We wouldn't wish root rot on our worst enemy. It can occur at any time of the year, but it is most common in winter.
Low oxygen levels in the soil are the most common cause. These low oxygen levels are caused by overwatering and waterlogging the soil. Waterlogging can also occur when a plant is re-potted in an oversized pot (referred to as overpotting). Overpotting is an issue because when you water your plant, there are not enough roots to take up the excess moisture, so the plant takes too long to dry out between watering, and the roots can start to rot. Root rot can also be caused by soil-living fungi that infect plant roots. These fungi can lie dormant in the soil and suddenly flourish when the plant is overwatered a few times.
Some ways to identify if your plants have root rot is if the plant's growth is very slow, it has mushy stems and wilting yellow leaves. If the plant is well watered and the leaves are still wilting, this is a sure sign it has root rot. The last way to tell is that the soil will have a slightly rotten smell, and the roots will appear reddish-brown instead of a healthy white.
How to Fix Root Rot
If root rot is caught early, follow these steps to help bring your plant back from the brink of death.
- Remove wet soil and any rotten roots.
- Cut the plant back to 1–2 nodes above soil level (depending on the size of the plant and the roots left, you could leave it bigger). If you have large leaf plants such as Ficus, cut back to half its original size and cut the leaves in half.
- Use Oderings Houseplant Mix for repotting; the added Trichoderma will minimise root rot.
- When dealing with root rot, always move down from your existing pot size. For example, 12 cm to 10 cm. Clear pots are great to use as you can see the new root development.
- If you have a vining-type houseplant, pin the vine onto the soil using florist pins after repotting to encourage more root growth.
- Place the plant on a heating pad after repotting. Surface water only, allowing water to reach approximately one-third deep. For example, water 5 cm deep for a 15 cm tall pot. Refrain from overwatering.
Oderings Houseplant Potting Mix. Formulated with a natural base made from Coir fibre, which is a coconut-based product that helps reduce the carbon footprint, and also offers hydration and aeration to the mix. We all know you love to feed your houseplants, so we've sourced a vegan vermicast made by worms for a gentle 3-week feed allowing you to add your desired liquid food to your houseplant pot. Another important thing to note is this mix also includes Trichoderma (Egmont Rootmate), a natural fungicide, to minimise root rot.
New to the market to help with root rot is Oxygen Plus. Just follow these simple steps:
- Mix one part Oxygen Plus with one part water
- Pour the mixture around the plants' roots, ensuring it doesn’t touch the leaves.
Oxygen Plus – Hydrogen Peroxide is a solution for a healthier home, garden, and workplace by using the power of oxygen as nature intended. It is an all-in-one cleaning and plant care solution that can help you with over fifty tasks around your house and garden.