Live to Plant

Why Your Z Plant Is Growing Sideways

Updated: July 15, 2023


Z plants, also known as ZZ plants or Zamioculcas zamiifolia, are popular houseplants known for their attractive glossy green leaves and low maintenance requirements. They are native to Eastern Africa, specifically Zanzibar, hence their common name. While Z plants are generally easy to care for, it can be concerning when you notice that your plant is growing sideways instead of upright. In this article, we will explore the possible reasons behind this phenomenon and provide some tips on how to address it.

Insufficient Light

One of the primary reasons why your Z plant may be growing sideways is insufficient light. These plants thrive in bright indirect light conditions, but they can tolerate lower light levels as well. However, when a Z plant does not receive adequate light, it may start to grow towards the direction where the light source is coming from. This often results in the plant leaning or bending sideways.

To rectify this issue, you should relocate your Z plant to a spot with better lighting conditions. Place it near a window that receives bright, indirect sunlight for a significant part of the day. If natural light is limited in your home, you can also supplement it with artificial grow lights designed for houseplants.

Uneven Watering

Another common cause of sideways growth in Z plants is uneven watering. These plants have succulent-like qualities, storing water in their thick rhizomes and leaves. They can withstand periods of drought and are more susceptible to overwatering than underwatering.

When a Z plant is consistently overwatered or underwatered, it can result in root rot or dehydration. This can weaken the plant’s structure and cause it to lean or bend sideways. To prevent this issue, make sure you water your Z plant thoroughly but infrequently. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings and ensure that the pot has proper drainage to prevent waterlogging.

Imbalanced Potting

The way your Z plant is potted can also contribute to its sideways growth. If the plant is not centered in the pot or if the pot is too small, it can cause the plant to lean or tilt in one direction. Additionally, if the potting mix is too compacted or lacks proper aeration, it can hinder root development and lead to imbalanced growth.

To address this issue, repot your Z plant into a larger container if necessary. Make sure the plant is centered and positioned upright in the new pot, allowing enough room for its roots to spread. Use a well-draining potting mix that is specifically formulated for succulents or houseplants. This will ensure proper aeration and moisture retention, promoting healthy growth.

Lack of Nutrients

A lack of essential nutrients can also affect the growth pattern of your Z plant. When a plant is deprived of necessary nutrients, it may exhibit stunted growth, weak stems, and abnormal bending or leaning. To prevent nutrient deficiencies, it’s essential to provide your Z plant with a balanced fertilizer during the growing season.

Choose a fertilizer specifically formulated for houseplants and dilute it according to the package instructions. Apply the fertilizer every 4-6 weeks from spring through fall, when the plant is actively growing. This will provide your Z plant with the necessary nutrients to maintain its overall health and encourage upright growth.


Pests can also be a factor contributing to sideways growth in Z plants. Common pests such as mealybugs and spider mites can infest these plants, causing stress and weakening their structure. In response, the plant may lean or bend as it tries to compensate for the damage caused by these pests.

Inspect your Z plant regularly for any signs of pest infestation such as webbing, tiny insects, or yellowing leaves. If you notice any pests, take immediate action to control them. You can use organic insecticidal soaps or neem oil to treat the affected plant parts. Additionally, isolate the infested plant to prevent the pests from spreading to other nearby plants.


If you notice your Z plant growing sideways, it is essential to identify and address the underlying causes to ensure its continued health and growth. Insufficient light, uneven watering, imbalanced potting, lack of nutrients, and pest infestations are all potential factors that can contribute to this issue. By providing adequate lighting, maintaining proper watering practices, repotting as needed, fertilizing appropriately, and promptly addressing pests, you can help your Z plant regain its upright growth habit and thrive in your indoor space. Remember that each plant is unique, so be observant and make adjustments accordingly to meet the specific needs of your Z plant.