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Why Is My ZZ Plant Drooping? (+How To Save It)

Drooping is a common problem that all houseplant enthusiasts go through once in their lifetime. Your ZZ plant might have drooping leaves or drooping stems, and that is not a good sign. The question is, what can you do to fix a drooping ZZ plant? Let’s find out!

Poor lighting conditions, over-watering or under-watering, lack of nutrition, and stress are some of the causes of a drooping ZZ plant. Move your ZZ plant to a bright spot, provide appropriate temperature, correct the watering and fertilization schedule to fix a droopy ZZ plant.

Other issues that can cause drooping in your ZZ plants can be low humidity, low temperature, etc. If diagnosed at an early stage, it can be treated and fixed!

Today we will dive deep into the problems and understand what causes droopy leaves and stems in the ZZ plant and how we can fix a droopy ZZ plant.


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My ZZ plant is drooping

There can be various causes of drooping in the ZZ plant. While problems are an easy fix, others might need additional effort and resources. In this article, we shall discuss seven common causes of the droopy ZZ plant.

Poor Lighting Conditions

The first reason to consider is poor lighting conditions. ZZ plant is also known for being low-light houseplants. They can survive in an environment that has low lighting. But if you want to have upright stems in your ZZ plant, you should keep them in an area that gets decent light.

Causes

The problem can either be low or excessive light.

In the case of low light, the growth of the plant will slow down. If the plant is getting very little light, it might survive, but it will not be enough for its growth! The stems will start leaning and drooping towards an area where there is more light.

And if there is excess light, the plant will start bending and drooping away from light. The leaves will start getting scorched and will turn yellow. The leaves could also drop from the plant or start curling.

Solution

If the problem is low light, you need to move the plant near a window or an artificial light available in your house.

And in case of excess light, you need to relocate the plant to an area that doesn’t get the intense sunlight. But it should have a source of artificial or indirect light that will help the plant to grow.

Also read: How much light do ZZ plant need?

Over-watering and under-watering

Another reason can either be that you are under-watering or over-watering your ZZ plant. It can be tricky, but you need to figure out which one of these is the problem.

If the stems of your ZZ plants are drooping, it can be due to overwatering. It is a prevalent issue as many people do not understand the ZZ plant’s nature and think that it needs a lot of water as many other plants.

ZZ plants are famous for their adaptability in regions that are dry and receive infrequent rain. The rhizomes of the plant store water and nutrients that help it to survive in extreme conditions. With that out of the way, let’s dive into the problems.

Also read: How often should you water your ZZ plant?

Overwatering

Causes

If the stems of your ZZ plant are drooping or bending, it can be due to overwatering. Overwatering can cause one of the severe problems that plants face, which is root rot.

 In such conditions, the soil retains water, and it cannot drain, which creates an environment perfect for the growth of bacteria and fungi. These end up causing root rot. 

Now, as the plant roots are damaged, they cannot take up enough water and nutrients for the foliage, and as a result, the plant will start to droop.

Solution

If you notice root rot, you should take the plant out of the pot or container. You can cut down the brown and mushy roots that are the roots with the infection.

Make sure to use a clean and sharp pair of scissors to do so. Repot your plant in a clean pot with a new potting mix. It should support good drainage of water. 

Water the plant after you have repotted it and let it dry before the next watering.

Under-watering

Causes

Under-watering is a less common problem, but it can happen and can cause the ZZ plant to droop. If you forget to water your ZZ plant and leave it dry for a few weeks, it will dehydrate.

It will show signs like curling or droopy leaves and drooping of the stems.

Solution

It is essential to follow a routine for watering your plants. Keep a check on your plant weekly. Touch and check the soil. If it is dry, then it is time for you to water the plant.

Water the soil thoroughly until water starts draining out from the drainage holes of the pot.

On average, the ZZ plant will need to be watered once a week. And it may take a lot of time for the soil to become completely dry. 

The requirement of water will vary depending upon various factors such as light, weather, etc.

There can be exceptions from the schedule. At times, you will notice that the soil has gone dry or the leaves are losing their luster or drooping, and that’s when you know that your plant needs that extra care.

Also read: Overwatering vs Underwatering



Fertilizers can be the problem!

ZZ plants require little fertilizer most often. But not giving it any fertilizer can cause problems such as drooping of stems and leaves in the long run. ZZ plants do need their little dose of fertilizer to keep them on top of their health.

Causes

You may not doubt it, but this can become the reason for a drooping ZZ plant if everything else is fine.

A ZZ plant usually needs fertilizer every 3-6 months. But it would be best if you were careful as under-fertilizing or over-fertilizing; both can cause drooping and yellowing of leaves.

You might be using the wrong fertilizer if your ZZ plant is drooping soon after you have added fertilizer to it.

Solution

It is advised that you do not use any strong liquid fertilizer on your ZZ plant. And if you have, then let your plant recover and don’t fertilize it until then. 

