ZZ plant's root bulb gets exposed when the topsoil erodes over time. It can happen when you water the plant heavily or the plant gets root-bound due to overgrowth.
It's not a major concern, as the plant can still grow normally. I have seen many ZZ plants growing with exposed roots and bulbs. They do pretty well if you take care of them.
Still, you don't want to leave the bulbs exposed too long. It can cause damage to the roots. So, let's check out the following guide to know more about this issue.
Why Does ZZ Plant Root Bulb Get Exposed?
Now, there are a few reasons why the root bulb of this plant might get exposed. Let's try and understand more about them in this section.
1. Overwatered Plant
I know most of us like to water our indoor plants regularly. But it's not an ideal thing to do when it comes to watering the ZZ plant.
ZZ plant has adapted to desert conditions, so it doesn't require too much water. Also, if you often water the plant, the soil will eventually drain out from the planter's holes and expose the root ball.
2. Incorrect Watering Method
Do you water your plants using a garden hose? Many gardeners prefer this method to water their indoor and outdoor plants.
Although the method might be useful for outdoor plants, you will face issues with indoor plants like the ZZ plant. When you water this plant using a hose, it can release water at high speed.
And if you water the plant this way, the topsoil will move out of the pot over the period. Ultimately, the ZZ plant root bulb will get exposed, as there won't be enough soil to cover it.
3. Small Pot Size
Pot size also plays a big role in this issue. If you have planted your ZZ plant in a small pot, there will always be the possibility of a lack of soil in the pot.
The indoor pots look beautiful in small sizes, but they are not very efficient for the growth of plants. You should only use these pots for plants with a fibrous root system. For a ZZ plant, you should consider using a moderate to large-sized pot.
4. Root-Bound Plant
Have you been growing your ZZ plant in the same pot for a long period? This is one mistake that is pretty common in the gardening world.
When we get the plant from a local nursery or garden center, we often grow it in the same pot for a long time. This generally leads to the root-bound issue in many plants, including the ZZ plant.
ZZ plant can also get root bound if there isn't much space left for the plant to grow at a standard rate. Due to this situation, the roots will spread underneath the soil, and the bulb will push itself upward. This is why you might see its root bulb on top of the soil.
So, how do you deal with this issue? In the next section, I have shared a couple of useful techniques that might help address this issue for you.
Things To Do When ZZ Plant Root Bulb Is Exposed
You can fix this issue using two useful methods, i.e., dividing the plant and transplanting or repotting the ZZ plant. Both these methods will help fix the issue and prevent the ZZ plant root bulb from getting exposed entirely. So, let's learn more about them in the following sections.
1. Divide The Plant
Do you see multiple ZZ plants in the pot? If you have got this plant from a garden center, you might have received a few extra plants in the pot. These plants look great together, but you must consider dividing them at some point.
Otherwise, their roots and bulbs will take up the space and become root bound. Now, here's how you can divide the ZZ plant -
- Remove the plants from the pot.
- Rinse them thoroughly so that the excess dirt gets off easily.
- Separate the bulbs gently. If the root bulbs are attached, you can also use a knife to cut them into two parts. Of course, you don't want to damage the plants or their root systems during this process.
- Let the exposed parts dry out for a few hours.
- Meanwhile, prepare the pots with fresh soil mix.
- Once the exposed parts dry out considerably, you should put them back in the pots.
- Water these plants and keep track of their progress over a few weeks.
Note: After dividing the plants, you might see some leaves turning yellow in their respective pots. It happens because of the plant transplant shock. The plants, however, will recover from this shock in a few weeks.
2. Transplant The Plant
The next idea is to transplant the plant. This is more useful for the plant that has turned root bound and needs a bigger pot.
As I mentioned, the root-bound process can also lead to this issue in your ZZ plant. Of course, it's something you can't avoid in your plant because it happens naturally. Therefore, the only thing you can do here is provide a better and wider place for the plant.
So, here's how you can achieve this thing with the help of transplanting the plant -
- Remove the plant from the pot.
