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How Fast Do ZZ Plants Grow?

The ZZ plant, also called Zamioculcas zamiifolia, is a popular, easy-care houseplant that’s very slow-growing, often taking years or even decades to reach its maximum indoor height of three feet.

ZZ Plant

Are ZZ Plants Slow Growing?

ZZ plants are generally considered slow-growing plants. They are sometimes called the “eternity plant” because of their slow growth. It’s not uncommon for ZZ plants to go months without showing any significant change.

Several factors can impact the growth rate of ZZ plants, including light, water, temperature, and soil quality — ideal conditions may help ZZ plants grow slightly faster, but they are still slow-growing plants.

"Under optimal conditions, the ZZ plant has the potential to grow up to 3-4 feet tall," says Paris Lalicata, Plant Education + Community Engagement Associate at The Sill. "It usually takes three to five years to grow to this size, though some grow faster and gain six or so inches per season."

Under optimal conditions, the ZZ plant has the potential to grow up to 3-4 feet tall.

Paris Lalicata

How Big Does ZZ Plant Get Indoors?

The size of an indoor plant depends on a few factors, including the plant’s age, the container’s size, and the growing conditions provided. ZZ plants are generally slow-growing and can take several years to reach their maximum height and width.

On average, a mature ZZ plant grown indoors can reach a height of around 2-3 feet (60-90 cm) and a width of 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 cm). However, it’s worth noting that ZZ plants are known for their ability to grow in a wide range of conditions, and they can often adapt to the available space.

Consequently, a ZZ plant grown in a smaller container may not reach its maximum size, while a plant grown in a larger container may continue to grow and expand for several years.

ZZ Plant
Photo: IndoorPlants.comZZ plants are slow-growing.

What Is The Lifespan Of A ZZ Plant?

ZZ plants are known for longevity and can live for many years with proper care.

Under ideal growing conditions, a ZZ plant can live for decades, with some plants living 20 years or longer. One of the reasons for their longevity is that ZZ plants are hardy and resilient, able to survive in a wide range of conditions, including low light and infrequent watering.

How Fast Do ZZ Plants Propagate?

ZZ plants can be propagated through several methods, including division, leaf cuttings, and stem cuttings. The speed at which ZZ plants propagate can vary depending on the technique used and the growing conditions provided.

Propagation through division is one of the most common and straightforward methods of propagating ZZ plants. Carefully remove the plant from its container and divide it into smaller sections, each with roots and stems. With proper care, new growth should emerge from the separate areas within a few weeks to a few months.

Propagating through leaf cuttings is another method where you remove a healthy leaf from the plant and place it in a container filled with moist soil or water. Within a few weeks to a few months, roots and new growth should begin to emerge from the base of the leaf.

Do ZZ Plants Like Bigger Pots?

ZZ plants generally prefer to be slightly root-bound, meaning they like to have their roots crowded in their container.

This is because, in their natural environment, ZZ plants grow in nutrient-poor soil and have adapted to store water and nutrients in their thick, fleshy tubers, called rhizomes. The soil can retain too much moisture in larger pots, leading to over-watering and root rot.

While ZZ plants don’t necessarily need larger pots, they will eventually need to be repotted as they grow, and their roots outgrow their current container. When repotting, it’s recommended to go up one container size rather than significantly increasing the pot size. This gives the plant a little more growth space while keeping its roots confined.

What Does A ZZ Plant Need To Grow?

ZZ plants are known for their hardiness and ability to grow in various conditions, but they have some basic growth requirements.

  • While ZZ plants can tolerate low light conditions, they do best in bright indirect light. Avoid placing ZZ plants in direct sunlight, which can scorch their leaves.

  • ZZ plants are also classified as succulents. They are drought-tolerant and can go for extended periods without water. However, they still need to be watered occasionally, and it’s important not to over-water them. Let the soil dry out partially between waterings.

  • ZZ plants do best in well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Avoid using heavy, clay soils or potting mixes that retain too much moisture. Choose a pot with adequate drainage holes.

  • These plants prefer warm temperatures between 65 and 75°F (18 and 24°C) and tolerate temperatures as low as 45°F (7°C).

  • ZZ plants do not mind low humidity and grow well in dry indoor air.

  • They are relatively low-maintenance and don’t require frequent fertilizing. However, a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer can be applied every 2-3 months during the growing season.

ZZ Plant in light
Photo: IndoorPlants.comBright, indirect light will encourage faster growth, though ZZ plants can live in low-light conditions.

How To Encourage Plant Growth

You can encourage ZZ plant growth using a high-quality potting soil mix containing plenty of perlite or organic matter and applying liquid fertilizer to promote growth during the growing season. Look for a fertilizer specifically formulated for houseplants and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application.

One potential issue to watch out for with ZZ plants is aphids, small insects that feed on the plant’s leaves and stems. Aphids can damage the plant, stunt growth, and eventually kill the plant if not managed.

"Normally, plant parents utilize ZZ plants in lower light conditions which makes them grow little to not at all," advises Lalicata. "If you want your ZZ plant to grow larger and produce more growth give it bright indirect light in a window."

Healthy ZZ plants should have vibrant green leaves. If your plant has brown or yellow leaves, this can indicate over-watering, under-watering, not enough light, or lack of nutrients. Prune the dead leaves away to encourage healthy new growth.

ZZ plant with a brown leaf
Photo: IndoorPlants.comPrune the dead leaves away to encourage healthy new growth.

NOTE: Keep ZZ Plants Away From Pets And Children

ZZ plants contain calcium oxalate, which can cause skin irritation and upset stomach if ingested.

You can find ZZ plants at many nurseries and garden centers, often alongside popular tropical plants like Monstera, Pothos, and peace lilies.

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