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Because of its simple maintenance requirements, Zamioculcas zamiifolia, widely known as the ZZ or zeezee plant, is a widely used houseplant. Moreover, the ZZ plant thrives in neglect and is ideal for people who fail or forget to water their plants for weeks. As a result, what is the watering routine for a ZZ plant?
ZZ plants are exceptionally drought-tolerant and can tolerate sporadic irrigation because of their thick rhizomes. Therefore, ZZ plants should be watered whenever the soil has entirely dried out—typically once every two weeks, and is adjusted to their growing conditions.
Because it can survive low light and requires little water, the ZZ is a dependable houseplant.
However, it may appear that caring for your ZZ plant seems easy; there are a few aspects to consider regarding ZZ plant water requirements. So, let’s examine some of the best watering tips and guides for ZZ plants.
What Are The Signs That A ZZ Plant Needs Water?
Despite being incredibly adept at self-managing their water requirements, your ZZ Plant may show signs of thirst in a few ways. For example, your plant needs water when dry leaf tips, fallen leaves, or withered stems are visible.
However, because most owners despise seeing their plants in such a state, there are a few other methods to determine when it is necessary to water your ZZ plant. The following four steps are some of the best methods to act upon:
- Push your finger into the potting soil about 2 inches deep. If the soil appears moist, it does not need watering. However, when it appears to be dry, then it would be time to water your ZZ plant.
- Another approach would be to raise the container and feel the dirt through the drainage holes at the bottom. Then, you can water your plant safely if it is dry or slightly moist.
- Alternatively, poke a chopstick or skewer into the dirt to the bottom of the container. Remove it and inspect the stick for moisture. The plant doesn’t need to be watered if the end of the stick is moist and has dirt adhering to it.
- Take a look at the nature of the plant. Drooping leaves with dried, brown edges or extensive leaf drops suggest that your ZZ plant has been short of water for too long, and it is time to top up.
- Another reliable method is to check the pot’s weight. The weight of dry soil is lower than that of wet soil. As a result, lift the pot when you check to see if it needs watering. Before long, you will have a good clue just by the weight of the pot alone.
- Lastly, check the moisture level with a moisture meter. These electronic devices are really convenient and affordable. If you leave it in the soil for a few minutes, you will get a moisture reading, usually from 1 to 10. Ensure your ZZ plants get watered only when necessary with this handy tool.
Keep in mind that the ZZ plant has a variety of succulent qualities when comparing it to other houseplants.
Again, the ZZ plant uses its rhizomes to store water in its own unique way. These bulb-like structures grow above the roots beneath the soil, holding water and gradually releasing it when the plant requires it.
How Often Should You Water ZZ Plants?
By now, you know one of the factors that lead to watering your ZZ plant is the evident dry soil. However, soil tends to dry faster during particular seasons, giving you the impression that your ZZ plant would need another top-up.
As a result, this can prove not always to be the case, and watering the plant too often during seasons when the soil dries up faster may lead you to overwater and potentially harm the plant.
Therefore, ZZ plants only need thorough watering once every 2-3 weeks. That said, let’s look at some of the factors that would affect the ZZ plant watering process.
Factors Affecting ZZ Plant Watering
So now that you know how to regulate whether your ZZ plant requires watering and how to go about doing so, it’s critical to understand the elements that might impact how often you’ll need to water your ZZ plant.
The following are some aspects to consider when watering your ZZ plant.
The Climate Is One Of The Important Factors To Consider
The environment where you grow your ZZ plant is a significant aspect that will affect how much and how often you water it.
For example, if you live in a hot, dry environment, water will evaporate from the soil faster, the plant will lose more water from the leaves, and the plant will grow faster, increasing the quantity of water it requires.
While you should always analyze the plant and the dryness of the potting material to determine whether to water your ZZ plant, the frequency with which you should check your plant will be determined by your climate.
ZZ plants may flourish in various temperatures, but their water requirements shift and vary as well.
The temperature range between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for keeping the ZZ plant healthy for a long time. However, the plant will require more frequent watering if the temperature is high since the soil will dry up faster.
The opposite goes for cooler, moist climates. Therefore, regions that experience more rain, constant overcast, and cooler climates may slow down the need for water due to thicker moister in the air, thus lessening the water requirements for your ZZ plant.
