Ask a Question forum→Zamioculcas Zamiifolia leaf crack

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Italy
Agela
Jun 6, 2020 4:31 AM CST
Hi all,
I would like your precious support to determine the issue my zz plant is having. I am quite new to the house plants world. I've been having zz plant from 2 months now, but i am not quite sure that I am correctly following instructions regarding its care. Getting the plant from the nursery I splitted it in 2 pots. One is getting more brights light ( indireght) while the other is in a low to medium light condition. I have watered them 2 mayby 3 times since I got the plant, following common instructions of zz plant care, and because of the fact that I got fungus gnats. I also added some cinnamon over the top of the soil just to discourage gnats from flying around . I have noticed that the bottom leaves of boths plants are showing strange marks, they look just like cracking in the middle of the leaf .I also noticed that the number of marks is increasing. Can somebody help understand what is going wrong? Thank you in advance!
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 6, 2020 8:16 AM CST
Your ZZ Plants appear to be healthy and doing okay. The leaf splits are not a cause for concern.

The fungus gnats are coming from the larvae that live in the soil, and were introduced with the potting mix that you used. Cinnamon is not effective in treating them.

The best treatment is to allow the top third of the soil to get very dry before you water. That drying out will deprive the larvae of the moisture they need to survive. ZZ Plants are prone to overwatering problems, so they do best when the soil is allowed to get quite dry.

They are also adaptable to a range of light so both locations you described are fine. However, in lower light, the growth rate will be slower and it will use less water.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Italy
Agela
Jun 15, 2020 7:11 AM CST
Thank you WillC , I unpotted the zz plant. Its roots were not growing at all. Noticed some black ones so i am going to repot it. Hope it will handle the stress!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 15, 2020 8:48 AM CST
I'm not sure I understand your logic in repotting. A larger pot or different soil will not promote more growth. ZZ's are slow-growing plants and cannot be forced. If you repot you will probably inadvertently damage some of the tiny roothairs. In addition, repotting will greatly increase the chances of inadvertent overwatering and overwatering is the one thing this plant does not tolerate.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Italy
Agela
Jun 15, 2020 9:40 AM CST
Dear WillC,
Thank you for your advice. I wasn't feeling comfortable leaving the plant unchecked and I decided to control the roots. The one in the plastic pot, getting more light had signs of root growth ,although very tiny ,and they looked white and healthy. The second one , in the terracota pot, had not one sign of root growth and actually some roots were black and roting. The soil was absolutely unappropriate and there was a strong smell of "mold" if i can say so. That is why i decided to repot. They did not have the same potting mix. I made the mistake to pot the terracotta one in an all purpose mix, which was just soil!!!!! That soil brough fungus gnats and the issues with my plant. Guess I should have detailed that info earlier . Let me know pls what do you think! Thanks
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 15, 2020 9:50 AM CST
So the repotting is to correct the original sin of using inappropriate soil when you repotted previously?

If you have already repotted, can you send details of how you did it? If you have not yet repotted, how do you plan to go about it?

I ask because repotting is very often done incorrectly.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Italy
Agela
Jun 15, 2020 11:19 AM CST
Correct. The first repotting was wrong, using all purpose soil, not potting mix! Big mistake!
Haven't repotted yet. I live in Milan. Due to the pandemic a lot of shops are short of materials. I order my potting mix online. Should have arrivel today but hasn't arrived yet! I wraped the roots in wet paper towel and cling film. Any advices on the how to repot? The potting mix is supposed to have peat moss, perlite clay and some fertilizer. I am going to add pumice. Also is this mix ok? Thanks again
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 16, 2020 7:27 AM CST
Yes, that sounds like an appropriate potting mix for your ZZ Plants.

Here are my suggestions for repotting:
1. Use the smallest pot possible to accommodate the roots and just enough potting mix to barely cover them.
2. Disturb the roots as little as possible.
3. Put some potting mix in the bottom of the larger pot but no stones. Set the rootball on top of that and fill in the sides with potting mix. Do not add any potting mix higher than the stems were originally covered.
4. Water thoroughly and add more potting mix if some of it sinks in around the sides.
6. You will have to adjust your watering after repotting as the new soil will not dry out as quickly as it has in the past.

Overall, the goal is to maximize the root exposure to oxygen by allowing the soil to try out no longer than a week after any watering.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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