ZZ Plant - brown cracking on leaves

Asked July 6, 2019, 5:19 PM EDT

Hi there! I have a ZZ plant in my living room that I've owned for about a year or two. It's doing great for the most part, and even sprouted three new stalks in the last few weeks. However the top few leaves on many of the stalks have dry brown cracks or patches on them. What might account for this? The plant seems healthy and thriving otherwise. I give it two cups of water every two weeks. Photos attached. Thank you! Morgan

Ramsey County Minnesota

1 Response

Thank you for the question. ZZ plant or Zamioculcas zamiifolia, is quite a carefree plant as long as the growing conditions are suitable for it. It stores water in its leaves and roots so needs somewhat less watering than other houseplants. Indirect, bright light is best but it will tolerate quite shady locations. This is a slow growing plant even in the best of conditions. I don't see signs of disease or insect problems in the photos but you should use a magnifying glass and look closely at both sides of all the leaves and the branches of the plant. Before you do this, read about typical houseplant disease, insect, and cultural problems to familiarize yourself on what you're looking for:

If the plant seems otherwise healthy, I suspect mechanical injury to the leaves. Perhaps a pet has scratched or nibbled the leaves or people walking by brush against it causing small scratches. Think about where the plant sits and what happens around it. It also looks like the leaves could use a gentle wipe down with water to remove dust.

Good luck and thank you for contacting Extension.