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6.7.09

ZZ Plant Propagation

Early in the growing season when the houseplants made the yearly migration to vacation outdoors my ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) was damaged in the process. Instead of getting upset at one of my favorite succulent plants being marred I decided to take the opportunity to propagate this plant.

I've blogged before about how easy it is to propagate succulents from cuttings and especially single leafs. It is a great way to get new plants and since prices for ZZ Plants around here are pretty expensive I figured maybe I could make a few extra plants to share with friends and family that are always taking plants when they visit.

 ZZ Plant leaf plucked from stem

The stem of the ZZ Plant that was damaged was relatively short so I plucked the leaves off of that stem and let them sit around for a couple of hours to let the cut ends callous over.


zz plant leafs potted in container for propagationWhile I was waiting for the leaves to dry I got my potting soil ready. The potting soil I had on hand was very heavy so I amended the soil with some perlite, the white specks, to make it fluffier and allow for better drainage. I took an empty plastic container from the deli and poked a few holes in the bottom. Unlike with other plant cutting you take you don't want to cover your ZZ Plant leaf cuttings because they are succulents and too much water will cause them to rot and die.

The leaves were inserted standing straight up in the soil. I'm keeping them in a bright and protected area of the front stoop where they will get some sunlight but not direct sunlight the leaves could dry out and die completely in the summer heat. The leaf cuttings are also protected from getting any to assure I don't lose them because the soil was kept too soggy and the tips of the leafs begin to rot.



ZZThe leaves were inserted into the potting mix standing straight up. I'm keeping them in a bright and protected area of the front stoop where they will get some sunlight but not direct sunlight- the leaves could dry out and die completely in the summer heat. The leaf cuttings are also protected from getting any to assure I don't lose them because the soil was kept too soggy and the tips of the leafs begin to rot.

If you've looked around the archives of this gardening blog you may have come across similar entries: Plant Propagation: Succulents by Leaf Cuttings being one and Echeveria 'Black Prince' Propagation is another. Both of them show how you can make more plants from the leafs of a succulent plants like the ZZ Plant.

Looking for a post on caring for your ZZ Plant? Growing info can be found in the post ZZ Plant: Easy Low Light Houseplant

MrSubjunctive has a post on the ZZ Plant too and growing them from leafs. It looks like from his experience the leafs take several months to propagate.

31 comments:

  1. I like ZZ plant, but I'm way too cheap to buy one---they are kind of pricey here, too. I'll have to see if I can get a leaf from someone. Or do some creative pilfering at Home Depot.

    BTW--there's a typo in here. Pretty sure you meant "potting mix" above, below the closeup pic of your cuttings, not "potting sex." :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:02 PM

      Hi everyone..I really love this plant but wondering where can I get one? Help pls..

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    2. Amazon.com is selling the ZZ plants

      Delete
  2. Colleen,

    You can always check your local mall for some leaves that may need adopting. I noticed that ZZ Plants are all over the mall container gardens too. Prolly less chance of you getting arrested.

    As for the typo, I have no idea what you're talking about. ;0)

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  3. LOL I thought about that after I commented. Now, of course, it looks like I have some type of problem or something....

    There was a typo. I swear!

    ReplyDelete
  4. LOL, no there was that typo there don't know what the heck I was thinking. Probably due to me cutting out the section of the post that was about sexual versus asexual reproduction of the ZZ Plant that I decided I didn't want to write.

    :0)

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  5. LOL...that was funny about the typo! I didn't see it, but enjoyed reading about it!!! Hee hee hee!!! I love succulent propogation. Hope you have good luck with your leaves!!!

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  6. LOL...that was funny about the typo! I didn't see it, but enjoyed reading about it!!! Hee hee hee!!! I love succulent propogation. Hope you have good luck with your leaves!!!

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  7. I have been successful with propagating ZZ plant using its stem but I have not tried using its leaf. Will do next time ;-) TQ for showing the process.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How do you stem propagate a ZZ?

