How to Save Zz Plant from Root Rot (Step by Step)

Last Updated on July 16, 2022 by Stephanie

ZZ plant (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia) are well-known for long-term neglect, however this doesnt mean they are invincible to it. I will discuss the most common root rot issue that ZZ plants face and how to prevent and treat it from happening.

Apart from root rot, Zz is an herb that can be maintained for a long period of time. Root decay is the most common cause of death for Zz plants Be cautious.

Here are the steps you can take to save the ZZ Plant from root decay:

  • Remove your ZZ plants from the pot.
  • Clean the roots and rhizomes using running water.
  • Cut off the affected roots and the rhizomes (brown and soft)
  • Repot the plant in an unclean container. soil
  • Only water when the first 1-2 inches top soil are dry.

Learn how to determine whether youre ZZ plants are suffering from root rot in this section.

Signs of Root Rot in ZZ Plant

The majority of symptoms and signs of plant diseases are like one another. If youre not familiar with the symptoms with the signs and symptoms of plant diseases, youre likely to confuse one with the other. The best way to identify the symptoms of root rot is to identify the specific changes taking place within the Zz plant.

These are the most common warning indicators youll notice. If you notice a lot of these, then its time to make a serious effort to stop the Zz plant from becoming a dying plant.

Loss of Vigor

A Zz plant suffering with root rot can grow at a slower rate. There will be a lack of increase in size, as well as the plants will develop slow, which makes it more susceptible to diseases.

Your Zz plant is likely to appear unhealthy. If you have noticed the fact that your Zz plant is growing too slowly and is not producing enough, then root rot could be possible.

Leaves Turning Brown

There are either massive brown spots on the leaves, or the leaves are turning brown.

This condition is usually caused by root rot. One distinctive feature to be aware of is that leaves tend to be mushy when they are touched.

Learn about the reasons for zz plants becoming brown and the best way to resolve the issue.

Stem Rot

If you examine the stem just a few inches higher than the soil, youll see it is also decaying. If the roots are badly damaged and the stems are also damaged, they will be affected.

Stem rot is distinguished by being slimy and soft. If you attempt to move the plants base it will break off easily leaving the roots in the soil.

Yellowing and Wilting

If your leaves begin turning to yellow, from bottom up to at the very top of them, its a good likelihood its because the root is already decaying.

The first signs of yellowing appear because of the deficiency in the water and nutrients absorbed from the soil. The entire Zz plant will begin slowing down.

Mushy Roots

The most reliable way to determine that the Zz tree is suffering from root decay is to examine the roots themselves.

Remove the plant carefully from its pot and inspect how the root system appears. The healthy roots will appear white.

When the root is already changing from brown to black and feel squishy and slimy upon contact Its likely that theyre decaying. The roots also smell bad.

Be aware that the symptoms will differ based on the severity of the root decay is.

The signs can be not obvious, especially when its only beginning to show. As the rotting progresses youll notice more of the symptoms mentioned in the previous paragraphs.

Moldy Soil

The growth of molds is usually in soil that is constantly moist. A water-saturated Zz plant will suffer from this problem.

If you notice mold growing on the soils surface Its a sign you shouldnt ignore.

It is important to check what the roots are performing in the soil. The majority of the time there are decaying parts hidden beneath the soil.

How to Treat Zz Plant Root Rot

Root rot is a common cause of death for the Zz plant, particularly if you do not treat it. Keep in mind that the roots play a crucial function in channeling water and vital nutrients to the upper part in the.


It is difficult to determine the extent of the root rot until you remove the plant from the pot.

Then you will have an accurate view of the affected area and the extent of it. To stop the spread of the damage the plant, it is recommended to plant the plant in a new pot.

Heres the step-by- process procedure for how to do it correctly:

The plant should be watered thoroughly, so that the soil and roots be loose.

Put water in the pot and let it sit for a couple of hours. This will make it easier of taking the Zz plant out of the pot, especially when its already in a pot.

Remove the root ball from the pot.

Be extra cautious during this process. Certain plants already have decaying stems near the base which makes them more susceptible. Remove the soil around the roots.

Take a look at the roots and search for the areas that are rotten.

The rotten parts range from dark brown to black as well as slimy. They also smell bad. Look for these areas of the roots , and then see how much damage has occurred.

Cut off the dead roots.

The rotten parts of the plant wont anymore serve their purpose. This is why its necessary to reduce the size of the plant. Cut the roots to a minimum of an inch after the area that is damaged.

