Will ZZ Plants Grow New Leaves?

The beauty of ZZ plants results from their wax-like, smooth textured leaves that reflect sunlight, thereby brightening rooms. The challenge comes when the plants undergo leaf abscission, which leaves you wondering whether the leaves will grow back. Without the leaves, your ZZ plant may not look as appealing.

ZZ plants will grow new leaves when provided with the right conditions. The best way to encourage new leaf growth in your ZZ plant is by placing it in a warm location away from direct sun, applying slow-release fertilizer, and watering it deeply. These conditions are necessary for rhizome growth.

In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss the different ways to encourage new leaf growth in ZZ plants. I’ll also share a guide on how to propagate your ZZ plant the right way. Let’s get started!

How to Encourage New Leaf Growth in ZZ Plants

Zamioculcas zamiifolia (ZZ) plants are excellent for indoor environments since they can tolerate low light conditions. As a tropical plant, ZZ thrives and grows new foliage quickly when provided with the right growing conditions that match its native habitat.

The best way to encourage new leaf growth in your ZZ plant is by providing conditions that match or are almost similar to those in tropical habitats.

You can achieve this by:

Placing the Plant in a Warm Location

According to the National Geographic Society, the tropics are warm throughout the year. Therefore, ZZ plants thrive in a warm climate, making it the best environment for foliage development.

To mimic this warm temperature, place your ZZ plant in a location that’s 70 to 80 °F (21.11 to 26.67 °C). However, you must avoid placing the plant near drafty windows or air conditioning units to prevent wind burn.

Warmth is crucial in leaf development as it encourages rhizome development. When rhizomes develop in ZZ plants, they promote stem growth, resulting in more new leaves.

Provide Bright, Indirect Light

ZZ plants are perennial, meaning they naturally grow under dense tropical forests. In such habitats, these plants receive bright, indirect light.

Most people make the mistake of keeping their ZZ plants in the dark areas that receive minimal light daily. Such conditions discourage growth since plants need sunlight for photosynthesis. Without photosynthesis, ZZ plants cannot produce the energy they need to promote leaf development.

To provide your ZZ plant with bright, indirect light, place it near a window where it will receive filtered sunlight.

An east-facing window is suitable for your plants since it receives only the morning light. Alternatively, you can place the plant 3 feet (0.91 meters) away from a north-facing window as it receives indirect light throughout the day.

A rule of thumb is to ensure the plant receives at least six hours of indirect sunlight daily.

Apply Slow-Release Fertilizer

Fertilizers provide essential nutrients to plants, and ZZ plants are no exception. A slow-release fertilizer is ideal for ZZ plants, as it allows for a steady supply of nutrients over time, promoting healthy growth and leaf development.

Slow-release fertilizer is preferred in this case to prevent over-fertilization, which can cause sudden plant growth.

Sudden plant growth means your plant will not have a good root system, exposing it to:

  • Stunted growth
  • Yellowing and wilting leaves
  • Poor anchorage

The application process is simple; simply sprinkle the fertilizer on top of the soil around your ZZ plant at the start of spring and repeat in fall. You can also mix it into the soil before planting. Make sure to follow package instructions, as they vary for different types of fertilizer.

Water Deeply

Water is essential for ZZ plants, especially in promoting leaf growth. Watering deeply ensures that the roots receive enough hydration, allowing them to grow and support new leaves.

Moreover, succulent plants need water to promote rhizome development. These are crucial plant parts in leaf growth.

You should water your ZZ plant thoroughly once a month. However, it’s advisable to allow the soil to dry before watering to prevent waterlogging.

Waterlogged soil impairs your plant’s growth by:

  • Causing root rot
  • Discouraging rhizome development
  • Preventing access to oxygen and nutrients

Poking a finger into the potting mix is an easy way to know when the mixture is dry for watering. The finger should reach 2-3 inches (5.08-7.62 cm), so you can feel how moist or dry the mix is. If the mixture is still wet, wait a few more days before watering again.

