ZZ Plant Light Green Leaves – Reasons & How to Save Them

Are you also amazed by the social media beauty, “Zamioculcas zamiifolia, also known as the ZZ plant?” You may have seen this green plant on Instagram and Pinterest, which is well-known for quickly becoming the room’s talk.

The ZZ plant is low on maintenance and can adapt to various weather conditions. It is now ranked as one of the most desired plants in homes and offices due to its attractive appearance featuring attractive, dark green, waxy leaves.

But what if one day you witness ZZ plant leaves turning light green? Ideally, the leaves should be dark green. Even though the ZZ plant isn’t fussy or difficult to care for, you need to follow some fundamental guidelines when caring for it.

Root rot, curling leaves, and brown spots on leaves can accompany ZZ plant light green leaves, making it more challenging for you to save them. What are the reasons for light green leaves on the ZZ plant? Where do things go wrong?

I will tell you all the possible reasons for the ZZ plant turning light green. Stick till the end to find ways to save your plant.

Why are my ZZ plant leaves light green?

Many gardeners like you may believe that light green is a major cause of concern, and they will turn dark green on their own. But it doesn’t go that way in many cases.

However, you should be concerned about your ZZ plant. The leaves of ZZ plants are typically dark green in color. A young and small ZZ plant may have light green leaves, which is absolutely fine. After all, it is still growing and developing. These leaves will eventually turn a darker color.

Regardless, if your ZZ plant’s dark green leaves begin to lighten, this could indicate that they will eventually turn pale to yellow. You should take this as a sign of early warning and work accordingly to save your little friend.

Let’s dive into the most common reasons for the ZZ plant’s light green leaves.

1) New Growth

The primary reason for ZZ plant leaves turning light green is new growth. It produces new stems from rhizomes, which are underground potato-like growths. They conserve water and energy while sprouting new stems with light green leaves.

Don’t worry. These light green leaves of the ZZ plant will eventually become dark. They will get their shine over time on a healthy plant.

The ZZ plant’s stem will take about two months to grow and darken the leaves. It is a natural process as the plant gradually increases the chlorophyll in the leaf. It is the source of the leaf’s green color.

Usually, the growing season of ZZ plant (spring and summer) will sprout new stems. You should give them plenty of water each month and feed them slow-release fertilizer in the spring and fall. It will keep your ZZ plant happy and healthy, producing new, healthy green leaves.

2) Lack of Nutrition in ZZ plants

You can witness light green leaves on the ZZ plant if it doesn’t get enough nutrition. Plants require nitrogen to produce chlorophyll, the pigment that gives leaves their green color. The leaves will naturally turn a lighter green if the plant lacks nitrogen.

If you overwater your ZZ plant, it may suffer from nitrogen deficiency. In such a case, the ZZ plant will not receive the appropriate amount of nutrients from the soil, resulting in visible effects on the leaves.

If you continue to grow your plants in the same soil, you can witness more ZZ plants with light green leaves. To counter the effect, change the soil and have a hold on your watering.

3) Too much exposure to sunlight

As you may have expected, this is on the list of “Why are my ZZ plant leaves light green?” Excessive direct sunlight can push the delicate leaves to turn light green or yellow. It can give brown leaf edges.

As you know, the ZZ plant can withstand many situations, but it doesn’t mean it will grow healthily in direct sunlight. It can scorch the plant’s leaves.

Your plant’s leaves may begin to curl down, worsening the problem. If you catch these problems early on, your chances of saving the plant and restoring it to green are good.

4) Excessive Watering

You may have overwatered your ZZ plant, which has become a headache. Excessive watering can cause ZZ plant light green leaves.

When you overwater your ZZ plant, it causes nitrogen to wash away. It removes oxygen from the soil, leading to root rot or stem rot.

As you may know, root rot is one of the primary reasons why a plant dies. Fungal growth can occur, causing damage to the plant’s roots. As a result, the ZZ plant’s roots cannot absorb nutrients. It can result in damaged ZZ plant leaves.

5) Underwatering

You may know ZZ plants are accustomed to receiving little water, but you should give a needful watering. Under the soil, the ZZ plant also produces rhizomes. These can store water for a long time.

Regardless, this should not stop you from giving them a good watering! Many gardeners neglect watering, which causes your ZZ plant light green leaves.

Sooner or later, the leaves will show signs of distress. Wrinkled leaves, wilting, and a dry soil mix are all signs that your ZZ plant is thirsty. If you encounter any of these symptoms, water your plant.

6) Old Age of ZZ plant

It is pretty evident if your ZZ plant has been with you for a long period, and you may notice that the leaves are losing color. The dark green color of the ZZ plant’s leaves may fade and turn a lighter green, even yellow.

These all point toward the aging of the ZZ plant. You shouldn’t be too concerned because you can’t avoid old age.

So, what to do in such a case? Well, you can own a whole collection of new ZZ plants, absolutely free.

You can propagate the ZZ plant. Now that the old ZZ plant is on the edge of its life, you can enjoy new ZZ plants and fresh leaves. The ZZ plant can live for up to 5-10 years and even longer under ideal conditions.

7) Seasonal Change

You can witness ZZ plant light green leaves due to seasonal or environmental changes. Although you often won’t see these changes on indoor plants, you might detect them on the ZZ plant’s leaves.

Seasonal change can make your ZZ plant weak. It may be unable to cope with environmental stress if the weather becomes too hot or cold.

Eventually, the leaves will turn a light green color and then yellow or brown before falling off. It’s a common symptom in weaker ZZ plants. You should take care of your plants in such conditions.

Now that you know all the possible causes of ZZ plant leaves turning light green, let’s move forward. You can easily save your ZZ plant and regrow healthy dark green leaves with the proper care.

