How to Fix Monstera Root Rot? When root rot is a potential cause, your plants may exhibit a number of various symptoms. Madison Moulton, a gardening expert and lover of indoor plants, walks you through the most typical indications that your plant is struggling with this tough disease in this post.
This post will assist you in fighting it off by outlining every stage of this unpleasant ailment. Let’s hope that no more monstera plants will wind up in garbage cans!
Many indoor and pot gardeners are aware of the disease known as root rot. It is one of the most frequent reasons for houseplant death and is brought on by a variety of fungi that grow in the soil and destroy the roots. Root rot is caused by a fungus that grows when the soil is very moist and there is no airflow around the roots.
There are a few causes that can lead to this extra moisture. One of them is watering too frequently, particularly if the top layer of soil is still clearly moist. It occurs more frequently as a result of poor drainage, either in the container or in the soil. A similar problem might also happen if you leave your pots in fully-filled drip trays or pot covers.
Houseplants do not like these wet circumstances, especially hemi-epiphytic Monsteras. The roots deteriorate with time as a result of excess moisture and a lack of oxygen reaching them. If the problem is not soon resolved, your Monstera will come to an end quickly.
If root rot is detected pretty early, it can often be treated. Because of this, it’s critical to watch out for signs of root rot in your Monstera and address the issue before it completely wipes out the plant. Let’s examine in greater detail the most typical symptoms of root rot in Monsteras.
How Can You Tell If Your Monstera Plant Has Root Rot?
You may spot root rot in your monstera plant by keeping an eye out for a few typical symptoms. Some of these include wilting leaves or stagnant growth.
On a gray background, a close-up of two withering Monstera leaves. Due to overwatering, the leaves are enormous, glossy, heart-shaped, split, with noticeable cuts and perforations, and dark green with yellow-brown patches.
Yellow leaves are the first problem to watch out for with Monstera plants. When stressed, many houseplants produce yellowing leaves. Although there are many factors that might lead to stress, overwatering is undoubtedly one of the more typical ones.
Monstera Root Rot makes them incapable of absorbing nutrients and water when that affects it. The leaves will start to lose their color and turn yellow if these critical elements aren’t flowing around the plant.
Since there are so many reasons why Monsteras’ leaves can yellow, it’s critical to pinpoint the issue’s root cause before attempting to fix it. Applying the incorrect remedy to a plant that is already experiencing problems can simply make things worse.
Four stems are thick, dark green, weakened, slow, and mushy. The ground is dark.
Soft stems are one of the symptoms of Monstera Root Rot.
Depending on the plant’s age, monstera stems are typically fairly robust and sturdy. When the plant is healthy, these stems should be bright green and strong, supporting the enormous leaves upright.
This positive impression deteriorates after root rot takes hold. Starting at the plant’s base at the soil line and moving upward, the stems will begin to soften. These delicate stems may become wet in areas and begin to wilt when they are unable to support the leaves any longer.
Moist stems are a sign that the problem has moved from the root zone to the top of the plant. Unless your plant is grown and you still have a few stems that can be saved, it may be tough to restore at this stage.
When repotting, take care to keep the base at the same level as before because burying the plant too deeply might also result in soft stems.
White backdrop with a close-up of a hand displaying Monstera leaves that have withered. Three huge, heart-shaped, dark green leaves with perforations cover the plant. A gleaming gold ring is worn on the ring finger.
Overwatering makes the delicate stems sag and the foliage wilt.
Further up on the plant, you’ll see leaves crumbling in addition to caving stems. Wilting is typically the first sign of underwatering, although in more severe cases of root rot, it can also be brought on by overwatering.
When there is an issue with too much water, the leaves will droop and have soft stems as opposed to underwatered leaves, which become brittle and dry.
For a variety of reasons, monsteras lose their shape when they suffer from root rot. First of all, as soon as stems start to become mushy and soft, they are unable to support the plant’s structure and keel over.
Monstera Root Rot eventually stops absorbing moisture and moving it around the plant. Wilting results from cells lacking moisture, which are unable to maintain the shape of the leaves.
Large, heart-shaped, clearly notched, and perforated leaves with slightly downcurved margins are present.
Underwatering is indicated by the curling of monstera leaves and the emergence of brown edges and patches.
Curling leaves are another sign of underwatering that is frequently observed. This is a defense strategy the plant employs to preserve moisture and shield its leaves from harm.
Curled leaves typically have brown edges or patches when they are the result of underwatering. Contrary to an overwatered Monstera, where the leaves are more prone to turn yellow first,
Once more, before finding a solution to the problem it’s critical to confirm the actual reason for the curling. If something like the direct sun is the underlying problem, you don’t want to uproot and repot your plant needlessly. This will make the plant more stressed, which will make recovery more difficult.
Large, glossy, dark green leaves with prominent cuts and perforations characterize this plant.
The leaves will start to show black blotches if root rot spreads quickly.
