How to Successfully Propagate ZZ Plants

If you consider yourself a ‘black thumb’ when it comes to keeping houseplants alive, the ZZ Plant may be the perfect solution for you. The ZZ Plant, scientifically known as Zamioculcas zamiifolia, is native to the fields of East Africa and adds an attractive structural element to your indoor plant collection.

What truly sets the ZZ Plant apart is its ease of care. These resilient plants thrive on neglect and prefer to be left alone rather than constantly fussed over. They can tolerate infrequent watering, as they come from drought-prone areas where months without water are common. Additionally, they can grow in low light conditions, although they may stretch a bit between their leaves.

Propagation Methods for ZZ Plants

There are three effective methods for propagating ZZ plants: leaf cuttings, stem cuttings, and division. Each method has its advantages, and understanding the process will help you successfully propagate your own ZZ plant.

Propagating From Single Leaves

If you have patience and enjoy gardening experiments, propagating ZZ plants from single leaves can be an exciting project. However, keep in mind that this method takes the longest to produce a new plant.

To get started, select a healthy stem with lush, disease-free leaves. Take a few full leaves from the stem that won’t disrupt its overall balance. The key is to remove some of the stem (technically called the petiole) to allow roots to develop. Without this step, the individual leaf will simply wither.

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After removal, carefully insert the base of the leaf into a pot filled with propagating mix. Ensure that the leaf is securely anchored in the soil without covering too much of it. Maintaining a warm and humid environment by covering the pot with a plastic bag can enhance the chances of successful root growth.

Propagating From Stem Cuttings

For a slightly higher chance of success, consider propagating ZZ plants from stem cuttings. This method requires a larger ZZ plant because you’ll be removing an entire stem. If you have a smaller plant with only a few stems, it’s best to start with single leaves first.

Choose a healthy stem close to the edge of the pot and with plenty of leaves on the top half. Use sharp pruning shears or a craft knife to remove the stem as close to the soil line as possible.

After removing the stem, peel off the leaves from the bottom half. This prevents rotting and allows the stem’s base to develop roots. Plant the cutting in a pot with houseplant potting mix, making sure to keep all the leaves above the soil surface. Keep the soil moist and the pot in a warm and humid location for a few weeks until rooting occurs.

Propagating Through Division

Division is the most reliable method for propagating ZZ plants and is best suited for mature plants that are around two years old or older. It’s recommended to wait until your plant needs repotting to complete the division.

Start by carefully removing the plant from its current container. Gently shake off excess soil to examine the rhizome for suitable split points. Look for areas where the plant can be divided evenly, ensuring each section has enough roots and stems to survive independently.

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Using a sharp knife, cleanly cut into the rhizome to limit damage and promote faster recovery. Try to disturb the roots as little as possible to minimize shock. Plant the divided sections in separate containers filled with houseplant potting mix, watering them immediately after planting.

Materials You’ll Need

Regardless of the propagation method you choose, you’ll need a few essential materials. These include sharp shears or a knife for stem cuttings, a suitable potting mix, and pots or containers for planting. Clean your tools before use to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria, especially if pruning diseased plants.


Propagating ZZ plants is not only a rewarding experience but also an excellent way to expand your indoor plant collection. Whether you choose to propagate from single leaves, stem cuttings, or through division, each method has its advantages and requires attention to specific details. By following the proper techniques and using the right materials, you can successfully propagate your ZZ plant and enjoy the rewards of a thriving, resilient plant.

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