How to Propagate ZZ Plants, 3 Ways

ZZ plants, also known as Zamioculcas zamiifolia, are popular houseplants native to Eastern Africa. With their easy care requirements and ability to thrive in low light conditions, it’s no wonder ZZ plants have become a staple in many homes. If you already have a ZZ plant, propagating it is an easy way to get more plants for free! There are a few different methods you can use to propagate ZZ plants successfully. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the three main ways to propagate ZZ plants: division, stem cuttings, and leaf cuttings. Let’s get growing!

Division Method for Propagating ZZ Plants

Division is often the easiest method for propagating ZZ plants. In this technique, you simply divide the tuberous rhizomes of the parent plant to create new baby ZZ plants. Here’s a step-by-step guide to propagating ZZ plants by division:

Step 1: Select a Mature ZZ Plant

Start by selecting a mature and healthy ZZ plant that is at least 2-3 years old. A younger plant may not have enough established rhizomes to divide yet. Pick a plant that is actively growing and looks vibrant.

Step 2: Water the Plant Well

Give the plant a thorough water 1-2 days before you intend to divide it. This will hydrate the plant and make it easier to tease the tubers apart without damage.

Step 3: Remove the Plant from its Pot

Turn the pot upside down and gently slide the ZZ plant out. You may need to give the sides a gentle squeeze to loosen it. Be careful not to damage the stems or tubers.

Step 4: Divide the Rhizomes

Examine the rhizomes and identify where they naturally separate. Use your hands to gently break or tear the rhizomes into smaller sections. Each section should have several tubers and some visible growth.

Step 5: Prepare New Pots

Fill small starter pots with well-draining potting mix. Enrich it with some compost or worm castings if desired. Make sure there are drainage holes in the bottom of the pots.

Step 6: Plant the Divided Rhizomes

Place each divided rhizome section in its own starter pot. Bury them just deep enough so the tubers are covered with soil. Water well after planting.

Step 7: Provide Ideal Conditions

Keep the newly propagated ZZ plants in bright, indirect light. Water when the top inch of soil is dry. Fertilize monthly. With proper care, new shoots and leaves will emerge within a few weeks!

The division method allows you to multiply your ZZ plant without any special tools or equipment. Just use your hands to gently divide those fleshy tubers and pot up the sections in fresh soil. With this simple technique, one mature ZZ can turn into five or more new plants!

Stem Cuttings for Propagating ZZ Plants

Another common ZZ plant propagation method is taking stem cuttings. This involves cutting a piece of stem from the original plant and rooting it in water or soil. Here are step-by-step instructions for ZZ plant stem cuttings:

Step 1: Get Cutting Materials Ready

You’ll need a sharp, clean knife or pruning shears, pots, potting mix, a plastic bag, and rooting hormone powder (optional). Sterilize tools with rubbing alcohol first.

Step 2: Select a Healthy Stem

Choose a stem that is 3-6 inches long with several leaves toward the top. Use clean shears to cut it off close to the base of the mother plant.

Step 3: Trim the Stem

Remove the bottom 1-2 inches of leaves by pinching them off gently. This prevents stem rot later on. You can leave a few leaves toward the top.

Step 4: Dip in Rooting Hormone (Optional)

You can dip the end of the cutting in rooting hormone powder. This contains plant growth regulators that can encourage faster root development.

Step 5: Insert in Soil or Water

Stick the cutting 2-3 inches deep either in a small pot filled with well-draining soil or in a glass of water.

Step 6: Provide Warmth and Humidity

Place the potted cutting or water glass somewhere warm (70-80°F) with high humidity. Putting it inside a plastic bag works great.

Step 7: Wait for Roots!

Roots and new leaf growth will emerge in 4-8 weeks. For water cuttings, change the water weekly. Pot up successfully rooted cuttings in soil. Gradually acclimate to normal humidity.

ZZ plant stem cuttings can turn one stem into a whole new plant! Have patience as propagation from cuttings takes longer than division. Ensure warmth and humidity during rooting for the best results.

Propagating ZZ Plants from Leaf Cuttings

For the adventurous gardener, propagating ZZ plants from single leaves is also possible. This method takes longer and has lower success rates, but it’s fascinating to watch a whole new plant emerge from just a leaf! Follow these instructions:

Step 1: Sterilize a Sharp Knife

Use rubbing alcohol to clean a small sharp knife or razor blade that you’ll use to detach the leaves. Sterilizing prevents bacteria or disease transmission.

