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Do you have yellow leaves on your houseplants and are worried and concerned? Are you wondering, why are my plant leaves turning yellow? Well keep reading because there are a LOT of reasons why houseplant leaves can turn yellow! This post will help you determine why the yellow leaves are occurring and what you can do to fix the issue.

Yellow Leaves can be cause by a variety of things, including the following:

  • Soil has dried out too much
  • Soil has been kept too wet
  • Roots are severely overcrowded
  • Cold temperatures
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Improper light – Either too little or too much
  • Pests
  • There could be NOTHING wrong at all!

Let me go into the details of the various reasons of why your houseplant leaves are turning yellow and also things that you can do to fix it. I would recommend reading through the whole blog post and see if anything hits home. In the end, you will need to determine what you did because there are many reasons why leaves can turn yellow!

SOIL TOO DRY

This is probably one of the more common causes of yellow leaves on your houseplants. If you have kept your soil too dry, especially for extended periods, the lower leaves will tend to turn yellow.

Take my Croton for instance below. After neglecting this plant for a little too long, a few of the bottom leaves yellowed because the soil had gotten too dry for too long. Hey, I’m human too and laziness sometimes sets in.

It is typical for the lower leaves to yellow in cases where you keep your houseplant soil too dry.

Of course this can happen with pretty much ANY plant. You can even dehydrate succulents, believe it or not. I have a succulent that I’ve been too lazy to repot and I neglect it pretty frequently, and even succulents will have their lower leaves turn yellow.

Take a look at the plant below to illustrate this point.

In the case of succulents , it will be the outermost leaves that will turn yellow.

If dry soil is the cause, you’ll have to just ask yourself a few questions and be aware. When was the last time you watered your plant? If you put your finger in the soil, is it bone dry? Has it stayed dry for a long time? If so, then dry soil is probably the cause of your yellow leaves.

SOIL TOO WET

Ironically, if you keep your soil too wet, it will seem to have the same dehydrating effect on your plant as keeping the soil too dry. Weird right?? Keep reading.

What exactly do I mean by this? If you keep your potting soil too wet for long periods of time, you may experience root rot.

And if your roots are rotting, there is no way for your plant to take up water, and thus you are essentially dehydrating your leaves and they can turn yellow as a result of this as well.

I experienced this recently (unintentionally) with my jade plant. I had it outdoors and we were experiencing a very unusually wet period in our Spring. It just wouldn’t stop raining!

The lower leaves were turning yellow and simply dropping off the plant as a result.

I understand why houseplant care is confusing to a lot of people. Because there can be many causes for certain things!

In the end, you just have to ask yourself more questions. In this case, I know why this happened. I just got too lazy to move the plant to a sheltered spot so it wouldn’t continue to get water.

The important part is to know WHY something happened so that you can be confident in your solution.

To avoid yellow leaves from your soil staying too wet, it is almost always a good recommendation to let the surface of your soil dry out before watering again (or before putting it back in the rain, haha!)

For succulents, I like to let the soil dry out pretty much completely, but don’t wait too long otherwise you will get yellow leaves from that too! You CAN dehydrate succulents too, believe it or not.

For tropical foliage plants, they will not tolerate staying dry for too long, so you’ll have to be more attentive to those.

YOUR PLANT IS SEVERELY POT BOUND

This one often goes along with the first point I made about keeping your soil too dry. If your plant is severely pot bound, your plant may also experience yellowing of leaves.

As a result of the overcrowded roots, your plant may be drying out way too quickly. In addition, the cramped roots will soon be deprived of oxygen and have nowhere else to grow.

In addition to yellowed leaves, the plant growth may be stunted as well.

To fix this, you can simply take the plant out of its pot and inspect the roots. Is your plant very pot bound? When was the last time you repotted your plant into a larger pot?

For further information on how to tell when to repot and how to repot a plant that is root bound, check out the blog posts that I wrote on those topics! There is one critical step that a lot of people miss when repotting plants so be sure to read those posts.

COLD TEMPERATURES OR COLD DRAFTS

Houseplant leaves can also turn yellow if your plants are exposed to cold drafts inside your house.

Do you have your plants located very close to an air conditioning vent? Or perhaps it’s too cold to an old, drafty window in the middle of winter?

Try and move any sensitive houseplants to locations away from any cold drafts to avoid this.

NUTRIENT DEFICIENCIES

Houseplant leaves can also turn yellow because of nutrient deficiencies in the soil. The topic can get quite complicated, but I’ll mention a couple points and the offer an easy recommendation to avoid this.

For example, Nitrogen deficiencies will first affect your lower leaves and then the entire plant. The leaves will turn pale green and yellow. Nitrogen is one of the major nutrients that are necessary for plant growth.

There are other nutrient deficiencies that can cause a host of other issues in your plant. The best solution is to fertilize your houseplants regularly during the growing season.

You can get away with not fertilizing your plants for a while, but eventually it will catch up to you.

I highly recommend Dyna-Gro Grow fertilizer as an all purpose fertilizer for your plants, which I conveniently purchase from Amazon. It is a complete fertilizer and is urea-free. Using a complete fertilizer with all the needed macro and micro nutrients will save you from headaches down the road and lead to beautiful, healthy plants (when combined with good plant culture of course!)

Regular fertilization is very critical for potted plants. You have to remember that in nature, the soil constantly gets replenished from organic matter decomposing. Indoors, we have to do our job and fertilize regularly.

One other recommendation I have is to be sure to actually MEASURE the fertilizer when you apply. Don’t eyeball it! You don’t want to risk adding too much fertilizer and then experiencing fertilizer burn. Measure the fertilizer appropriately and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for frequency.

IMPROPER LIGHT – TOO LITTLE OR TOO MUCH

Yellow leaves can also be the result of too little, or even too much light! They will look a little different though in each scenario.

Is your houseplant placed in a dark corner in your house far away from any windows? Light is SO important for your houseplants! I always recommend placing plants in front of a window. And by in front of the window, I mean within 1-2 feet. Light intensity can decrease DRAMATICALLY with even a very short distance from a window.

If you have your plant in a dark location, you are literally starving your plant and it will not be able to sustain all of its leaves. Not surprisingly, you will have some yellow leaves. Especially if it was brought home from a greenhouse or nursery where it was growing in ideal conditions, and you suddenly place it in a non-ideal location.

