If you have a plant that developed root rot you might ask yourself what the best treatment for root rot is. Rot itself is nothing to take lightly as it spreads over to healthy roots and also rots the plant itself if it is not taken care of.
It will die if you are not taking action.
But how can you treat your plant and most importantly its root once the downward spiral has begun? As a first step inspect the roots and touch them.
All parts that are mushy and very soft to the touch are rotted. Rotted roots can either be brown or white in colour. The distinguishing factor between healthy and sick is the texture of the roots.
ROOT ROT TREATMENT – STEP 1. CUT AWAY ROTTING ROOTS
Cut away all the parts of the roots that are mushy and are about to fall off. It is best practice to cut a little bit above the sections that are rotting as you do not want to leave any sections that can rot further along the plant or roots. In order to cut the roots use sharp scissors or knife.
Once y0u cut away all the rot on the roots it is very important to sterilize your scissors or knife. Use 1 part bleach and 3 part water to disinfect.
ROOT ROT TREATMENT – STEP 2. WATER HEALTHY ROOTS
Once you cut away all rotting areas of your plant and have disinfected your scissors it is now time to rinse the roots of your plant under running water. You want to make sure that everything that could rot the roots of your plant again is cleaned off.
Therefore gently clean off all the soil on your roots as good as possible. Make sure you use neither too cold nor too hot water as this could shock your plant.
ROOT ROT TREATMENT – STEP 3. REPOT YOUR PLANT
If your plant still has some healthy roots left you can now replant your plant. DON’T use the same pot and soil again as there might be bacteria present that might quickly rot the roots of your plant again.
Use new potting media and make sure that it is well-draining. More often than not soggy soil causes root rot. The cause is that not sufficient airflow to your roots is present and that your plant might sit in water for an extended time. Therefore use well-draining soil.
But what is well-draining soil?
It is soil that contains chunky material and air pockets within the soil where air can accumulate. In addition, the pot you choose should have drainage holes.
These will help tremendously when watering as excess water can just flow out of the pot. It is quite difficult to choose an adequate amount of water when watering a plant.
But back to repotting. We mentioned that repotting wit new soil media and a pot with draining holes should be used. Once you rinsed off your roots you are ready to repot your plant.
Do the repotting quickly within a few hours as depending on the plant your roots can quickly dry out and die. Once your plant is in the new pot water it. But if you are a notorious overwaterer, take it easy on the watering can!
FINAL REMARKS ON ROOT ROT
Root rot is serious and is fatal for your plant. The earlier you detect it the better the chances are that you can save it. It is therefore important to be informed about root rot and know the symptoms of rotting roots.
It happens underground but there are symptoms on the leaves that can give it away.
Is root rot dangerous?
For plants root rot it is deadly if not spotted. For humans not so much. But disinfecting the scissors and knives you were working with as well as washing your hand with soap and disinfecting them is crucial to avoid spreading root rot to other plants.
What are the symptoms of root rot?
Yellowing leaves and stunted growth can be symptoms of root rot. Rotting smell can also be a telltale. And of course if you can easily access roots you will see a brown and sometimes white colour that is an indicator of root rot. Be aware that most often white roots are healthy roots though depending on the plant. Once you have access to the roots touch them. Mushy roots that almost fall of are most likely rotting. For more information you can read our article about symptoms of root rot.
Can you save a plant with root rot?
Yes you can, well it depends. The earlier you detect root rot the better. Once you spot it follow the steps indicated in the above article. As you have to cut away everything that is rotting just above the rot, it really depends how much of the plant and root remains.
For example, a Monstera deliciosa or Monstera adansonii can survive even without any roots if at least one node is still present. Roots might regrow over time. But it can also be too late once too much of the plant has rotted. Once all roots are gone your chances are slimming down.
How fast does root rot happen?
Root rot spreads quickly. 7 to 10 days are enough to kill a whole plant. The fungi enter the plant through feeder roots and spread quickly.
Does hydrogen peroxide kill root rot?
Yes, it does kill the microbes /funugs causing root rot.
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Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.