Why Are My ZZ Plant Stalks Falling Over – Reasons and How to Fix It

Every plant lover has to go through this problem at least once in their lifetime. We know you are having this problem too, that is why you are here now!

Why are my ZZ plant stalks falling over?

ZZ plants’ stalks falling over is a common issue that may occur due to many reasons. It is okay to lose one or two stalks due to some cause. But if your plant continuously loses its stalks, it is time for you to provide more care for your plant. If you suspect your ZZ plant is facing this issue, you need to observe it regularly with proper care, until your plant recovers from this problem. You need to know the reason behind the problem to solve it.

We can understand these hardy plants sometimes feel sick and show signs like droopy stalks. In this article, we will discuss the reasons behind the ZZ plants falling stalks, and how you can avoid this issue or prevent it!

Reasons for the ZZ plant stalks falling

Several reasons can lead to the falling of your plants’s stalks. You need to know them to avoid such a problem that is troubling you and your plant. In the below paragraphs, we are going to discuss the causes and how to fix this issue.

1. Watering issues

Watering your ZZ plants will be a tricky task for you if you are a new gardener. You should provide your plant with adequate water otherwise, your plant may not continue its healthy growth and it will lose its stalks. Let us now discuss the watering issues that can cause this falling stalk in your ZZ plants!

a) Overwatering the ZZ plants

Overwatering is one of the most common reasons for the falling of stalks in your ZZ plant. As these plants are considered semi-succulents, they do not want much water to thrive. These plants have rhizomes in the soil mix that store water in them and supply water to the other parts of the plant in drought conditions. It needs a break to get a bit dry, between waterings.

Overwatering your ZZ plant may cause rhizome (root) rot. When the rhizome of your ZZ plant gets root rot, it may not absorb oxygen and stops functioning. So, the plant‘s stems become droopy, later it may lose the falling stem. Rotten roots show another sign of yellowing leaves which you might need to put your attention on.

b) Underwatering the ZZ plants

Underwatering can also be a reason for this issue. Many of the new ZZ plant growers think that these plants are drought resistant and can ignore watering for many days. This results in dehydration in the plant. A dehydrated plant becomes dry and loses its glazing look. The foliage and the stems turn brown and eventually fall off.

How to fix

  • If the root has rotten then gently repot the plant and remove the rotten parts before planting it in a fresh soil mix.
  • If the plant is underwatered, you can help it to recover by providing enough water to it until the leaves become green and fleshy.
  • Water the ZZ plant only after the soil gets dry. Dip your finger into the soil at 1 inch deep to check the moisture of the soil if it is a bit wet, then wait until it gets dry. 
  • Do not delay watering your plant, once the soil is completely dry. 
  • Use a moisture meter to know the water needs of your plant.
  • Although the frequency of the water always depends on the climatic conditions, commonly ZZ plants are watered twice to thrice a month during the growing season and once a month during the winter.

2. Sunlight related issues


Sunlight, which is a major requirement of any plant and may also become a reason for the stalk falling in ZZ plants, if the plant does not get it adequately. Both over-exposure to the sunlight and lack of sunlight may cause droopy stalks in ZZ plants. Let us now discuss the sunlight issues that can cause this falling stalk in your ZZ plants!

a) Lack of sunlight

Due to lack of light, the ZZ plants slow down their growth. The upright growing stalks become droopy and stretched. Thus it may become a cause for this problem.

b) Overexposure to sunlight

Also, overexposure to the sunlight can make the stalks fall. Because the intense light can suck the moisture from the stem and make them dry and droopy.

How to fix

  • Place the damaged plant in a partial shade. Let the plant get enough bright indirect sunlight for not more than 5 hours.
  • Water it adequately, whenever it is needed.
  • It is better to place the plant near windows to let it absorb enough sunlight.

3. Replacement stress

Have you ever heard that replacing plants can affect plants’s growth? 

Yes, we agree it can affect the plant’s health. 

ZZ plants do not like to change places suddenly or very often. They take a little more time to adapt to the circumstantial changes. They cannot tolerate climatic change too. If you change the place of your ZZ plant to decorate your home and place it in a different environment, the plant undergoes stress and drops its stalks. 

How to fix

  • It is better to place the damaged plant in its place to cure it.
  • Do not replace it often or of a sudden, if you need to do it, then gradually change its place. This helps the plant to adapt to the changes quickly.
  • Avoid placing it in a place with high temperatures or low temperatures.
  • You can replace your plant with a place where the climate is the same as it was in the old place.

4. Potting and repotting the ZZ plant


Even potting or repotting your ZZ plant is a reason for the droopy stalks. Let us see how.

a) A soil mix of ZZ plant

ZZ plants like to stay in a dry atmosphere. They do not like to sit in waterlogged soil for a long time. As excess water can cause root-related diseases. So, prefer a well-draining soil mix for planting your ZZ plant. You can mix perlite with the normal household sol mix to make it well-draining. If the soil does not drain well, the water content present in it will cause root rot. The rhizome of the ZZ plant, which is responsible for healthy growth, gets rotten. This weakens the plant and it will lose its stalks finally.

b) The pot that is used to plant your ZZ plant

Do not use plastic pots or other such material pots to plant the ZZ plants. The pot becomes the home of your plant for 2-3 years. So give a better place to live. The pot you use to plant a ZZ plant must let the air into the soil and dry it quickly. Otherwise, the root system gets damaged by being in wet soil for a long time, and affects the plant’s growth.

5. The drainage system of the ZZ plant

The drainage system of the pot plays an important role in maintaining a plant. The more drainage holes in the pot, the healthier the plant. Drainage holes send the water out after fulfilling the soil and the rhizome. It helps the rhizome to stay dry and healthy. Pot with a poor drainage system will cause root rot and thus become a reason for falling stalks.

