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ZZ Plant Drooping Stems | 7 Causes for Droopy & Yellowing Stalks

Why is your ZZ plant drooping? Well, one of the primary causes for your much beloved ZZ plant stems to droop is from overwatering (something I’m currently dealing with), which leads to root rot.

Other reasons may be from very dry soil, its lighting conditions, transplant stress, lack of or excessive fertilizer, and cold stress, to name a few.

The ZZ plant, also known as Zamioculcas zamiifolia, is able to survive in low light conditions but grows much faster in bright, indirect lighting.

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Like the Monstera Deliciosa, it compliments any indoor area with its gorgeous, dark green, insta-worthy leaves.

Native to eastern Africa, the slow-growing, easy-to-care-for houseplant is also popular for its propensity for surviving even the most forgetful plant owners. Its usually called the un-killable plant. But sometimes, these beautiful, perky plants start to look a little droopy and sad. Sometimes, your ZZ plant stalks fall over, and their vibrancy disappears.

It happens to the best of us, and thankfully, there is a way to fix it. Your first step would be to identify what’s causing the stalks to droop, is your plant telling you it needs more-light or less water? 

Let’s take a more in-depth look at why ZZ plants stalk droop and some solutions on how to care for a ZZ plant to get your beautiful plant back to its glossy, up-right green self.

Why is My ZZ Plant Dropping?

ZZ plant stalks falling over is a general complaint about these otherwise flawless houseplants. There are a few causes as to why this problem might be happening, but if we address each intricacy to find out exactly what is the culprit, you’ll then hopefully be able to address it. Take a look at some causes:

●      Over or under-watering

●      Lighting

●      Fertilizer

●      Low temperatures

●      Transplant stress

●      Physical Damage

7 Common Factors for ZZ Plant Stalks Falling Over

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If you notice your ZZ plant’s stems start to sag, you’ll need to find out the cause of what’s troubling your plant. The following list is an in-depth overview of the most common causes of drooping or falling stems.

Overwatering is a Common Cause of ZZ Plant Stalks Falling Over

The ZZ plant is a succulent plant, and from its heritage, it grows and thrives in semi-arid regions, adaptable to long periods of dryness and sporadic downpours.

The rhizome root system allows the plant to hold water. However, the plant does need time to dry out between waterings, as persistently waterlogged soil may cause root rot and decay.

So, what does an overwatered ZZ plant look Like? If you start to see your ZZ plant stalks falling over, the first thing you should investigate is whether you’ve been overwatering your plant. I use a soil moisture meter to check the soil before re-watering my zz plants.

When root rot strikes, your plant may look healthy until the problem becomes severe.

If overwatering is the cause, it could be a bit trickier to fix. If you notice your ZZ plant starts turning yellow or falling over and drooping, you can suspect root rot. A ZZ plant’s yellowing leaves and mushy stems are a common sign of overwatering.

Check the soil, is it moist? For this, you should wait until the soil has dried out until watering again. If the problem is bad, you might need to consider repotting your ZZ plant.

Underwatering Can Cause Drooping

Unfortunately, both over and under-watering your ZZ could cause it to fall over. Although you’ll need your plant’s soil to dry out between watering’s, that doesn’t mean you should let it sit dry for days on end.

Underwatering may cause your ZZ plant stems to droop from dehydration. This is when you’ll see signs of your ZZ plant leaves curling, dying up and dropping. And its stems will droop or fall over.  

You should check the soil, and if it’s scorched and the leaves are crisp and curled, you should water your plant. Once you’ve remedied underwatering, you’ll see your plant soon start to stand up tall once again.

In most cases, a thorough watering every 7 to 14 days will suffice. However, be wary of watering your plant too frequently and try to use well-draining potting soil to prevent the overwatering problems mentioned above.

Lighting Problems Can Cause ZZ Plant Stalks to Droop

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Your much beloved ZZ plant can tolerate various light conditions but thrives the best in bright to moderate, indirect light. These beautiful plants can handle direct sunlight during the day or even dull rooms without it suffering too much. However, at extremes, your dear plant may start to show signs of stress.

