When And How To Water Your ZZ Plant: How Often And How Much

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In the spring and summer, ZZ plants typically need watering twice a month, and in the winter or in low-light conditions, they only need watering once a month. Semi-succulent ZZ plants do best in well-draining soil. They prefer to completely dry out in between waterings. Use a probe to measure the moisture content at the plant’s roots before watering.

How To Know When It’s Time To Water Your ZZ Plant

The soil is the best place to look for a sign that your ZZ Plant needs watering. Once more, make sure the top two inches of soil in the pot are dry by inserting your finger there. You can water if you can’t feel any moisture in the top two inches of the soil.

Because it is proactive and preventative, the dry soil method is the best way to keep an eye on your ZZ Plant’s watering requirements. There are a few additional indications that your ZZ may be in severe thirst and is already suffering as a result, such as dry leaf tips or dropping leaves. In order to protect your plant from further harm, you should water it as soon as you can.

You can read this article I wrote on the subject to find out more about the indications that your ZZ Plant needs watering.

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Other Signs Your Zz Plant Needs Water

When determining whether your ZZ Plant is receiving enough water, checking the soil’s moisture content is a great place to start. The frequency of watering your plant can still vary depending on a wide range of factors. How quickly your houseplants dry out depends on a number of factors, including local climate, season, indoor humidity, light levels, and airflow.

Even if you believe that you have your ZZ Plant on a good watering schedule, you should still keep an eye out for a few additional physical indicators that your ZZ Plant may require more water than you are currently providing. As opposed to the soil test, these symptoms have a direct impact on the health of your ZZ Plant, so they are crucial to watch for. Underwatering should be fixed as soon as possible.

Dry Leaf Tips

Your ZZ Plant may appear to be generally healthy, but some of the leaves may be beginning to develop shriveled brown or dry tips. ZZ leaves are typically fairly waxy and turgid (swollen from water pressure), being a semi-succulent plant. The leaves may become a little softer, and the tips may begin to dry out as a means of water conservation if the plant is drying out.

Dropping Leaves

Aside from having dry leaf tips, ZZs have a pretty inventive mechanism for preserving water during extended droughts. You might notice that your plant’s leaves are falling off one at a time. This is your ZZ’s way of sacrificing a small portion of itself to save the entire plant, and it’s a pretty obvious sign that you need to give it more water.

Shriveled Petioles

The shriveling or wrinkled petioles of the plant are a less obvious but still discernible indicator that your ZZ may be thirsty. The stems that grow from the rhizome and from which the leaves develop are called petioles. It’s probably time to water if you see that they are beginning to shrivel, especially close to the plant’s base.

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How Often Should You Water ZZ Plants?

It is helpful to think about the origin of ZZs in order to properly respond to this query. ZZ Plants are indigenous to the grasslands and forests of Eastern Africa, where extended stretches of warm, dry weather are only occasionally broken by thunderstorms.

Plants have evolved to withstand these conditions by using their rhizome. A rhizome is a sizable underground storage structure resembling a potato from which the plant’s stems and roots emerge. In order to be used later by the plant, water and nutrients are taken up by the roots and stored in the rhizome.

The plant can wait out the next rainstorm without suffering, no matter how dry the soil becomes, thanks to its capacity to store what it needs. Because your ZZ Plant is accustomed to this feast-or-famine scenario and has evolved the structures required to survive it, it is best to mimic what they are accustomed to when thinking about how to water them in your home. Allowing the soil to dry out in between waterings is essential for a healthy ZZ Plant.

Many people, as far as I’m aware, enjoy scheduling the watering of their houseplants. I understand that Saturday is watering day! However, you’ll be doing yourself a big favor if you can shift your “schedule” so that, rather than planning to water once a week, you are actually checking the soil moisture levels of your plants every few days to determine if they actually need water.

The best method for ZZ Plants is this practice. Get the watering can out if you check the soil in your ZZ and the top two inches are completely dry. In order to check if the soil is still wet, I actually wiggle my finger down into the ground to that depth. When I pull it out, if it feels dry to the touch and there is no moist soil on my fingertip, I know I don’t need to water.

