How to Identify Root Rot in Plants and Treatment

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Root rot is a term that has been used interchangeably with words like damping-off, stem rot, and wet wood. However, no matter the name, the consequences of root rot are the same for plants – total decline.

Root rot is a difficult disease to diagnose because it often looks like other problems. The best way to identify it is by observing the signs over time. Plants with root rot will have stunted growth, yellow leaves, wilting leaves, and eventually die.

Following are some tips by expert gardeners for this insidious problem that will help you safeguard your garden from future devastation.

What is Root Rot in plants and What Causes it?

Root rot is a condition in plants where roots become rotten and eventually die. Root rot in house plants can be caused by overwatering, too much shade, and under-potting.

Root rot is an illness that causes plants to look wilted and die. It can be caused by a number of factors, including exposure to chlorine, saltwater, or toxic chemicals.

Root rot is one of the most common types of plant disease. It happens when plants are exposed to harmful fungi in the soil. This fungus will attack the plant’s roots and damage them in such a way that they can’t take up nutrients from the soil anymore.

Root rot is more likely to occur when plants are exposed to certain conditions such as exposure to chlorine, saltwater, or toxic chemicals.

Root Rot Symptoms and Treatment

Root Rot Symptoms

Root rot symptoms are typically the result of a fungal disease, which is often accompanied by thrips or aphids. The most common types of plant fungus include anthracnose, phytophthora, and fusarium. The symptoms for each vary in severity depending on the plant type, but all can be treated with an organic fungicide.

Fungal infections are surprisingly common in plants, with symptoms ranging from yellowing leaves to wilting and stunted growth.

The severity of the infection can be dependent on the plant type, but all can be treated with an organic fungicide. This treatment will kill the fungus that is causing distress to your plant, and can help it grow back quickly.

Root rot can cause extensive and irreversible damage to plants, especially young seedlings. The three types of fungi that cause root rot are Phytophthora cactorum (root rot), Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. vasinfectum (fusarium wilt) or Pythium spp (pythium damping off).

Plants infected with one of these fungi will likely have wilted, yellowing leaves and brownish spots.

So to summarize, you can identify root rot symptoms with the following checklist:

  1. Stunted growth

  2. Visible and significant wilting

  1. Plenty of yellow leaves

  2. Dropping leaves at scale, not one or two.

  3. Brown splotches on the leaves

  4. Wilting of leaves

  5. The rapid decline of the health of your plant

  6. Plant roots aren’t as firm as they should be and feel goopy or mushy.


You may also want to read: 14 Best Plants for West-facing Windows


How to Identify Root Rot in Plants

Root rot is a plant disease that can cause many problems, and it is important to diagnose and treat the problem as soon as possible.

Root rot is an infection of the plant roots that can be fatal for plants. It will decrease the amount of water available to the leaves and terminal parts of the plant, which can lead to wilting or drooping that occurs when plants don’t get enough water. The roots will also become softer and darker than normal. Root rot is usually caused by wet soil, overwatering, or poor drainage in or near a plant’s root system.

There are several ways to diagnose a root rot infection on a plant:

1) Check for wilted leaves at soil level

The leaves of a plant can tell you a lot about its health. If you see wilted leaves at the soil level, it could be an indication of over watering. Plant roots require oxygen to survive, and they can’t access enough oxygen when they’re submerged in water for too long.

2) Bend over stem from top and check for browning and yellowing of leaves

If you suspect root rot, check for browning and yellowing of leaves at the stem from top down to the roots on the ground near where you suspect root rot.

Brown patches on the soil are also a telltale sign of root rot.

Root Rot and Diseases Caused by Fungi

Plants require a number of essential things to grow and thrive. One of the most important is a strong connection with the soil beneath them. The better connection they have with their soil, the easier it will be for them to take in nutrients and water. Mycorrhizal fungus in plant soil helps plants make this connection by connecting to their roots and assisting with nutrient absorption.

Unfortunately, not all fungi are good for plants. Fungal disease pathogens in plant-soil can invade the roots through tiny cracks or holes in the soil’s surface that allow air to get into it. This allows for high levels of humidity, which can lead to fungal diseases like root rot or damping-off disease, among others.

Root Rot Treatment For Houseplants

Sometimes you might not be able to identify the problem with your plants. Root rot is a type of fungal disease that starts infecting plants when they get too little or too much water, and it can ruin them in just a matter of days.


The most common chemical option, and the easiest to find, is fungicide. Fungicides are often used in the plant’s soil to kill the fungi and spores before they take root and destroy the plant.


If you don’t want to use chemicals or if your plants are sensitive to chemicals, there are two other options for treating root rot on houseplants:

One is by using an organic fungicide spray; this will give you some protection from fungus without harming your other plants. The other option is to add more compost to the soil around the plant, which will help it break down and form a barrier against any fungus that enters the soil.

Root Rot FAQ’s

Which plants commonly face the root rot problem?

Technically, any plant or tree can face the root rot problem. Some of the common plant care guides we have covered with root rot problems are –Monstera Adansonii, Begonia Maculata, Marble Queen Pothos , Philodendron Brasil, Philodendron Birkin, Calathea Ornata

What Causes Root Rot

Root rot is a disease that infects the root system of plants and causes damage to the roots. It can be caused by a number of different microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, and nematodes.

Can a plant recover from root rot?

The best way to diagnose root rot is through a transplanting test in which you remove your plant from its pot and carefully unwrap the roots from the soil. If your roots are black with signs of decay or white with a slimy texture then it is likely that they have been infected. In this case, the plant cannot recover from root rot without expert care.

Some plants have a natural resistance to root rot so they can recover from it if their roots are not completely destroyed or if they do not have too much soil removed during transplanting.

What are the signs of root rot in houseplants?

Signs of root rot in houseplants may include a general wilting of the plant, drooping leaves on the lower parts of the plant, and browning or yellowing of those same lower leaves.

How do you treat root rot naturally?

You can use natural methods to treat root rot. The most important thing that you can do is to take the plant out of the pot, empty all of the soil out, and wash off all of the roots. Afterward, you should fill the pot with fresh soil and give it a good soak for about 10 minutes.

Does root rot in plants have a smell?

Some people say that root rot in plants has a distinctive odor, but this is not always the case.

I hope this article has helped you identify common symptoms of root rot and helped you identify and treat your home garden plants. Do share your personal experience with root rot and its treatment.