Zz Plant Rhizome

Zz plants are gorgeous plants perfect for beginners as they are low-maintenance and easy to work with. Knowing everything you can about your Zz plant is the best way to ensure your plant is healthy; this includes learning about the plant’s rhizomes. So, let’s go through what you should know about these plant structures.

Zz plant rhizomes are modified stem structures of the plant that grow horizontally in the plant’s soil. The rhizomes can store nutrients for the plant and produce new Zz plants, which is how Zz plants spread. Rhizomes are prone to root rot and can cause the plant to be root bound.

The rhizomes of a Zz plant are often confused as bulbs or tubers, but what are the differences between these three plant structures? And can your Zz plant’s rhizomes be exposed? Let’s find out!

The Difference Between Zz plant Rhizomes, Bulbs, And Tubers?

ZZ plant roots

Zz plants are stunning plants, and if you are lucky enough to have one in your houseplant collection, you need to know everything you can about the plant to ensure you give it all the care it requires to thrive in your care.

You need to know about your Zz plant’s rhizomes that they use and produce. You need to know what they are, how to care for them, and what could go wrong with them to help keep your plant happy and healthy.

Zz plants have rhizomes, which can often be confused with plant bulbs or tubers, which Zz plants do not have.

It is essential to know the differences between these three different plant structures so you can take care of your Zz plant better. So, let’s go through what each of these plant structures are and how they differ.

Zz Plant Rhizomes

Zz plant rhizomes are a modified stem structure of the plant that will only develop off of an established plant. Zz plant rhizomes grow horizontally in the soil, and they grow only an inch or two from the soil’s surface.

Rhizomes produce nodes on them that can then grow roots down into the soil and grow stems through the soil’s surface, creating completely new Zz plants that are only attached to the mother plant by the rhizome.

The rhizomes of the Zz plant can also act as a place for the plant to store food and other nutrients to help ensure the new Zz plant’s survival. Rhizomes of the Zz plant are generally round, which is why they can be confused with plant bulbs.

The Zz plants rhizomes are the reason why these plants are so low-maintenance and require very little care, as the rhizomes can store enough nutrients for the plant to easily survive for two or three weeks without care from you.

Also Check: ZZ Plant Fungus

Plant Bulbs

Zz plants do not have bulbs, they have rhizomes, but people often call the rhizomes plant bulbs, but this is wrong as they are not the same plant’s structure and they do different things for the plant, which is why it is important to make this distinction between the two.

True plant bulbs are oval or round and have one end that is pointed, which is the top of the bulb. The bulb’s basal plate (the bottom of the bulb) is the side of the bulb that grows roots when the bulb is kept in the right growing conditions.

This bulb’s basal plate generally has a small bud on it; this is the part where the plant grows from. The plant’s bulb is surrounded by layers of modified leaf structures known as scales, which help the plant store food. The bulb is generally covered by a tunic, a papery skin that helps protect the bulb.

Plant Tubers

Rhizomes of the Zz plant are also often confused with tubers, but these two plant structures are also different, so it is important to distinguish between them. Tubers and rhizomes look very similar, which is why people can easily get confused between the two.

Tubers are structures that also grow in the plant’s soil, but they are modified stems of the plant. Tubers differ from bulbs as they do not have a protective tunic or a basal plant, and the storage structure of tubers is more simplistic.

Tubers still have the scale layers around them, but they also have what is known as eyes, which roots and plant shoots grow from. Tubers do not divide or create offshoots; instead, they grow bigger and bigger every growing season. The most well-known and common example of a tuber is potatoes.

Problems Zz Plant Rhizomes Can Face

As Zz plant rhizomes are technically root structures and grow in the soil, you need to be careful of root rot with the rhizomes. The rhizomes of the Zz plant can develop root rot as easily as the roots of the plant, and the root rot can spread between the rhizomes and roots of the plant, affecting the entire plant.

You need to ensure that your Zz plant is in well-draining, aerated loose soil and offers some oxygen movement in the soil. Do not let your Zz plant sit in excess water, as this will cause root rot for your plant, affecting all the plant’s structures under the soil, including the rhizomes.

ZZ plant

Should Zz Plant Rhizomes Be Exposed?

