Tips For Preventing Root Rot In Potted Plants

Last update: 2021-07-24

Though it’s hard to cure a rotted plant, you can easily prevent root rot in your potted plants. Simply apply my rules below to provide it with good drainage. In the rest of this post, I will also show you how to deal with a plant with a slightly rotted condition.

What’s Root Rot?

Tips For Preventing Root Rot In Potted Plants

If you provide your plants with poor drainage and a large amount of water that is more than what they need, the soil will be soggy, producing fungal spores. They spread quickly and grow in the root extremities first, resulting in root rot.

What Are The Signs Of Root Rot?

Tips For Preventing Root Rot In Potted Plants

It’s difficult for beginner gardeners to recognize a plant with root rot until the damages are clear (hard to cure now) because they haven’t had a lot of knowledge.

Luckily, I give you some signs here. You just need to check your plant every few days if it has one of the following signs. With slight signs, you can save your plants before it is too late:

  • Smell-rotten soil

  • Reddish-brown root

  • Yellow, wilting, and distorted leaves on a well-watered plant (this is also a sign of a dry plant)

  • Mushy stems

  • Slow growth

How To Prevent Root Rot?

Don’t Overwater

Tips For Preventing Root Rot In Potted Plants

You just should offer enough watering needs without overwatering, so you need to check the soil surface before every watering section. Don’t water or reduce the amount of water if the surface is thoroughly wet. Ensure that the soil surface dries out a bit before watering. Normally, most plants require water when the top 2 inches of the soil is dry. On hot days, your plants might need more water.

Some of you might think that you only need to offer a certain amount of water and care nothing, but this can destroy your plants quicker. The water content in your plants can change depending on other elements, such as rain, shade, and cool temperature.

Provide Good Drainage

Tips For Preventing Root Rot In Potted Plants

Your plants need a good drainage system, including good-drainage soil and good-drainage containers.

Good drainage soil shouldn’t be heavy and hold too much water. The ideal choice is potting soil, but growing media with high levels of coconut coir, vermiculite, and perlite can promote drainage.

Note: aerating the soil loosens it up, leading to the better distribution of water and airflow. This way can keep your root from the buildup of moisture.

Most beginner gardeners tend to provide their plants with as much growing room as possible because they don’t regularly re-pot their plants. This is a bad idea because excess soil might result in many problems like a waterlogged dead zone.

So, be sure to pot your plants in appropriate-sized containers. You should buy plastic nursery pots or pots with drainage holes. If you take advantage of the containers available at home, you should make holes at the bottom for good drainage holes. Simply use your cordless drill.

Although the clay pots are bulky, they are permeable, meaning that the excess water can evaporate through the wall for better soil breathability. Meanwhile, the non-porous pots function like plastic and glazed containers, keeping moisture.

If you put a saucer or a ratch basin under your pots to collect excess water, remember to drain them out on a regular basis to avoid letting your plants sit in water too long, leading to root rot.

Choose Healthy Plants

Tips For Preventing Root Rot In Potted Plants

If possible, you should carefully slide the plant’s root ball out of the pot to identify its healthy root system.


A healthy plant isn’t grown in smell-rotten soil, and it has a firm, green or white root system.

How To Fix The Root Rot?

Before anything else, you need to identify if you can save your plant or not.

Tips For Preventing Root Rot In Potted Plants

You can’t save a plant with the whole mushy root system. The best way is to remove and replace your plants.

Tips For Preventing Root Rot In Potted Plants

You just can save a plant with some healthy white and firm root parts.

  • Take your rotted plant out of the pot.

  • Eliminate as much soil as possible.

  • Trim away and cut the rot roots with a sharp and clean pair of scissors or shears as long as they don’t hurt your plants.

  • Wash the rest of the roots under running water.

  • Repot your plants in a pot with good drainage and use fresh soil. If you want to use the pot that you plant your rotted plant, remember to clean it thoroughly.

  • In case you have removed a large amount of root system, you should prune the top of the plant. Now, the root system is too weak to overwork a big plant with a lot of leaves.

If you provide your “new” plant with enough light, proper water amount, and healthy soil, your plant will be healthy and grow properly.

The main cause of root rot is providing a large amount of water that is more than essential. To prevent root rot in potted plants, you simply provide them with good drainage.

Harry Ramos
Harry Ramos

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