Zz Plant Root Bulb

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

Zz plants do not have root bulbs but instead, have root structures called rhizomes that often get confused with root bulbs as they are similar in appearance. Rhizomes are modified stem structures of the plant, while root bulbs are considered a type of root, and they have different functions.

What is the function of a Zz plant’s rhizomes? How are rhizomes, bulbs, and tubers different from each other? What problems can Zz plant rhizomes develop? Let us find out!

Do Zz Plants Have Root Bulbs?

Zz plants (Zamiculcas zamiifolia) are stunning plants, and they do not require a lot of effort and care from you for them to thrive, but you do need to understand the different structures they have and how to care for them to ensure the total health of your Zz plant.

So, do Zz plants have plant bulbs that you need to care for? Zz plants do not have root bulbs, but they have structures called rhizomes that are often confused with root bulbs as they are very similar in appearance.

It is essential to know the differences between these two structures and how they both differ from tubers as well, as tubers are also confused with these other plant structures. All these plant structures are different and operate in different ways. Let’s go through these three plant structures to understand better how your Zz plant works and how to care for it.

Related: How Often To Water ZZ Plant

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

Zz plants are beautiful plants, and if you are lucky to have one as part of your houseplant collection, you should know everything you can about the plant to help make sure you give the plant all the care it needs to thrive.

You need to know about your Zz plant’s rhizomes that they use and produce, which are not bulbs but are regularly confused with plant bulbs. You need to know what they are, how to care for them, and what could go wrong with the rhizomes to help keep your Zz plant happy and healthy.

It is vital to know the differences between the plant these different plant structures, including tubers, which rhizomes can also be confused with, so you can take care of your Zz plant to the best of your abilities. So, let’s look at all three of these plant structures and how they differ.

zz plant roots

Zz Plant Rhizomes

Zz plant rhizomes are a modified stem structure of the plant that will only grow from an established Zz plant that is healthy and growing well. Zz plant rhizomes grow horizontally in the soil and grow only about an inch or two under the surface of the soil.

Rhizomes produce nodes on them that can develop roots that will grow down into the soil and then grow stems that will pop through the soil’s surface, creating an entirely new Zz plant that will only be attached to the mother plant by the rhizome itself.

The rhizomes of the Zz plant can also act as a place for the plant to store different nutrients and help make sure the new Zz plant survives or that the mother plant has enough nutrients to survive through a harsh, dry season.

Rhizomes of the Zz plant are round, so they can easily be confused with plant bulbs. The Zz plant’s rhizomes are the reason why these plants are so low-maintenance and need very little care from you, as the rhizomes can store enough nutrients for the plant to survive for up to three weeks without care.

Plant Bulbs

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

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

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

Plant Tubers

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

Tubers are structures that also grow in the plant’s soil, and 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 than the storage structures you can find in plant bulbs.

Tubers still have scale layers around them, but they also have structures called eyes, from which roots and plant shoots sprout. Tubers do not divide or create offshoots like rhizomes; instead, they grow bigger and bigger every growing season.

Tubers also grow vertically in the plant’s soil, where rhizomes grow horizontally. A common and well-known example of a tuber is potatoes.

Also Check: Zamicro Zz Plant

Problems Zz Plant Rhizomes Can Face

As Zz plant rhizomes are technically root structures and grow in the soil next to the roots of the plant, so you need to be careful of root rot with the plant’s rhizomes too. The rhizomes of the Zz plant can develop root rot as easily as the roots of the plant can, and the root rot can begin to spread between the rhizomes and roots of the plant, which can then affect the entire plant.

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

To treat the root rot that could be affecting your Zz plant’s rhizomes, too, you need to repot your Zz plant. Luckily, there is a simple method you can use to do this, where you can propagate and repot your Zz plant simultaneously through rhizome division. Let’s go through this propagation method.

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 cause the plants to be root-bound and have a higher chance of developing root rot.

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. Thankfully, you can use these new little Zz plants that the rhizomes have grown to propagate your Zz plant and create more space for the mother plant. Let’s look at how you can propagate your Zz plant this way.

Equipment Needed

Using the rhizome division method, you will need some equipment to propagate your Zz Plant. The required equipment is easy to find at any local garden store, so you should not have any trouble finding the equipment for this propagation method. Here is what you will need for this method:

zz plant repotting
  • 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 the equipment, make sure you give everything a thorough clean to ensure that no disease, fungal spores, or anything that could affect the health of your Zz plant is present on your equipment.

Method Of Propagating Through Rhizome Division

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

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

Step 1 – you need to set aside a large area to work in, 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 grow where you do not want them. Move your Zz plant to the area you have prepared.

Step 2 – 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, fill the pots halfway with the suitable soil. 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 the roots of the plant when cutting through the rhizomes as they 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.

Step 6 – once you have separated the Zz plant rhizomes, you should have a few separate Zz plants. Carefully inspect the roots and rhizomes of all the Zz plants, make sure 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 Zz 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 plant in water in a living room


Zz plants do not have plant bulbs, but instead, they develop rhizomes that are confused with plant bulbs as they look similar. However, rhizomes and plant bulbs are different plant structures, and it’s important to know the differences between the two. You do need to ensure the health of the rhizomes to help your Zz 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!