How to save your ZZ plant from turning light green leaves?

The shiny, dark green leaves of a healthy ZZ plant can easily amaze anyone. As you know, it adapts well to any surroundings and can survive for about 6 months in poor conditions. However, even during this time, you may notice some signs of damage, the most noticeable of which are ZZ plant light green leaves.

To counter the problem, you need to identify the causes of the ZZ plant’s light green leaves. Now you should work on the solutions to salvage it. If you care for this long-living plant properly, you will be able to enjoy the ZZ plant’s presence for many years to come.

1) Place your ZZ plant in indirect light

The ZZ plant adores indirect sunlight. As I told you earlier, direct sunlight can cause ZZ plant light green leaves. You should ideally provide it with medium to indirect sunlight.

It could range from 6 hours of direct sunlight per day during the winter to 12 hours of indirect light during the summer. Anything excessive than that could be harmful to the ZZ plant.

If you are keeping your plant indoors, do not expose it to direct, harsh sunlight. If it is on a windowsill, you can protect it from direct sunlight with a sheer drape or curtain.

Use grow lights if you don’t have enough sunlight for your zz plant to grow. Place it in a well-lit area during the day and, at night, under an LED light. It will keep the leaves from turning brown.

2) Stop Overwatering

I know a lot of plant parents who water their plants every day. It may be beneficial for outdoor plants but ineffective for indoor plants.

ZZ plants growing indoors are known to thrive in environments with limited resources. They don’t require much water. When it comes to the plant, it is susceptible to extra moisture in the container.

As a result, it makes sense to stop watering this plant regularly. Water your zz plant only when the topsoil is dry. Though there is no strict rule for watering, you can water them once a week.

Strictly avoid excessive watering in winter, and cease it once a month. You don’t have to be tense about insufficient water because the plant can store it in its rhizome.

The zz plant will have enough resources to last a few weeks in a crisis. However, if you want to solve the ZZ plant light green leaves problem, you should reduce the watering frequency.

3) Check signals for underwatering

If you water your ZZ plant less than once a month, it may be dehydrated. Check the plant’s soil to see if it is dry beneath the surface and then thoroughly water your plant.

Remove the ZZ plant from the pot and thoroughly water it in the sink. Now place the ZZ plant back in the pot. Excessive water flowing across the plant’s surface should drain through the bottom.

You can add enough water to the entire soil surface and allow it to drain through slowly. It will give your zz plant energy to grow healthily.

4) Fertilize your zz plant

As mentioned above, a lack of nutrients is a significant factor when you see something like ZZ plant leaves turning light green.

As a result, the best way to solve this problem is to provide your plant with a consistent fertilizer supply.

Of course, because this plant is a slower-growing plant than most indoor plants, it won’t require as many fertilizers. Depending on the size of your green friend, fertilize it every 3-6 months.

You can easily resolve the ZZ plant light green leaves problem. This plant can benefit from nitrogen-based fertilizers, which promote foliage growth. As a result, the new leaves will take on a darker green tone.

5) Repot your zz plant


If your ZZ plant turns light green, you should consider repotting it. It can save the plant before the leaves turn brown. 

Although depending on the problem, you can try the various solutions I provided above. You can then repot the plant to see if it grows better and has better leaf health.

Make sure the new pot is clean and free of any pests. It should not have any previous plant damage, such as fungus. Fill the container with new well-draining soil. It will resolve the light green leaves on the ZZ plant problem and promote darker growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ques 1: How Do I Get My ZZ Plant to grow well?

Ans: You can give your zz plant plenty of natural light, which is essential for its growth.

You should prune some branches if the plant is not growing despite sunlight exposure. It boosts the plant to produce more new branches on the stem.

You should water your ZZ plant when the topmost layer of soil is dry.

Ques 2: Why are the tips of my ZZ plant brown?

Ans: It could be due to the ZZ plant’s lack of watering. You may be neglecting watering and feeding. You will also need to rotate your ZZ plant so that it can get light at every corner.

Ques 3: Is it necessary to mist my ZZ plant?

Ans: Yes, you can mist your ZZ plant. However, you should only do it in the summer. However, avoid overwatering the pot.

Ques 4: Why are the leaves on my ZZ plant leaves turning light green?

Ans: ZZ plant light green leaves may be due to a lack of nutrients, particularly nitrogen. Other possible causes include overexposure to sunlight or old age.

Ques 5: Will the yellow ZZ leaves revert to dark green?

Ans: Your yellow ZZ leaves may turn green again if you catch the problem early and take appropriate action. For example, excessive direct sunlight can cause yellowing of the leaves, but if you move the plant away from the sunlight in time, it may recover and turn green.


It is pretty normal for your ZZ plant leaves to turn light green. Insufficient watering, excessive sunlight, or a nitrogen deficiency can be the reason behind this issue. The leaves will get dark with time and proper care. 

To avoid all of these issues, place your plant indoors in indirect light, water deeply once a month, and feed it slow-release fertilizer twice a year.

If you still face the ZZ plant light green leaves problem, let me know in the comment section. I will revert to you with a solution.

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  • Navya Rathour

    Navya is an Agriculture graduate with a keen interest in plants. She is a plant lover and loves to share her knowledge to the best of her abilities. She has worked for the welfare of plants since she was ten years old, has grown more than 50 houseplants inside her home, and loves to share her experience.

  • Prachi Parate

    Prachi Parate is an enthusiast writer. She is a native of a science background, where botanical science was one of her favorite subjects. It was always Prachi's dream to combine her passion with a career. Hence, her fascination with plants led to a career as a writer. Also, she believes that taking good care of yourself is key to happiness. Time spent in nature is one of her favorite self-care practices. It is her goal to transform her learning into content that helps readers.

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