6. Stress due to repotting the ZZ plant

Repotting helps the ZZ plant to get more nutrients and allows the roots to grow widely. At the same time, there are some cons of repotting. It is said that the ZZ plants are tolerant of transplanting but, we can observe the falling stalks in some cases.

Your ZZ plant which is accustomed to the old soil mix which has no nutrients, and the pot with less space, cannot be adapted to the fresh soil mix that is full of nutrients and a little larger pot that has a good amount of space to allow the root growth. This causes stress in the plant that may finally lead to the falling of the stalks. The root system of the plant gets disturbed while repotting, which may also lead to this problem.

How to fix

  • If you suspect this causes the falling of stalks, then try repotting your plant with a suitable soil mix and pot that has a proper drainage system.
  • Use a suitable soil mix like cactus mix or the normal soil mix combined with perlite to plant your ZZ plants. 
  • Use pots that are made up of clay to maintain a healthy ZZ plant. Unfinished terracotta pots or unglazed ceramic pots can also be used to plant these ZZ plants because these pots have porous walls that allow the air to pass through them and dry the soil quickly. 
  • Select a pot that has a proper drainage system, which avoids waterlogged soil. Place a layer of gravel at the bottom of the pot to avoid clogging drainage holes.
  • Do not repot the plant during the summers because the climate outside the soil mix may quickly dry the roots. 
  • Water the plant soon after the repotting to help the dried roots to get wet again.

7. Fertilization of the ZZ plants


Fertilization helps your ZZ plant to get enough nutrients and boosts its growth. But, it is said that these ZZ plants do not need frequent fertilization, as these are slow-growers and they do not demand a particular type of fertilizer to feed them. Thus it becomes easy for the gardeners to fertilize it easily. But, if the frequency of fertilizing your ZZ plant is not in the correct way, it may lead to the fall of the stalks.

a) Over fertilization of the ZZ plants

Slow-growing plants need fertilization but in a long gap. Frequent fertilization may stress your ZZ plant and result in stalk dropping. You can improve its growth with proper care. Repot your plant for 2-3 years to boost its growth but avoid fertilizing it too often. Also read the instructions given with the fertilizer, to know the exact amount of fertilizer to feed your plant. Do not over-fertilize your ZZ plant to improve its growth, as it may burn the root system and cause damage to the plant’s growth.

b) Lack of fertilization of the ZZ plants

Some gardeners think that the ZZ plants do not need fertilization as they are slow growers. But they properly need fertilization to strengthen themselves. Fertilization makes them disease resistant. If you do not feed enough to your ZZ plant, it will lose its stalks.

How to fix

  • Water it adequately, if the plant is facing the issue due to over-fertilization. It helps to dilute the fertilizer. Remember, watering should be done only after the soil gets dry.
  • Fertilize your plant, if the problem is raised due to lack of fertilization.
  • Fertilize your ZZ plant every 3-6 months to encourage growth.
  • Use mild and balanced fertilizers to fertilize your plant.
  • It is better to dilute the fertilizer when you feed a young ZZ plant.
  • You can also use organic fertilizers to enrich the nutrition level of the soil mix.

8. Temperatures around ZZ plants


ZZ plants love to stay in moderate climates with temperatures ranging between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. They can tolerate a little lower temperatures than the preferred range, but the temperatures above the range will surely dry the plant and will lead to stalk-drop in the ZZ plant. Also, low temperatures make the plant go dormant and thus affect the growth and cause falling stalks.

How to fix

  • Place the damaged plant in a place where there are suitable temperatures for it.
  • Always maintain the plant in the above temperature range to avoid the stalk falling problem.
  • It is better to place the plant in a partial shade place that gets enough indirect sunlight. It will thrive in such places and will not get troubled by any problems.
  • Do not leave the plant outdoors if the temperatures fall below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place the plant away from the windows during summers.

9. Physical damage in ZZ plants (wounds or pruning)

ZZ plants do not need pruning as they are slow-growing plants. You can prune them if you like to maintain them at smaller heights, but you need to prune ¼ of its new growth. More than that will shock your plant and lead to falling stalks of your ZZ plant.

Also, wounds or any other physical damages may hurt your plant and cause the same problem. So maintain them in a safe place and keep them out of reach of children.

How to fix

In this case, the physically damaged plants may not recover from the falling stalks again. But, you need to take certain precautions to avoid this problem in the future.

How can you avoid the falling of stalks in your ZZ plants?

You can prevent the problem of falling stalks in the ZZ plants only by providing proper care. Water them whenever it is needed. Let the plant absorb bright indirect sunlight. Maintain the plant at suitable temperatures. Use preferred soil mix and pots to plant your ZZ plants. Fertilize them once in 3-6 months, concerning its growth rate.

Gradual replacement keeps your plant out of stress. Prune them safely and only when it is needed. Avoid causing wounds to the plant. If you follow these simple care tips that we have mentioned, we are sure you will have a healthy ZZ plant at your home.


We hope our article was informative to you and helped to clear all of your concerns regarding the falling stalks of your ZZ plants. If you find out the causes why your ZZ plants are having this issue and follow the steps that we have mentioned above to fix this issue, we are damn sure, you will have a healthy ZZ plant in your home. 

If you have any further doubts in your mind, feel free to comment down below so that we can cover them in our next article. Also, if you like this article, don’t forget to share it with your friends and family!

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  • Vinni Balyan

    11 years ago when we left NY and started living in the suburbs, I developed the passion for gardening. I'm a mom of two, and a big time gardener here helping you pick you right battle in gardening. 🙂 Stay tuned.

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