Since it begins beneath the soil, Monstera Root Rot gradually spreads up the plant. If you want to prevent your plant from dying early, you must stop it before it expands too far.
Nevertheless, if the fungus is given the chance to spread, you may start to notice black spots on the stems, which could eventually spread to the leaves.
Due to the same fungus under the soil, these black dots are areas of the plant that have started to die off. These regions will appear sunken and flooded in stems. Although it is unusual that they will show up in leaves, if they occur, those places must be removed to stop the issue from spreading.
Your plant is probably beyond saving if the entire thing starts to turn black. To protect the rest of your houseplants, it is preferable to remove the plant from your house and dispose of it.
The plant has yellow and brown patches on its wilting leaves. There are drainage stones on top of the ground. To support the plant’s stems, two wooden supports are connected together.
If your Monstera has root issues, it will also have growth issues.
The various tasks that roots carry out are all intended to promote the growth and health of the plant. It follows that an issue with the roots will inevitably result in issues with growth above the soil.
All other processes within the plant are impacted after the roots stop operating. When the roots don’t get enough water, photosynthesis stops, which prevents the plant from making its own “food” for growth.
Lack of nutrients stops further growth and development as well as the care of the cells. In other words, if your Monstera doesn’t have roots, it will eventually stop growing.
Check to be sure that inadequate pot space or low light levels are not likely culprits if you see stunted growth. You might consider the likelihood of root rot once those have been ruled out.
The plant has two stems, the younger of which is light green in color and bears a juvenile leaf that is twisted into the shape of a heart. The ground is entirely soggy.
The growth of Monstera Root Rot will be accelerated by too much moisture in the soil.
In most cases, moist soil is not a problem. Even though you watered a few days ago, the soil can still be damp if it’s in low light or if it’s the off-season and development isn’t as rapid.
But, if the soil is very wet for days on end, you have a greater issue to think about.
The presence of wet soil indicates that your plant is not absorbing any water. To make matters worse, this surplus moisture will simply hasten root rot issues, hastening the plant’s demise. As additional factors to take into consideration, examine the soil for poor drainage and lighting conditions.
We are now in the “zone of no return.” The symptoms of Monstera Root Rot can occasionally go unnoticed until it is too late. Although the plant may still be recoverable if the roots are dead and mushy, your monstera will typically be too damaged.
As the illness has already started to manifest itself on the lower portions of your stem, you will probably be able to identify this stage. As you remove your monstera, you’ll probably see that the stem is shriveled and black, the roots are all blackened and shrunken, and the blackness has already eaten into the roots.
Your plant is probably already dead at this point, but you can still save it by cutting the rest of the healthy-looking stem and trying to propagate it!
Indoor plants are less vulnerable to pests than outside plants, but they still pose certain risks. Long-term soil moisture in indoor plants can foster the growth of fungus gnats, one of the most annoying pests in existence.
As you get close enough, these tiny winged insects will begin to slowly flutter around you and your houseplants. Because they enjoy wetness, they lay their eggs in soggy soil, which hatch and spread to other houseplants in your house.
In buildings, fungus gnats are fairly prevalent and can emerge without root rot. The circumstances that give rise to these two problems, meanwhile, are the same. Keep a closer eye on the plant if you have fungus gnat issues to look for future Monstera Root Rot issues.
Monsteras can grow to enormous sizes (even indoors), hence enormous pots are needed to confine their gigantic root systems. Although the top layer of soil in these containers may not exhibit any evidence of waterlogging, the issue may exist underneath that layer nonetheless. Even deeper in the soil, moisture can still get trapped and result in root rot without your knowledge.
Just picking up the pot is one approach to checking the moisture levels deeper in the soil. Because wet soil is so much heavier than dry soil, the pot as a whole is heavier.
For this approach to work, you must have a general understanding of the pot’s weight before watering. There may be an issue hidden beneath the topsoil layer if it is thicker than usual and you haven’t watered for a while.
Plants called monsteras are hemi-epiphytic. In order to attach themselves to trees in their natural habitats, they generate roots that may spread both in the soil and in the air. Their roots require well-draining soil due to their extreme sensitivity to moisture and the need to prevent Monstera Root Rot.
A lack of drainage in the soil or container is a surefire sign that root rot issues will arise at some point. Even though you have taken into account the drainage, it may still be influenced afterward.
Larger dirt particles can clog drainage holes, preventing water from escaping the container and causing waterlogging.
How Do You Treat a Monstera With Root Rot?
By removing the Monstera from the pot, removing the sick roots, cleaning the remaining roots, and replanting it in dry soil, you can restore it to health. You might be able to use the stem for propagation if the rot is advanced.
Let’s hope you’ve identified a root rot illness before they get to the part of your Monstera stem where they’re biting. We’ll now walk you through treating Monstera Root Rot and bringing your plant back from the example stage of yellowing leaves.
