When you overwater the ZZ plant, it often leads to stem rot and root rot issues. The plant is averse to excess watering. It doesn't fare well once the stems remain wet for a long.
You can fix this problem by changing the soil, repotting/transplanting, and supplying the plant with adequate sunlight. These are the basic solutions to resolve stem rot in any houseplant, and they work well for ZZ plants too.
Having said that, there is more to address this issue in the ZZ plant. Let's find out more about it in the following guide.
What Is ZZ Plant Stem Rot?
ZZ plant stem rot is nothing but a type of fungus attack on the plant. The fungus present in the soil is the main reason for this cause, and it commonly affects the plant with a weak and damaged system.
Besides, root rot can be an underlying factor for stem rot in ZZ plants. When the roots being to decay in the pot, the rot can spread to stems and other parts of the plant. Eventually, the fungus will take over the entire plant and cause permanent damage.
But there are some early signs to determine stem rot in this plant. Let's learn more about them in the next section.
10 Tips To Fix Stem Rot In ZZ Plant
Here are the top tips you need to follow to fix and prevent the stem rot problem in the ZZ plant -
1. Treat The Plant With Fungicides
It should be your first step to stop any further fungus growth on the plant's surface.
For this objective, you can use any general-purpose fungicide. The fungicides are quite effective in getting rid of fungus from the plant. Spray it as instructed on the product package or manual.
Alternatively, you can also make use of organic fungicides like Neem Oil. It is a tried and tested oil to work against external issues on the plant. However, you should blend it with water to formulate a diluted solution.
Do not use concentrated solution. It will damage the stems and leaves of your ZZ plant.
2. Stop Overwatering Your ZZ Plant
Yes, you should immediately stop overwatering your ZZ plant. It is one of those plants that doesn't require a lot of water. The rhizomes present under the soil do an excellent job storing the water.
Ultimately, the plant uses this stored water during shortage of water in the soil medium. Hence, you don't have to provide water to this plant every week. If you do, you will surely have to face the fungus issues like stem rot.
3. Check The Soil Moisture Levels
A moisture meter is a great tool for keeping an eye on the moisture content present in the soil. It proves very effective, especially when you want to grow indoor plants like the ZZ plant.
These water-sensitive/moisture-sensitive plants can thrive well if you monitor and analyze the moisture content with this simple tool. More importantly, you can keep the issues like fungus and bacterial problems at bay.
4. Check The Root System
When you notice stem rot on the plant, it's likely to be more than that.
As mentioned earlier, the plant might also suffer from root rot. Generally, the fungus begins spreading from the roots before it reaches the stems. It means you need to check the world beneath the stem as well.
To do so, you can quickly dig up the soil from the pot's edges and pull the plant out from it. It will help you study the roots condition.
If you detect root rot issues, prune the affected roots with clean and sharp scissors. Furthermore, remove as much soil as you can from the roots. Spray them with plain water if they are in a good condition.
Once done, you can transfer the plant to a new pot with a new potting mix. Later, don't forget to discard the old potting mix. You should never use infected soil for any other houseplants.
5. Add Some Dry Leaves Or Shredded Newspaper If The Soil Is Wet
As you know, wet soil is the main reason the plant catches stem rot. The soil becomes a breeding ground for harmful fungi and bacteria when it turns soggy and wet. These passive elements suddenly turn active when they get a moist environment in the soil.
Therefore, if you have added a bit of extra water to the ZZ plant, you can balance it out with the help of some dry leaves or shredded newspaper.
Both are excellent Carbon sources, which will mix in the soil post-deposition. But that's an added benefit of using these two components in the soil. Your main goal should be to remove as much moisture as possible from the ZZ plant's soil.
6. Use A Pot With Drainage Holes
Even though the dry leaves effectively soak up excess moisture, it's always a good idea to have a few drainage holes in your pot. Without them, the water will accumulate in the pot, making things worse for the plant.
Also, when the water sits in the soil for a long time, it also keeps the soil surface wet. Ultimately, it results in issues like stem rot. If you want to avoid all these issues, take a drilling machine and make a couple of holes at the bottom of the pot. Your ZZ plant will thank you for these efforts for sure!
7. Repot Your ZZ Plant
The above tips might be helpful if there is less water in the soil.