Now there ARE some plants that will tolerate growing in darker light, so check out my no-window houseplant post for that. But, your plants will do exponentially better if you place them in front of a window. Whatevery exposure is appropriate for your plant.

On the other hand, if you have a houseplant that is receiving TOO MUCH light, you may have the entire plant turning a yellowish color. Some plants may flat out fry in full sun. Others may tolerate it but turn a shade of yellow if they are receiving more direct sun than they like.

I’ve seen pothos that are growing in a lot of direct sun, and they lose their beautiful coloration and turn a yellowy color. It may not kill them, but they won’t look good.

The solution? Know what your type of light your plant likes and strive to give it the proper conditions. If you’re not sure, ask me in the comments below this blog post! I’m happy to help.

PESTS

Your houseplant leaves can also turn yellow due to a variety of pests. Spider mites can cause uneven coloring and yellowing in your leaves. Do you see any unwelcome pests or bugs crawling or flying around your plants?

If you do, check out the following blog posts that I wrote in order to help you out with prevention and safe treatment of pests:

Dealing With Spider Mites

Controlling Houseplant Pests – Bringing Houseplants Back Indoors

Getting Rid of Fungus Gnats

THERE MAY NOT BE ANYTHING WRONG AT ALL!

Finally, if you have a yellow leaf or two, there may not be anything wrong at ALL with your plant! It is very normal to plants to shed their very oldest leaves as the plant grows and gets older.

If your plant has been healthy and you notice one or two leaves (especially the very oldest ones) turning yellow, there probably isn’t anything wrong with your plant. This is absolutely normal.

If you are confident that you’ve maintained proper watering, have proper light for your houseplant, etc., this is just the natural course of a plant’s lifecycle. So don’t freak out over just one yellow leaf!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog post. Have you figured out why your houseplant leaves have yellowed? Comment below if you have any questions. I’m happy to help!

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Sansevieria Propagation in Soil and Water

Plant propagation is a fun and rewarding way to learn about your plants, and it also helps to increase your collection while minimizing cost!  You can use it to create more plants for yourself, or to share as gifts with friends and family.  Not to mention, it is really fun to do!  There are so many ways to propagate houseplants, all depending on the type of plant that you have.  Snake plant propagation by leaf cuttings is fun and easy to do.

You can propagate various types of plants by division, air layering, leaf cuttings, stem cuttings, etc.  Not to mention water propagation versus soil propagation.  In this article, I will focus on propagating Sansevieria with leaf cuttings in soil.

I will also update this post regularly to show the progress of the cuttings.  So if you are not subscribed to my blog, make sure to subscribe by email to stay up to date!  When I first posted this topic as an Instagram story (you can find me @ohiotropics on Instagram where I post photos and houseplant tips daily), there were a lot of questions.  So I decided to document the process in this post.

Taking a Leaf Cutting

The first thing you’ll need to do is a choose a leaf from your Sansevieria to cut off and propagate.  I have several Sansevieria plants, but I wanted to propagate one in particular. 

I found a beautiful specimen on a clearance rack for $5.  It looked like it had suffered some abuse and had some leaves that were damaged.  Right off the bat, I decided that I should cut the ugly leaves off and propagate them.

Normally for succulents, I recommend letting the cuttings dry out for a few days to allow the cut to callous over and dry.  This prevents rotting.  In the case of Sansevieria, since the leaves really aren’t particularly juicy, you are OK to skip this step.  You can still allow the callouses to form if you’d like.

Critical Steps for Sansevieria Leaf Cuttings

Be sure you read this section carefully.  I’ve included a diagram as well to visually show it since it can be confusing to explain with just words.

First choose the leaf you want to propagate and cut it off with a pair of sharp scissors.  Next, you will cut that leaf into a few segments.  You’ll want each segment to be at least 2-3 inches long or so.

The critical part to follow is that as you cut the leaf segments, you need to keep track of the part of the leaf segment that was closest to the soil.  You can NOT turn the leaf segment upside down and then insert that into the soil.  It will NOT root. 

If you are worried that you will mix them up, cut a little notch on the corner of the leaf segment so that you know which end to insert into the soil.

Look closely at the photo above.  The area labeled “yes” is where I made the first cut on the leaf.  You can not turn this segment upside down and insert it into the soil for propagation!

The same goes for all the other segments that you cut on the same leaf.  The leaf segment needs to remain in the same orientation as it was originally growing on the plant. 

So the part of the leaf segment that was originally closest to the pot will be the end that you will insert into the soil for propagation.

Notice that I also cut another leaf segment from the same leaf.  Similarly, the bottom of that leaf segment will be the end that I will insert into the soil. 

I chose this leaf because it was ugly and damaged when I purchased the plant, so I figured I’d cut it off to improve the appearance of the original plant, and also to propagate!

Propagating Variegated Sansevieria

Please note that if you have a variegated Sansevieria, the leaf cutting propagation method will NOT result in variegated plants.  It will revert to the non-variegated version of the plant.

Some varieties of Sansevieria have yellow or whitish stripes on the leaf margins.  In these cases, if you want more variegated plants, you’ll need to divide the original plant.

When you use this leaf segment method to propagate, the resulting plants will be plain green. In my case, this is not a variegated plant so my resulting Sansevieria children should be the same as the parent plant.

After You Have Cut Your Leaf Segments

After you have followed the steps above, it is almost time to place them into soil.  A have a few product recommendations (see below) that I love using and can be found on Amazon.  Follow these steps:

Dip the end of each leaf segment into water, and then into rooting hormone.  You don’t HAVE to use a rooting hormone, but it will GREATLY speed up the process!  I like to use Garden Safe Take Root Rooting Hormone.  It gives great results and helps speed up the process!

Fill a pot with soil and water thoroughly first in order to pre-moisten the soil before inserting the leaf segments into it.  A succulent/cactus soil mix will work best.  I really like Hoffman Organic Cactus & Succulent Soil Mix.  I use it for propagation purposes and anytime I repot any cacti or succulents.  In addition to this soil mix, I like to mix in a little perlite or pumice for additional porosity and drainage.  I like to add perlite or pumice to all my houseplant soil blends, not just for Sansevieria!  You will love what it does!

Insert the appropriate end of each leaf segment into the soil, maybe 1/2 inch to 3/4 inches into the soil.