- Try to remove the dirt attached to the rhizome and roots.
- If you see any new root bulbs in the soil, you should eliminate them at this stage. You can plant these bulbs later in a new pot.
- You may also perform root pruning at this point, though it's entirely optional.
- Now, get a new pot that is at least 2-4 inches wider than the previous one. Put the fresh soil mix into this pot.
- Place the plant into the pot and water it well.
So, these are the steps you need to follow if you want to fix this problem in your ZZ plant. Overall, it's an easy process, but you should do it skillfully.
Here's a repotting video for reference -
But what if you want to avoid all this hassle and still want to grow the plant in the same pot? Then, you can simply top up the soil in the pot. This should help in hiding the bulb for some time.
However, it's just a temporary solution to this problem. If you continue to water the plant or the root bulb grows even bigger, you will have to resort to the methods above.
These methods require time and effort, but they are worth it. Once you perform these tasks, you will not have to do them again for at least a year or so. Since the ZZ plant doesn't grow fast, you can continue growing it in the new pots for a long time. Now, let's check out the FAQs related to this topic.
It'd be difficult to say whether the plant is root bound.
For confirmation, you can remove the plant from the pot and inspect the root system. The other sign is the lack of growth in the plant. When you see no new leaves or shoots coming out from the plant, it indicates that it might be root bound and needs to be transplanted soon.
Yes, it can grow from the tuber. You should plant the tuber in a pot and water it well.
In a few weeks, the tuber will have new shoots that will transform into new plants. Alternatively, you can also cut the nodes on the tuber and plant them individually in the pot.
It can take 3-4 weeks to see roots grow underneath the soil. So, you will have to be patient if it's taking too long for the rooting process. Sometimes, weather conditions can impact this process.
It could be a sign of several issues in the ZZ plant.
In general, you need to look at the overwatering and underwatering situation in the pot. Both these issues can hamper the plant's growth and make the leaves droop.
Apart from that, you should also check the placement of the plant. If placed in direct sunlight, the leaves will show similar behavior.
No, you don't have to mist this plant. The plant doesn't like too much water, either. So, be careful when you think of misting the ZZ plant.
Over To You
Is your ZZ plant's root bulb exposed?
Well, it's most likely due to the overgrowth in the pot. Thankfully, it's not a major concern, and the above tips should help keep this plant growing in your garden.
Do you have any more questions related to this topic? Please let me know in the comments below. If you liked this guide, share it with your friends and family.
References: The Spruce, Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Rosemarie Vaudo Aridas says
Only one stem is light green?
The most likely reason your ZZ plant's only one stem is light green is that it is not getting enough light.
ZZ plants need indirect light to thrive.
If your plant is not getting enough light, it will start to grow pale and leggy stems in an attempt to reach the stronger light that it needs.
You can remedy this by moving your plant to a brighter location or adding an additional lamp or grow light to better illuminate your ZZ plant.
A friendly Hello Harshad...My new ZZ plant has arrived & looks pretty good except for a few yellowing leaves, but it very much needs to be repotted...I'm sorry if I missed this somewhere, but what kind of soil do these plants need...I have all purpose, Bonsai & succulent mixes...
Thank you so very much for sharing your wealth of plant knowledge...I sure appreciate it...
You can use a succulent mix or all-purpose soil mix for your ZZ plant. Both of them are equally good for this plant.
You can also mix these two soil mixes in equal proportions and use them for the plant.
I hope these suggestions help you grow your plant better. Do let me know if you have any more queries.
Thank you for that information on ZZ plants.
My plant came from a store 3 days ago and I could see it needed to be reported. Also it was very wet.
I started to repot it and noticed it smelled moldy, especially on the bottom.
Can I save it? I have it drying out right now. Thank u!!
Yes, you can try to revive your ZZ plant. Just remove it from the existing pot and move it to another pot with dry soil.
Do not water this plant for a few days and see how it responds.
Also, if there are many plants in the pot, divide them and try to plant them in different pots.