But if the plant cannot soak up excess water and the soil remains wet for a while, it could be a cause of concern. In such situations, you shouldn't wait for too long.
Take a pot and transplant the old ZZ plant into the new one. That's the best way to fix the stem rot issue. It will immediately prevent the spread, and then you can spray some fungicides to control the fungus.
8. Place It Near An Airy Place
You should always place your ZZ plant somewhere near an airy place.
Since this plant doesn't like a lot of moisture, there is no point in keeping it in a closed room or place with insufficient airflow. Airflow helps in keeping the plant dry.
As you know, the fungus doesn't like a dry surface at all. It won't grow in such conditions, and your plant will remain safe from such issues. So, if the plant is already facing the stem rot problem, you should spray some fungicide and allow it to dry in an airy place at your home.
9. Do Not Fertilize The Plant For A Few Weeks
Yes, there is no need to fertilize the plant. When the plant and its root system are already under stress, the fertilizers won't do any good.
In fact, it might burn some of the roots if the fungal attack damages them. If that's the case, it might spread to the entire stem and branches. Ultimately, the plant will not survive, and you will have to get rid of it as soon as possible. Otherwise, the fungus might attack other plants in your indoor garden.
10. Cut The Damaged Stem
If nothing works, you can cut the damaged part from the plant.
Of course, you won't be able to do it if most of the stem looks rotten. In that case, you can't do anything about it. It's better to discard the plant altogether.
Note: If you have a couple of plants in the same pot, you should remove the damaged plant entirely from the pot. Also, it's necessary to repot the other plant in the pot. Do not leave it as it is in the same pot.
Since the stem rot issue is related to overwatering in the ZZ plant, you must analyze and water the plant accordingly.
- Always check the soil before watering the plant. Stick your finger a half-inch into the soil. If it seems wet, do not water the plant and wait a few more days.
- If the pot is small, lift it with your hands. It should feel light if the water content in the soil is less.
- Avoid misting the plant. When you mist this type of plant, it invites more trouble in terms of fungal and bacterial issues.
- Reduce the watering frequency when it's raining or snowing outside. Also, move your plants away from the windows during these weather conditions.
So, these are some of the tips you need to remember while watering your ZZ plant.
Yes, plants can recover from stem rot. However, it all depends on how severe the problem is! If the stem rot has spread a lot, you will have fewer chances of saving the plant.
The best way to revive an overwatered ZZ plant is to repot it! Repot the plant in a new pot with dry soil. This will help in preventing some of the issues related to overwatering.
If you don't have access to dry soil, you can use some shredded newspaper or dry leaves. Place them on the topsoil and allow them to soak up all excess water from the surface.
You can also use both these elements if you plan to repot the plant. Overall, these are the only ways through which you can balance the moisture level in the pot. Also, ensure that the pot has some drainage holes at the bottom.
There could be several reasons why the stem of your plant is turning brown.
The most common issue is fungus and stem rot, which I have already discussed in this guide. The other possibility is that you have a hardy or woody plant. With this plant, it's not unusual to see stems turning brown or red as they grow bigger.
Another reason could be the underwatering issue. If you haven't watered the plant in a while, the plant will suffer significantly. During this process, it will change the color of the stem and some of the branches.
As you can see, there could be several reasons for this issue, and you will have to consider each one of them at the time of addressing the same.
Sometimes, the plant stem turns purple because of the cool temperatures outside. It is a completely natural phenomenon.
When the plant gets bigger than the pot, it might imbalance its overall structure. This might result in plants falling over multiple times a day.
If the plant looks alright and is not growing taller than the pot, the issue might be related to root rot. As the roots turn weak, they don't hold the ground well.
When that happens, the plant's stem leans on either side. More importantly, though, you will need to address the issue immediately. The ZZ plant might require more attention during this stage.
Over To You
ZZ plant stem rot is a known issue in this type of plant. If you want to fix this problem, you will have to zero in on the watering issues. If you don't keep an eye on it, the plant will continue to suffer from rot and will not survive for too long.
Well, I hope you like this guide. Hopefully, it will help in fixing this problem for you. If you still have any more questions, let me know in the comments below. Don't forget to share this guide with your friends and family.