Now it’s time to wait for Sansevieria babies to emerge!  Place the pot in an area with bright indirect light, and even a little direct sun is fine!

Wait until the soil is nearly dry before watering again thoroughly.

Keep an eye out for new growth in the ensuing weeks and months.

The time that it takes can vary drastically…but for me, it took 7 1/2 months for a pup to finally emerge! It is a true test of patience!

And a few months later, all of the leaves have grown new pups.

Snake Plant Water Propagation

If you don’t want to do soil propagation, you can also easily root Sansevieria in water. Some people just prefer water propagation versus soil and there really is no right way or wrong way. The right way is what works!

I have experimented with water propagation of Sansevieria too, and it takes a while but it may suit you better. Some people just prefer one over the other.

You would simply follow the same process as far as letting your leaf cutting dry for a couple days before placing it in water.

Then, simply place your cuttings in water and leave about an inch of water or so. Keep an eye on it and don’t let the water dry out. Now, you may be wondering how long it takes to root snake plants in water?

Well, I’ve seen and experienced quite a range of results. The absolute FASTEST I’ve heard was 2 weeks. This is definitely not a typical result though.

What is most typical is approximately 2 months to get ROOTS. Now I can’t guarantee this. I’m just letting you know what you can possibly expect. It all depends on your conditions and the health and age of your leaf.

In my own case, I propagated a piece of Sansevieria cylindrica and it took…drum roll please…….. 5 1/2 months before the first root appeared! Check it out below.

And be sure to change the water frequently to keep it fresh and to minimize the risk of rotting. If you see that your water is getting cloudy, change the water immediately and more frequently.

Of course it will normally grow roots first and then the pups will come a bit later. So this is a true test of patience! Although it is very rewarding to propagate your own, whether you use the soil or water technique.

One last question that I get a lot is how long should you wait before planting your rooted cutting? You can go ahead and plant the rooted leaf cutting right after you notice it rooting, or some people like to wait until they can see the pups and then plant them.

There is really no right or wrong way. Some people prefer water propagation because they can actually see the roots forming and have more confidence that way. For more tips on water propagation, check out my blog post that I wrote with tips on water propagation and also details which plants you can propagate this way.

If you would like to find out more about Sansevieria Cylindrica Care, be sure to check out my blog post that I wrote about these plants. They are certainly a unique and beautiful variety of Sansevieria!

For more details on general Sansevieria care, click HERE to read my blog post.

Have you every propagated Sansevieria?  Comment below! 

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Tillandsia xerographica is often considered the King of Air Plants! This is due to its grand size when compared to most other Tillandsias. On top being a beautiful air plant, it is exceedingly easy to grow and can tolerate a lot more neglect than many Tillandsias. Keep reading to learn all about this amazing air plant and how to care for it!

Tillandsia Xerographica in Nature

It helps to know where plants grow in nature in order to give us a clue about how to grow them in our homes.

Tillandsia Xerographica is native to southern Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. They grow in semi-arid regions and in very dry and sunny conditions.

It is a very drought tolerant plant. In fact the species name, xerographica, says it all. The words “xeros” in Greek means dry.

Most of the moisture that they get is from morning dew in nature.

Tillandsias grow as epiphytes (attached to trees) or lithophytes (attached to rocks or stones) in nature.

How Do You Care For Tillandsia Xerographica? LIGHT

I have my Tillandsia xerographica growing right in front of a large wall of Eastern windows. It gets morning sun and is very happy in this location.

This particular air plant does like some direct sun so don’t be shy about placing it in some direct sun inside your home.

WATERING

Compared to many of the thinner leaved tropical air plant cousins, the thick leaved Tillandsia xerographica needs to be watered much less frequently.

For a while I was watering my plant about every other week. Then I started to let it go a little longer and it was still fine.

My preferred way of watering my xerographica air plant is to use the soaking method. I simply turn my plant upside down and place it in a deep bowl of water so it can be completely submerged.

I would say that I water my xerographica this way about once or twice a month. This is the procedure I follow:

  • Place the plant upside down in a deep bowl.
  • Fill the bowl with tepid (never cold!) water.
  • Let it soak for 30 minutes to an hour or so.
  • Take the plant out and shake it lightly several times while holding it upside down. You want to get all excess water out of any crevices to avoid rotting.
  • Then I place the plant upside down onto a kitchen towel until it is dry.

Finally I place it back in its normal growing location.

The fun part about growing Tillandsia xerographica is that you can “customize” how it looks! Depending on how dry you let it get, the leaves will be straighter or curlier.

If you let your plant dry out more, the leaves will be curly. If the plant is fully hydrated, they will be straighter.

Check out this very interesting and short YouTube video below where a Tillandsia grower illustrates this fact. You can visually see exactly what I’m talking about and then decide for yourself which one you prefer!

Tillandsia xerographica (Planta Brutt Video 18) - YouTube

Depending on the subspecies, the size of this plant can vary. Take a look at this larger variety that I spotted at a nursery:

One word of caution though for watering air plants!

According to Tillandsia grower Airplant Man, never use distilled water to water your Tillandsias. Distilled water will remove nutrients by osmosis and kill your air plants.

Rainwater is of course preferred for any plant, but tap water or filtered water will work fine. I personally use plain tap water when I water my Tillandsia xerographica and all my other plants.

FERTILIZING

I do have a special fertilizer that I like to use for my air plants. You’ll have to check out my general Tillandsia care blog post where I detail this information!

It is not absolutely necessary to fertilize your air plants, but they will be healthier, bigger, have better flowering, and produce more pups if you do.

Why is My Air Plant Dying?

There are various reasons why your air plant might be dying and many important things to remember so that you can avoid this.

My Air Plant is Rotting

One way to kill your Tillandsia xerographica, or any air plant for that matter, is to leave water sitting between the leaves for extended periods of time. In order to avoid this, you can do the following:

  • Give your Tillandsia a few good shakes after you soak it. Turn it upside down and shake it!
  • Allow your Tillandsia to dry upside down after you shake it.

I’ve never lost an air plant due to rotting before and it is because I follow these methods.

You might wonder why air plants don’t rot in nature. This is simply because they have much better air circulation outdoors and are able to dry out on their own. Indoors, we need to make some adjustments to make up for lack of air circulation.

My Air Plant is Drying Out

Is your air plant drying out too much and you can’t seem to keep it hydrated?

