Just because your ZZ plant’s stem has broken, doesn’t mean you have to throw away the plant. In my case, I always prefer to fix the broken stem either by joining them together or I end up propagating them by using the broken stem.
This is a very easy process if you can follow the steps and be a little patient with your plants. There are a few tricks to follow through. But I am sure if you go through this article it is going to seem quite simple to you.
In this article, I have discussed how to fix the broken stem as well as how to propagate the stems of a ZZ plant. In addition, this article contains information about how to prevent the stems from breaking in the future. This makes it a complete package, doesn’t it?
So, let’s not lose any time and just dive right in-
What's On the Page
- 1 How To Fix ZZ Plant’s Broken Stem
- 2 How To Propagate A Broken ZZ Plant Stem
- 3 How to Prevent the ZZ Plant Stem from Breaking
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- 5 Conclusion
How To Fix ZZ Plant’s Broken Stem
1. Start With Examining The Broken Stem
Your ZZ plant stem can break due to several issues like water, sunlight, nutrients, etc. You have to figure out why this is happening so that you can prevent the breaking of the stem in the future.
If the leaves are also damaged or droopy you have to remove them at once. If they are attached to the plant the stem will have extra pressure to provide water and nutrients for them. The leaves on the broken stems will not get healthy again. So, it’s better to get rid of them to reduce the stress of the broken stem.
On a side note, you can use some of the leaves to propagate the ZZ plants.
2. Time For Damage Control
Now it’s time to re-attach the broken parts. You can do it with garden tape or any other regular tape. This method is one kind of grafting.
When the stem has broken the tissues that circulate water and nutrients to the whole plant get severed. But if you attach the broken parts firmly without losing any time the tissues gradually fix themselves naturally and get connected again.
3. Help The Healing With Some Support
Before taping back the broken stems you can provide some support to the plant to help it heal quicker. Otherwise, the tape won’t be able to hold if the stem is a bit heavy. This will result in lodging of the upper part of the stem,
Get a pencil or a wooden stake and attach it firmly to the broken part with your hand. Then gently wrap the tape over them. If the ZZ stem is pretty long, take a stake of considerable length and dip it in the soil very close to the stem. Then tape it at the point where the stem has broken.
4. Now It’s Time For You To Wait
After taping the stems there is pretty much nothing to do for you. Just keep observing the plant. Sometimes the broken parts will take time to heal. In this case, the upper leaves will wilt and die.
But you have to be patient. Keep taking care of your ZZ plant while waiting. It can take several weeks. When your plant has started to show symptoms of healing do not remove the tape yet.
Let it completely heal otherwise the stem can be damaged again while taking off the tape.
5. Propagate If Grafting Fails
This is plan B for you. If you suspect that the stem is too damaged for grafting then you should think of propagating. Especially if the stem is totally broken into half. Because when the stem is completely separated they are very unlikely to get reattached by taping that easily.
There are two ways for your ZZ plant propagation. They are stem propagation and leaf propagation. Both the methods are effective so you can choose any of them.
Stem propagation is more successful and easier so here is the step by step stem propagation technique –
How To Propagate A Broken ZZ Plant Stem
1. Take A Fresh Stem
You should always pick a fresh stem for propagation. If your broken stem is a bit damaged, cut that part and keep only the fresh part. You can break the stem into 2-3 pieces. In this way, you can have several new ZZ plants from a broken stem.
2. Prepare The Cutting Before Planting
After cutting the stems don’t just plant them in the soil. You have to let the cuttings dry and form a callus. It can take a couple of days. If you are in a hurry at least let the cuttings dry for a few hours.
But whatever you do not plant them in the soil immediately after cutting. Because this will reduce the chances of producing new ZZ plants.
3. Now it’s time to Propagate
A couple of days after drying, put the stem cutting in water. It’s better to put them in water before planting in soil. Because if they are in the water for some days you will be able to see whether the root is forming or not.
While the root forms, change the water every 3-4 days. When you see the root has started to grow and has reached a certain length, take them gently out of the water.
4. Put The Cuttings In The Soil
When the root has formed, plant them in your desired container. Before that prepare the soil freshly or use any houseplant potting mixture(our pick: Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix)
Choose a container with drainage holes. So that there are no overwatering issues. Mix enough sand or perlite in the soil. Because in compact soil the roots won’t be able to grow easily.
5. Wait For The ZZ Plant To Grow
Now your work is done. It’s time to wait for the ZZ stems to grow into a complete plant. It usually takes 2-3 weeks to show any growth. So, sit back and wait for the ZZ plants to grow naturally.
Sometimes it might look like the ZZ plant stem is dying in the soil. But do not ever take it out from the soil. Because sometimes the stem cuttings can take longer than usual to grow leaves. Instead, wait some more. If you have done all the steps properly the cuttings will grow leaves sooner or later.