      Delete
  8. Dang! Why didn't I read this post last night when I first saw it on my bloglist? I love catching typos, especially the naughty ones. Thanks for the informative aspect of the post too, MBT. I'm not up to speed with the succulents, so you've taught me a lot. I've noticed that succulent gardeners are some of the nicest people and passionate about sharing what they know. See what a lil ol' typo can do? Now you've got me writing about passion!

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  9. @ Julie and @ Walk2Write,

    You snooze you lose :0)

    @Stephanie,

    Have you really? I've never tried rooting a stem, probably because it grows them so slowly but thanks for the tip.

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  10. I am looking to propagate a zz plant and have seen this described differently in other sites. How did this technique work for you? Did it take forever?

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  11. Stephan, It worked out fine for me. It does take a while for things to start growing. Here's another gardener who used the same technique http://is.gd/iU4RX

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  12. Anonymous2:52 PM

    I have never tried the leaf method, but make the stems all the time. I cut a newer stem, and put them in water....they will get roots...but takes about 4 weeks...be patient (this I'm not!) you will get roots. I then just place in potting soil and wait for more stems to grow. Found it likes outside better to grow, but not in direct sunlight.

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  13. Anonymous8:34 PM

    A dear friend of my daughter and myself gave us some cuttings of her ZZ plant. She bought it at Lowe's in Joplin, Missouri and it was tagged as a Cycas. I searched for Cycas and could not find a photo that looked anything like this plant. She passed away earlier this year with Gall Bladder cancer, a very rare cancer. A couple of days ago I began looking again at plant photos on the web and bingo, there it was. I have been reading everything I can find about this plant. Some say this plant is extremely poisonous and should not be kept at all, and causes cancer, others say it, like so many of our other favorite house plants are poisonous if ingested. So typically one just has to be cautious and wash your hands, and equipment good after handling these plants, and keep them up away from children and pets. I love the beautiful simple design of the plant.

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  14. Anonymous8:28 PM

    I had no idea the ZZ plant was a succulent!! I recently moved and gave away all of my houseplants and by far the ZZ was my favorite. They are pricey, but I know they are quite cheap at a commissary/Exchange - know any military??? I picked one up today in a one gallon pot for $8.00. The Lowe's equivalent of a $35.00 plant. Now I know I can propagate them on my own. Nice to "see" you again Mr. Brown Thumb. We spoken several times on GW, even exchanged a few emails :) Thanks for you post!!! Christy2828 :)

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  15. I bought a ZZ plant online (amazon i think) and later found one 3 times the size at Home Depot for less money! I couldn't resist and brought home one of those as well. I re potted both my plants in a cactus soil mix, both pots leaving much room for growth. Now I get a new shoot nearly every month! Everyone says how they're slow growers but I swear every time I go to water mine I see new growth. Being in Chicago I keep mine in a south window from late fall till late spring and then put them on my patio where they get morning sun but shade in the afternoons. Ive had them for a few years now and they are just awesome plants. I even bought one for my brother's wife who seems to murder everything she touches but swears she loves plants. I told her to water it once every two weeks and to never drench the pot. Her's hasn't grown like mine but I do give them alot of sun and I use fertilizer (a weak mixture) every time i water my plants. They seem to like the organic fert i use for my orchids.

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  16. Did you cover the potted leaves with plastic bag? I read somewhere this war necessary

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  17. Anonymous3:51 PM

    A large ZZ plant was just donated to our office, but evidently it was getting watered too much and looks awful. Many of its leaves are brown and yellow. It also looks like it needs repotting, as the stems are pretty crowded. If I cut off all the dying stems, will new ones grow if there isn't room in the pot? Or should I repot and/or divide the whole thing and see what happens? It doesn't look like new leaves would grow from the old stems if the old ones all fall off...right? I just don't want to have a pot full of stubble. Suggestions will be most appreciated!