If you find this is the case, start soaking your Tillandsia like I described above in the watering section. You will not rot your Tillandsia out as long as you follow the procedure of shaking excess water and letting it dry upside down.

That’s all folks! Remember to check out my general Tillandsia care blog post for additional care information.

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Watermelon peperomia, or Peperomia argyreia, is a beautiful foliage houseplant named after the fact that its leaves resemble watermelon rinds. And what beautiful foliage it is! I’ve known many people that have killed this plant, but if you follow my tips, you can succeed so keep reading!

This plant is truly easy to grow if you follow my lead!

WATERMELON PEPEROMIA CARE

Although this plant is mainly grown for its foliage, it is a flowering plant. No one would purchase it for its flowers, but they do bloom!

Take a look at the green flower spikes that they produce.

Like I said…no one grows these plants for their flowers! Let’s talk a little about how to care for Peperomia argyreia.

I’ll mention some basic care tips for this plant, and later on will talk about what I consider the absolute most important factor in keeping this plant alive (and thriving) and also how to propagate it.

LIGHT

Watermelon peperomia definitely prefers bright conditions, but mostly indirect light. These plants can not take too much direct sun otherwise their vivid foliage coloration will wash out.

These plants are well suited to larger Northern exposure windows, and Eastern exposure windows as well where they would receive some morning sun. If all you have is a window with a lot of direct sun, you may want to diffuse the light a bit.

FERTILIZING

Watermelon peperomias are considered to be light feeders so avoid too much fertilizer otherwise your plant may lose its characteristic compactness.

I like to fertilize regularly, but very dilutely. This is the method I really use for all my houseplants. My favorite fertilizer has become Dyna Gro Grow. It is a complete fertilizer that contains all the necessary macro and micro nutrients for plant growth and is urea-free. I’ve achieved fantastic results with this fertilizer.

Of course, I would like to mention that fertilizers are NO substitute for poor cultural conditions. You should provide fertilizer on top of proper light, watering, etc.

Temperature

Watermelon peperomia are definitely freeze babies and they like to stay warm. These plants come from the tropical regions in northern South America. If at all possible, keep this plant above 60F (about 16C).

Watering

Now we are getting to some of the most critical care tips for Watermelon Peperomia.

These plants are very sensitive to extremes in soil moisture. I’ll get to the best soil mixes to use for these plants later. For now, let’s talk a bit about watering.

Try not and let this plant completely dry out. If you do, what you’ll notice is that the lower leaves and petioles (the “stems” attached to the leaves) will droop. Withhold water for even longer, and the entire plant will be droopy and start to collapse.

Ironically, the same thing will happen if they stay wet for too long. If these plants stay wet for too long, they are prone to rot. So you’ll want to find a happy medium.

Simply wait until the surface of your soil is dry before giving it a thorough watering. Never let these plants sit in water. Always discard extra water that comes through the drainage hole of your pot.

Potting Mix

I’ve been a stickler for potting mixes. You should put in a little more effort into choosing a good potting mix for your plants. Having your houseplants thrive depends on many factors.

You can’t just have one thing right. You need to have multiple things right (watering, soil mix, light, etc) in order to truly have a thriving houseplant.

Potting mixes are one of the most important factors. I rarely will use a potting mix straight out of the bag anymore. Depending on what I have on hand, I will either add some perlite, orchid bark, or pumice to a prepackaged potting mix.

Why do I do this? Because drainage and oxygen to plant roots are vitally important! By introducing a larger particle size (from the perlite, bark, or pumice) to the potting mix, it will do 2 things for you.

First, it will improve the rate at which water drains. Secondly, there will be more oxygen available at the plant roots because you improved the soil structure. So it will be less likely that you will “overwater” your plants. “Overwatering” kills your plants because waterlogged soil is depleted of oxygen.

I’ll get to propagation soon, but I grew a beautiful Watermelon Peperomia in a soil blend to which added pumice. In my most recent project, I added orchid bark to a potting soil.

I strongly advise you to consider adding either perlite (I prefer the larger size perlite), orchid bark, or pumice to your potting mixes. Regardless of what you are planting! You will not regret it.

I have all 3 items on hand at all times because I like perlite in all my mixes. I grow plenty of orchids so I always have orchid bark, and I love using pumice for my succulents, so nothing will go to waste!

So don’t underestimate the importance of a good potting mix! Going the extra effort of adding additional components to your prepackaged soil mixes will go a long way.

Watermelon Peperomia Propagation

These plants are very easy to propagate. There are two ways that you can propagate and I will show you photos of one way that I’ve done it.

You will need to choose a healthy leaf. Don’t use a leaf that has yellowed or that is heavily damaged.

Simply cut a leaf off the plant (actually, you’re going to be cutting the petiole which is the leaf “stem”). Then you can either propagate it in water or place it in soil.

I like to water propagate so I placed all my cuttings in vases:

The time they take to root will vary, but mine rooted within about a couple months or so. The roots will form right where you cut the petiole, and the pups or small plants will follow shortly afterwards.

Take a look at this cutting that actually produce two sets of pups! You can see pups were produced further up on the petiole because the petiole was damaged. Talk about putting a positive spin on things…

Once your cuttings have roots, or you can also wait until the pups start to grow, you can pot it up in soil.

Of course if you prefer soil propagation, you could have dipped the cutting in rooting hormone and placed it right into soil instead of water.

Another method to propagate Watermelon peperomia is to take leaf cuttings. You actually would cut the leaf horizontally in half and insert the leaf segments into the soil (with the cut side inserted in the soil). This method is supposed to produce pups more quickly, but I haven’t tried it myself.

One last tip, if you are propagating anything, always do multiple cuttings (if you can) because not every cutting will grow roots.

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Million Hearts Plant, or Dischidia ruscifolia, is gaining in popularity, and for good reason! It is very easy to grow, grows quickly, and the heart shaped leaves (hence the common name!) are delightful! Keep reading to learn how I grow this amazing epiphyte!

Million Hearts Plant is actually an epiphyte, which means it grows on other plants such as on trees or tree branches. It is really important to know this because it will dictate how you care for it! This plant is native to Asia.

The care of this plant is very similar to Dischidia nummularia, another species in the Dischidia genus, except I think the ruscifolia species (Million Hearts) is even easier to grow.