If your plant receives excessive light, you may notice that your plant’s stalks will begin to lean away from the source of light (or start to look droopy).

The leaves may also begin to curl, fall off, or your ZZ plants leaves may turn yellow. The best way to resolve this issue is to relocate it to a less sunny area of your home.

On the other hand, when your ZZ plant is exposed to very low light conditions, it may grow much more slowly, and new growth will become stretched in search of a light source. This may produce stems that look droopy and arched.

If you want your stalks to grow upright, then you should place your plants in an area that receives light – from above. An area with poor lighting could cause your plants stems to turn droopy. You could try moving your ZZ plant closer to a window or supplement a light source with a fluorescent or LED grow light.

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If you’ve eliminated other potential reasons for your ZZ plants drooping stems, you may need a good boost of ZZ plant fertilizer. You should fertilize your ZZ’s at least once every 3-6 months.

On the contrary, if your ZZ plant’s stalks start to droop soon after fertilizing it, you may also want to evaluate the type and amount you are using. Over and under-fertilizing can lead to an array of problems and result in your ZZ plant leaves turning yellow or the stalks starting to fall over.

Low Temperatures

These plants thrive in temperatures above 18°C (65°F). Temperatures that drop, on average, below 7°C (45°F) may lead to your ZZ plant’s height being stunted. And the plants’ stalks may ultimately break off.

If you believe your plant has suffered from low temperatures, return the plant to a warm area, and depending on the extent, cut off any damaged stalks. After a few weeks of remedying the cold stress, your ZZ plant’s new growth will begin to show.

Transplant Stress – Repotting ZZ Plant

When you repot a ZZ plant into a larger container, much care should be taken. Keep a close eye on it. One of the first signs that your newly repotted plant is struggling with transplant stress is when its stalks start to droop.  

One of the leading causes of stalks falling over after transplanting is damage to the ZZ’s roots during the transplanting phase. A plant with droopy stems shows clear signs of stress and should be given time to recover.

Physical Damage To The Plant

Your ZZ plant stalks drooping over can also be a sign of physical damage to your plant. If you have small children, pets like cats and dogs, or you’ve treated your plant a little harshly, it could lead to damaged stalks and cause them to fall over.

If you find some of your plant’s stalks are damaged beyond repair, and your stems are squishy, then you can use a pair of sharp gardening scissors to cut away any damaged parts. This will help your plant concentrate on new growth.

How to Fix a ZZ Plant with Drooping Stems?

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Although you won’t really find a ZZ plant looking as straight as a snake plant, the plant’s stem usually follows a similar pattern growing from the rhizome straight into the air. Let’s take a brief look at how we can get our plants to grow straight and upright.

How to Make a ZZ Plant Grow Straight

ZZ plants lean towards a light source; in low light conditions, this often results in the ZZ plant stems criss crossing over one another, causing a lopsided look.

If you find your plant growing sidewards, simply rotate your plant a quarter shift every week. This will help your plant get equal sun exposure and avoid a crooked look.

How Do Plants Stay Upright?

Plants stay upright through correct nutrition and a light source that is either directly above the plant, or circles it fully, not favouring any one side.

If your plant won’t stay upright or is drooping, there are some easy solutions. As previously mentioned, the most common cause of the drooping stem is from overwatering.

ZZ plants are susceptible to overwatering and soggy soil. It can lead to root damage or rot, which starves the plant of oxygen and nutrients it needs for proper growth.

A Footnote: Why is My ZZ Plant Drooping?

ZZ plants are amongst some of the best survivors in the houseplant world. They don’t require frequent watering or many added nutrients, and they can grow in a variety of light conditions.

When your prized ZZ plant stems start to fall over, it’s a sure sign you have a rather unhappy plant. These plants are generally hardy, low-maintenance and slow-growing. A little tender loving care and encouragement will help your ZZ maintain its waxy green colour, size and shape.

Now I hope you can easily find the culprit that’s causing any problems to your dear ZZ and that these strategies will help your pretty green baby to look and feel it’s very best.