Root rot occurs a lot of times with house plants since they are more crowded in their pots than outdoor plants and can easily be over-watered. Root rot can happen when there’s poor drainage in the soil, lack of light, plant crowding and constant moisture in the soil. Symptoms to look out for are yellowing leaves, stunted growth and wilting. Root rot can be a pain, but if you catch it early enough you can treat it. Here are some tips to help you out.
How to Treat Root Rot
- Remove the plant from the pot and check for root decay. Healthy roots are white and firm, and you’ll be able to see small white feeder rootlets; rotted ones will be soft, mushy and brown, and usually missing the smaller rootlets.
- Remove the dead roots by cutting them off with a pair of sharp scissors or small hand shears that have been sterilized in isopropyl alcohol. For extreme cases, you could end up cutting quite a bit off. Be sure to sterilize the scissors between cutting so you don’t accidentally re-infect the plant.
- Prune any leaves that seem to be dead or yellowed (with the exception of orchids). Larger plants can have an additional one-third of the leaves trimmed to take the burden off the growing root system while the plant is reviving.
- Get rid of the old soil from the pot and disinfect the container with a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water. Let the solution to soak in the pot for about 30 minutes, then rinse and dry the container.
- Dip the roots in a fungicide, preferably one made with natural ingredients, such as Pure 3-Way. This will help bring your plants back to life without threatening the health of any loved ones.
- Make sure the container has good drainage before repotting – this may have been the original problem! Drill a few extra holes if you need to, and repot the plant in fresh soil that is only slightly moist.
- Water your plant sparingly for a few weeks, adding moisture only when the top soil is completely dry. Once new growth is established you can start a normal watering schedule – but be careful not to over-water!