Propagating a ZZ Plant: Rooting Stem Cuttings in Water

I divided my humungous ZZ Plant into 3 separate plants several months backs quite successfully, thank you very much. I’d never done this before so I was a bit apprehensive to have at it with the pruning saw and cut some of those big tubers in half. All of the plants are doing great which is a salute to how tough the ZZ really is. 5 or 6 long stems broke off in the process so I decided to get on with propagating my ZZ Plant by rooting these stem cuttings in water.

I’d never propagated long stems of a ZZ Plant in water before so I was curious as to how it would go. The stems are soft and fleshy leading me to believe they might rot out. Oh not so! It’s definitely not a fast process and the majority of the stems aren’t showing roots after 7 months. That doesn’t bother me because they look great in the urn vase and aren’t showing a brown tip or a bit of discoloration.

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The results of propagating a ZZ Plant by rooting stem cuttings in water:

The stems you see in the green vase are 28″ long, give or take a bit. A few short stems (around 8″) also broke off and they started showing roots in 3 or 4 weeks. I planted them up after 8 weeks and gave the new plant to a friend. If you’re in a hurry, go with the shorter stems. On the flip side, it will take them longer to grow tall so the choice is yours my friend.

2 short ZZ Plant stem cuttings on a red cloth both are showing roots

The root growth on the short stems after a few weeks. Once it appeared, the roots developed fast.

Things which are good to know:

I took these stem cuttings (except the 1 with the string) in late May. It’s now mid-January as I write this. It’s not a quick process with these long ones, that’s for sure.

I let the fleshy stem cuttings heal over for about an hour before putting them in water. Just be sure to keep them out of direct sun & hot conditions while doing this.

Don’t fill the vase up with water. I kept around 3″ of water in the vase at all times.

ZZ Plant Stem cuttings in a green vase with blue handles. A finger is pointing to the water line

Don’t let your cuttings dry out!

Use room temperature water. I changed it every 2 weeks or so – you want to keep the water fresh.

To the best of my understanding, you can’t root a ZZ Plant by a single leaf cutting. You need to get at least 2-3″ of stem & a couple of leaves for successful propagation.

6 long ZZ plant stem cuttings on a tile patio. 2 cuttings show big roots

The stem cuttings, roots & no roots. The 1 on the far right has a string tied around it because I stuck that in the vase about 4 months after the other ones. The majority of the ones propagated earlier aren’t showing roots at all. You never know with plants, that’s for sure!

The root end of a ZZ Plant stem cutting. Small tubers are forming off the base

Here’s a close-up on the 1 with the most roots. To my surprise, little tubers are appearing at the base. That’s why I didn’t want to wait too long to get it planted.

You can also propagate shorter cuttings in a light mix. This takes time also; about 6-9 months to show a decent amount of roots.

ZZ Plants have small spadix type flowers which appear at the base. It makes sense you could propagate them by seed but I don’t know anyone who has done that. Except for vegetables & annual flowers, propagating by seed takes way too long in my book.

I divided my ZZ plant last year & won’t do it again for at least 2 or 3 years.

A large ZZ plant in a purple pot sites on a blue patio table

I planted the well rooted cutting in with my smaller ZZ Plant. The cutting is tall & has a bit of weight to it.  I used a short bamboo stake to hold it up while those roots settle in & provide support. As promised in the video, here’s the link to a groovy & very useful mini -trowel.

The stem cutting with the string broke off the plant in the bedroom. You’ll find that ZZ Plants will do that every now & then – the big long stems just bend & break. Now you know you can grow & root them in water!

Have you ever propagated a long ZZ Plant stem in water? How long did it take? Inquiring horticultural minds want to know!

You can buy a ZZ Plant online if you can’t find 1 locally. They’re glossy & gorgeous & super easy to care for.

Happy gardening,

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21 Comments

  1. Hello. I had a small ZZ plant that was looking very sick so I took it out of the pot, clean all the dirt off and put it in a jar of water. It is now a beautiful (while till small) healthy plant. In the beginning of your video you are sitting next to a ground cover. Just wondering what it was

  2. You can get a plant from a single leaf, it takes a while but it can be done.

  3. Thanks for sharing Cleve. I’ve never done it so that’s good to know. Nell

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