ZZ Plant Soil
The soil composition mainly determines the water needs of the ZZ plant. Therefore, the speed with which the soil dries out is the most crucial element. The water will not drain correctly if the soil mix is heavy or poorly drained, and the plants will suffer as a result.
The majority of beginners water their ZZ plant by glancing at the dirt. However, the dirt at the bottom of the pot may be saturated even though the topsoil is dry; thus, this is not the best approach to assess the water demand.
It frequently happens when we use a thick, poorly draining potting mix, and when this happens, it must be dealt with as swiftly as possible.
The Potting Method for Your ZZ Plant
The type of potting material you select to cultivate your ZZ plant will determine how frequently you must water it and how soon the potting medium dries out.
When watering your ZZ plant, be sure to use a well-draining potting mix, so that excess water drains rapidly away from the roots.
Many ZZ plant owners use a combination of potting compost and perlite since it allows for good drainage and aeration while also allowing for some water retention.
The water drains swiftly through the container, indicating a well-draining potting solution. It begins to drain via the drainage holes rather than resting in a pool on top for too long.
It is an indication of a well-draining potting medium. If you detect poor draining, repot your ZZ plant using a potting mix that includes perlite or gritty sand.
A Pot’s Type Is Critical To A ZZ Plant’s Watering Success
Porous pots allow for the unrestricted passage of water and oxygen through the pot’s walls.
Unglazed clay pots are suitable for ZZ plants since they substantially limit the danger of overwatering.
Water will be held in the potting material of plastic or glazed ceramic pots until the plant utilizes it, drained out the bottom drainage holes, or evaporates.
It leads to another point. Make sure that every pot you use has drainage holes, and it is critical!
It’s pretty difficult to consistently provide the correct amount of water into a container with no drainage holes. Excess water will gather at the lowermost of the pot, almost inevitably resulting in root rot.
Large drainage holes let the excess water drain quickly, boosting root aeration and lowering the danger of root rot. Also, whether you place your pots on a drip tray or within an outside ornamental pot, drain the excess water 5-10 minutes after watering your ZZ plant.
How To Properly Water ZZ Plants
You should fully water your ZZ plant every time you water it. Watering the entire potting soil is beneficial because it allows excess mineral salts to drain through the soil rather than accumulate, and it ensures that the roots have adequate access to moisture at each watering.
To water their indoor plants, many ZZ owners use a kitchen sink. They fill the pot with enough water to let water flow freely from the drainage holes at the bottom. Many potting soils have a unique property in that they act like sponges.
Have you ever observed how a dry sponge appears to reject water until it is completely saturated? Soil can be pretty similar. As a result, they usually start with a small amount of water and wait a few seconds for the soil to absorb it. After that, add a little more and take a rest.
When you notice the soil starting to absorb water, water liberally, making sure the potting mix is soaked.
Before returning the pot to wherever you have it on display, let it sit in your sink for a short period until no more water drips from the drainage hole.
There is a remedy for individuals afraid that this practice would lead to overwatering issues. Choose a porous pot with well-draining potting soil and a container that isn’t too big. It will allow the soil to dry out in a fair amount of time.
When watering ZZ Plants, water thoroughly until about 25% of the water you put in runs out the drainage hole underneath the pot, indicating the top two inches of soil have dried up. In addition, it ensures that the dirt in the container has been suitably moistened.
Make sure your ZZ Plant’s drainage in the pot is adequate regularly. When the soil compacts or the drainage hole clogs, standing water forms, which your ZZ will despise.
If you don’t think your plant is in the correct container, switch it to one that drains better to avoid overwatering.
Morning Vs. Evening Watering
Timing is the whole shebang when it comes to watering your ZZ plant. The optimal time is, of course, early in the morning.
In addition, later in the evening is also a possibility, but with firmer time frames. Because the light is not as intense during this time, water may penetrate deep into the roots without evaporating.
- Therefore, watering your ZZ Plant in the morning is best done before 10 a.m. to ensure that the roots are fully hydrated and your plant’s development cycle is boosted.
- On the other hand, when watering in the evening, the correct method is to water when the sun is not quite at its peak but not yet too late, because otherwise, the leaves would stay moist all night, allowing fungi to grow.
Bottom Watering Vs. Top Watering
You may or may not know that watering potted houseplants may be done in two ways: top watering and bottom watering.