It is usual for people to notice their Zz plant’s rhizomes sticking out of the soil after they have watered them. This is natural and is due to soil erosion that occurs when you water your plant over and over again in the same location.

This happens easily with the rhizomes as they grow close to the soil’s surface. If you notice that your Zz plant’s rhizomes are partially exposed, you should cover them with suitable soil again, as it is not healthy for them to be exposed.

If they are not exposed due to soil erosion, then your Zz plant may be root bound, meaning there is no more space left in the plant pot for the roots to grow and develop properly.

This could happen when the rhizomes have developed new Zz plants that are growing and taking up too much space in the pot. If this is the reason for the rhizomes being exposed, you need to propagate your Zz plant and plant the new plants in separate plant pots.

Related: ZZ Plant Root Rot: Causes, Important Detection Tips & Solutions

Propagating Zz Plants Through Rhizome Division

As Zz plant rhizomes grow and develop new Zz plants on them, this can cause the mother plant’s pot becomes crowded as there are so many new little plants sprouting up in the pot.

This can begin to cause problems for all the Zz plants involved, and if it’s not tended to as soon as possible, this could lead to the Zz plants dying as they are root-bound. Thankfully, you can use these new little Zz plants that the rhizomes have developed to propagate your Zz plant. Let’s look at how you can propagate your Zz plant this way.

Equipment Needed

You will need some equipment to propagate your Zz Plant using the rhizome division method successfully, but the equipment required is easy to find at any garden store, so you should not have any trouble trying to buy the equipment for this propagation method. Here is the equipment that you will need for this method:

  • A mature Zz plant
  • Small plant pots (you may need multiple as you will plant three or four plants, sometimes more)
  • Suitable potting soil
  • Water
  • Some small stones

Once you have brought the equipment, ensure you give everything a thorough clean to ensure that no disease, fungal spores, or anything that could affect the health of your Zz plant are present on your equipment.

Method Of Propagating Through Rhizome Division

zz plant propagation by rhizomes

Propagating Zz plant through rhizome division is one of the best ways to propagate this plant and does not take long to do if you are a seasoned hand, but if you are new to propagating your Zz plant through rhizome division, then it will take some practice and time to accomplish.

You can only use this propagation method with a mature Zz plant that has healthy, fully developed rhizomes. So, let’s go through how you can propagate your Zz plant using the rhizome division method.

Step 1 – first, you need to set aside a large area for you to work, ensure you place down a plastic tarp or some newspaper to protect the area from soil and stray Zz plant rhizomes that you may miss as they may begin you sprout up where you do not want them. Move your zz plant to the area you have prepared.

Step 2 – when your Zz plant is in the area you have prepared, you now need to prepare the pots you have for the new Zz plants. Place small stones at the bottom of each plant pot to help with drainage, then fill the pots halfway with the suitable soil you have brought. You can mix in a handful of fertilizer if you would like.

Step 3 – carefully remove your Zz plant from the pot and soil it is currently in.

Step 4 – gently brush away the excess soil from the roots and rhizomes of your Zz plant, and then rinse the roots with some lukewarm fresh water so that you can see them clearly.

Step 5 – gently separate the rhizomes of your Zz plant; you may need to cut the rhizomes, but this is fine as they are hardy enough to survive this, but you need to be extremely careful with this part of the process as the roots can be easily damaged, which will affect the health of your new Zz plant or could cause the propagation to fail and the plant to die. So, ensure you are careful of the roots.

Step 6 – once you have separated the Zz plant rhizomes, you should have a few separate Zz plants. Now carefully inspect the roots and rhizomes of all the Zz plants, ensure there is no sign of damage or root rot; if there is, you need to trim off the affected roots, so the root rot does not spread and the damaged roots do not harm the plant.

Step 7 – plant each separate little plant into its own plant pot with suitable soil and ensure the roots and rhizomes of the plant are completely covered in soil.

Step 8 – keep the plants in bright and indirect sunlight and water every two weeks or when their soil is dry.


Zz plants will only develop rhizomes when they are established well in their pot, and they are happy and healthy, so you should not face any problems with rhizomes with new Zz plants. You do need to ensure the health of the rhizomes to help your plant thrive, but this is an easy task as you can treat them like the roots of your Zz plant. Good luck with your Zz plant!