How To Fix a Leggy ZZ Plant (A Complete Guide)

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ZZ plants (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) are known for their resilience-they can survive in many conditions and don’t require much care. However, even the most demanding plants can suffer from problems occasionally. One common issue with ZZ plants is legginess.

Leggy ZZ plants have long, spindly stems with few leaves. This problem is usually caused by too little light. ZZ plants need bright, indirect light to thrive. If your plant doesn’t get enough light, it will stretch out in an attempt to reach the light.

In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know about fixing a leggy ZZ plant.

We’ll discuss the causes of legginess and how to prevent it in the future. We’ll also give you tips on rescuing your plant if it’s already leggy.

What Causes a ZZ Plant to Become Leggy?

There are a few reasons why your ZZ plant might become leggy.

The most common causes are listed below:

1. Not Enough Light

ZZ plants need bright, indirect light to thrive. If your plant is placed in a low-light area, it will become leggy as it stretches out to reach the light.

Light is essential to plants because it’s used in the process of photosynthesis. This is how plants make their food. When a plant doesn’t get enough light, it can’t produce enough food to support its growth. This will cause the plant to become leggy and weak.

ZZ plants need at least four hours of bright, indirect light daily. If your plant isn’t getting enough light, move it to a sunnier location.

2. Improper Fertilization

If you’re fertilizing your ZZ plant too often, this can cause it to become leggy. ZZ plants don’t need a lot of fertilizer too much fertilizer can be harmful.

Fertilize your ZZ plant once every two months during the growing season using a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer.

High nitrogen fertilizers can also cause leggy growth. Nitrogen is a crucial nutrient for plant growth, but too much nitrogen can cause the ZZ plant to grow too fast. This will result in long, spindly stems that are weak and prone to breaking.

3. Lack of Pruning

Pruning is an essential part of plant care. It helps to promote healthy growth and can prevent problems like legginess.

If you don’t prune your ZZ plant, it will become leggy over time. The plant will produce long stems with fewer leaves.

To prevent leggy growth, prune your plant regularly.

Pruning encourages the plant to produce new growth, resulting in a fuller, healthier plant.

How To Tell If Your ZZ Plant Is Leggy

There are a few signs that your ZZ plant is leggy.

These include:

1. Long and Thin Stems

Long, thin stems are the most obvious signs of leggy growth. If your plant’s stems are significantly longer than usual, this is a sign that the plant is stretching to reach the light.

The stem of a leggy plant will also be thinner than the stem of a healthy ZZ plant.

2. Fewer Leaves

Leggy plants will also have fewer leaves than healthy plants. The plant cannot produce enough food to support its growth.

As a result, the plant will drop leaves to save energy.

3. Weak Stems

Leggy plants have weak stems that are prone to breaking. This is because the plant isn’t getting enough of the nutrients it needs to grow.

As a result, the stems will be thinner and weaker than normal.

4. Lack of New Growth

Leggy plants will also lack new growth. The plant isn’t getting enough light or nutrients to support further growth.

If your plant isn’t producing new leaves or stems, this is a sign that it’s leggy.

5. Pale Leaves

Leggy plants often have pale leaves. This is because the plant isn’t getting enough light to produce chlorophyll.

Chlorophyll is a green pigment that’s essential for photosynthesis. Without chlorophyll, the plant can’t produce food. As a result, the ZZ plant leaves will turn yellow or pale green.

6. Leaning Stems

Leggy plants will often lean to one side. This is because the stems are weak and can’t support the weight of the plant.

As a result, the plant will tilt to one side or even fall over.

7. Drooping Leaves

Leggy plants will also have drooping leaves. This is because the plant isn’t getting enough light or nutrients to support the leaves.

As a result, the leaves will become limp and dropdown.

When ZZ plant leaves droop, it’s a sign that the plant is stressed.

How to Fix a Leggy ZZ Plant

If your plant is leggy, you can do a few things to fix the problem.

1. Move Your Plant to a Bright location

If your plant is leggy, it’s likely because it’s not getting enough light. ZZ plants need at least four hours of bright, indirect sunlight per day.

If your plant isn’t getting enough light, move it to a brighter location. An east- or west-facing window is ideal. This will provide the plant with the bright light it needs to grow.