Finally, it’s advisable to water your ZZ plant with room temperature water, as cold water can cause the leaves to develop brown spots. These are called leaf scorch marks and impede healthy growth.

Plant in High-Quality Soil

Besides providing root anchorage, soil holds water and nutrients for the ZZ plant’s growth. Therefore, a high-quality potting mix is crucial in promoting new leaf development.

An appropriate mix for your ZZ plant should have a mixture of perlite, peat moss, and vermiculite to promote drainage and retain water and nutrients.

You can purchase high-quality potting mix from garden stores or make your own by mixing equal parts perlite, peat moss, and vermiculite.

If you decide to go for a DIY mix, ensure to add an organic soil amendment like compost or worm castings for extra nutrients.

Prune the Plant Regularly

Pruning an ornamental plant like ZZ maintains its health and aesthetics. A healthy plant is more likely to grow new leaves than an unhealthy one.

Moreover, pruning off dead leaves and stems allows the plant’s energy and nutrients to be redirected towards new leaf growth.

You need clean and sharp scissors or garden shears to cut off dead leaves or stems from your ZZ plant. It’s advisable to cut near the plant’s base, ensuring not to remove too much flesh as it can stress the plant.

After pruning, it’s advisable to water and fertilize the plant for extra growth support.

Repot the Plant

After potting their houseplants, most people forget about them, not knowing they need repotting. Repotting your ZZ plant is crucial for a few reasons.

First, it allows you to identify root rot. Root rot is catastrophic for your plant, including leaf development. Repotting enables you to determine when the roots are rotting and take the necessary action to reverse the rooting.

Repotting also provides sufficient space for the plant to thrive. As the plant grows, the original pot may no longer be enough for its roots. Repotting your ZZ plant ensures that it has enough space to grow and develop new leaves.

You should repot your ZZ plant after two to three years.

Here is the procedure to repot your ZZ plant:

  1. Flip the original pot to its side.
  2. Carefully remove the plant from the pot and shake off excess soil.
  3. Assess the state of the roots. Look for any discoloration or rotting and cut them off.
  4. Choose a new pot that is 1-2 inches (2.54-5.08 cm) bigger than the original and fill it with a high-quality potting mix.
  5. Separate the rhizomes to plant them separately if you want to have many ZZ plants.
  6. Place the ZZ plant in the new pot and firmly pack the soil around its base to support growth.
  7. Water and fertilize the plant to provide extra support for growth.

Here is a video to take you through the above steps:

How to Propagate Your ZZ Plant

Propagation is an easy way to get multiple ZZ plants to enjoy or share with friends or family.

Not only does it provide a sense of achievement, but propagating ZZ plants is also a cost-effective way to have new leaf growth in your collection.

ZZ plants can be propagated through rhizome division or stem cuttings. Here is a guide for both methods:

Rhizome Division

The rhizome division method is best used when repotting a ZZ plant.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Remove the plant from its pot.
  2. Separate the rhizomes that have grown baby plants.
  3. Pot the rhizomes separately.

Ensure to use high-quality potting mix, water, and fertilizer.

Stem Cuttings

The stem cuttings method is best when the ZZ plant has a healthy stem with at least three leaves.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Cut off a healthy stem from the mother plant, leaving at least two leaves on the cutting.
  2. Place the cutting in water or moist soil until roots form.
  3. Once roots have formed, pot the cutting in a high-quality potting mix.
  4. Water and fertilize to support new leaf growth.


It’s not uncommon for ZZ plants to shade leaves. When this happens, you should ensure the plant has the optimum conditions to encourage new leaf growth. The plant needs a warm environment away from direct sunlight, sufficient water, and fertilizer.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the founder of TheGrowingLeaf.com and its lead content writer. He created the website in 2022 as a resource for horticulture lovers and beginners alike, compiling all the gardening tips he discovered over the years. Alex has a passion for caring for plants, turning backyards into feel-good places, and sharing his knowledge with the rest of the world.

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