Be sure to use scissors that are disinfected to prevent the spread of disease. Be cautious not to mix rotten roots together with plants. Remove it from the garden in a clean and safe manner.

Apply fungicide to the roots.

Fungicides protect the roots from being infected by pathogens. Choose the appropriate fungicide for Zz plants and follow the directions when applying.

There are fungicides that are specific to pathogens, therefore you must determine which one is required for your plants.

I came across the Liquid Copper Fungicide(Check the most current cost on Amazon) that is the best against fungal infections.

Clean and sterilize a potters mix.

It is available at garden stores to use immediately. Make sure to moisten the potting mix by watering it for a few hours prior to reconpotting.

Repot into a new, fresh container.

In case youre Zz plants is suffering from from root decay caused by the fungus, do not use the soil and pot you have previously used to repot it.

Its just transferring the disease back. Instead, choose a fresh and clean pot with fresh pots and potting mix.

Using Appropriate Soil Mix

The correct mix of elements within the soil mixture can improve its structure. A healthy soil contains enough pores that air can fill up even when its dry. If you water the soil, the air spaces will be filled with water.

To enhance the structure and soil quality of your pot mix include peat moss or even bark to the mix.

This makes the soil more porous. If youre not sure about making your own mix It is better to purchase potting soil that has been mixed.

It is important to test the drainage capacity of the soil prior to planting your plant. Put water in the pot and observe how quickly it drains through the holes.

If it takes longer than a few than a few minutes, then its not draining properly and you need to improve your soil mixture.

Watering After Repot

Plants can suffer shock after transplantation or the repotting process. This is why it is important to be extra careful with the Zz plant. To lessen stress, it is essential to effectively water your plant.

Make sure to thoroughly water the soil following the repotting process, making sure its well-watered. Allow it for a couple of hours to drain, and then put it in a place in which there is a little shade.

Examine the soil to determine the level of moisture. After it has dried it is possible to add water to the pot. Make sure to do deep watering.

Care After Repotting

Repotting can be a very stressful procedure for plants, so it is important to provide them with additional attention afterward. One way to do this is to ensure that you water the pot well after the repotting.

Roots of Zz are being adjusted to the new surroundings. Naturally, it will have a difficult to transfer water and nutrients to the leaves and stems. The presence of water can ease stress.

Make sure you place the Zz plant in shade immediately after repotting in order to avoid excessive loss of moisture. It is recommended to move the plant to brighter lighting little by little, so that you dont shock the plant.


When the root decay on the root of your Zz plant is becoming severe The only way to save it is to grow the remaining healthy stems or leaves. Then, you are able to remove the remainder of the plant.

Heres how you can propagate Zz plants. Zz plant by cutting off leaf and stem cuttings:

Leaf Cuttings

  1. Take healthy and whole leaves from the stem that is not affected from Zz. Zz plant. Select the leaves with no evidence of injury. It should be deep green and already mature.
  2. Put it in the fridge for a couple of hours, giving the time for it to swell.
  3. Make a moist, well-drained potters mix in a container. Attach the leafs base into the potting mix the direction that it faces upside down.
  4. The leaves should be watered gently. put them in a place in the suns direct, bright light.
  5. Watch for the leaves to grow into small rhizomes at the base. It could take about a month.

Stem Cuttings

  1. Cut a healthy stem of the Zz plant with sharp scissors that are clean. Choose a stem that is mature, but isnt aging.
  2. Make a glass-like container , then fill it in with water, which is approximately half.
  3. The cut stem should be placed in the container, allowing at least half of the stems water to be absorbed. Place it in a place in a light-filled area.
  4. Change the water every 3-4 weeks or based on how filthy the water becomes. Be on the lookout for signs of mold so that it will not grow.
  5. The rhizomes will develop in the lowest. Repot them in the new container with a new potting mix.
  6. Then, water Zz plant. Zz plant and then place it in direct, bright light.

Alternately, you can place the cut stem directly in the mix of potting. Place it in water and put it in a partially shaded area. The stems will grow roots within about a month.

You May Also Enjoy: Do ZZ Plants Need Fertilizer? (Tips and Common Mistakes)

Causes of Zz Plant Root Rot

There are a myriad of factors that could cause root rot, but the majority of them result from of negligence.

The best part is that it is fixable. All you have to do is be alert to the symptoms, make a diagnosis and then take the appropriate steps.


The most common reason plants are afflicted with root rot is the over-watering.

