I Have Root Rot – Now What?

Most gardeners have seen, at some point in their journey, root rot.  What is it, what causes it, and what can be done?

Roots Require a few things to be healthy and to function properly.  They require moisture, nutrients, and air.  Proper aeration of the soil is essential to prevent waterlogging and suffocation.  If roots remain stuck in heavy, wet soil for too long they can lose essential access to oxygen and begin to decay. This decay is what is commonly called root rot. 

This is an example of rots that have suffered from rot. The plant is sat beside sphagnum moss, used to help regrow the root system.

Prevention is the most effective way to combat root rot, although we will also cover measures that can be taken to try to save a plant with rot.  The best way to prevent rot is the choose or create a soil mixture with proper aeration.  Good houseplant soils will include a healthy amount of perlite, bark, coconut husk, horticultural charcoal, or pumice.  It is ideal the choose a soil with more than one of these amendments.  You can also add these elements to existing soil in order to improve aeration and drainage.  Be sure to also place your plant in a pot with a drainage hole in the bottom. 

If your plant does develop rot, the best thing to do is to first remove your plant from its pot and compost the soil, do not reuse it as the rot can spread to another plant.  On the affected plant trim any rotted root.  Roots that are soft, dark, or falling off should be removed. 

If after this pruning you still have a significant root system, the plant can be re-potted in fresh soil.  If the plant no longer has roots, or has very few, it can be placed into damp sphagnum moss, or in a glass of water, in order to regrow its roots. 

Everyone Gets A Yellow Leaf

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