Step 2: Select Healthy Leaves

Choose leaves that are mature, but not old and yellowing. Look for ones that are firm and have visible stems at their bases.

Step 3: Cut the Leaf Base

Hold the base of the leaf stem and make a clean diagonal slice right below the base. Take care not to damage the main ZZ plant.

Step 4: Allow the Cut End to Callous

Let the cut end of the leaf stem dry and callous over for 1-2 days. This helps prevent rotting after planting.

Step 5: Dip Cut End in Rooting Hormone

Once calloused over, dip the cut end of the leaf stem in rooting hormone powder to spur root growth.

Step 6: Stick in Soil or Perlite

Plant the leaf stem a few inches deep in a pot with well-draining soil or in a glass of just perlite.

Step 7: Wait Patiently!

Keep your ZZ leaf cuttings warm and humid. Expect to wait 6-9 months for roots and new plants to form. Gently tug leaves to check for resistance that indicates root growth.

Propagating ZZ plants from just a single leaf takes diligence and patience. But it’s an amazing way to get multiple new plants from just the leaves you prune! With a little TLC, those leaves can give rise to brand new ZZ plant babies.

Frequently Asked Questions About Propagating ZZ Plants

How long does it take to propagate ZZ plants?

  • The division method yields the fastest results, with new plant growth in as little as 3-6 weeks. Stem cuttings take a bit longer at around 8 weeks. Leaf cuttings are slowest at 6-9 months for new plants to form.

Can I propagate ZZ plants in water?

  • Yes, you can root ZZ plant stem cuttings in water instead of soil. Change the water weekly and watch for roots to form in around 6-8 weeks. Transition the rooted cuttings to soil after.

What’s the best soil mix for propagated ZZ plants?

  • ZZ plants like well-draining soil. An ideal potting mix is one part potting soil, one part perlite or coarse sand, and one part peat. Or use a cactus/succulent commercial blend.

How can I increase the success rate of ZZ propagation?

  • Keep the dividing, cuttings, or planted leaves warm (70-80°F), in very bright indirect light, and high humidity. Using rooting hormone also boosts the chances of new roots forming.

Why are some of my propagated ZZ plant leaves turning yellow?

  • If original leaves start yellowing, it’s likely due to stress from the propagation process. As long as new growth is happening, this is normal.Focus on proper watering and light to minimize stress.

When can I repot my propagated ZZ plants?

  • Wait until the newly propagated ZZ plants have several inches of new top growth. This indicates the root system is established enough for repotting into a slightly larger pot.

Can I propagate my ZZ while it is flowering?

  • It’s best to avoid propagating when the ZZ plant is focused on flowering. Wait until after the blooming cycle completes. The energy requirements of flowering make propagation less successful.

Tips for Successful ZZ Plant Propagation

  • Always start with a healthy mother plant free of disease. Disinfect tools between cuts.
  • Warmth and very high humidity encourages faster rooting and growth of new shoots/leaves.
  • When dividing tubers, make sure each section has several tubers and some visible growth.
  • Change water weekly for leaf or stem cuttings done in water.
  • Avoid overwatering newly potted divisions, cuttings, or leaves before roots establish.
  • Propagating ZZ plants is easiest in spring and summer when the plant is in active growth.
  • Be very patient with leaf cuttings – it can take nearly a year for an entirely new plant to emerge.
  • Well-draining, low nutrient soil prevents rotting and encourages the new plants to develop their own roots.


Thanks to their rhizomatous tuberous roots, ZZ plants are great candidates for propagation. Their three main methods – division, stem cuttings, and leaf cuttings – all offer an easy way to multiply your ZZ plant collection for free. Division provides the fastest results, followed by cuttings, then leaves. All methods simply require properly caring for the new plants while their roots establish. In a few months, you can have a bunch of new ZZ babies from just one original plant!

Propagating ZZ plants is generally simple and low risk. With proper sterile technique, the right propagation method, a lot of warmth and humidity, and plenty of patience, you’ll have brand new ZZ plants sprouting up in no time. So give propagating your ZZ plant a try – your houseplant collection will thank you!