This is especially true for potted plants since they are small in size and water is easily stuck inside.

If this happens it is when the roots get trapped in stagnant water, like if theyve been submerged.

The oxygen supply is reduced which affects the Zz plants ability to breathe.

The roots gradually end up dying from the suffocation. The dead plant parts will degrade over time.

How to Fix:

Theres one important thing to keep in mind when watering ZZ plants. ZZ plant. It has large fleshy rhizomes beneath the soil that act as a water reservoir. This means that it doesnt require excessive watering.

To prevent overwatering Here are some tips you can follow to stop the Zz plant from developing root rot. ( Source: University of Connecticut)

Always test the soil for water requirements.

We may have been conditioned to water our plants every day, but this is not the norm for the Zz plant.

Regular watering isnt required when the plant has sufficient water stored within its rhizomes. Instead of sticking to an established timetable, make it an habit of checking the soil before making a decision whether or not to water.

Dry the soil prior to the watering

ZZ plants prefer dry conditions over one that is moist. Therefore, if youre not sure whether you should water your plant or not, its better to not water the plant at all.

To determine if the soil is sufficiently dry test your fingers by placing them one inch below. If the soil feels dry, its the right time to give your plant a good watering. If it is damp, theres no need to add water right now.

Soak the soil thoroughly.

To prevent the development of an unnaturally shallow root system Make sure you water deeply. Keep in mind that roots be drawn toward the source of water therefore, if you soak them in water for a long time your roots will move further into soil.

The best thing to do is let water to completely wet the soil in the container. Allow it to soak into the soil to ensure that all roots are able to access the medium.

Dont forget to flush any excess water.

This is an essential procedure to follow for watering your plants. It is important to check that the excess water drains out through drain holes. This way, there will be there will be no stagnant water within the pot.

Make sure to remove all the water from the coasters of your pot as well. Coasters may hold water, leaving the bottom part in the pot into the pool of water.

Change the frequency of watering as required.

It is necessary to water more frequently when temperatures are high and humidity low. This is also true the time of year when sunlight is intense , just as it is during the summer.

This is due to the fact that transpiration rates in these seasons are generally more high. Contrastingly, low temperatures and high humidity colder seasons dont require frequent irrigation. ZZ plants dont lose this much water. If you keep watering your plant, it could eventually develop root decay.

Poor or Lack of Drainage

Even if youre watering your Zz plant with sufficient water If its not getting adequate drainage, it is vulnerable to root decay.

The water can remain stuck in the pot since there is no escape route. In the event that holes in your pot are too small in comparison to the size of the pot the draining process wont be as effective.

Insufficient drainage causes water to remain in the container for longer than it is necessary. This causes a waterlogging problem similar to excessive watering.

How to Fix:

If you find that your Zz plant is potted in a container that has drainage holes arent present or inadequate, its about time you begin drilling holes. Take the Zz plant from the container and make new holes in the bottom. Check how quickly the water drains out of the holes.

If the water is able to move out within a few minutes, then youve created a good drainage.

Check it again after youve put back the Zz plant back in its pot. Be sure to clear any obstruction.

Poor Drainage Capacity of Soil

The physical properties of the soil you choose to use for your Zz plant can also impact the capacity of drainage.

When the soil in your garden is extremely compact The rate of water infiltration will be extremely low. In the end, it is a common occurrence to keep water within the container for extended durations.

A soil that is not well-drained has greater amounts of clay within its structure. The absence of large pores spaces is the reason water cannot flow freely through the soil. The soil that is not draining properly often is sticky when touched.

How to Fix:

Enhance the soil structure of your pots by adding peat moss bark, or other organic substances. These materials improve the structure and texture of the soil , by creating more pore spaces between.

You can determine if the potting mix drains well by pouring water over it and watching how quickly the liquid seeps from the mix of soil.

Pathogenic Infection

Another reason for root decay in potted plants is the pathogenic infection. There are various types of viruses and bacteria which are found in soil that can lead to the development of diseases within Zz plants. The most commonly used pathogens include Phytophthora as well as Pythium.

They thrive in moist conditions in the soil. If the soil youve used for potting was previously infested by these organisms Theres a good chance that it will return. When the roots become infected and the disease spreads, it is easy to spread throughout the entire area.

How to Fix:

To control the infection, you can apply a suitable soil fungicide in it drenches. Separate the plant from any ornamental plants to prevent spread of the disease. Take out infected parts immediately.

Reduce the amount of humidity between the plant and the soil. This will stop the organisms from flourishing.

