How to Save ZZ Plant From Root Rot

The majority of homeowners will at some time or another experience root rot, whether it’s an orchid or your favourite ZZ plant. If you spot the signs of root rot in the early stages it is possible to keep the ZZ plant from imminent doom.

Insufficient drainage, overwatering and the wrong mix for potting is the main cause of root decay within ZZ plants. You can protect the ZZ plants from root decay by taking it out of its container, cutting the rotten roots and placing it back in fresh soil, and in a pot that has drainage holes.

If you’re worried over your ZZ plant’s health at the root or you suspect that it may have roots rot this article will provide a list of possible causes that it might be suffering from root rot and the best way to treat it.

Signs Of Root Rot In ZZ Plants

The ownership of an ZZ plant is a total pleasure as they are tolerant of low light and endure for weeks without water.

However it’s easy for root decay to occur on ZZ plants since they only exhibit signs of trouble after it’s too late to save them because of their tough nature.

Let’s take a look at some of the most frequent indicators your ZZ plant can show you that it’s suffering from root rot, and the best way to treat each one of them:

Mushy Stem And Black Roots

One of the most obvious signs of ZZ root rot in plants is the presence of black roots and soft stems.

When the root system that support ZZ plant are damaged, the roots of ZZ plants are affected, you’ll notice it begin to affect the stem of the plant.

A rotting root can be seen about an inch higher than the soil. The stems are thin and squishy. When you try to move them, the stem will break easily and leave behind the roots that are in the soil.

The stems that are mushy are an extreme situation, and you’ll be able to spot other indications of root rot prior to the stem begins to rot.

The most reliable way to test the root for rot to examine the roots themselves.

It is possible to do this by gentle loosening the soil, and then observing how the ZZ root system.

The roots will resemble any of these:

  • Healthy root systems should be characterized by firm white roots and spots of brown.
  • A root system that is rotting will be characterized by black or brown roots that are soft and slimy to the touch.

The extent of the ZZ roots rot of the plant will be determined by what time the plant was allowed to remain in water-logged conditions.

If the roots are allowed to decay and die, the plant will display more severe indications of root rot. The roots will become black.

Drooping Stem

When you notice that your ZZ plant’s stems are beginning to droop or fall in a significant way, it’s an indication that your plant is suffering from root decay.

The overwatering of the ZZ plant can result in a the soil to become waterlogged, which reduces the root environment in which oxygen isn’t easily available, leading to unhealthy roots.

The leaves that are drooping can be normal in the case of an enormous ZZ plants (it’s likely due to the mass of the stem and leaves). It’s time to be concerned if your plant appears to be dying.

If you’re not sure the possibility that you’re ZZ plant is suffering from leaf drop because of root rot, examine the roots of the plant to confirm.

ZZ Plant Leaves Turning Yellow And Wilting

The yellow leaves of ZZ Plants most commonly occur because of excessive watering.

The yellowing (and occasionally browning) usually occurs on older and lower leaves first.

It could also be among the numerous indications that the ZZ plant is displaying that it’s not happy. Other indicators could include a the absence of growth, the shrinking stems and wrinkled leaves.

The leaves may also turn yellow because of excessive sunlight, bugs, acclimatization issues, or stress from temperature.

Take note of these things in your quest to determine the reason your ZZ plant has yellow leaves:

  • In the event that soil becomes drained the overwatering can result in yellowing of the leaves.
  • The tips of the leaves are brown (especially on leaves that are younger) Drooping stems, wrinkled leaves and odors suggest rotting roots.
  • When the ZZ plant is exposed to direct sunlight, the leaves could burn and change color to yellow/brown.
  • The irregular yellow spots are usually indications of bugs or pests. Bugs feed on the leaves of the plant.
  • If you’ve recently bought an ZZ plant or moved your home it is common for them to adjust to the new surroundings. In the process, the ZZ plant may develop yellow leaves as it adjusts to its new surroundings.

Each of these issues requires its own solution and diagnosis. If you read the advice in this post on your blog, then you’ll definitely get on the correct path to taking care of your newly purchased ZZ plant.

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Leaves Turning Brown

As with all the other issues mentioned above the brown tips are likely to be the result of excessive watering.

When you’re ZZ plant’s leaves have begun to brown, it could be due to:

  • Underwateringis a common problem, and while many ZZ plants thrive on less water, being with no primary sources of life for long time periods could result in browning and drying out.
  • Light and heat too muchLight and heat ZZ plants don’t like being in direct sunlight. If they are placed in areas that receives a lot of light, the water can evaporate too fast, resulting in the leaves turning brown.
  • Overfertilizing excessive fertilizer could result in ZZ plants to show signs of scorching. ZZ plant to display indications of scorching fertilizer.
  • Very low levels of humidity While ZZ plants do not require overly humid conditions, they can likely develop brown tips if in an environment that isn’t moist.
  • Cold and warm drafts Make sure that you ZZ plant is located that isn’t exposed to cool or hot drafts. Otherwise, it could suffer some discomfort, resulting in the browning of leaf tips.

It is believed that the ZZ leaves are among the most delicate portion of the plant. They can often show signs of stress. Make sure to place the plant in a place that is suitable for its needs and making sure you adhere to the correct routine for watering.

