If you love free plants as much as I do, the ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) is going to be one of your favorite go-to’s for propagating houseplants. The ZZ plant is easy to root from a simple cutting placed in water. Plus it makes for a lovely decorative foliage arrangement while you wait for it to root!
Taking A Cutting
If your mama plant is a good healthy plant it will eventually produce beautiful long shoots. Those long shoots are my preferred pieces to cut (although not necessary…any piece will do). Cut them close to the base at a bit of an angle, and make sure there are several leaves at the top.
Just be aware that longer shoots seem to take a bit longer to root, but I like my plant to have a nice even trim, so I don’t mind.
You can also use shorter stalks, no need to wait until your plant produces long shoots. As a matter of fact, the shorter stalks might just root faster.
Tips For Rooting In Water
If you aren’t on well water, make sure you filter your tap water before placing the cutting in the water. Put enough water that it won’t evaporate and dry out after several weeks. And don’t be afraid to submerge much of the stem, it may turn a slightly darkened color, but that doesn’t seem to affect it negatively.
This ZZ plant cutting has 1″ of root and took about 2 months to grow this long, but some may take longer.
Whatever vase you choose, you’ll want to be mindful of the size of the vase opening. Be sure the vase opening is wide enough to take out the rooted stalk without damaging the roots.
No rooting hormone is necessary, just water and time! Not every stem will root, but I’ve had success with 80% of mine rooting.
Transplanting Rooted Plants To Soil
Once your plants have rooted, be patient and allow the roots to grow a couple inches before transplanting to soil. Root and plant two or three cuttings at the same time so it will round out the planter more. Plus cuttings seem to do better in a grouping of two or three…
One trick I employ is to blend my potting soil types. Especially when the potting soil is mostly composed of perlite and vermiculite, which drains well but has no real nutrients. You want to ensure the transition from water to soil goes smoothly by providing a bit of fertilizer.
Normally you want to allow the soil to dry out between waterings so that the roots don’t rot. However, the first couple weeks you’ll need to water a little more frequently because they are used to being in water.
Caring For The ZZ Plant
These wonderfully low maintenance plants do really well if you set them in indirect light, water every couple weeks, and remember to fertilize every so often.
If any of the leaves turn yellow, just cut it off; It may indicate you are over watering.
It may take a month or so for your plantlings to adjust to soil. So if you feel like it requires more maintenance than usual, hang in there! As long as you aren’t putting them in harsh sun, or over water them, they should level out and become easy plants. Eventually they will be your best low care plants, and even do well in lower light areas of your home!