- Typically, you pour water directly onto the soil surface in a container. Most plants may be watered in this manner, but if you use a strong stream, you risk damaging leaves and stems or disturbing the soil to the point that you’ll have to level it out and pat it back into place.
- Bottom watering is a technique that involves placing your pots in a shallow dish of water and letting the soil absorb the moisture via the drainage hole in the pot. Then, when the top of the soil is wet, you know it’s been appropriately watered. It takes a little longer, but it’s a great way to get complete soil saturation and preserve any delicate foliage on the top.
Top watering is usually the preferable option for ZZ Plants since it is fast and has minimal risk of hurting the plant.
In addition, this method of watering will flush out salt or mineral buildups in the soil, making it an excellent way to irrigate.
Summer Watering Vs. Winter Watering
One vital element to consider is the season in which you are currently living, and as mentioned before, similar to various climates, seasons also have a factor to play. That said, watering your ZZ plant should be done differently depending on the season.
Instead of sticking to your rigorous schedule, you should pay attention to how much water your plant requires right now. So let’s look at the ZZ water requirements in the summer and winter seasons with that in mind.
How Often To Water The ZZ Plant In Summer
Your plant may undergo rapid water absorption and evaporation due to the warm and dry conditions that this season provides.
Aside from that, leaves become more active in the photosynthesis process, resulting in excessive water consumption.
As a result, your ZZ Plant will need to drink more water; as a result, usually once every 7 – 14 days to allow the soil to dry out. Watering should be done more often in better light and less frequently in lower light.
How Often To Water The ZZ plant in Winter
This houseplant may be placed in any room because it can withstand cold and moist conditions. In addition, the ZZ plant is unique in that it can thrive in the dark, making it an excellent houseplant for the winter months.
You’re probably aware that plants become dormant during this time of year, slowing the evaporation and drying process. To minimize soaking and water clogging, your plant will require less water input in this condition.
You’re not only helping your plant dry faster by eliminating watering, but you’re also preventing fungal infestation. As a result, the time frame is reduced to up to once every 3 – 4 weeks.
Troubleshooting ZZ Plant Watering Problems
Your pot must, above all things, have proper drainage. Thus, it should come as no surprise to anyone who has read this far.
ZZ Except for languishing in damp, water-logged soil, plants are delicate with almost anything. So ensure the area where you’re going to plant your ZZ has adequate drainage!
It implies your pot should have at least one drain hole on the bottom. Make one using a handheld drill if your container doesn’t have one already, or transplant to a pot that does. If you can’t add a drainage hole to your pot, you can increase drainage by filling the bottom a few inches with gravel.
However, this isn’t the best answer because standing water can cause disease, and you still have to be cautious about how often you water.
Signs Your ZZ Plant Is Overwatered
ZZ’s aren’t difficult to grow. They’re simple to look after and don’t necessitate much to flourish. As a result, practically every change in the health of a ZZ Plant can be traced back to the amount of water given.
Overwatering in ZZ Plants can cause a range of symptoms, but I’ve listed the most prevalent ones below.
Overwatering your ZZ Plant causes its leaves and stems from losing their vivid green color and turning yellow, which is by far the most typical indicator. In addition, it indicates that your ZZ
If the overwatering is severe enough, you may observe soft, mushy, brown areas on the stems that tend to spread up the plant from the soil line. It is an obvious sign of rot, which occurs when the rhizome or stems remain in touch with overly-wet soil for an extended time.
Perhaps you’ve noticed your ZZ Plant’s leaves are wilting, or the stems are beginning to droop.
While it’s natural for one or two older leaves to droop and fall off the plant as they age, you’ve most certainly overwatered if the entire plant is drooping.
ZZ Plants’ leaves frequently fall off. In reality, as a drought-fighting strategy, ZZ leaves will frequently shrivel up one at a time and fall off the plant, sacrificing one leaf at a time until additional water is available.
If you observe a large number of leaves falling off the plant at once, usually when the plant starts to yellow, this is a strong indicator that your ZZ is overwatered.
What Water Is Best For ZZ Plants?
It’s reasonable to assume that most individuals know that plants require water to survive.
However, water quality varies considerably, which might influence the health of your houseplants. So, for ZZ plants, should you use tap water, rainfall, distilled or filtered water?
