How to Propagate ZZ Plants

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As ZZ plants are one of the easiest plants to care for and keep alive, they find their way into many homes. Learn how to propagate ZZ plants, and you will be able to grow your own, either to increase your collection or share them with a friend (or, well, ask a friend for a leaf to propagate at home).

There are a few ways you can go about propagating ZZ plants, but propagating from the leaf is by far our favorite. It doesn’t take a lot from the mother plant, making this method perfect for “asking a friend to give you a leaf of their plant,” and it has a high success rate. We’ll be showing you a step-by-step with pictures on how to go about propagating zamioculcas zamiifolia. You’ll also be able to compare the growth when propagating in different mediums so you can choose whichever works best for you.

How to Propagate ZZ Plants - Different Methods

How to Propagate ZZ Plants

As previously mentioned, there are different methods you can use to propagate your ZZ plant.

  • propagate by leaf cuttings
  • stem cuttings
  • root division

Important note: While propagating zamioculcas zamiifolia plant is easy; it can be a slow process. You might not see any kind of movement for weeks. If the part of the plant you are propagating still looks healthy (even if there is no new growth), you are OK. Patience is key with these plants.

Do you need rooting hormone for propagating ZZ plant?

Rooting hormone can help with the better development of the roots, but it isn’t necessary to have successful ZZ plant propagation.

All varieties of ZZ plants can be propagated with the same methods. However, you can’t use a leaf that is entirely white if you are propagating a variegated one.

Once propagated, care for the new ZZ plant as you would for a mature plant.

ZZ Plant Leaf Propagation in Water, Soil and Moss

You can propagate ZZ plant leaf in a variety of mediums, and all will work. What’s great about this method is you don’t need much. Each leaf can develop into a plant, so snipping as little as one leaf from the mother plant is enough to grow a new one.

Pick a healthy leaf from a mature stalk and snip it (with petiole) with a clean, sharp knife or scissors. You can propagate freshly cut leaves or let them sit in the air for a couple of hours for the end to callus.

Note: ours were always freshly propagated, and so far, there were no issues with rotting (callus is supposed to protect the cuttings from rotting).

What medium to propagate in?

Soil is by far the easiest as you plant the leaf and you are done. No need to replant it into the soil after the roots/rhizomes form. There is a small chance of the leaf rotting in the soil, though, that generally isn’t the case with water or sphagnum moss.

Water is the most fun as you can observe the process. However, you will need to pot your plant in soil at some point.

ZZ Plant Leaves Propagated in Water
On the left without rooting hormone, on the right with rooting hormone

When propagating in soil, make sure the soil is moist. Push the leaf in the soil, and it needs to be secure. The majority of the leaf should be above the soil.

Propagating ZZ plant leaf in soil
On the left without rooting hormone, on the right with rooting hormone

Sphagnum moss is somewhere in between. It’s easy to check the growth process. The chances of rot are virtually nonexistent. You will need to repot at some point but can leave some sphagnum moss around the plant.

Add water to sphagnum moss, fill the pot and stick the leaf into sphagnum moss as you would in soil.

On the left without rooting hormone, on the right with rooting hormone

All of our ZZ plant leaves are ready for the next step in their journey.

How to Propagate ZZ Plants

Bag them and place in an area with bright indirect light

Place your leaf cuttings (in whichever media they are) inside a clear plastic bag or glass enclosure, as this will keep the humidity levels high. More importantly, this will prevent the water from evaporating, so you really won’t have any work with these. And in case you have any pests such as fungus gnats, this will keep them away from your baby plants as well.

You can change or add water occasionally if you are propagating in water, but it really isn’t necessary to do it often unless the water becomes murky. In the two months, the water was only added once here.

You do need to open up the bag every other week or so if it’s airtight.

Check on your leaves regularly. If they are looking healthy, you are on the right track. If you notice the leaf is rotting (this rarely happens), you can discard it. Do not disturb the leaves unless really necessary.

Propagate ZZ Plants

Next comes the wait. And with these, it can be very long. While you will probably see some growth in about 2-5 weeks, this isn’t always the case.

Growth After 2 Months

You won’t really see any movement for weeks, especially if you propagate the ZZ plant in water. Don’t be alarmed. Just keep on waiting.

After a while, the plant will start producing round rhizomes that function to store water. It will start as a tiny bump but will keep on growing. The roots will start growing from there.

After a bit more time – for this batch, it took 2 months, but it can take even longer, you will see nice big round rhizomes and even a couple of roots, and now you can be certain you are on the right track.

Here is the process update for all methods of propagating ZZ plants after two months.


The leaves that were in water formed tiny rhizomes, and the roots have formed nicely. The one on the left is without rooting hormone, and the one on the left with rooting hormone. As you can see, the difference isn’t really breathtaking.

When you propagate ZZ plants in water, it really is fun to observe the process. But as you compare it to soil and moss, you will notice the growth is drastically slower.


*you shouldn’t disturb the roots unless really necessary as they can be easily damaged. These wouldn’t be plucked out of soil otherwise, but it was necessary to take photos.

As you can see here, the growth is better compared to propagating ZZ plant in water. Again, the rooting hormone didn’t make a drastic difference for this plant.


Moss yielded great results too, the rhizomes are nice and big, and there are quite a few roots (the moss is clinging to them, so they are hard to see, removing the moss would damage the roots).

You can safely plant them now

Once rhizomes have formed and there are a couple of roots, you can safely transfer your baby ZZ plant into its own pot. Or plant multiple ones in the pot.

The soil should be moist and you should make sure you don’t add too much soil on top of the rhizome.

Propagate ZZ Plants by Stem Cutting

The same as with leaf propagation, the stalk/stem propagation is pretty easy to. And a long process.

Pick a healthy mature stem (dark green, not the new bright green growth.

Cut with sterile scissors or knife at the bottom.

Pop in water. You will need to change or add water every couple of weeks. You can leave it open or use a (large) zip lock bag.

Place it in a place where it will get bright indirect light.

Wait for a few weeks for the rhizome and roots to form. After 2 months or so, you can plant it into the soil if there is a nice rhizome and roots.

Root Division

While it is possible to propagate ZZ plant by root division, this isn’t something we would advise. Repotting them is stressful as it is and when you divide the roots you can easily damage them.

Now you know how to propagate ZZ plants so go with the method you feel most comfortable with.

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6 thoughts on “How to Propagate ZZ Plants”

  1. Can you also put the stem cutting in moss like you would a leaf cutting? And if so, when a nice root system has grown, you would leave a little bit of moss around the roots so as not to disturb them when you transplant to well draining medium?
    Thanks a bunch!

    • Yes, you can. You can leave some around the roots, but you should remove as much as possible (it won’t be too hard with ZZ), as if you leave it – when you water the plant, the moss will retain water.

    • It depends. I had mine in plastic bags so there wasn’t the need to water them in months. If you’re not using a bag, I wouldn’t let the soil dry out completely to often.

  2. I have a stem cutting In water. It’s been there four weeks and the only thing happening is that leaves are slowly turning a bit yellow with brown tips. Does that mean it’s dying or is there still hope? It’s my only cutting…

    • Yellowing isn’t a good sign, but it doesn’t mean there is zero chance of rooting, especially when it comes to ZZ plants. Check the end of the cutting, if it’s rotting by any chance (you can try cutting it off to a healthy part and continuing with water). If it’s looking OK, keep at it, you have nothing to lose.


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