ZZ Plant – Stem Rotted – House Plant Journal

ZZ Plant – Stem Rotted

Plant Parent

I recently got a ZZ plant and it’s been doing pretty well, but I was watering it the other day and I realized that a couple of them stems had essentially withered away where they met the dirt.

I shoved it back down in the dirt and it still seems to be doing okay. I’m going to include a photo below. Did I do something wrong? If I leave it alone, will it regrow it’s roots?


Could you please show me the place where this zz plant lives in relation to its window(s) – I’d like to help you assess the lighting situation.

Plant Parent

It’s a south-facing window, but I live in the PNW and it’s usually pretty gray, and getting grayer this fall/winter.


Thanks! Could you also tell me your thought process on watering and exactly how you water?

Plant Parent

I usually water when the soil seems dry, but it’s possible it wasn’t completely dry. The plastic pot it’s in has good drainage, and I let it finish draining before putting it back in it’s bronze planter.


A healthy zz plant stem *may* form new roots when you put it in water but if it has rotted like that, it’s unlikely to be able to put out new roots. Doesn’t hurt to try it though.

Your light situation looks good – right beside the window is the best one can do. Given adequate lighting, the watering strategy for a zz plant is only “when the soil is completely dry”. If a stem falls off from rotting (as can be seen from the blackness at the base), then it could be an indication that your soil is compacted and it could be time for a repotting. When repotting, be sure to gently loosen some of the roots that have encircled the base of the pot. Use a pot that is about 1-2 inches larger in diameter from your current pot. You’ll likely have to find a different outer pot too.

Tired of your houseplants dying on you?

One response to “ZZ Plant – Stem Rotted”

  1. I have the same issue my plant rotted from the stem where the roots starts. Should I cut off the rotten stem and put in water to get some roots?

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