Select Page

ZZ Plant Propagation and Care

March 15, 2022

ZZ plant propagation planted in soil
ZZ plant propagation planted in soil

The ZZ Plant

The humble ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) is a popular, handsome waxy plant. Also known as the Zanzibar Gem, they produce round, moisture storing rhizomes making them drought tolerant (for forgetful plant-parents!) They are also very resistant to pests and diseases. All of this, along with the fact that the ZZ Plant is a great air purifier, makes it a popular indoor plant.

ZZ Plant Care

The ZZ Plant is the perfect beginner-friendly plant or for those part-time plant parents as it thrives with very little care. These hardy aroids are often found in windowless offices or bathrooms without much natural light. This is because the fluorescent light is sufficient to keep it alive. The gym that I go to, for example, has ZZ’s around the gym floor as it doesn’t get much natural light. They also require very little water thanks to their moisture-storing rhizomes. Saying that, they are happier and do grow faster in bright to moderate, filtered light and watering a couple of times a month once the soil has dried out. 

So – are these the perfect house plants? Almost. Care should be taken while handling the ZZ plant, as all parts of the plant are poisonous. Wearing gloves and hand washing are necessary to avoid any irritation and all ZZ plants should be kept away from inquisitive children and pets.

ZZ plant stem for propagation
ZZ plant stem for propagation

ZZ Propagation

There are a number of ways to propagate the ZZ plant:

  • Gently dividing the rhizomes and re-potting in different pots
  • Stem cutting in water or soil
  • Leaf cutting in water or soil

As I have not yet attempted the rhizome splitting or propagation in soil, this blog will focus on the methods I have used and had success with. As such, I’ll focus on stem and leaf propagation in water.

I am a big water propagation fan as I love watching the roots grow and seeing the cutting transform into it’s very out plant.

ZZ plant stem cutting in water

You really don’t require much for propagating a zz plant stem. The most important things are:

  1. A healthy donor ZZ plant
  2. Gloves
  3. Sharp, clean scissors or secateurs
  4. A clean glass jar or vase for water propagation
ZZ stem cut into three parts for propagation
ZZ stem cut into three parts for propagation

I started by choosing a healthy stem around 30cm long (12 inches) long with a number of beautiful leaves and gently cutting it from the mother plant with a clean pair of scissors. Remember to wear gloves to avoid any skin irritations. I then divided the stem into 3 sections as shown in the image below. It will be very tempting to put these beauties straight into water as soon as possible, BUT don’t be too hasty! Before attempting water propagation with these cuttings you should allow them to sit somewhere dry to allow the cut ends to callous over. This important step reduces the chance of rot. Generally I allow 24hrs or overnight. 

Once the cuttings have had around 24 hours sitting out on the bench, simply place the stems in a little water. Make sure that you generously cover the end, but ensure that no leaves are submerged.

ZZ stem propagation in water
ZZ stem propagation in water

Then place the little babies in a warm, light area without direct sunlight. I use the windowsill in our kitchen.

With a change of water every few weeks and bright indirect light, you should see some root growth anywhere between two/three weeks and a few months. I know! Patience isn’t always my finest trait either! Ha!

ZZ plant water propagations developing rhizomes
ZZ plant water propagations developing rhizomes

ZZ leaf cutting in water

Amazingly, you don’t require a rhizome or even a stem to propagate a ZZ plant – all you require is a leaf! 

You’ll need the same tools as noted above for the stem propagation – so get all that ready before you start.

Carefully cut a few leaves from the donor plant as close to the stem as possible with the clean pair of scissors. Although it is recommended to allow the leaves to callous overnight, I have to admit that in this experiment I skipped this step! I simply placed the ends into a small glass of water or (as i love to use) a glass vase in a propagation station. Using the latter allows the roots to grow without obstruction from the bottom of the glass. The roots will begin to form within two to three weeks, but to get a mature ZZ plant from just a leaf cutting will take years.

The photo below shows the growth of the leaves after one month in water.

ZZ leaf water propagation
ZZ leaf water propagation

If wanting to try propagating the leaf in soil, it is best to cut off the bottom third of the leaf to promote root formation as shown in the image below. Once cut, I left to callous over before being potted upright in well draining soil. Again, I find this process difficult because I can’t witness the progress. But be patient, the roots should start to form along the cut edge of the leaf in the soil. I’m still at the beginning of this experiment, so I’ll update as this progresses.

