Zz plants are one of the most forgiving plants that demand minimal attention in terms of watering and light requirements, but a root bound zz plant needs to be taken care of.
Which takes us to the bigger question:
Do Zz plants like to be root bound?
No, Zz plants don’t like to be root bound, because Zz plants have rhizomes (underground stem) attached with every stem that takes up a lot of space, with each new stem it starts to get too crowded and its health deteriorates. When your zz plant is root bound it is best to repot it.
In this article you are going to learn about everything related to, how to identify a root bound zz plant to when and how to repot it.
Table of Content
5 Signs of Root Bound Zz Plant
1.Roots Coming out of the drainage holes
One of the most obvious signs that you will see when your zz plant is root bound is that its root will start to come out of the drainage holes.
It happens because there is not enough space inside the pot to grow, so it seeps out of the drainage hole.
2. Water Drains faster Than Normal
In case your zz plant has got root bound, the water will come off the drainage holes very quickly compared to what it used to earlier.
So, whenever you water it, you will realize that most of the water has escaped.
This is a clear sign of root bound, as most of the space is now covered with roots, so water doesn’t stay.
3. Leaves start to have brown tips
Due to root bound condition, most of the water gets out of the pot and the plant doesn’t get the required amount of water or simply put it is under watered.
Due to which the tips of the zz plant start to get yellowish/brownish in color.
4. Pot Becomes Harder
When a plant gets root bound the roots start to grow alongside the pot, in search of space.
Due to which when you touch the pot from outside, it feels harder than earlier because you are actually touching the roots not soil.
So, try to feel if your pot has become extra-ordinarily hard.
5. Roots Go Spiral Along the pot
This is the last step which you should take, if you don’t see any of the above signs but still suspect your zz plant might have been root bounded.
Take your plant out of the pot and you will see it covered with roots all over till the end of the pot.
Usually the roots are spiral in shape.
When to repot a ZZ plant?
The best time to repot a Zz plant is during the spring or early summer season, as this is the time when it is most actively growing. Zz plants are slow growers & need not be repotted every year, but any Zz plant growing in optimal conditions will grow big enough to be repotted every 2 years.
By optimal conditions I mean, it is kept in a location where it receives medium to bright indirect sunlight for a good amount of time, watered only when the soil dries and fed balanced fertilizer from time to time.
On the other hand,
If your zz plant is kept in low light conditions, it will grow very slowly and will do fine in the same pot for 3-4 years.
If in doubt, you can always look for the signs of root bound which I just told you above.
Repotting a Zz plant – Steps to repot a Zz plant
Repotting a zz plant the right way is very crucial to keep your plant healthy in its new pot.
Also, make sure you repot your zz plant in its active growing season which is spring or early summer, as it will be able to handle the transplant shock well during this time.
Steps To Repot A Zz Plant
Get a new container which is 2-3inch bigger in diameter
The first thing you need to do in order to repot a zz plant is to get a one size bigger pot than the current one.
It should be 2-3 inches bigger than the present container.
Another measure can be that the size of the new pot should only be 2 inches bigger than the root ball of your plant.
If you put your plant in a much bigger pot than its size, it can promote overwatering, which will start to cause problem for your plant in future.
Make sure it has drainage holes
The next thing is to make sure there is at least one drainage hole at the bottom of your pot, which will allow excess water to pass through it.
Prepare fresh potting soil
Once the pot is ready, prepare a potting mix for your zz plant.
This must arise a question in your mind that:
What kind of soil does a Zz plant need?
Zz plant prefers fast draining soil. For this you can use succulent potting mix or any general purpose potting soil mixed with ⅓ rd amount of perlite to improve the drainage capacity even more.
So it’s 75% potting mix and 25% perlite.
Fill this potting mix in the pot.
Inserting the plant carefully
Take the plant out of its old pot and look for any infected or stinky root.
If you find one, remove it.
Then wash the root balls gently with water to remove the old soil from it.
Now, make a hole big enough for the roots to accomodate in the potting mix and place the plant inside it.
Do not bury the plant too much inside the soil, only bury so much that the rhizome is just covered with a thin layer of potting soil.
Stems buried deep inside the soil will be prone to rot.
Placing the pot in indirect sunlight
Once all this is done, place the pot in a location where it can receive medium to bright indirect sunlight.
This will keep your zz plant the happiest and only water when the soil gets dry.
I hope this guide will help you identify if your Zz plant is root bound and things you need to do if that is the case.
I have tried to touch upon every aspects of this topic but anyhow if I have missed any point, do let me know through the comment section.