ZZ Plant Leaves Curling

When you notice that your ZZ plant’s leaves curl the leaves, it’s most likely because of the submerging process that has occurred to the plant.

The leaves are curled to conserve water, and reduce the surface area exposed to minimize the loss of water.

Curling leaves can also be associated with browning tips of the leaves and sluggish stems.

It is a good idea to take some time to determine whether you’re ZZ plant is getting excessive or insufficient water, and then take the appropriate measures from there.

There are other signs to look out for when trying to determine the reason for curling leaves:

  • Unsuitable light conditions, such as direct sunlight can result in the plants water vaporizing too fast.
  • Dry or mushy soil watering too much or underwatering are the most common issues when taking care of the ZZ plant. If your plant is submerged it is extremely dry, and you will need to water your plant, while overwatering may require you to reduce your the amount of watering.
  • Dry air is what the ZZ plant’s leaves can curled in extreme drought conditions. To prevent this from happening, put it near other plants or employ an instrument to boost the humidity surrounding the plant.
  • Pests and bugs – with leaves that are yellowing Pests and bugs can create a problem for the ZZ plants leaves to curled. If you spot any pests in your garden, you should isolate them and eliminate the insects.

Always be on the lookout for signs of curly leaves and treat it according to the cause that you have determined.

Moldy Soil And Unpleasant Odor

The primary cause of the smelly and moldy soil is, guess it, excessive watering!

The soil that is contaminated by water becomes sticky, slimy , and creates an environment that encourages root rot.

It is important to be sure to water the ZZ plant only after the soil’s top layers are dry, and allow your soil time to dry out completely before watering it again.

It is possible that you have smelly and sour soil if the pot you are using isn’t equipped with drainage holes.

The drainage holes let water flow out and let air into the soil. If your pot doesn’t have enough drainage, your soil could end up becoming a breeding ground for bugs and mold.

If you see evidence of fungus or mold growing within the ZZ plant’s pot, then you must definitely repot it in a pot that is sterile and add new soil.

Also, you should ensure that the pot is equipped with drainage holes that allow water to flow through instead of accumulating if you decide to repot it.

How To Save Your ZZ Plant From Root Rot

Root rot is among the main reasons why your ZZ plant could have longer than you planned for it to.

The roots are crucial to channel water and nutrients to the other parts of the plant, therefore, if the system isn’t functioning properly then the other parts of the plant will also die.

Let’s look at ways to help save your ZZ plant, if it shows symptoms of root rot

Repotting A ZZ Plant With Rotten Roots

The damage that is caused by the root rot can only be discovered after you take off the ZZ plant’s pot cover , and observe the situation.

If you see indications of decaying ZZ rootstocks, it is recommended to get rid of the affected portion and then repot it.

Here’s how to do it: Repot the ZZ plant:

  1. Take the ZZ plant from the pot with care to prevent losing healthy roots. You might want to squeeze the pot with the palms of your hands to release the soil, if the plant is roots-bound.
  2. After removing the plant after removing the plant’s roots, you can run them beneath a stream of water in your bath or shower to remove any remaining soil.
  3. Check the roots that are clean and look for rotten ones – they are usually black or brown and extremely mushy to the feel. There are probably a few root rots to get rid of from the ZZ plant, especially if it stinks foul.
  4. With sharp, clean scissors or a knife to remove the decayed parts from the plants. When cutting, make sure that you cut one inch away from the area of rot. This will prevent root from rotting after you’ve removed the plant.
  5. Make sure you properly dispose of the roots that are rotten to prevent them from being reintroduced to the soil.
  6. It is possible to take a further step by applying fungicides to the roots to avoid pathogens from recurring. The fungicides are designed to fight specific pathogens, so make certain to purchase one that is suitable to your requirements and follow the directions on the package for application.
  7. Utilizing a pot that has been sterilized and soil, plant the ZZ plant in the new pot. It is recommended to make use of a well-aerated soil, but it can still hold moisture this kind of soil is typically made up of peat, potting mix, bark, moss, or perlite.
  8. Water the newly transplanted ZZ plant. You want to make sure that the soil drains correctly to minimize root rot and the unnecessary stress to the plant. Don’t over-water the plantand let it dry out between irrigations.

These steps will make sure that your decaying ZZ plant will make a complete recovery.

How To Look After Your ZZ Plant After Repotting

The process of repotting your ZZ plant could stress your plant quite significantly – and when you add the root issue, it could be much more difficult.

To lessen your risk of ZZ Plant’s shock you want to take the following steps:

  • Set your ZZ plant in a location that will get sunlight but not direct light You can gradually shift the plant towards the source of light after it has re-established itself.
  • Don’t forget to keep watering your ZZ plants, however also do not overwater it. If you notice that the surface of the soil appears dry make sure to water it and let the water be able to drain in a proper manner.

Since ZZ’s ZZ root system is damaged, the plant will require time to adjust to their surroundings in order to transfer the water and nutrients to the remainder part of the plant.