ZZ plant leaf propagation in soil tip: create a little terrarium with a recycled plastic bottle or cup. This keeps moisture around the leaf during the root formation period!

ZZ leaf propagation in soil
ZZ leaf propagation in soil

Have you tried to propagate your ZZ Plant? Which method did you use and how successful were you? Let me know – I’d love to hear how you got on.

Avocado Topiary

Once you’ve successfully propagated an avocado (which is a fun process in itself!), it’s time to challenge yourself and have even more fun. If you’re new to avocado propagation, then take a look at my foolproof guide here. 

Topiary is a form of gardening (and I use the term very loosely here!)  that shapes plants into decorative shapes that the plant would not naturally grow into. This can be done by pruning or training the plants over time (patience is key) to achieve the desired shape. I don’t claim to be an expert, or to have even been completely successful, but creating shapes with the stem of an avocado is a fun process.

Typically, the avocado plant is not a usual specimen to practice topiary on, but there is definitely some experimenting that can be done and some enjoyment to be had.

Germinating the pit

Use our easy to follow foolproof guide to avocado propagation. You can find the blog here. Once the pit has sprouted some roots, plant the pit in a pot with a well draining potting mix. Keep an eye on the stem growth – once it reaches 15 cm (or 6 inches) it will require its first prune.  

Pruning the avocado plant 

Your 15 cm (6 inches) stem will need to be cut back by half, to create a stem approximately 7 cms (3 inches). By doing this, you are encouraging root growth as the plant’s energy will not be diverted into growing stems and leaves. Regular pruning also helps create a shorter, thicker and stronger stem. 

As avocado leaves can get fairly large, cutting them back before they reach full size will keep the plant in proportion. 

Training your avocado plant

By using copper or aluminium wire, you can train your stem and branches to grow in any direction you wish. I have tried a loop and also stem braiding, but if you are just experimenting to have some fun, you can train your plant any way you wish.   

Wrap the wire around the stem and branches to encourage growth in your desired direction, making sure that the wire isn’t too tight to restrict the stem or branches. And make sure to replace these wires as the stem and branches grow thicker, to avoid bounding them. You can then gently bend and tie the plant’s branches or stems to encourage them to grow in your desired direction or shape  

If you have given this a go, we would love to see your progress. Get in touch and send us some photos! 


Avocado plant braiding

Avocado pit marking

Avocado pit marking


As with creating an avocado topiary plant, this is a fun activity to try. Or if you want to gift an avocado tree, then writing a message on the pit is a great idea to personalise a gift! It is worth noting that, once the pit has served its purpose of a nutrient providing capsule, it disintegrates into the soil so this is a temporary feat. 

The process of pit marking can occur because any cut to the pit will oxidize and turn brown. We can use this oxidization to our advantage by gently marking out letters or shapes and allowing it to turn brown against the light colour of the pit. 

You can really let your imagination run wild here, so have some fun.  

Things you’ll need are:

  • An avocado pit (of course!)
  • A small, sharp knife
  • A design… or an imagination!

Step 1 – Peel the avocado pit by removing the outer layer (or husk

Step 2 – Decide on your design. A heart? Initials? The choice is yours and the possibilities are endless

Step 3 – Either create a template by drawing your design on a piece of paper, cutting it out and sticking it to the avocado pit as a guide where to cut. Or go with the flow and create your design directly onto the pit. Note – if you’re intending to keep your design to the top-half of the pit.  

Step 4 – To create a colour block, remove any flesh from inside the outlines made.  

Step 5 – Sit back and watch your design come alive. Any areas cut will start turning dark after about half an hour.

Step 6 – Germinate the pit as usual by following our fool-proof guide to avocado propagation blog, found here. 

Step 7 – Plant the germinated pit in soil (or keep it in water indefinitely) and display your work of art! Or gift it. Remember that the design will remain on the pit until it decomposes into the soil. This decomposition occurs naturally once an avocado planted in soil becomes self-sufficient.

Please let us know if you give this a try. We’d love to see what you have created. Send us an email or tag us on your Instagram posts.


Avocado pit marked with a heart