Another added benefit is that Million Hearts Plant flowers readily and often. The flower are white and TINY! But they pack quite a fragrance!

Once I was walking around my sunroom and I noticed a wonderful fragrance and I initially couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. It was coming from my Dischidia ruscifolia.

Do you see the tiny white flowers in the photo below on my plant? Look on the stem that is growing over the left side of the pot below. I told you the flowers are tiny…but what a fragrance!

Dischidia Ruscifolia Care

Since these plants are epiphytes, you should treat them a little differently. Keep reading to learn how best to care for these plants!

DISCHIDIA POTTING MIX

Like any epiphyte, these plants should not be grown in normal potting soil. Dischidia, and other epiphytes, grow attached to trees. They use their roots to attach onto their host trees. Very similar to many orchids.

Because they grow naturally with a lot of air circulation all around them, they are best grown in a very loose potting mix. You can use either an orchid bark mix or something like coco husk chips.

I have heard of people using normal potting soil, but I personally wouldn’t because they are epiphytes in nature and it doesn’t make any sense to place them in potting soil. You may risk having issues.

I grow my own Dischidia ruscifolia in coco husk chips myself because I wanted to experiment and it produced great results! I could have used an orchid bark potting mix, but I wanted to try something new to experiment.

Whether you use orchid bark or coco husk chips, I like to soak them in hot water for a good half an hour before I use them in order to hydrate them.

I just used my bathroom sink to soak the coco husk chips. I’ll get into how I propagated my plant a bit later. A friend had sent me cuttings which I rooted and used to make my plant. More on that later!

WATERING DISCHIDIA

As far as watering goes, I treat these like my moth orchids. (If you want to read how I care for my moth orchids, check out my blog post on moth orchid care!)

You want to let the potting mix dry out a bit in between watering. When do you water, circle your watering can all over the surface of the pot in order to ensure that you get a thorough soaking.

Since it’s an epiphyte, go ahead and get the leaves wet too! I do like to mist my Dischidia plants. (Not for humidity…because misting really is not effective at all to increase humidity…but because epiphytes will absorb moisture when you get them wet).

On the other end, be very careful not to let your plant stay wet for extended periods or it may rot. If you plant your Dischidia in a chunky mix like orchid bark mix or coco husk chips, it will be difficult to “overwater.”

And ALWAYS have a drainage hole!

LIGHT

Bright indirect light, or filtered light, works well for this plant. A little morning sun also works very well, especially indoors. And especially during the winter.

I keep my own plant in front of an Eastern facing window and it thrives there.

When they get some direct sunshine, the leaves may turn a little reddish in color. That is perfectly fine, but be careful not to give it too much sun otherwise it may burn.

FERTILIZING

Like most of my houseplants, I fertilize dilutely with almost every watering during the growing season (typically from about March through September or so). So basically Spring and Summer.

PROPAGATING MILLION HEARTS PLANT

I grew my own plant from cuttings that a friend send me. The cuttings transported very well since the leaves are succulent and very sturdy!

To propagate them, I simply stripped the bottom leaves off the stems and placed them in a vase of water. Be careful though because the plant will excrete a white, milky substance that may irritate your skin. Wash your hands with soap and water after handling.

After several weeks, roots formed and I potted them up in my coco husk chips like I described above.

Be sure to change your water at least once a week to keep it fresh. If you notice any cloudiness, change it more frequently.

That’s about it! If you see a Dischidia ruscifolia, I highly recommend it! It is a fantastic and easy to grow houseplant. It has a good growth rate as well. I find that it grows a bit faster the Dischidia nummularia, but I love both! I might have to find more Dischidia species to play around with.

Do you have any Dischidia plants in your collection?

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If you are looking for a unique and unusual houseplant, Dischidia nummularia, or String of Nickels, is it! Is it becoming more and more popular but is still hard to find. If you can get your hands on it, it makes for a fabulous houseplant! Let me show you how I can for my Dischidia nummularia.

Dischidia nummularia gets its common name, String of Nickels, because it looks like long strings of coins.

Dischidia Nummularia Care

These plants are a little different than many of your houseplants so it is critical that you know a few very important things about how to grow Dischidia nummularia.

Keep reading and I will describe some very important care tips so you can ensure success!

Potting Mix

For one, these plants are epiphytes, which means that they grow on trees in nature. Because of this, you should never plant Dischidia nummularia in normal potting soil!

They are normally found growing in masses on branches in trees and are native to areas including India, China, Indonesia, Thailand, and other surrounding areas. As houseplants, they are normally grown in hanging baskets.

Similar to most orchids, like any epiphyte, you should grow your Dischidia nummularia in a chunky and extremely well drained potting mix. You can use a variety of potting mixes, such as a good orchid mix.

I grow my own Dischidia nummularia in coco husk chips. Coco husk chips are made from coconut shells.

If you use a standard potting soil, it will hold too much water and compact too much. This will spell death for any epiphyte.

I chose to use coco husk chips for my own plant since this is what is traditionally used by growers. And it is thriving!

One tip from a grower in Singapore is the following. He advises to mix some sphagnum moss into the coco husk chunks. This will help retain moisture. If Dischidia dries out too much, it may stunt the growth.

Of course this all depends on your watering habits and environmental conditions, but it is something to consider!

Eventually the potting mix will break down, so keep an eye on this and change it out when that happens.

If the potting mix breaks down, whether you are using coco husk chips or an orchid potting mix, the roots will not receive the oxygen that they need (being epiphytes) and your plant will die.

Watering

Dischidia nummularia likes to dry out a bit in between watering, but try and avoid letting it completely dry out. If you let it dry out too much, the leaves and stems will shrivel.

Since this plant is grown in very chunky potting mixes, like coco husk chips, the drainage will be very sharp. As a result, you should take special care when you water this plant.

Water will go straight through very quickly when you use chunky mixes for epiphytes, so be sure to thoroughly moisten the potting mix. Circle your watering can over the entire surface of the pot.

And under no circumstances should you be growing this plant in a pot without a drainage hole. This will spell death for any epiphyte!

Light

Dischidia prefers filtered sunlight, or at the bare minimum, bright indirect light. Some direct sun is perfectly fine. But take care not to place this plant in a location that has too many hours of direct sun.

My own plant is growing near an east window so it will get some morning sun.

