Root rot is a well-known problem that can kill a houseplant and has everything to do with the amount of water a plant receives. Do you notice that the condition of your plant is deteriorating, but you don't spot any nasty bugs in your plant? Then it could be that your plant is suffering from root rot. Fortunately, if you are on time, it is possible to save your plant. Read all about root rot here!
What is root rot?
Plants need water for strength, to grow, to transport nutrition and, when it is warm, to cool down by evaporation. So watering is super important, because without it a plant will die. Yet water is a bigger threat than you think.... In fact, too much water is one of the reasons many plants die!
The amount of water your plant needs depends on the plant itself and the circumstances in which it will be placed. Take this into account and look carefully at the water requirements of your plant.
Root rot is a root fungus and is caused by over-watering. The plant then cannot absorb all the water itself, so it sinks to the bottom of the pot. If the water has nowhere to go, it will find a way to go on its own. In most cases, all the excess water goes to the roots of the plant. Once too much water is absorbed by the roots, root rot can occur. The roots start to rot, become brittle and break down. Because the roots break down, at a certain moment the plant can no longer absorb water, oxygen and nutrition through the roots, and without these important things your plant cannot live...
Root rot can have two causes. So one is prolonged exposure to too much water, which will cause the roots to die from lack of oxygen. Another source can be a fungus in the soil. The fungus can suddenly flare up if the plant gets too much water once or twice. The root rot fungus also affects the roots and causes them to die and rot away.
How do I recognise root rot?
Root rot is often difficult to detect until the damage has already been done. Yellow leaves are often the first visible symptoms in root rot. You may also notice your plant's leaves turning brown and drying out. After some yellow spots appear on the leaves, the leaves will start to droop or even fall out! Also, the potting soil itself may have a musty, rotten smell.
In addition, root rot is very easy to recognise by soft, brown roots. The root system of a healthy plant is firm and white in color. If the soil is too soggy, fungi can easily spread. The result? The healthy parts of the root become brown and mushy. In this way, your plant is unable to absorb important nutrients, and the lack of these is clearly visible in the plant's leaves.
How does root rot damage my plants?
A mistake that unfortunately many plant lovers make is that they water their plants too much. This is often the reason why a plant dies. If you regularly overwater your plants, the soil in the pot will always stay a bit moist or even wet. Most plants don't like this and therefore become more susceptible to fungi that attack the roots.
The fungi damage the hair roots and roots so that the plant can no longer absorb water, oxygen and other nutrients. The roots can also rot. Do you give your plant really too much water and does the soil stay soaking wet? Then the soil will be so saturated that your plant will drown.
How can I prevent root rot?
Fortunately, root rot is super easy to prevent. It is simply a matter of the water requirements of the plant. How often and how much water your plant needs depends on the plant and the place where you put it. Check every day how the soil feels by sticking your finger into the soil and feeling whether the soil is moist or dry. Also take a good look at the needs of your plant and keep track of the days you watered: this way you can avoid making a mistake and accidentally water too much or too little.
What is also super important and helps prevent root rot is soil drainage. The potting soil should not be too heavy or hold too much water. Fortunately, there are many substrates that you can mix into the potting soil that contribute to proper drainage. We are happy to help you create the perfect potting soil mix. In addition to the right potting soil, choose a pot with good drainage. Also keep an eye on the saucers under the houseplants: you should empty them regularly to prevent your plants from getting wet feet!
How can I control root rot?
Does your plant have root rot? Then you have to persevere in order to save your little plant. Follow three simple steps and then give your plant a little rest. She needs to recover from the rescue action!
Step 1. Loosening the plant
Take your plant out of its pot and carefully remove as much soil as possible from the roots. You can shake the plant a little to make the soil come loose. The roots are fragile and delicate: be careful! It is no problem if you do not get rid of all the soil. As long as you can see the roots. Throw away the soil in which your plant stood immediately. Soon your plant will have delicious, fresh soil!
Step 2. Cutting the roots
Is your plant completely out of the earth? Then check carefully whether the roots are damaged. You can tell by the color and strength. Healthy roots are white and firm, while rotten roots will be a bit mushy and brown. Carefully remove all the unhealthy roots. To do this, use a clean and sharp knife so you don't transfer bacteria to the healthy roots.
Step 3. Cut plant in half
This step sounds a little exciting, but it makes super sense! Because you have probably cut away quite a few roots the ratio between the plant and the number of roots is not quite right anymore. Therefore, after you have removed all the unhealthy roots you can cut off part of the plant. Again use a sharp and clean knife. Then put the plant back in fresh potting soil and give the plant some time to recover.
We believe in you, you can do this!