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  18. Anonymous8:56 AM

    I have always loved the ZZ plant since I saw a huge one in a nice Restaurant in town. At the time, I did not know what the plant was, so I came home and googled it. That was a few years ago. Since then, I did find the plant, finally, and bought one a few days ago only to start reading how dangerous it is to own one! WHAT?!! Can it REALLY cause cancer ???? I knew it was a poisonous plant, but my plans were to keep it on a table, away from kiddo's. Why are people making this claim?

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  19. Anonymous4:34 PM

    It took 5 weeks for single leaves to form tubers. I was amazed because my plants HAVE to thrive on neglect, they got no special treatment... 4'' pot of compost and daily watering with all the other seeds/cuttings. Jamaica tho' so maybe humidity helps.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Anonymous6:37 AM

    Hi
    I followed your instructions by the letter and one and a half week later, my leaves turned reddish brown.
    Are they dead and should I discard them?
    What is the frequency of watering the zz cuttings?

    Please help

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It could be that your ZZ plant leaf cuttings dried out. It can take several weeks before you notice any growth on your plants. You can try covering them the container with something to trap humidity, but you don't really want to water your cuttings like they were a houseplant until they start growing. If the soil starts looking dry you can mist the soil with a spray bottle to keep the soil moist, but not soaking wet.

      Delete
  21. There was a comment I think I accidentally deleted here asking where to buy ZZ plants. Sorry. I bought my ZZ plant at Home Depot and I think you can find them in most HDs across the country.

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  22. Hi.

    I propagated ZZ plants using the leaf cutting method and 3 months into it, the leaves have remained fresh green. I placed each leaf into a 2-3 inch depth soilless medium in a coir pot.

    My questions are:
    1) What do I do now? I do not see any shoots coming out but the leaves are really fresh green.

    2) I experimented on one and carefully dug deep and found a white/translucent bulb at the bottom which i presume to be the tuber (?). Do I dig the entire leaf-tuber complex out and repot? I am wary as there is a bit of resistance when I try to tug it up once thinking it has taken root. OR should I just plant the entire thing pot and all in the ground?

    Which one would produce a more successful outcome - please advise

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Summer,

      It looks like your propagation of your ZZ plant from the leaf cuttings have worked. The white thing you found in the soil is indeed a tuber. I would leave the cuttings and tuber alone until you see more growth on the top portion of the plant. There is no need to transplant if the container you are using for your houseplants are not filled with roots. Just keep doing what you're doing and you'll be fine.

      Delete
  23. Anonymous6:00 PM

    I planted leaves as shown about about 12 in total. One has turned dark like it is rotton from overwatering. I caled myself keeping the soil moist but one day, I did add a bit too much. All the other leaves are fine. None have any roots. It's been about 2 weeks. Please advise. When should I check for roots?

    I also took four leaves and have then in a glass with about 1/2 in oc water. all 4 leavesare still healthy and green. Will they root in the water or only in dirt?

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi.

    One of the leaves I used turned an initial yellow to an eventual brown. Panicked, I carefully dug and pried it out seeing the tuber and some roots (?) shooting from it. I gave them wash over once then planted them back to a bigger pot and drier soil (thinking the previous one didnt dry out as well) but no promising change.

    Is that propagate a goner?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Summer,

      ZZ plants are slow growers, and they are especially slow when you are trying to root them. If you see a tuber and roots you pretty much managed to accomplish rooting a leaf. It just takes time to see the kind of growth we want to see when we're impatiently waiting to see if we were successful.

      Delete
  25. Anonymous1:16 PM

    Hi, I read your post on the ZZ plant. You and your readers might want to know I very successfully propagated this plant starting with 3 stem cuttings a few years ago in a 6" wide, 4" deep pot with sheet moss over the top; it now has about 30 stems and is happily busting over the top of the pot.I remember to water it maybe once a month and it's in a fully enclosed office space with LED lighting and a fairly warm temperature setting. If you would like a photo I will be happy to send it. Claire

    ReplyDelete

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