In the summer, I like to place my plant outdoors where I hang it from my pergola. It is mostly shaded, but also received filtered sun.

It absolutely thrives outdoors from the rain, increased air circulation, and humidity that all epiphytes love.

Misting Dischidia

I like to frequently mist my Dischidia nummularia. Not for the humidity (if you follow my blog, you know how I feel about humidity!)

I mist my plant indoors mainly because it is an epiphyte and it helps provide some moisture. When my plant is outdoors, I don’t bother because of the higher humidity in the air and rain.

Fertilizing

I follow my standard fertilizing approach and will fertilize very dilutely with every watering. These plants are not heavy feeders, but some feeding will benefit them.

I only fertilize during the growing season and withhold fertilizer during our dark and cold winters. If you live in a warmer climate, you may be able to fertilize year round.

Propagating Dischidia Nummularia

The best way to propagate this plant is by taking short stem cuttings. Allow the cuts to heal for a couple days.

Then place the stem segments on top of moist sphagnum moss. The segments will grow roots, and at this time, transfer the plants to a pot where you will be growing your Dischidia.

You can see that there are roots already along the stem. Look for those as you’re propagating and you would be ensured success.

Just be careful though because when you take cuttings, it will excrete a milky sap which can irritate your skin. Be sure to handle carefully and wash your hands with soap and water afterwards.

Dischidia Nummularia Shriveling?

Lastly, I wanted to talk a bit about if you see your Dischidia leaves shriveling. This is normally due to either your plant going too dry or being kept wet for too long.

Great right? So how do you know the difference? You would think that the result would be different, but in many cases it is not. Let me explain why, and this will also apply to many other plants as well.

If your plant has gone bone dry for a while, the leaves will shrivel from dehydration.

On the other end, if you keep your plant too wet, the roots will eventually rot. If your roots have rotted, your plant can not take up moisture through the roots and thus your plant will actually dehydrate! Make sense now?

So if you see your leaves are starting to shrivel on your Dischidia, stick your finger in the potting mix. Is it bone dry? Or is it wet? This will give you an indication of what happened.

And if you placed your plant in a standard potting soil, well, we already talked about that…

I hope this post helps you grow this still uncommon, yet delightful plant.

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Ohio Tropics Houseplant by Rcdilallo@gmail.com - 2M ago
How to Grow Moth Orchids or Phalaenopsis

I’ve been asked by so many people how to properly care for orchids and get them to re-bloom.  There is a common misconception that they are difficult to grow.  Contrary to what many people think, they are tough as nails and taking care of an orchid is simple once you know what they like! Let me show you how REALLY to grow these plants! You may be shocked!

Most people are familiar with the ubiquitous Phalaenopsis orchid, or “moth orchid.”  They come in a huge variety of colors.  Phalaenopsis orchids are available everywhere these days:  grocery stores, Home Depot, Lowes, etc.  

If you are just beginning with orchids, I would recommend starting with a moth orchid.   When most people think of an orchid, this is the one that pops into their head, but there are literally hundreds of orchid genera and THOUSANDS of orchid species.  Did you know vanilla comes from an orchid?

What NOT To Do With Your Moth Orchid

First off, let me tell you what NOT to do with your moth orchid!  For the love of creation, please do not just “add 3 ice cubes” [insert scream here] regardless what the tag says!  This has always made my blood boil!  

The majority of orchids come from tropical and subtropical areas of the Earth, and they have never met an ice cube or icicle in their lifetime!  The ice can damage the roots if in direct contact, and you won’t get a good soaking of the potting medium with just 3 ice cubes.  

You’ll likely get dry, dead zones in the potting media and not achieve a consistent soaking.  There actually are orchids that are native to areas that freeze (including Ohio!) but not the ones that you commonly see at the store, and definitely not moth orchids.  

Orchids are among the largest plant families on Earth and there are varieties that are native to every continent except Antarctica!   But for moth orchids and other exotic orchids that you’ll see…just say NO to the ice cubes.  I’ll describe how I water my orchids below.  Keep reading.  

Picking Your First Moth Orchid

When you pick your first Moth Orchid, try and choose one that doesn’t have all the buds open.  This will ensure that the flowers will last longer.  If all the flowers have opened, you have no idea how long they’ve been open.  I grow many kinds of orchids, but one of the reasons I love moth orchids is that one plant can easily bloom for a good 3-5 months!  They can quickly become an obsession.

When you take your orchid home, I like to place it on display anywhere inside the house. After it’s done blooming, I will return the plant to its permanent home by the window.  For a display area though, just pick an area that isn’t in any sunshine or too much heat (or too cold!  Keep it above 55 degrees…remember, they’re tropical).

What To Do With Orchids After Blooming

When it is done blooming, you can do one of three things.  

Method #1

If the flower stalk is still green, you can leave it. It may continue to flower and grow at the tip. It may also branch off and grow new flowers.

Method #2

If you notice that the tip of the flower stalk starts to yellow or brown, you can also cut the flowering stalk off one or two nodes below where the bottom flower was, and sometimes they will start branching off and grow new buds.  You’ll want to cut right above the node or little bump that you’ll see on the stalk.

Method #3

If and when the whole flower stalk is turning yellow or brown, simply cut off the entire flower stalk. Your orchid will rebloom in due time.

Check out my YouTube video on this topic below to visually see how to do this!

Where To Cut Orchid Stem After Flowers Fall Off! - YouTube
What Window is Best For Orchids?

I find that eastern exposure windows are great for moth orchids!  They are great for many types of orchids…Place it pretty close to the window, without touching the actual glass.  

The light intensity drops dramatically as you get further from the window. You can grow moth orchids in other exposures such as west or south, but you should shield them from too much sun otherwise they will burn! Either draw your blinds or a sheer curtain. Filtered bright light works great.

Watering and Fertilizing Your Orchid

This is where most people don’t know what to do!  Let’s learn now how to care for an orchid.  

In most indoor environments, watering your moth orchid once a week is sufficient.  Consistency is key!  I take my orchids to the sink every weekend and give them a good soaking in the sink.  Use tepid water.

REALLY SOAK THE HELL OUT OF THEM!  Moth orchids, like many types of orchids, are epiphytes.  Epiphytes grow above ground, derive their moisture from the air and rain, and usually grow on another plant, such as a tree branch or trunk.  