Stress

ZZ plants love to stay rooted, and they like to stand in a pot for a long time. Therefore, it starts to show signs of stress after being repotted. 

Causes

Most plants do not go through this problem, but it is not uncommon in ZZ plants. So, when you notice drooping of the stems, it can be due to stress from the transplantation.

The plant can have stress after transplantation because there might be some damage to the roots during the repotting or lack of water.

Solution

If you have figured out that your ZZ plant is showing signs of stress, you should give it time to recover. You should give it enough water so that it doesn’t suffer from the lack of water. 

You should not repot a plant during the winter season. When the roots are exposed to the air, they can get stressed due to cold drafts.

You can also remove some damaged stem or root if you find any, as that would save the plant’s energy, which it can use for recovery and further growth.

Low Temperature

ZZ plants have trouble living in extremely cold temperatures. They can do well in temperatures that don’t go below 65°F. Any temperature below that will show signs of problems.

Causes

Exposure to severe cold or temperature that falls below 45°F can give rise to problems like drooping and sometimes wilting and falling of leaves. Extreme cold conditions can make the plant stalks turn brown and fall off.

It gets tough for a plant that has gone through a cold shock to survive or recover.

Solution

You need to relocate the plant to an area of your house that remains warm. You can also cut off the stems and leaves that have been damaged due to the cold. 

Take care of the ZZ plant by letting it have indirect light and not exposing it to the extreme cold. It will slowly recover in a few weeks.

Keep them away from the window sill and doors as cold drafts can harm your ZZ plant and make them droop.

Physical Damage

The plant might have suffered some physical damage that went unnoticed. External or physical damage can cause drooping of stems, and it might be difficult for the plant to recover the damage.

Causes

If you have children or pets in your house, the chances are that they might have damaged the plant by mistake. Or the plant might have undergone some damage during transplantation.

Solution

You should remove the damaged stems of the ZZ plant by pruning so that the plant doesn’t end up all its energy on the damaged parts and fail to recover at the end.

Wrong Sized Pot

The size of the pot can also cause drooping of stems. A small pot will not be able to hold a big plant.

Causes

In case you have a big and matured ZZ plant, and you are using a pot or container that is smaller than what is required, the plant won’t fit. 

The plant will get very heavy for the pot, and it won’t get enough water and nutrients needed by the plant. As a result, the stems will start drooping.

Solution

You need to repot the plant in a larger pot or container that can hold the plant’s weight so that the stems will not droop. 

Generally, moving the plant to one size larger pot can help. For example: If your ZZ plant is potted in a 6-inch pot, then moving them to an 8-inch pot will work.

Also read: Do ZZ plant like to be root bound?

Drooping Leaves

You will notice that your ZZ plant’s leaves usually have a glossy shine to them and are thick when you touch them. 

These leaves are almost as thick as the succulents. But sometimes, the leaves of the plant start drooping while the stems remain upright.

Causes

But if there’s a problem, the leaves start to lose their shine and become thinner and start to dry out. And that is where the problem lies. The plant has dried out due to a lack of water.

You have not given the plant enough water. 

It is rare for ZZ plants but not impossible. This could be a reason why you have drooping leaves.

Another reason for drooping leaves can be extremely low humidity. This is more common in some countries with very low humidity in the winter months, mostly indoors.

If you have not given enough water to your ZZ plant and have extremely low humidity at your place, most of the water inside the plant will evaporate out of the leaves.

When the plant doesn’t have water to take up from the roots to the upper parts, it starts using all the available water in the leaves or stems, and the rhizomes and everything starts to look tired.

Solution

It would be best if you had a proper watering schedule for your ZZ plant. It is advised that you check your plant every week. 

Keep a check on the soil by touching it and understanding if it is dry. If it gets dry, you need to water it again. The plant should not run short of water.

In case of low humidity, try to water it a bit more than you usually do. And if it is possible in any way, you can try to raise the humidity inside your house.

Also read: How to save a dying ZZ plant?


If you are looking to buy a lot of houseplants to brighten up your space and that too on a budget, try out Cellardoorplants. They offer a wide variety of plants, delivered right to your doorstep, and that too for every budget. If you haven't checked them yet, Try them now!


Last Words

Drooping stems or drooping leaves are a sign that your ZZ plant is having some internal problem and giving you signs. It is your job to identify the problem and save your ZZ plant before it gets too late.

Consider the most common problems: inadequate watering, lighting issues, the problem with fertilizers, transplantation stress, etc. Try to follow the steps mentioned in the solutions when you find out what the problem is and get rid of it.

Keep checking your ZZ plants from time to time after it has recovered. You need to water it when the soil gets dry and make sure that it has a sound drainage system to drain away excess water from its system.

Provide the right amount of fertilizer so that the plant never lacks nutrition and keeps it in a bright area with indirect light.

If you can take care of the points mentioned above, you will have a healthy and thriving ZZ plant.

Also read: Why is your houseplant dying? (13 common reason)


Sources: ZZ plant study, College of agricultural studiesUniversity of VermontNational science foundation.