fresh soil.
Place your ZZ plant in the new pot, fill it with soil, and you’re done. Just be sure to water your plant to avoid having it dry out too soon.
ZZ plant repotting is best done in the spring to give your plant some time to get used to its new home and get it ready for the active summer months of growth.
Although these plants are relatively slow growers, you’ll most likely need to report your ZZ plant every two years or so. Check the roots from time to time to make sure that they aren’t taking over the soil and that the rhizome hasn’t become too big for the pot.
Other ZZ Plant Care Tips
Here are some additional tips to help you take care of your ZZ plant before and after repotting:
- If you use fresh soil that’s rich in nutrients, you shouldn’t need to feed your ZZ plant for a while after replanting.
- ZZ plants like bright, indirect light. They survive well in areas of low light, but they may not grow as quickly. If you notice your ZZ plant’s growth is slow, check to see if it is root bound. If it’s not, it may not be getting enough light.
- ZZ plants don’t require too much water. Overwatering this plant may cause root rot, so make sure the top inch of soil is dry before watering it. Water your ZZ plant after repotting.
ZZ plant repotting is an important aspect of caring for this particular type of plant. Although it is easy to look after and tolerates neglect, the ZZ plant does not like to be root bound as it restricts its access to nutrients and puts it at risk for root rot.
Don’t be surprised if you notice your ZZ plant experiencing a little growth spurt after being replanted. Repotting might be exactly what it needed this whole time.