ZZ Plant Problems

Because of its durability and tolerance for neglect, Zamioculcas Zamiifolia, sometimes known as the ZZ plant, is a widespread and popular houseplant. This houseplant looks fantastic in any indoor garden with its glossy green foliage and robust stems. ZZ plants are known for being so simple to take care of that it’s been dubbed the cast-iron plant.

There are a few common ZZ plant problems despite having a reputation for their hardiness that many experience, including the leaves yellowing or turning brown, the falling over or leaning of stems, curling of leaves, root rot, and wrinkled stems. There are simple solutions for each problem.

ZZ plans have gained popularity through their hardy reputation, making them an excellent option for inexperienced indoor gardeners. However, there are, in fact, quite a few problems that many encounter when looking after ZZ plants. Here we will look at these common problems and what you can do to go about fixing them. 

Common ZZ Plant Problems And Solutions

Here are a few common problems with ZZ plants and how you can fix them:

Yellowing Leaves

Even though a ZZ plant can tolerate a fair bit of neglect, it’s not uncommon for the leaves to become yellow. 

Yellowing leaves is probably one of the most common issues people face with most indoor plants. It’s typical for a few yellow leaves to fall off at the bottom, and it’s nothing to be too concerned about. However, if you notice an excess of yellowing leaves, this will require some intervention. 

Overwatering is the most common cause of plant death. If your ZZ plant has yellow leaves, brown leaf tips, lack of growth, drooping stems, and wrinkled leaves, overwatering is one of the more likely causes. However, it is essential to note that underwatering can also cause the leaves to turn yellow. This is where taking care of a plant can be a little confusing.

The first thing you should do is check the moisture of the soil. Ensuring that you have suitable drainage is vital for the flourishing of a ZZ plant. As a solution, only water whenever the pot is dry over at least the first inch of topsoil while still providing optimal drainage. 

It’s preferable to neglect to water once than to have to water twice. You should only water your ZZ plant around once a week during the summer. Fertilizer should be used once or twice a month. Water your ZZ plant only once a month during the winter months while removing the fertilizer from the equation entirely.

However, excessive sunlight, an infestation of pests, or the stress of acclimatization can also cause yellowing in the leaves. 

Excessive sunshine causes ZZ plant leaves to burn and turn yellow or brown. Leaf burning, rather than overwatering, is a more likely cause of this ZZ plant problem if your ZZ plant receives a lot of direct sunlight per day. Find a suitable spot in your home that offers good light but not too much direct light. 

Pests that enjoy feeding on the foliage of your ZZ plant are a common source of irregular yellow dots forming on the leaves of your ZZ plant. It is recommended that you thoroughly inspect the leaves and stems on both sides for any signs of pests to prevent an unwelcome infestation and ultimately ensure the health of your ZZ plant.

ZZ plants that have recently been purchased often go through a period of acclimatization. As they acclimatize to the surroundings in your house, they may grow yellow leaves or even drop leaves. This is not too much of a cause for concern. Give the ZZ plant a few days to acclimatize, and all should be just fine.

zz plant leaves

Falling Or Leaning Stems

The falling over or leaning of the stems is another common issue in ZZ plants.

Your ZZ plant may be receiving too much sunshine if it is leaning away from its light source. It is advised that you rather move it to a shadier area or, if possible, close the curtains in the room where you are storing your ZZ plant. 

On the other hand, falling or leaning stems can also happen to a ZZ plant growing in very low levels of light, causing the stems to grow tall and thin, ultimately weakening the plant.

Once again, overwatering is also one of the most typical causes of ZZ plant stalks leaning or falling over. Overwatering your ZZ plant will result in soft, rotting stems that cannot sustain the weight of the length of the stem.

This can cause the stems to grow at an oblique angle over time, causing them to collapse over and shatter under their weight. The most simple way to avoid this is to rotate your ZZ plant every few weeks so that the growth remains as erect as possible. This will result in a plant that is both healthier and more visually appealing.

Underwatering, however, can also cause ZZ plant stalks to topple over, but for a different reason, albeit less common. Your ZZ plant may eventually dehydrate if you fail to water it or if you are overly pedantic when watering it. The leaves will ultimately dry out, curl, and drop, and the plant stems will lean and likely fall over, despite the fact that they have held up quite well.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution to this issue. If the soil is dried and the leaves are crispy and curled, water your plant thoroughly, and the stalks will quickly rise erect after the under-watering has been corrected.

It is essential to find the safer middle ground when it comes to watering ZZ plants, or any plant for that matter, as both overwatering and underwatering will have an adverse effect on the health of your plants. 

Read more: ZZ Plant Not Growing

Curling Of Leaves

Brown leaf tips and drooping stems are commonly paired with leaf curling on your ZZ plant. Determining whether your plant is losing too much water or cannot deliver sufficient water to the leaves is vital. 

The curling of ZZ plant leaves is most commonly caused by a shortage of water accessible to the leaves. Curling the leaves reduces the surface area of the leaves and ultimately reduces water loss. Leaf curling can, however, be caused by underwatering or overwatering, excessive heat, pests, or very low humidity.

ZZ plants are not the biggest fans of excessive heat and direct light. Too much of either will undoubtedly cause the leaves to curl. Low levels of humidity are also unfavorable. Try to store your ZZ plant in a cooler section of your house and ensure higher humidity levels by keeping it close together with other plants. You can, of course, also use a humidifier if necessary. 

zz plant

Root Rot

People are frequently surprised to hear that roots require a constant oxygen supply to survive. Plants utilize oxygen to grow and operate while producing energy for their needs through photosynthesis. Soggy or poorly draining soil quickly become oxygen-depleted, putting the roots under a lot of stress.

Arguably, the most prevalent of all ZZ plant issues is root rot. It’s caused by a ZZ plant being grown in an overly wet, inadequately aerated environment. Watering ZZ plants should be done only when the top half of the soil feels dry. Grow your plant in well-draining soil, in porous pots with plenty of drainage holes, and with plenty of sunshine to avoid root rot.

All of the problems that we have covered so far could be root rot symptoms. Catching the signs early and acting fast can save your plant from ultimately dying.

Users Also Read: ZZ Plant Humidity

Wrinkling Of Stems

The wrinkling of stems on a ZZ plant has similar causes to the other potential problems listed so far. 

If the stem of your ZZ plant is wrinkled, it is most likely dehydrated. This can be caused by excessive water loss caused by hot temperatures, excessive sunlight, low humidity levels, root rot, or perhaps by underwatering. 


When learning to keep houseplants, everyone is bound to make mistakes. When it comes to ZZ plants, overwatering is the most common problem. Avoiding that will set you on the right track to having a healthy plant. Make sure your plant is growing in a favorable environment, and check on it frequently to ensure it is healthy and receiving the care it needs.