If you can’t move your plant to a brighter location, you can also try using grow lights.

Grow lights are artificial lights that mimic the sun’s rays. They’re an ideal way to give your plant the light it needs to grow.

2. Prune Your Plant

Pruning is an essential part of care for leggy plants. Pruning encourages the plant to produce new growth, resulting in a fuller, healthier plant.

Pruning ZZ plants is easy. Cut off the top two inches of the plant with a sharp knife or pruning shears.

Be sure to make the cuts just above a leaf node. This is where new growth will emerge from.

3. Don’t Fertilize Your Plant

It’s important not to fertilize your plant if it’s leggy. This is because the plant doesn’t need any additional nutrients.

Fertilizing a leggy plant can make the problem worse. This is because the plant will produce even more growth, resulting in an even leggier plant.

If your plant has been overfertilized, flush the soil with water to remove any excess fertilizer.

How to Prune a Leggy ZZ Plant (A Step-By-Step Guide)

Pruning is an essential part of care for leggy ZZ plants. Pruning encourages the plant to produce new growth, resulting in a fuller, healthier plant.

Pruning ZZ plants is easy. Follow these steps:

  1. Cut off the top two inches of the plant with a sharp knife or pruning shears.
  2. Make sure to make the cuts just above a leaf node. This is where new growth will emerge from.
  3. Repeat this process every few months to encourage the plant to produce new growth.
  4. To tidy up the plant, you can also remove any yellow or dead leaves.
  5. If your plant is severely leggy, you may need to cut it back further. Cut the plant back to the desired height with pruning shears.
  6. Keep an eye on your plant after you’ve pruned it. This is because it will be more susceptible to stress and damage. Give your plant some extra TLC if you see any signs of stress, such as wilting or yellow leaves.

How To Prevent Your ZZ Plant From Getting Leggy

You can do a few things to prevent your plant from getting leggy.

1. Provide Your Plant with Enough Light

ZZ plants need bright, filtered light to thrive. If your plant is not getting enough light, it will start to stretch and become leggy. To prevent this, place your plant in a bright spot and keep it out of direct sunlight.

You can place your plant near an east- or west-facing window to give it the bright, filtered light it needs.

Make sure also to keep your plant clean. Dust can build up on the leaves and block out light, so wipe them down regularly with a damp cloth.

2. Turn Your Plant Regularly

Another way to prevent your plant from becoming leggy is to turn it regularly. This will help ensure that all sides of the plant are getting an equal amount of light.

Turn your plant every week to ensure it gets even light exposure.

3. Trim Your Plant Regularly

Trimming your plant regularly will also help prevent it from becoming leggy. When you cut the leaves, it will encourage the plant to produce new growth. This new growth will be fuller and healthier, which will help keep your plant from getting leggy.

Be sure to use sharp, clean scissors when trimming your plant. This will help prevent the spread of disease.

4. Don’t Overfertilize Your Plant

If you fertilize your plant too much, it can cause the plant to become leggy. This is because the plant will produce more growth than it can support. As a result, the plant will become lanky and weak.

It’s best to fertilize your plant every two weeks or so during the growing season. During the winter, you can reduce the frequency to once a month.

Use a balanced fertilizer low in nitrogen to prevent your plant from becoming leggy.

5. Repot Your Plant Regularly

Repotting your plant regularly will also help prevent it from becoming leggy. When you repot the plant, it will encourage new growth. This new growth will be fuller and healthier, which will help keep your plant from getting leggy.

Be sure to use a pot that is just large enough to accommodate the roots of your plant. This will help prevent the plant from becoming pot-bound, which can also cause the plant to become leggy.

Final Thoughts

A ZZ plant is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a low-maintenance, easy-to-care-for indoor plant.

ZZ plants tolerate many growing conditions and can even thrive in low-light environments.

However, ZZ plants can sometimes become leggy, causing them to lose their compact, bushy shape.

Thankfully, you can take a few easy steps to fix a leggy ZZ plant.

First, try moving your plant to a brighter location. You can also try pruning back the leggy stems if that doesn’t work.

Finally, ensure you’re not overfertilizing your plant, which can also cause leggy growth.

By following these simple tips, you can help your ZZ plant regain its compact, bushy shape and keep it looking its best.