Another method to water your moth orchid is the following. Place your orchid into a pot that has no drainage hole, and fill it with water. Let your orchid sit for 15-30 minutes, then slip the plant out of the decorative pot and discard the extra water.

If you look carefully, you’ll notice that moth orchids do not grow in potting soil!  You will kill a moth orchid if you repot it into potting soil.  They need a highly aerated mix.  They are most commonly grown in a chunky bark mix or in sphagnum moss.  

If your pot looks really dry, soak it first with plain, tepid water.  Then water it with a diluted fertilizer.  A good rule on fertilizing is “weakly, weekly!”

You can use many different types of fertilizer.  Right now I am using Dyna Gro Grow fertilizer for my orchids, and also for most of my other indoor plants. It is a fabulous, high quality fertilizer. I add 1/4 teaspoon per gallon of water and use that every time I water.

Check out the following YouTube video that I created showing how to water moth orchids.

How to Water an Orchid (Hint...NO ICE CUBES!) - YouTube
Getting Your Moth Orchid to Rebloom

Your moth orchid should rebloom once a year, and like I mentioned, the bloom period will be 3-5 months!  Occasionally you might get a stubborn orchid (they are just like people!) and it won’t rebloom faithfully every year. The blooming may be more sporadic.  Don’t give up.  My solution is to buy more orchids and grow your collection until you get more confidence!

There is a trick though to get stubborn orchids to rebloom so keep reading!

Summering your orchid outside does WONDERS for orchids or any plant. This is when your moth orchid should grow a leaf or two.  It may not seem like a lot, but the leaves are huge.  

Again, just make sure that it never sits in any water for any period of time or it will rot.  Keep it in a very shady spot outdoors.  Wait until the night time temperatures are consistently a minimum of 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit before even thinking of putting it outdoors.  If in doubt, wait!

Here is a secret that you may not have known in how to get your orchid to bloom.

A drop in night-time temperatures of 10-15 degrees or more between day and night temperatures will help trigger your orchid to re-bloom.  

Keep your orchid outside until late summer/fall and bring them inside when the nighttime temperatures start to dip below the 50s.  Bring them in before they go below 50 though.  Then return to its normal window.  

This drop in temperature outside should be enough to start a new bloom spike to grow in the fall/winter and should bloom in the winter/spring. Some of them will choose to bloom whenever the hell they want though so don’t be shocked if they bloom during another period!

How to Repot an Orchid

Check out my YouTube video on how to repot an orchid. It contains everything you need to know.

How to Repot An Orchid: Step by Step Guide and a few SECRETS! - YouTube

Lastly, click HERE if you’d like to purchase my short book, Moth Orchid Mastery, which was a #1 New Release on Amazon.  It contains practically all my knowledge on moth orchids, and I know that it will make you a successful grower!  I have eBook, paperback and audio book formats available.

That’s it for now!  This should be enough to get you started.   And beware, because it may become an obsession…

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Are you ready for the very best houseplant care information resource you’ve ever seen, all in one post? I’ve analyzed my blog analytics and summarized the top 10 most visited blog posts that I’ve written over the entire life of my blog. Wow, what a resource!

Literally tens of thousands of my readers have poured over the posts below which go over some of the best indoor plants that you can grow, as well as other tantalizing tips! Some posts went viral on Pinterest. Others went crazy on Google. All of them are chock full of good reads on houseplants. Check them out today!

SNAKE PLANT PROPAGATION BY LEAF CUTTINGS

Have you ever propagated Sansevieria, or Snake Plants, before? You can root Sansevieria very easily from leaf cuttings! It takes a little patience but it is fun and rewarding. Find out how and try it out for yourself!

MONSTERA DELICIOSA CARE

This is one of the hottest houseplants around. It is all over social media and has made a huge comeback. It used to be very popular in the 1970s in interior decorating and is very popular again! If you want a dramatic show-stopper floor plant, this is it! Not only that, it is VERY easy to grow.

So be sure not to miss my blog post where I talk about all aspects of care, including soil blends, light, watering, and how I support Monstera deliciosa as it grows.

PLANTS THAT GROW IN THE DARK

Ok almost, but not quite! No plant will grow in the dark, but learn about the very best plants for very low light conditions. In this blog post, I talk about plants that I’ve grown in offices with NO windows and some even thrived!

Learn about which houseplants you can use for areas with no natural light.

HOW TO GROW A PINEAPPLE

Did you know that you can easily grow a pineapple from a grocery store fruit? This plant will eventually make its own fruit, right in your own home! If you have failed to root a pineapple before, you probably missed one critical step. Learn about what this is in my post on growing pineapples.

HOW TO GROW POTHOS

This is simply one of the best houseplants around. It is commonly available, grows quickly, tolerates low light, and is very easy to propagate. A well-grown pothos is truly a beautiful sight. Learn all my growing tips so that you can grow an exceptional specimen.

GROWING ALOCASIA AMAZONICA

Alocasia amazonica, or Alocasia Polly, is a striking tropical plant. The plant in the photo below is actually a different variety of Alocasia, but the care is identical.

If you have struggled with growing this plant, be sure to check out my blog post. I have very detailed care information that has helped many people successfully grow this beauty. For all the Alocasia killers, this one is for you!

ORCHID FLOWER SPIKE OR ROOT

When I first started growing orchids, I would get excited over every little new growth. Except I would often confuse roots for flower spikes!

If you would like to know how to tell the difference between an orchid flower spike and an orchid root, check out this illustrated post.

SANSEVIERIA CARE

Sansevieria (also known as snake plant or mother in law’s tongue) is one of the toughest houseplants you can grow! Few other plants can tolerate as much neglect as these.

If you really want to make your plants thrive though and look exceptional, check out this post that goes over everything from light (you may learn a few shocking things here…), watering, soil mixes and more!

PILEA PEPEROMIOIDES or CHINESE MONEY PLANT CARE

This is one amazing houseplant! Pilea peperomioides, or the Chinese Money Plant, has taken the houseplant world by storm. Its ease of care, fast growth and ability to self-propagate has made this one of the most popular newer houseplants around!

Be sure not to miss my blog post where I also go over some common Pilea peperomioides problems and what you can do to help your plant.

ARE YOUR PLANT LEAVES TURNING BROWN AND CRISPY?

