No one is immune to errors, or perhaps bad luck, and I am no exception. While watering another plant the other day, my Philodendron Pink Princess caught my attention – it was droopy. This is unusual, I had watered this plant a couple days prior as the soil had been dry – it should have been perky and well.
This led me to lightly pull on the base of the plant – a healthy root system will typically hold well, but rotted roots are more likely to fail, allowing you to easily lift the plant out of the soil. Sure enough, my Pink Princess came right out of its pot – and in hindsight I should have been doing this over a potting mat; I made a bit of a mess. But we live and we learn.
The root system was devastated. Many roots came off easily and were squishy in my hands. While this plant’s roots are naturally a dark red colour and seeing rot can be difficult, it was obvious in this case – the texture of roots should be firm and they should never pull off when you run your fingers over them. I had some work to do if I wanted to save this plant.
It may be worth noting that it is a good idea to take cuttings for propagation when you find root rot – this is in case your efforts fail, as they sometimes will. In this case, I didn’t, but that is because I already have several cuttings rooting at the moment.
I began by rinsing all of the soil off of the roots – and since I didn’t have a way to sanitize the soil, it all went into the organics bin. This soil now has bacteria and organisms in it that will continue to cause rot – so it sadly cannot be reused.
I then cut off all the rotted roots– leaving only the healthy, burgundy roots behind; rot will easily spread and it is important to remove all affected roots. I then placed the plant into a glass of clean water for a couple days to rehabilitate. Once the plant begins to perk up, I will re-plant it in fresh, well-draining soil.