It’s best to hold off on watering for a few days if you’re not sure the soil is dry. The opposite of excess water is too little. Keep in mind that the rhizome will ensure that your ZZ Plant endures long enough for you to determine when to water it.

If you are uncomfortable with the inherent open-endedness of “letting the soil dry out,” or if you just want to nerd out on your houseplants a little more, you can always pick up a soil moisture meter. You can use a meter to get a more accurate idea of the moisture content of your soil and to decide when to water it.

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How To Properly Water ZZ Plants

In this world, plant waterers essentially come in two varieties. The first is a person with good intentions who is prepared to give their plants the care they require. Perhaps they haven’t had the best luck keeping plants alive, and they’ve discovered the crispy remains of too many long-forgotten housewarmings presents far too frequently.

They tend to water more frequently and in smaller amounts, about every few days, as they have vowed to treat their plants well. It makes sense that giving a plant a little more water more frequently might be a good idea if it needs water but is prone to overwatering.

The second category of waterers has discovered that this behavior almost always results in problems. You don’t overwater the soil, but you also don’t give it a chance to completely dry out.

Instead, they give their plants fewer but deeper waterings. This enables the root systems to absorb a lot of water while also allowing the soil to dry out sufficiently for vital processes like oxygen and nutrient absorption to take place.

When it’s time to water ZZ Plants, which means the top two inches of soil have dried out, water thoroughly until approximately 25% of the water you add flows out of the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot. This makes sure that the soil is sufficiently moistened throughout the pot.

Make sure that your ZZ Plant’s pot has adequate drainage by checking it occasionally. Your ZZ will detest standing water, which can occur when soil becomes compacted or the drainage hole becomes blocked. To prevent overwatering, move your plant to a better-drained container if you don’t think its current pot is the right one.

Factors That Affect The Watering Schedule

Factors influencing watering the ZZ plant frequency include:


  • Summer: Leaves are more active during this season, facilitating the photosynthesis process, which uses a lot of water. Because of the high rate of plant absorption and evaporation, water it after two weeks. However, water it every 5-7 days to make up for the high rate of evaporation if temperatures in your area reach as high as 80°F.
  • As the plant has become dormant for the winter, water it every three weeks. Its capacity to absorb water is hampered by freezing temperatures. During this time, waterlogging could result from weekly irrigation, which would increase the risk of disease infestation.
  • If you live in a hot, dry climate, only water it before the leaves begin to shrivel or turn yellow and the soil becomes completely dry.

Flowering season: Outdoor-planted ZZ are likely to flower, which means they will use more water than usual. It is not necessary to overwater during the flowering season, though. When the top two inches are dry, water it no more.

The Size Of Your ZZ Plant

Larger and smaller plants require different amounts of watering. Because of its increased physiological requirements, larger plants require more water.


Temperatures between 55°F and 80°F are ideal for ZZ growth. Water the plant less frequently than usual when the temperature is below 55°F because the physiological activity of the plant is reduced.

Increase your watering schedule to every five to seven days if the temperature rises above 80°F. Due to increased transpiration and evaporation caused by high temperatures, the soil dries out more quickly than usual.


For ZZ plant, a humidity range of 40% to 50% is ideal. The rate of evaporation rises as the air feels dryer around your home. Checking the relative humidity in your home is essential to figuring out how frequently to water plants because they require water molecules in the surrounding air.

Reduce the frequency of watering to avoid keeping the soil moist in high-humidity environments. To counteract the effects of the increased rate of water loss, however, you should slightly increase the frequency of watering when the humidity is very low.

The Type Of Potting Mix

In a medium made of perlite, coarse sand, and compost, or in a cactus potting mix, ZZ plants do well. Such potting soil drains more quickly and helps keep Zanzibar gems from being overwatered.

Irrigate the ZZ a little more frequently if the potting mix drains properly, preferably every two weeks in the summer, spring, and fall. Water plants only once every three weeks in the winter and space out your watering a little more. Always check the top two inches of soil, and only water your plant when the soil is completely dry.

Type Of Pot

It is simpler to balance oxygen and water through the walls of porous pots, like those made of terra cotta. A lot less often do they cause overwatering.

