Overwatering is the number one reason for a houseplants demise. When you overwater your plant, you are creating the perfect condition for bacteria, mold, bugs, and root rot to thrive. Root rot is a common problem in house plants that must be treated quickly to prevent the plant from dying. In this post we will cover how to identify, treat, and prevent root rot. 

What exactly is Root Rot?

Root Rot is a disease in plants, in which the roots of the plant rot and decay. Several fungal diseases thrive in overly wet soil conditions, and will attack already weakened roots. The most common root rot fungus belongs to the Pythium or Phytophthora genus.  Root rot can also spread to other healthy houseplants, as the fungal spores are airborne. 


How to Identify Root Rot

If the leaves of your house plant are dropping, turning yellow/brown, and becoming soft you most likely are dealing with root rot.  To know for sure, you will need to remove the plant from its pot and inspect the roots.  Affected roots will be brown in color and soft and mushy to the touch. They may even fall off after touching them. 

How to Treat Root Rot

  • Cleanse the Roots

  • After diagnosing your house plant with root rot, you'll want to clean the roots. Remove as much of the soil from the roots as possible.  With your gardening shears trim off all affected roots. Once removed, run the remaining roots under water and wash off any leftover soil. Be sure to clean your shears as well, root rot can be transferred through unwashed gardening tools.

  • Repot your Plant

  • You will want to repot the plant next. We recommend using a different pot or thoroughly wash out the pot it was in. You will need to use fresh soil, and place it in a well-lit spot. Our hand trowel is the perfect tool to help with this process, just make sure to wipe clean after. Only water again once the top inch of soil is dry.

    How to Prevent Root Rot

    Preventing root rot is a lot easier than fixing root rot. All it takes is two simple steps!

  • Proper Drainage- Always keep your house plants in planters with drainage holes. If you are using a planter without a drainage hole, keep the plant in a plastic pot with holes that you place in the planter. When watering remove the plastic pot from the decorative planter, once drained you can return it to the planter. 
  • Create a Watering Schedule- This will help both you and the houseplant. It can be difficult to remember when was the last time you watered your plant if it's always sporadic. Having a schedule in place, allows you to be more certain enough time has passed for you to safely re-water.  However, regardless of your schedule, always check the soil. Most house plants need to dry out before watering. If the top one to two inches of soil is still wet, hold off on watering. Underwatering is always better than over-watering! 
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