Root Rot

Last updated: February 22, 2018

What Does Root Rot Mean?

Root rot is a condition in which the roots of a plant begin to rot or decay. This condition can occur in both indoor and outdoor gardens, but is more common in indoor gardens, due to a combination of overwatering and poor drainage. When a plant’s roots rot and the condition is left untreated, the plant will die. Fortunately, if it is caught early it can be treated and the plant can thrive once more.

Many cases of root rot go undiagnosed and untreated, simply because the problem begins under the soil, where the horticulturalist cannot see it. Most horticulturalists do not even know that root rot has started to set in until it is very advanced.


Maximum Yield Explains Root Rot

The first visible signs of root rot are stunted growth and/or yellowing leaves. While yellow leaves may be indicative of other problems, if they occur and the plant’s soil is always damp or wet, then root rot is almost definitely the case and should be treated immediately.

In addition to yellowing leaves and lack of growth, root rot can be identified by carefully uprooting the plant and examining the root system. Root rot is indicated if the roots are soft and brown instead of firm and white.

The treatment method will depend on the cause of the root rot and how advanced it is. If the rot has extended up from the tips of the roots through the entire root system, there is little to no chance that the plant will survive. If the root rot has not reached the majority of the roots, and there are still some healthy and firm roots, the plant might be saved by transplanting it.

If a plant’s roots are rotting because the soil is too dense to allow water to efficiently drain, the plant should be transplanted into properly aerated soil. Whatever the cause, be sure to gently clean the roots by running them under water, and use scissors to cut all of the brown, rotted roots. Then replant the plant as quickly as possible. Before using the scissors on any other plants, be sure to sterilize them so that fungi or bacteria do not spread to any other plants.


Share this Term

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

Related Reading


Container GardeningRoot HealthIrrigationPlant DiseasePlant Health

Trending Articles

Go back to top
Maximum Yield Logo

You must be 19 years of age or older to enter this site.

Please confirm your date of birth:

This feature requires cookies to be enabled