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The plant Zamioculcas zamiifolia, known as the lucky feather, is originally native to East Africa. As a succulent plant, Zamio can store water and is therefore sensitive to watering. In terms of care, the requirements are low, but if yellow leaves appear, something has gone wrong in the care.

causes and measures

Where does yellow foliage come from?

Yellow leaves are usually caused by excess water. Because Zamioculcas zamiifolia is a succulent plant, it retains water. When waterlogging occurs, the roots are damaged and the shoots begin to rot. As a result, the plant can no longer absorb sufficient moisture and nutrients because the pathways are destroyed. Zamio only has a moderate water requirement because it accumulates supplies inside its leaves and stems. Moderate watering is sufficient, good drainage is very important.

Main causes of yellow foliage:

  • Excess water or waterlogging
  • rotting roots and shoots
  • nutrient deficiency


Water zamioculcas properly

Watering depends on a continuous water supply. Waterlogging must never occur. There must be a saucer under the pot, which must be emptied 15 minutes after the water has been added. This will prevent the water from accumulating and damaging the roots.

The watering frequency depends on the outside temperature, the location and the size of the pot. With high outside temperatures and constant sunshine, the water requirement is higher than in a cool environment. Wait until the surface of the soil has dried slightly. Only then is it time for the next watering.
In winter it is almost not necessary to water the Zamioculcas. However, you should keep an eye on the foliage when the humidity is very low and the air in the room is very dry. Occasionally dampen the foliage with a spray bottle or position the Zamio near an indoor fountain.

Proper watering made easy:

  • Water supply must be continuous but small
  • Avoid waterlogging
  • Drainage makes sense
  • Empty the saucer regularly

Drainage for better drainage

With a plant as sensitive as the Zamioculcas, a saucer is not enough to prevent waterlogging. Instead, you should create a drainage in the pot that removes the water purposefully from the pot. Expanded clay or potsherds are particularly suitable for this purpose.

expanded clay

When you have chosen a large enough pot for your Zamioculcas, first cover the bottom with a layer of expanded clay or some potsherds. If you have chosen expanded clay, this is sufficient as drainage and you can immediately add soil over it.
With potsherds, on the other hand, there is a risk of injury to the rootstock, so you have to lay out a layer of plant fleece over it. This fleece is permeable to water and also makes your work easier if you want to repot the Zamioculcas. A layer of soil is then placed on the fleece and then the plant is potted.

Spider mites as a trigger for yellow leaves

If the Zamioculcas loses its leaves, an infestation with spider mites can also be responsible. Since these pests appreciate a dry, warm climate, the Zamio is the ideal habitat. Weakened plants are particularly at risk. However, the lucky feather is very robust and is rarely attacked by spider mites. However, if it loses its foliage, it should be checked.

Spider mites can be recognized by the fact that the leaf is only very slowly discolored. First, yellow dots appear, which then turns into a complete discoloration. Eventually, the plant loses the affected leaf.

What to do in case of spider mite infestation?

If the Zamioculcas zamiifolia is infested with spider mites, the room air was probably very dry and warm. In many cases it is sufficient if you shower the plant with water and give it a plant strengthener. These organic products contain plant extracts that strengthen vitality. Spider mite infestation can be prevented with increased humidity. Regularly wetting the leaves with low-lime water helps.

Spider mite infestation

Root injury as a rare cause

If neither waterlogging nor spider mites are the reason for the yellowing of the leaves, an injury to the root may be responsible. This is especially the case when only one or two shoots are affected while all others are healthy.

Zamioculcas has a very delicate rootstock, so care must be taken, especially when repotting. It is recommended to rarely repot the plant, as this can always lead to injuries.

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