Inappropriate Size of Pots

Its true, what size pot youre using for Zz plants can affect its overall well-being. Large or small pots result in overwatering. This is how it happens.

In the event that your pot gets too big, the likelihood is for you to add more water to cover the soil.

However when its too small to the plants dimensions, youll be enticed to water more frequently, even when its not necessary.

In either case, youll be faced with the tendency to overwater. Of course, anything in excess stays in the pot, leaving the soil always wet.

How to Fix:

Be sure to have an estimate of the size that you will need for your Zz plant. Then, youll be able to determine whether the size of your plant matches the size of its pot. Smaller plants require smaller pots while big plants require large pots.

Plant the Zz plant in a suitable container, so it is that the amount of soil place into the container is enough to support the plant.

Low Temperature

Ive mentioned before that temperature is an important aspect to take into account when you are watering.

In times of low temperatures water loss in plants slows. This means that the water will remain longer in their systems.

If you regularly provide water to your plants, regardless of the fact that temperatures are low it will cause waterlogging within the soil. This can lead to root decay.

A further reason could be that a low temperatures provide a conducive environment for pathogens to thrive.

If this occurs when this happens, your Zz plant is at risk of being infected by an illness, specifically ones that attack roots.

How to Fix:

Reduce your frequency for watering in the colder months. Be sure the soil is dry prior to you begin watering.

Exposed your Zz plant to a large amount of natural or artificial light to increase the rate of evapotranspiration.

Watering During the Dormant Period

The period of dormancy in plants is a time when metabolic processes like respiration and photosynthesis slow down.

It is often called the time of rest since the plant stops from growing.

The slowing down of these processes causes the plant to use tiny amounts of water.

Dormant periods of watering will only result in an excess water being absorbed by the pot. The pot then sits in a stagnant state for a long time, which leaves root systems in flood state.

How to Fix:

Refrain from water use during the time of dormancy. This is usually the case during winter.

If the temperature begins to drop reduce the frequency and amount of the watering.

Most of the time the Zz plant will be able to survive it is not watered throughout the winter season. If it begins to wilt and then you can give it another watering.

How to Prevent and Control Zz Plant Root Rot

Root decay on Zz plants is definitely avoided. It is just a matter of learning how to apply the most effective methods to take care of Zz plants. Here are the top guidelines to follow:

Avoid Waterlogging

It is possible to prevent waterlogging by making sure the excess water drains out from the pot.

If you choose the correct size pot, making sure there are enough drain holes and then watering it early at dawn, your risk of stagnant water be minimized.

Watering Schedule

In order to allow enough time for the water to evaporate from the soil, you should water the Zz plant early in the morning.

If youve missed your morning routine in the early morning Dont attempt to make up for it by watering your plant at night. This will make the plant more susceptible to root rot.

The night time watering will extend the time that moisture remains within the pot.

The cooler temperatures at night can result in a lower rate of transpiration. The pathogens are attracted to this type of environment, too.

Ive written a second article about the frequency of watering ZZ plant, taking into consideration all the information you need to be aware of when the watering of ZZ plant.

Appropriate Soil Mix

A soil that is well-drained is essential when it comes to potted plants. Avoid future problems by selecting the correct mixture for the Zz plant.

Make sure to use sterilized soil to prevent pathogens from infecting your roots that support your plants.

Add organic matter like peat moss or bark to enhance its structure.

Choose the Right Pot

The ideal size must always be proportional with the dimensions of the Zz plant. Be careful not to use too big or too small pots.

If youre using terra-cotta ceramic, plastic or ceramic pots, you should choose those with drainage holes.

Apply Fungicide as a Preventive Measure

It is recommended to apply fungicides to the soil prior to the start of transplanting in order to eliminate the pathogen issue.

Be aware that the diseases caused by these organisms may be difficult to manage when they begin to infect the plant.

Provide Enough Light

While Zz plants can tolerate low levels of light however, it is best to put them in direct, bright light.

Light aids in the process of transpiration and evaporation that can be used to benefit your Zz.

Final Words

There are a variety of methods to protect the Zz tree from decay. The method you choose depends on the root cause of the issue.

It is essential to be aware of the symptoms of root rot in plants prior to the damage gets worse.

The above signs are the ones that happen frequently. However, there are instances when only one sign is visible. This is why its important to examine the roots to ensure.

Although root rot can be difficult to tackle but remember that there is always hope for your loved Zz. In the end the plant is robust and durable.



Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)