If your ZZ plant still doesn’t show any sign of improvement after just a couple of weeks, you might be thinking about adopting the following steps to make sure you do not lose it completely

How To Avoid Overwatering Your ZZ Plant

The root decay of ZZ plants is excessive watering.

Because ZZ plants have rhizome root systems they are able to store and access water even until the ground has dried.

Here’s how to ensure that you provide your ZZ plant the right amount of liquid to make it healthy:

Check Your ZZ Plant’s Moisture

As a responsible plant-parent You’ve probably devised some sort of schedule for watering to ensure that you maintain your plants’ health.

The only issue with this is that you don’t need to maintain the ZZ plant as often as you would for a Peace Lily, for example.

If you don’t want to water your ZZ plant according to a timetable you can use a soil moisture gauge instead. Only apply water to your ZZ plant for a few days after hitting”the “dry” zone.

If you don’t wish to purchase a moisture meter put your finger in the soil:

  • If the soil has dried completely, you can give it water.
  • If the soil is still moist it’s best to hold off on watering for a couple of more days.

Also, you should adjust the amount of water you offer to the plant based on the temperature.

In colder months, it is best to reduce the amount of watering during the colder months since the water evaporates slower rate. You can also increase the frequency of watering during the summer when the water is more prone to rapid evaporate.

The ZZ plant doesn’t go through water as quickly, so should you keep watering your plant even when it isn’t in need there is a chance of developing root rot.

Water The ZZ Plant’s Soil Deeply

To prevent the development of an rhizome that is shallow within the ZZ plant, it is important to make sure that you are watering it thoroughly.

The deep watering process can ensure the root of the ZZ plant are deep in the soil, leading to an improved stability of the plant.

Drain The Excess Water From Your ZZ Plant

The most important thing to do when watering every plant is to ensure whether you’ve eliminated any source of water that is excess – whether it’s by throwing the water from the cover pot or the water tray.

Propagating Your ZZ Plant If The Roots Are Rotting

If you find the ZZ plant is not likely of survival based on the number of healthy roots there are You should begin planning to eliminate the plant.

There are, however, simple methods to increase the number of you have ZZ plants you own while protecting them from imminent death.

Here’s how to grow ZZ plants: ZZ plant:

Take Stem Cuttings Of Your ZZ Plant

The most efficient and reliable method of propagating the ZZ plant is by cutting the stem.

These are steps you can follow to grow your ZZ plant by cutting the stem.

  • Choose a suitable piece from the tree to cut a piece from. You don’t want the odor of decay to be visible on the plant you’re planning to reproduce.
  • Make use of a sharp knife to slice the ZZ plant at the bottom of its stem (or as high as necessary to ensure that there is no rot).
  • Cut as many stems from your plant that you require If the plant is dying it is best to keep only a few stems of the plant, and then propagate the rest.
  • Place the cut pieces in an unclean container and ensure you only cut portion is submerged in water.
  • Replace the water in the container every 3-4 weeks, and keep an eye on any the growth of algae or indications of decay.
  • If you find a rotting cut, take it out of the water and dispose of it immediately.
  • Keep the container with cut-offs near a window that has plenty of light, but not direct sunlight.
  • If your plant has successfully established roots (at at least 1 inch of roots) You can then move it into a pot that is well-drained, moisture-retentive soil.

The process of potting the plant is easy.

It is important to plant it in a container that has drainage holes in abundance and a good soil.

Put the cuttings 2 inches into the pot soil (so 1 inch of root and 1 inch of the plant’s stem) This allows the plant to stay in place.

Press the soil gently to hold the plant in place and make sure that all the soil does not drain when you water it for the first time.

It is possible to put several ZZ stems of plants in one pot in order to appear more like the plant you lost due to root decay.

Be sure to not fill the pot up to the edge and then make sure to water the ZZ cuttings of the plant thoroughly.

Taking ZZ Leaf Cuttings If Your Plant Is Beyond Saving

In contrast to stem cuttings ZZ leaf cuttings require longer to establish roots, and then Rhizomes.

It is feasible to spread your ZZ Plant by using cutting off a leaf by following these steps:

  • Begin with cutting off the leaves of ZZ plants as closely to its stalks as you can and leaving a little of the stem to the cutting.
  • Place the ZZ leaf of the plant about 1cm into the pot that is filled with soil.
  • Soak thoroughly after placing it in the soil. Do it every two weeks after the soil is dry.
  • Set the leaves that are growing in an area that gets lots of light, but not direct sunlight.

To maximize the effectiveness in your efforts to propagate, you should take a number of ZZ leaves cuttings.

The successful propagation will begin to show growth after 3-4 months, based on the date you cut the plant The cuttings generally grow more quickly during summer than in winter.


ZZ plants are prone to developing root rot when they are not able to drain the water in a proper manner.

If you find that your ZZ plant is suffering from root rot, it is important to determine the cause of the root rot and treat the issue accordingly.

It is likely that you will have to repot your ZZ plant, and in the extreme, begin growing it to ensure it’s still alive after the mother plant has gone extinct.

Fortunately that it is fortunate that the ZZ plant is among the most durable indoor plant market and you’ll be able to protect it from any root rotting issue if you take the correct steps!



Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)