Pots made of nonporous materials like plastic and ceramic drain poorly. If your plant is growing on these pots, ensure you water it when the soil is completely dry and do it from the bottom up as opposed to pouring water from the top into the pot

Size Of The Pot

In order for the ZZ plant’s rhizomes to absorb water, a larger pot with more potting soil necessitates more watering. Rhizomes can get to water more easily in smaller pots, on the other hand. In order to avoid overwatering, make sure to do so.

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Signs That You May Be Overwatering

Sometimes we don’t know what’s best for our plants. It took me a long time to understand this statement, despite how obvious it is. Because we care about our plants and want them to prosper, we frequently give them too much attention and end up killing them inadvertently because we lack the necessary plant knowledge.

It’s difficult to tell when to water a ZZ Plant appropriately versus when to overwater it. It’s easy to think that if some water is good, more water is better, but in the case of a ZZ Plant, this is a recipe for killing your otherwise “un-killable” plant.

Similar to how there are some obvious physical signs that your ZZ Plant is thirsty, there are also some pretty obvious signs that it could benefit from a watering break.

Most frequently, overwatering is indicated by yellowing leaves. In essence, excessive water saturation of the roots prevents proper nutrient absorption from the soil, which gradually causes the leaves to turn yellow.

Droopy stems, mushy and browning stems, rhizome rot, and widespread leaf drop (more dramatic than the occasionally dropped leaf due to dry conditions) are additional indications that overwatering is taking place.

The best course of action is to stop watering as soon as you notice any of these indicators and let the soil dry out as explained above. This might require a few weeks to a month. Any items that appear to be rotten or mushy may need to be pruned at this time as well.

Given that they essentially take care of themselves, ZZ Plants make excellent additions to any collection of plants. Nevertheless, keeping your ZZs happy and healthy depends greatly on knowing how to water properly and, more importantly, when to water. You can make sure you’re always giving your plants the right amount of water by paying close attention to the soil and physical conditions in your ZZ.

Top Watering Vs. Bottom Watering For ZZ Plants

Top watering and bottom watering are the two methods of watering potted indoor plants, as you may or may not be aware.

The most typical technique is top watering, which involves drizzling water over the top of the soil in your pot. Most plants can usually be watered in this manner effectively, but you should be aware that if you use a heavy stream, you risk damaging the leaves and stems or upsetting the soil to the point where you’ll need to level it out and pat it back into place.

Bottom watering involves setting your pots in a shallow dish of water and letting the soil absorb the moisture through the drainage hole in the pot. When the top of the soil is moist, it has received enough water. Although it takes a little longer, this technique is excellent for completely soaking the soil and can guard any delicate foliage above ground.

Top watering is, in my experience, almost always preferred because it is quick and poses little risk of the plant is harmed. ZZ Plants are hardy enough to withstand this. Additionally, it is a great way to water because any salt or mineral buildup in the soil will be flushed out and washed out of the bottom of the pot by the extra liquid.

Use the bottom watering method to make sure that your plant receives the proper amount of water if you are concerned that it may be a little root-bound or that the top watering method is just causing water to run down the sides of the pot rather than soaking the soil. This technique will keep your ZZ alive until you have the opportunity to make the necessary change, though you’ll probably need to refresh the soil or repot the plant.

Summer Watering Vs. Winter Watering

ZZ Plants, like most plants, require varying amounts of water depending on the season. In the middle of their growing season, as opposed to when they are dormant for the winter, plants absorb a lot more water.

What exactly is a growing season, then? The term “growing season” refers to the time of year when temperatures and rainfall are ideal for a plant to produce new growth, though this varies slightly for each species of plant. The time between early spring and late fall is typically considered to be this in nature.

Plant processes typically slow down and plants go dormant during the winter. Even when we account for most of the variables when we bring a plant inside, it doesn’t guarantee that the plant will remain in a growing season all year. Furthermore, plants benefit from dormancy! They shift their attention away from growth at this point and concentrate on strengthening their root systems.

During the growing season, plants need a lot more water because they are actively working to produce more growth. You will notice that the soil is drying out more quickly between waterings at this point, so be sure to modify your watering practices accordingly.

The soil may even take a few weeks to completely dry out before another watering is necessary when the ZZ Plant goes dormant for the colder months.

When determining how much and how frequently to water your ZZ Plant, always take the season into account.