Top 6 Reasons For ZZ Plant Leaves Turning Light Green

As you know, ZZ (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) is a plant native to the rainforests of Africa. Therefore, this plant prefers direct sunlight due to its dense forest cover.

ZZ plant has strong vitality, and grows and develops well in the shade with little light. Its leaves are usually dark green, fertile, hard, and thick.

However, one of the questions many people ask is about their leaves changing color. They don’t know why ZZ plant leaves turn light green.

Could this color change be caused by pests, fungi, or light? To answer this question, let’s learn about the causes of the leaves of the ZZ plant turning light green.

ZZ plant leaves turning light green – Reasons and Solutions

The change in leaf color is also one of the important signs that you need to pay attention to during ZZ plant care. These early signs will be overcome if you treat them promptly.

There are many causes for the leaves of a ZZ plant to turn light green. Below we will outline the 6 most common causes such as nitrogen deficiency, too little or too much water, sun exposure, and old leaves.

1. Leaves change color due to nitrogen deficiency

Like other plants, ZZ plants need nitrogen to grow green chlorophyll in the leaves. So if the leaves of this plant turn a light green color, it is most likely nitrogen deficient.

zz plant leaves turning light green

If the ZZ plant is nitrogen deficient, the leaves will turn pale green and gradually turn yellow or brown. You can detect this condition early and fertilize it to revive the ZZ plant.

Solution: You should fertilize the ZZ plant with a high nitrogen fertilizer twice a year in spring and autumn. You can use a slow-release fertilizer to last for 6 months.

Therefore, an adequate amount of fertilizer all year round will help this plant grow healthy and green.

2. Leaves change color due to too little watering

ZZ plant is a plant that does not need too much water every day. However, it still needs a certain amount of water to sustain life.

The characteristics of large roots and succulent stems are the parts that help ZZ plants store water during a drought.

If you don’t water ZZ plants for about 4 weeks, their leaves will turn light green. Then they will turn yellow all at once and fall off.

In the meantime, its condition is very serious, if you continue to not water it, it will die within the next few days.

Solution: It is important that you regularly check the moisture in the soil and water when the soil is dry. Please water continuously for a few days so that the ZZ plant absorbs enough water to revive.

You will then do a weekly watering after checking the soil moisture with your hand or moisture meter.

3. Leaves change color due to too much watering

Over-watering is also one of the common causes of the leaves of a ZZ plant turning pale green. ZZ plant is a drought-tolerant plant and does not require much water to grow.

Over-watering will cause nitrogen in the soil to drift away and deprive the soil of oxygen. Waterlogging also makes the soil sticky and poorly drained leading to root and stem rot.

In particular, the humid environment will create the ideal conditions for fungi and bacteria to multiply and thrive.

They will attack the roots and stems of the plant, making them unable to absorb nutrients. From there, the stems and leaves begin to turn pale, brown, or yellow.

Solution: To save the life of the ZZ plant, you need to change a new pot with drier soil. Use clean scissors to remove damaged roots and damaged leaves and water only when the soil is dry.

Changing the habitat can help the ZZ plant reabsorb nitrogen, oxygen, and organic matter. In particular, new repotting will also help remove harmful fungal spores that exist in the soil.

ZZ plant is a poisonous plant, so you need to use gloves before touching it.

Read more: ZZ Plant Misting – Is This Necessary And Effective?

4. Leaves change color due to direct exposure to sunlight

zz plant leaves turning light green

ZZ plant is a plant that prefers indirect sunlight and cannot grow in direct sunlight. So if you place the pot in direct sunlight, the leaves will turn pale green, yellow, or brown at the edges.

This is the phenomenon of leaf burning and causes the ZZ plant to quickly evaporate water, causing the leaves to change color. In particular, this plant will also not grow straight, but bend because it avoids direct sunlight.

Solution: You need to place the ZZ pot a few feet away from the window to avoid direct sunlight. This ideal location will allow it to absorb indirect light without losing much water.

In addition, you can also place in different locations as long as the area has indirect light 12 hours a day. Artificial light is also an ideal space for ZZ plants to grow and grow.

5. Leaves change color because it is old

One of the other common reasons leaves turn light green is because they are old. If you have grown ZZ plants for a long time, their leaves will age and change color.

Normally, old leaves will gradually lose their green color due to poor photosynthesis. It will become lighter in color, then turn yellow and fall off to end the growth cycle.

This is completely normal so you don’t need to worry too much. The old leaves will fall, and the young leaves will continue to grow.

Solution: You have to accept this natural process and don’t worry. Please continue to propagate and take care of the sprouts to increase the size of the ZZ plant.

6. Young leaves are light green

You can observe the young leaves, they are always light green because they have not been exposed to the outside environment.

So the young leaves will start the process of photosynthesis to produce green chlorophyll. From there, they will have a deep, lush, and healthy green color.

Usually, young leaves will turn dark green in about 2 months. Time ZZ plant grows many stems and young leaves in the warm weather of spring and summer.

During the time when the stems and young leaves are growing, you need to focus on watering and applying slow-release fertilizers in the summer or autumn. This will help the new body to grow stronger.


The leaves of the ZZ plant turn light green for many reasons. One of the common causes is nitrogen deficiency, excess or lack of water, exposure to sunlight, and old or young leaves.

The phenomenon of old leaves and young leaves having a light green color is completely normal and you do not need to worry. You just need to water the right way and at the right time to avoid drought or waterlogging.

Use a 6-month slow-release fertilizer to provide in the summer or fall to stimulate growth.

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