The dreaded crispy brown tips on your plant leaves…there are numerous things that can cause this. Learn all about the top 6 ways why this occurs and what you can do to stop it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on my top posts on houseplant care from Ohio Tropics. Comment below if you have suggestions on more blog posts for me to write. I love hearing from my readers and I would like to write about what YOU want to read!

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ZZ plant is one of the toughest and easiest to grow houseplants. If you are looking for a carefree plant that won’t suffer even if you neglect it for weeks or longer, then look no further than Zamioculcas zamiifolia, or ZZ plant!

This post will teach you about:

  • Proper light and temperature for ZZ plant
  • Factors that affect growth rate
  • Watering and fertilizing
  • What it means if ZZ plant leaves are turning yellow
  • How to propagate ZZ plant
Do ZZ Plants Grow Fast?

Most literature says that ZZ plants grow slowly, but this is not my experience! Give it proper care as detailed in this post, and your ZZ plant will grow quickly too!

In fact, my ZZ plant even shot out plenty of new growth in the middle of our dismal Ohio winters.

If you are looking for ways to make your ZZ plant grow more quickly, keep reading all my care information below.

ZZ PLANT CARE LIGHT

ZZ plant is one of those houseplants that will survive practically anywhere you will put it! Anywhere between complete darkness and full direct sun will be suitable for this plant, and this is not an exaggeration. 

The best-case scenario would be to have bright indirect light, and a little bit of direct sun won’t hurt at all.  Although this plant is tolerant of very low light, don’t expect it to grow too much if your light is very poor. 

It is very tolerant, however, and it would be a perfect plant even for office areas with no windows and only overhead lighting.

When you see a plant tag that says “low light,” it doesn’t necessarily mean that the plant NEEDS low light. 

It simply means that it will TOLERATE low light.  That being said, this plant will still look great in lower light situations, but don’t expect it to grow too rapidly, and it may weaken over time. 

This plant is one of the best plants for lower light conditions, rivaling only a handful of others like Pothos and Sansevieria.

I have a ZZ plant on top of my kitchen table, which is a few feet away from a Western exposure window.  There is also a skylight right above the kitchen table. 

Throughout the year, it may get a glimmer of direct sun occasionally, but most of the day it sits in indirect light.  I would still consider it a lower light situation, but it is sufficient for me since the new growth is strong and the growth rate is actually much faster than I expected for this plant.

If your growth is floppy and very weak, you may need to increase your light levels.  But don’t go too far in the other direction as you don’t want these sitting in a lot of direct sun either.

TEMPERATURE

This plant is best grown in temperature ranges of 65F-80F (about 18C-27C).

WATERING

ZZ plants will tolerate a great amount of neglect when it comes to watering.  Similar to lighting conditions however, if you DON’T completely ignore the watering needs of your ZZ plant, it will reward you! 

But if you are a forgetful waterer, this is one of the best plants that you can grow!

Those of you that follow me on Instagram (@ohiotropics) know my stance on watering.  I like to water thoroughly until water drains out of the drainage holes. 

For ZZ plants, I will wait quite a while before watering again.  I don’t really use a calendar to determine when I water because it will drastically vary depending on many factors. 

After watering it thoroughly, I will wait pretty much until all of the soil is completely dry.  You definitely want to at least wait until the top inch or two of the soil is dry before watering again. 

Don’t even THINK about watering this plant again if you touch the surface of the soil and it is still moist!  I know someone who only waters her giant ZZ plant once a month and it grew to monstrous proportions. This is really one of the few plants that can tolerate those conditions.

Never let this plant sit in water for extended periods of time, otherwise it may quickly rot.  It is very difficult to kill this plant unless you go heavy with the watering can! 

FERTILIZING

Most all-purpose or balanced houseplant fertilizers are good to use.

Like all of my houseplants, I like to fertilize dilutely at every watering starting in late Winter and continuing through early Fall.

ZZ PLANT SOIL

ZZ plants need excellent drainage. I like to use a cactus and succulent mix for these plants, but I also will mix in additional coarse perlite or pumice.

My go-to potting soil when I want to use a succulent/cactus mix is Miracle Gro Cactus Palm and Citrus mix. I do like to add either additional coarse perlite or pumice to this mix as well. You will have an outstandingly well-draining potting mix as a result.

I don’t measure the proportions exactly, but it’s probably about one part perlite or pumice to 3 parts potting soil. You can adjust the ratios to your liking.

ZZ Plant Yellow Leaves

If your ZZ plant has a lot of yellow leaves, chances are that you have probably kept it too wet.

Feel your soil. Is it moist? Has your plant possibly been sitting in water for extended periods of time?

If so, your ZZ plant may have suffered from root rot. Promptly take it out of its pot and repot it. Remove any rotten roots and pot it up into a pot that is appropriate for the size of the root ball.

PROPAGATING ZZ PLANT

There are a couple ways that you can propagate the ZZ plant.

The quickest way is by division.  When you repot the plant, you would simply divide the plant at the root system and then simply repot. 

This may be a little tricky though because the plant produces very thick rhizomes so it may not be the easiest unless you want to instantly make new plants. You may run the risk of damaging the plant however since the rhizomes can be difficult to work with.

The other method, which is the safest but takes longer, is simply to take leaf cuttings!  The procedure is as follows:

  • Snip a single leaf off of the plant.  It is best to take a few leaves because not all of them will necessarily root!
  • Allow the leaves to air dry for a day or so.
  • Insert the end of each leaf, where it was cut, partially into a pot to which you’ve added a special potting mix.  About 1/3 of the leaf or so should be in the potting mix.  Enough so that it is stable and doesn’t wobble around.  For the potting mix, you can use about half seed starting potting mix (or even a normal all-purpose potting mix if that’s what you have on hand) and half perlite.  Or if you have a cactus/succulent mix, use half of this mixture and half perlite.
  • Water very lightly and place the pot in a warm location with bright indirect light.
  • Then just wait!  Water occasionally when the potting mix gets too dry.

Depending on how warm your home is, it may root is as quickly as a month, or it could take several months. 

Warmer conditions will make the process go much more quickly.  If you get curious, you can gently pull the leaf out after a month or so and inspect for any roots and rhizome formation. 

You can pot it up into its own pot after this, or leave it in the pot that you propagated it in.

Do you have a ZZ plant? It is a must have in any houseplant collection! Comment with your thoughts below!

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