Houseplants: recognizing, preventing and combating root rot

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Root rot is one of the most common indoor plant diseases and can often spell death for your plant if not dealt with in time or at all. It is a serious fungal disease that will rot your plant's root system. Timely detection and proper prevention and treatment measures are crucial to stopping the spread of the disease and keeping your plant healthy. You can find out everything you need to know in this article!

What is root rot?

Root rot, also known as Rhizoctonia solani, is a plant-pathogenic fungal disease that affects the roots of plants. It often occurs in humid environments and can occur both outdoors and in houseplants. The fungus infects the plant roots and causes root tissue rot. Infection often begins on the young, tender roots and then spreads to the older roots. The fungus invades and destroys the root tissue, resulting in impaired plant ability to absorb water and nutrients.

Causes of root rot

The conditions that lead to the development of root rot include excessive soil moisture, also known as waterlogging, and poor drainage. Too dense plant substrate and high soil temperature also cause root rot. These factors create a moist, oxygen-poor environment that encourages fungal activity and weakens root tissue. Eventually rotten roots occur.

root system of Monstera

detect root rot

Recognizing in time that your plant is diseased plays a major role in the success of the fight. Root rot symptoms vary depending on the plant species and the severity of the infection.

One of the initial and most recognizable symptoms is yellow or wilted leaves: the plant is unable to adequately water and nourish its leaves due to root rot.

A loose or unstable root ball is also easy to recognize: When you touch or move the plant, it is no longer stable in the pot and you can even pull the plant out of the ground easily. This indicates a rotting root ball!

With advanced root rot, the roots can appear brown, mushy, and dead. Healthy roots are usually white or cream in color. Unfortunately, you can only recognize rotting roots when you repot your houseplant or if you look because of suspicion - unfortunately you can't see this above ground. It is therefore essential to routinely check the roots every time you repot.

Root rot also delays the growth of your plant and can be a symptom of an infestation: it can have trouble producing new leaves or shoots because its roots are damaged and cannot absorb enough major nutrients and trace elements.

Another possible sign of root rot is an unpleasant, putrid odor emanating from the substrate or the roots of the plant.

Treatment of the plant: Combat root rot

If you're already noticing signs of root rot, it's important to act quickly to stop the disease from progressing.

Removing the plant from the substrate: Carefully remove the plant from the pot and remove the substrate from the roots.

Pruning Roots: Using a clean and sanitized knife, snip off any rotten or brown roots. Pruning helps limit the spread of the disease and allows healthy roots to regenerate.

Disinfecting the planter: To combat root rot, thoroughly clean and disinfect the pot - this will kill bacteria and fungi.

Use new substrate: Discard the old soil and plant your plant in fresh, high-quality substrate. This should have a loose structure - you can mix perlite into your potting soil for this.

Apply foliar fertilizer: The plant does not die from root rot itself, but from a lack of nutrients and water. That's why spraying the foliage with nutrients weekly is essential to treating your infested plant!

The FARBIO® Nitrogen Bio-Boost supports and strengthens your plants with nitrogen and other important nutrients - for intense green leaves, fewer yellow leaves and pronounced growth. Fast absorption and high efficiency through foliar fertilization. Simply mix with water and spray onto the leaf surface!

Foliar fertilizer with spray bottle

Preventing root rot on your indoor plants

At best, combating and preventing root rot always goes together - every plant lover should find out how to protect their houseplants from root rot.

Root rot often occurs when the roots are in too wet soil for a long period of time. Avoid over-watering, as this can lead to a build-up of moisture in the root area. Prefer to water your plants thoroughly but less frequently to ensure the soil has a good chance to dry out between waterings. In this way you can prevent waterlogging in the pot.

Healthy plants are less susceptible to root rot. Therefore, make sure you have an adequate supply of macro and micronutrients to strengthen your immune system. Over-fertilizing with mineral fertilizers should also be avoided, as this can lead to a build-up of salts in the soil, which can damage the roots.

You can find the right organic organic liquid fertilizer for your indoor plants in our shop.