zz plant repotting, fertilizing and watering

Discussion in 'Araceae' started by psywzrd, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. psywzrd

    psywzrd Member

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    I repotted one of my zz plants today (first one pictured below) into an 8" clay pot because I read that clay pots are best for this species. Now that I have repotted it, how long do I have to wait to fertilize it and what kind of fertilizer is best? I'm hoping there's some type of fertilizer that I can buy from Home Depot or Lowe's since I have both stores very close to me. Also, how often do I need to fertilize? Is there any rule as far as how much water to give the plant and how frequent? Most things I've read recommend letting the soil dry out completely between waterings but I'm still not sure how much water to give the plant and how often I should water it. This plant is indoors all year round and the only sunlight it gets is through windows. As you can see, it is quite tall but only has 3 stalks with leaves. The leaves on the 4th stalk turned yellow within the last week or and they all fell off when I repotted the plant.

    I'm also considering repotting my other zz plant (2nd picture below) which doesn't seem to be doing as well. Is there any good way to determine what size pot to put it in or do you just eyeball it? I assume that I can follow the same watering and fertilizing recommendations for this plant as well.

    I have another zz plant coming tomorrow as well (that one is coming in a 6" inch plastic pot). Should I just repot that one into a 6" clay pot too?

    Sorry about all of the questions but I'm kind of new to this. These are the only plants I have and I want to make sure I give them the proper care. Thank you in advance for any help.
     

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  2. togata57

    togata57 Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    I recommend to you this most excellent site:

    http://www.exoticrainforest.com

    Scroll down about halfway, and look on the right-hand side of the page, under 'See what's New! Pages recently upgraded or added'---ZZ is at top of list.
     
  3. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    The link given above is to my website. There are many myths on the Internet about this plant species from Southwest Africa. In nature it grows on the fringes rain forests however it does have a dry season of 3 to 4 months. The plant must be planted in loose soil that is fast draining, preferably containing a great deal of sand. It needs to be watered on a regular basis but not over watered. The biased advice often given on the Internet is mostly absolutely FALSE.

    If you take the time to read the entire page you will understand how it grows in nature, how it needs to be potted, and why it often suddenly drops every leaf and appears to be dead. It is not dead, it is dormant which is just a natural occurrence in the wild that happens in the dry season. When growers fail to water on a regular basis in the proper soil mix it eventually it will go dormant just as it does in nature.

    There is truly no preferable type of pot, but there is certainly nothing wrong with clay. The information offered on the webpage noted above is based entirely upon a book written by three of the world's top botanists as well as personal conversations with two of the three.

    The majority of the advice given to not water the plant is based largely on the hope you will think your plant has died, throw it away, and go buy another one. I realize that sounds harsh but it is true. I can guarantee the majority of the sellers had never seen this plant growing in the wild. Many major botanical gardens grow this plant in their tropical forests section.

    http://www.exoticrainforest.com/Zamioculcas zamiifolia pc.html

    I hope you find the page useful.

    Steve
     
  4. psywzrd

    psywzrd Member

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    Thank you guys for posting that. I have seen that page before and it is a fountain of information. I guess I just really struggle with figuring out exactly how much and how often to water. I did read the entire page and what I get from it is that the plant should be watered once the soil is dry - I just wish there was an easy way to determine when that's the case. I believe I did overwater one of plants recently since the leaves turned yellow and fell off. Luckily the zz appears to be a resilient plant and I don't think any permanent damage was done. I did buy some fertilizer at Home Depot today (http://www.homedepot.com/Outdoors-G...splay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053) that I hope is good for my plants. Is it ok to fertilize every time I water or is that too much?
     
  5. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    10-15-10 is likely the best, but don't over fertilize this plant. In nature it is designed to be resilient and will actually do better if starved slightly.

    Steve
     
  6. psywzrd

    psywzrd Member

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    Thank you for that. How often would you recommend fertilizing it then?
     
  7. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but just lightly.

    Steve
     
  8. psywzrd

    psywzrd Member

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    How often though? Like every time I water, every other time, every 3 months?
     
  9. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    I recommend the pellet type fertilizer such Osmocote. Once every three months but only lightly. If you use liquid fertilizer use only about 20% the recommended dose and not as often as the manufacturer recommends.

    Steve
     
  10. psywzrd

    psywzrd Member

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    Ok. One last question. Once I repot my zz plants, do I have to wait to fertilize them or can I fertilize them right away? Keep in mind that I've never fertilized them.
     
  11. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Go-ahead and fertilize them.

    Steve
     
  12. psywzrd

    psywzrd Member

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    Thank you!!!
     
  13. psywzrd

    psywzrd Member

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    I know this is kind of an old thread but I'm posting my new question here since there are already pictures of my plant here. I ended up combining the 2 plants pictured above into one pot and I haven't seen a new stalk from either one of these plants in a VERY long time (well over a year, if not 2). In the meantime, I have another zz that I got not even 5 months ago and it has already sprouted 2 new stalks that are very healthy looking. Both plants are in the same room and are watered and fertilized according to the same exact schedule. They are also in the same exact type of soil. The only thing that is different are the actual pots that they are in but I don't see why that would make a difference.

    I'd really love to see some new stalks from this plant because it's actually kind of ugly right now, especially with those two dead-looking "stumps" that have no leaves on them whatsoever. My other zz is so beautiful (pictured here before the 2 new stalks even came in) and I really want this one to thrive as well. Any ideas?
     

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  14. psywzrd

    psywzrd Member

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    Anyone?
     
  15. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    The ones that are two in the same pot may be feeling a bit crowded - try repotting them into their own containers and see if they flush new growth. In my experience, they do tend to like to be one plant to a container.
     
  16. psywzrd

    psywzrd Member

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    Ok - so this plant did end up producing some new growth in the last couple of months; however, as you can see from the picture attached to this post, there is one stalk whose leaves have turned yellow and the leaves on one of the other stalks are starting to yellow as well (see upper lefthand corner of the picture). This plant is in an 8" clay pot and I have been watering it on the 1st and 15th of every month (8oz of water each time). When I saw the yellowing I thought that maybe I was watering it too much, so I skipped the watering on September 15th. I'm planning on watering it again on October 1st but I'm not sure if there's anything else I need to do. I have another zz plant that is thriving with this watering schedule (see a picture of it in post #13) so I assumed that the plant pictured here would be ok if I watered it with the same frequency. Maybe I watered it too much considering it doesn't have nearly as many stalks?

    What should I do about the stalk with the yellow leaves and the one with the leaves that are starting to turn yellow? And how often should I be watering it? Should I change to once a month?
     

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  17. psywzrd

    psywzrd Member

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    Anyone have any input here?
     
  18. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    ZZ plants do have a seasonal dormancy cycle - that may be what you're seeing at this point. I'd cut watering back to about once a month and see - if it drops the leaflets, keep the watering schedule scanty for a while, then step it back up when you see new growth emerging.

    http://www.exoticrainforest.com/Zamioculcas zamiifolia pc.html
     
  19. notexactlyagreenthumb

    notexactlyagreenthumb Member

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    I am looking for another ZZ plant as a Christmas present for my husband. Does anyone know where I can find one? No florist with which I have spoken in the GVRD seems to know what they are...

    Thanks!
     
  20. psywzrd

    psywzrd Member

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    Check ebay. I actually got my favorite zz plant there - it's beautiful!
     

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