November 8, 2023
Gardening can be incredibly rewarding, but it’s not always easy! There’s so much to think about, from the right soil to the right amount of sunlight, that it can be easy to get overwhelmed. One problem that even experienced gardeners may face is root rot, a common issue caused by overwatering and poor soil drainage. In this article, we’ll cover the causes, signs, and treatments for root rot, so you can keep your plants healthy and vibrant for years to come. Let’s get started!
One of the most heart-wrenching moments in a gardener's life happens when we pull up a plant to find its roots rotten and decaying. I have dealt with root rot on a number of occasions, and trust me, it's never pleasant. But don't worry, root rot isn’t a death sentence for your precious plants, and I’m here to share some tricks of the trade.
My first encounter with root rot left me with more questions than answers. However, with the subsequent encounters and learning, I understood that it is a fungal disease that attacks the roots of plants, causing them to decay. If left untreated, it can kill the plant.
The main reason why root rot creeps into your garden is overwatering. Think of it this way, just like humans, plants too can "drown". Too much water creates an environment that allows root rot fungi to thrive.
Identifying root rot early can make all the difference. In the early stages, the plant will look as if it is lacking water despite receiving regular watering. The leaves might yellow, wilt, or even drop off.
If the plant is wobbly or is easy to pull up, I would say it’s time for root inspection.
In my experience, the early signs can be subtle, but the most prominent sign is always in the roots: black, mushy, and foul-smelling. Believe me, it's not something you want to see.
Even when panic is your first instinct, remain hopeful. Fortunately, not all infected plants are past the point of no return. Here’s how I usually go about saving a plant from root rot:
A gardener I deeply admire once told me, "Prevention is better than cure," and no truer words have been spoken. Adopting a few preventative measures against root rot can save you a lot of heartaches (yes, plants dying break my heart).
Root rot can certainly be a setback, but it's not the end of the world or even your gardening career. Take it in stride as a learning experience and remember you're not alone in this battle against root rot!
Root rot is primarily caused by overwatering and poor drainage, which leads to stagnant water around the roots.
Ensure proper drainage by using well-draining soil and pots with drainage holes. Water plants only when the top inch of soil is dry to the touch.
Look for wilting, yellowing leaves, and a foul odor. Gently remove the plant from its pot to check for brown, mushy roots.
Trim away all the affected roots with clean shears, disinfect the pot, and repot the plant into fresh, well-draining soil.
Unfortunately, severe root rot can be difficult to recover from. It's best to propagate any healthy parts of the plant and discard the rest.
Water your plants thoroughly but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Frequency may vary depending on your specific plant's needs.
By implementing these steps and keeping an eye on your plants, you can help them live a long, happy, and healthy life in your home. Even if a plant does suffer exposure to root rot, proper care can help it regain its feet and enjoy the prosperity of the garden once again.