How to Prevent the ZZ Plant Stem from Breaking
Some reasons can make the stalks droop and this eventually results in the splitting of the stem. But, if you keep some things in mind you can prevent the breaking of stems.
1. Watering Issues
ZZ plants are succulents so they don’t need much water. If their stem is falling then the first thing to check is whether you are overwatering them. Overwatered ZZ plants will get root rot and the roots won’t be able to provide water and nutrients to the stem. As a result, the stem will fall off and break.
On the other hand, underwatering can cause the stems to break too. If you forget to water them for a long period the plant stems will get dehydrated and soon they will droop. Eventually, the stem will break into two pieces.
If you suspect that your plant is suffering from root rot then use a good fungicide on them that is suitable for houseplants (Our Pick: Bonide Copper Fungicide). You can repot them in another freshly prepared soil also.
Do not water until the soil becomes dry. And let the excess water drain through the container holes.
Water twice a week during spring and summer. During winter water every 4-5 weeks.
The amount of water will depend on the size of your plant and also the size of the container. Use a moisture meter to water them correctly (Our pick: Atree Soil Soil Tester Kits with Moisture, Light, and PH Test for Garden).
2. Lighting Problems
The ZZ plants don’t need much sunlight. So if they get too much sunlight they lean away from the light. This makes the stem droopy and in some cases the stem breaks. In addition, the leaves curl and turn yellow.
The same thing will happen if they don’t get the minimum amount of light they need. The stem will lean towards the light source and as a result, the stem will droop and break off.
Place the plant in a spot where there is bright sunlight but doesn’t fall directly to the plant. If the room has no access to natural light you can put them under artificial fluorescent light for some hours.
3. Lack Of Fertilizer
ZZ plants aren’t much of a feeder. But sometimes we end up feeding them nothing. At some point, all the nutrients in the container get used up. And for lack of nutrients, the ZZ plant stem can drop, become leggy and break into two pieces.
Feed your ZZ plants with a good water-soluble houseplant fertilizer once every 3-4 months (our pick: Aquatic Arts Indoor Plant Food). To avoid fertilizer burn apply the fertilizer at half strength.
In case you have accidentally over fertilized them, water them generously and let the soil drain out the water totally. This way excess fertilizer will leach out from the pot.
You can also fertilize them naturally by using banana peels.
#Banana Peel Fertilizer
- Keep the banana peels under direct sunlight to dry them
- You can also dry them in the oven
- Use the mixer grinder and turn it into powder
- Store the powder in an airtight container
- Take a few spoonfuls of this powder and put it on the ZZ plants base
- Water the plant very lightly after application
4. Low Temperatures
ZZ plants are tropical plants so they don’t do well in cold or freezing temperatures. Low temperatures make the leaves yellow and the stem falls over. At a certain point, the stem breaks off.
If the ZZ plants are already in cold shock then don’t water them for some time and keep them in a warm place with indirect sunlight. The recovery from the cold stress can take some time.
5. Transplant Stress
Sometimes your ZZ plant stem can break off after you have transplanted them into another place. This is because, during the transplanting, roots get disturbed or injured. Later these injured roots fail to provide water and nutrients to the stem. Eventually, the stem falls over and breaks off.
Well, in this case, you have nothing much to do. Just wait for the plant to recover. Meanwhile, keep them in their optimum sunlight and water them properly.
Also, be very careful while transplanting when uprooting the roots. Once the root has adjusted with the soil the plant will start to recover by itself.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How Can You Propagate A Broken ZZ Stem?
You can propagate the ZZ plant stem in two ways. That is water propagation and soil propagation. Or you can combine the two methods to propagate.
2. Can You Replant A Broken Stem?
Yes, Of course. You have to let the broken stem dry for 2-3 days and then after the stem has formed callus you can plant it in rooting media (soil or water).
3. Do ZZ Plants Grow New Stems?
The ZZ plants are a bit slow growing. They produce new stems but it takes a lot of time.
4. How To Split A ZZ Plant?
You can use sharp scissors or shears to split the stem before propagation. But remember to use gloves while handling the plant because ZZ plants are toxic. It can irritate the skin.
Apart from the reasons I just mentioned above, physical damage can also be a reason why the Zz plant stem has broken. And physically the damaged stems will not recover very easily. In this case, you should choose stem propagation rather than trying to fix the stem.
In this article, I have tried to explain everything you need to know about how to fix the ZZ plant’s broken stem in a step-by-step process. And I also briefly explained what causes the broken stems and how you can prevent them from happening.
I hope you found this article very helpful while fixing the broken stem of your ZZ plant.