Why ZZ Plant Stems Droop and Other Care Questions
We have this house plant (my deceased mom’s) and we have no idea what the plant is. Currently the large stems are starting to droop (causing some to break off) and we don’t know how to care for it. All advice welcome.
Your plant is called a ZZ plant, Zamioculcas zamiifolia. The main reason the stems droop is from lack of light. Stems will stand up straighter if the light is coming from above. Very dry soil is another reason stems droop.
ZZ plants can survive in low light, but grow faster in bright, indirect light. Since a ZZ plant is a slow grower even in good light, in low light these plants rarely produces new leaves. Direct sun fades and burns the leaves.
Over-watering is the main way to kill a ZZ plant. They do not like wet feet, so allow the soil to dry out before watering. ZZ plants have thick roots called rhizomes that store water, so when in doubt, do not water. Unlike most plants, Zamioculcas are very forgiving, allowing you to over-water a few times before showing signs of serious damage. Yellow leaves are an indication that the plant has been over-watered or severely under-watered. Water meters are not always reliable. Salt in the soil from too much plant food or if you are using water that has passed through a water softener (too salty), a water meter registers incorrectly. In very warm weather, a ZZ plant may need water every 7-10 days. In cooler weather, the plant may go 2-3 weeks before drying out. When you do water, water well enough so that the water comes out the drip holes in the bottom of the pot. Do not allow the plant to sit in the excess water.
Feed monthly when a ZZ plant is actively producing new leaves and every other month when it is not in a growing phase. Use a balanced, liquid plant food diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength. Too much plant food causes yellow leaves; this is called nutrient burn.
These plants are very poisonous so please keep it away from small children and pets.
You can read all my care tips in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.