How Big Is A ZZ Plant When It Is Fully Grown?
The average size of indoor Zanzibar gems is around 2-3 feet tall.
Even in their native habitat of East and South Africa, ZZ plants don’t get very large. One reason is that they live in poor soil and use their thick rhizomes (underground tubers) to store food and water. New growth emerges slowly from the ZZ plant’s rhizomes to control growth and preserve nutrients.
This is also what makes ZZ plants the perfect low-maintenance houseplant for beginners or neglectful plant parents!
How big is a ZZ plant from the store?
Because ZZ plants are slow-growing, they are typically much smaller when purchased — sometimes as small as six inches tall.
Some specialized nurseries or garden centers may sell larger, more established ZZ plants. Just be prepared to pay more for a larger plant. Another thing to consider is whether the store has the plants indoors or outdoors. Because these plants do well in low light conditions and prefer indirect light, they may grow better indoors. If a store keeps them outdoors, it may hinder their growth.
The average size of an adult ZZ plant is between 2-3 feet, but this can vary depending on growing conditions. It will typically take them a few years, or even a few decades, to reach maturity. This is why another name for the ZZ plant is ‘eternity plant.’
The ZZ plants’ growing season is between April and August. Being from Eastern Africa, these plants enjoy the warmer weather. New growth tends to happen during these months, and a particularly healthy Zanzibar gem may grow up to six inches per month during this season.
Under optimal conditions, the ZZ plant has the potential to grow up to 3-4 feet tall. "The plant is a slow grower and usually takes three to five years to grow to this size, though some grow faster and gain six or so inches per season," says Paris Lalicata, Plant Education + Community Engagement Associate at The Sill.
They also grow in diameter over time, though they usually do not reach more than two feet wide.
Conditions Affecting Growth Rate and Size
As with any indoor plant, growing conditions play a direct role in the growth rate and size of the ZZ plant.
ZZ plants grow best under bright indirect light. They also thrive under fluorescent lights, making them great plants for an office building. Though they like brighter conditions, they can also survive in low-light conditions. "They can tolerate lower lighting conditions, but ZZs thrive in bright, indirect light, so in a nicely lit room but not right in front of the window," says Kowalsky
Lalicata agrees, adding, "Normally, plant parents utilize ZZ plants in lower light conditions which makes them grow little to not at all. If you want your ZZ plant to grow larger and produce more growth give it bright indirect light in a window."
You want to avoid placing your plant in direct sunlight, as this can burn the ZZ plant’s leaves and stunt the growth. Finding the ideal placement for your plant can make a big difference in its growth rate and size.
Because ZZ plants store water in their rhizomes (underground stems which enable the plant to perennate or survive in undesirable circumstances), over-watering is a common problem that can affect their growth. If you notice yellow leaves on your plant, it is probably getting too much water. "Because these plants store water in their rhizomes, the ZZ plant is incredibly drought-tolerant and low maintenance," explains Cate Kowalsky, Plant Expert at DaHing Plants.
The ZZ plant is incredibly drought-tolerant and low maintenance.
Be sure to allow your plant’s soil to dry out between waterings, but water regularly to avoid under-watering, as this can also stunt your plant’s growth. A well-draining potting mix and a pot with drainage holes is best for your plant’s growth. While ZZ plants can go months without being watered, they may go dormant if they aren’t watered enough.
As these plants originate from East Africa, they do not do well in lower temperatures. They prefer temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and they will struggle to thrive below 45 degrees.
"The ZZ is happy in the average home temperature (60-70 degrees), well-draining soil (which you can get with your average potting soil mix), and average humidity.
For optimal growth, you should fertilize your plant with a balanced liquid fertilizer once every 6-8 weeks during its growing season (spring and summer).
You should avoid fertilizing your plant during the fall and winter months, as they tend to go dormant during this time.
Your ZZ plant’s pot size should be at least one inch bigger than the diameter of the root mass.
They are slow growers, meaning they do not need very large pots. Also, too large of a pot means the plant will expend its energy on growing roots, rather than growing new leaves, so it can actually inhibit growth.
Typically, ZZ plants only need to be repotted every 2-3 years.
When repotting, make sure that you choose a pot that is about 1”-2” larger than the previous pot, and that it has sufficient drainage holes. Use a well-draining potting soil, or create your own by adding perlite or pumice to the soil.
Because they are slow-growing, ZZ plants generally don’t need a lot of pruning. Remove dead or damaged leaves and stems with sharp, clean pruning shears.
Pruning can also be done to propagate ZZ plants. Propagation is easy using leaf cuttings. Once you’ve cut the stem at the base of the plant, place it in water in a well-lit area, making sure to change the water out every few days. Once it has begun to take root, plant the stem in another pot with well-draining soil.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the lifespan of a ZZ plant?
On average, the lifespan of a ZZ plant is between 5 and 10 years, with the potential to live 20 years or longer under the right conditions.
Do ZZ plants like bigger pots?
If you are going to repot your ZZ plant and aren’t sure how big to go, a good rule of thumb is 1” to 2” bigger than the current pot. While they need room to grow, you don’t want to place them in a pot that is too big, as this can cause them to put much of their strength into root growth. "You'll probably need to repot your ZZ every spring, but be sure to look for the signs that the plant is rootbound before you repot," adds Kowalsky.
Also, repotting your ZZ plant in a pot that is too large can increase the likeliness of retaining water, which can then lead to root rot.
How much do ZZ plants grow in a year?
The ZZ plant does most of its growth during the spring and summer months (April to August). "ZZ plants are extremely slow growing plants and usually only grow about 6 inches larger in a year or 2-3 new stalks in a season under optimal conditions," says Lalicata.
Do ZZ plants grow in the winter?
ZZ plants lie dormant during colder months and only grow during the spring and summer months.
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