ZZ plants can handle tap water; however, it depends on the quality of your tap water. The quality of tap water varies, and ZZ plants are sensitive to its minerals and chemicals.
Rainwater or distilled water are also attractive alternatives if you reside in a region where the public water supply is treated with chlorine or fluoride.
Filling a pitcher with tap water and leaving it out overnight is a simple alternative to plain tap water. This allows any pollutants in the water to evaporate, providing your plants with cleaner water.
For the most part, tap water is a given in most households, and access is taken for granted. We just go up to the faucet, turn it on, and we have an endless supply at our disposal.
Depending on your region, tap water is delivered either through a well on your property or by pipes connected to your municipal water facility.
Depending on the mineral concentration, tap water can be classed as “hard” or “soft.” As it falls, rainwater is naturally soft and mineral-free. Still, as it makes its way into above-ground and underground water sources, it takes up minerals like calcium and magnesium, hardening it.
In general, many ZZ plant owners recommend starting with tap water in most conditions and watching for any harmful consequences, such as the burning of leaf tips, necrotic tissue, chlorosis, or a considerable deposit of salt on the soil surface that would repel water.
How To Prevent Root Rot In Your ZZ Plant
The most prevalent of all ZZ plant issues is root rot. It’s caused by a ZZ plant growing in a wet, inadequately aerated environment.
ZZ plants should be water when the top half of the soil feels dry. Grow your plant in well-draining soil, in porous pots with plenty of drainage holes, and with enough sunshine to avoid root rot.
People are frequently surprised to hear that roots require a constant oxygen supply to thrive.
Plants utilize oxygen to grow and operate while producing energy for their needs through photosynthesis. Unfortunately, soggy or poorly draining soil rapidly become oxygen-depleted, putting the roots under a lot of stress.
While the first symptoms are connected to an abundance of water, they begin to die off or succumb to opportunistic infections in the soil as they grow increasingly stressed. Finally, it causes rotting of the roots, extending to your ZZ plant’s stems.
While you may treat a ZZ plant showing early signs of root rot, a more severe disease is always deadly. Therefore, here are some signs to watch out for:
- Yellowing of the leaves, especially the lower and older leaves.
- Curled leaves and wrinkled stems indicate that the roots cannot transport enough water to the plant.
- Blisters on the leaves or symptoms of edema.
- The roots are beginning to emit a decaying odor.
- Brown leaf tips, especially on younger growth, are a problem.
- Dehydration or rotting causes stems to sag down or droop.
Now that you’ve recognized the issue, here’s how to repair it and prevent it from happening again:
- Take your ZZ plant out of its container.
- Check the roots by loosening the dirt. Look for brown/black roots that are mushy, brittle, and stinky.
- Using sterile pruners, remove all infected roots.
- Remove any residual dirt from the roots. When repotting, it’s better to use fresh soil because the bugs that caused the root rot are likely still there.
- Repot in a well-draining potting mix into a clean, porous container that is just big enough for your plant. A fantastic alternative is to mix equal parts coco-coir and perlite with around 10% compost or worm castings. You won’t go too far wrong as long as it drains well.
- Maintain a reasonable level of light and temperature for your ZZ plant. Once the upper half of the soil feels dry, water it.
- It will take many months for the root system to recuperate before you notice any new growth, but your plant should be able to produce new branches soon.
Do ZZ Plants Like To Be Bottom Watered?
ZZ plants appreciate any form of water intake, whether it enters from the top or the bottom.
However, bottom watering will not remove salts and other minerals from the soil, so be sure to water over the soil occasionally. It is why the top watering method is the typical go-to technique.
How Often Should I Water My ZZ Plant In Winter?
It all boils down to how fast the soil dries out. As a result, different climates and weather conditions affect how fast moisture evaporates from the soil in the winter months.
Nevertheless, Winter is typically known to be the coldest of the seasons. Because of this, ZZ plant owners recommend watering anywhere from 3 – 4 weeks while monitoring the soil moisture every two weeks to thoroughly understand your climate during the winter season regarding your ZZ plants’ needs.
If you don’t overwater your ZZ plant, you’ll be able to enjoy this lovely indoor plant for many years. If you follow the recommendations in this post, you should have no issues. Remember to instead check on your ZZ plant more frequently than follow a schedule.