When the leaves of your monstera start to turn yellow, this is a very significant sign of not just root rot but also of overwatering, bad soil, or possibly all three. This does not imply that your plant cannot be saved because it very much is; instead, imagine a step-by-step manual for restoring it to health.
Working in a setting that is secure for you, your diseased monstera, and the other plants are always advised! Work in the room or shed where you keep the soil, plant tools, etc. Your working shed can be the perfect location for this, providing you have the space, as we advise keeping your monstera in quarantine for a few weeks after this preparation.
Cleaning your instruments, such as pruning shears, root rakes, dirt scoops, etc., would be the next step. Since they will most likely be constructed of metal, cleaning them with a rubbing alcohol and water mixture will be sufficient.
Rake and Dig the Roots
You can start working on your plant now that everything has been prepared. Pull the plant out of the pot by bringing it and the pot together. If the extra effort doesn’t succeed, you might try using a tiny digging tool to pry the soil apart by moving it around the pot’s edge. If your soil is overwatered, it might resist being pushed out of the pot.
It’s time to separate the soil from the roots once you have the plant and soil out of the pot. You should try to protect as many roots from harm as you can if you have root rot.
Also, the soil is probably too wet and won’t simply separate from roots as it would if the soil were dry. Your roots won’t benefit from you shaking or removing the soil from them. Instead, make an effort to use a root-raking instrument to rake the roots from the soil.
Clean Off Your Root Ball
Your roots are now completely exposed, so it should be much simpler to identify which ones are diseased. We still can’t move on to the next stage of the procedure. Root rot is a fungal disease, as we have explained, and once it starts, pathogens will undoubtedly find their way into your soil.
That is why you must remove all of the old soil! Save none of it for future repotting; just put it in a rubbish bag and toss it. Just hold the roots under a stream of water or give them a good shower to remove the mud from them. This should clear your roots of even the smallest soil flecks!
Eliminate Infectious Roots
We must move fast at this moment; we cannot put off doing this duty until later. Being in the air will be beneficial for your roots. Yet for more than a few hours, they cannot manage air. Throughout this procedure, you can sometimes soak them or spritz them with a mister.
Even while root rot is a fungal infection on its own, it can also be brought on by other fungi species when there is too much water. Pythium, Fusarium wilt, and Rhizoctonia are the three most frequent fungi that cause rotting roots. If any of these fungi are present in your soil, they will start to cause Monstera Root Rot the moment it gets too wet.
It is the time to examine every root and trim any that are damaged. Clip the ones that have become dark and no longer exhibit the pale tint that indicates freshness and health. Take only that portion of the root that is diseased. All plants, just like they do when you partially defoliate, will quickly rebound from a sudden partial root loss, so don’t be alarmed at this time.
Dry and sterilize
Before you repot them, let the air of the root dry if you still believe they may have rot inside. The fungus needs moisture to grow, and it will disappear if that moisture is removed. You can disinfect roots for further protection by putting the root ball in diluted hydrogen peroxide or a natural fungicide like neem oil, then drying them.
This mixture will guarantee that all fungi are eradicated. Mix the ingredients by combining one tablespoon of peroxide with one cup of water! It’s time to get your pot ready when the roots begin to dry. You must also clean and sanitize your old pot if you intend to use it. You can either use some rubbing alcohol or the same hydrogen peroxide mixture to clean your pot.
Whatever you do, be sure to thoroughly wash your pot because certain viruses may cling to the sides. Use a new pot and one made of clay for enhanced water evaporation capabilities for the greatest results.
Pot in Fresh Soil
It’s time to repot your plant! You should use brand-new dirt in addition to a clean, new container. At all costs, stay away from using old soil particles.
The finest potting soil for monsteras will be mostly inorganic and contain ingredients like perlite, volcanic grit, or clay particles to allow for optimum drainage and root aeration. Your roots will inevitably recover quickly in such circumstances! You can incorporate some organic materials into your soil mix as long as it is sufficiently porous; pine bark is the finest option.
After repotting is complete, you can freely and liberally water your plant. Within a few seconds of pouring the water, be sure it is draining properly. At the first watering, you should give the plants a thorough soak. Never rehydrate potting soil until it is entirely dry.
It’s time to tackle the top now that you’ve figured out the bottom half! Your foliage will probably suffer from the root rot illness or even from overwatering, as we have already stated. The most typical indicator is typically yellow and curled leaves, and it is now time to remove these!
All of the diseased leaves should be clipped off at the stem using basic pruning shears. The majority of your leaves may need to be removed, but don’t panic; if everything was done correctly, new leaves should appear a few weeks after repotting.
Choose a New Location
Even in the place where it was produced, your newly planted monstera requires a condition change, and this has to take into account the light and temperature circumstances. After repotting, keep your monstera in a shaded area with a comfortable temperature for the first few weeks. Although this will hasten the growth of new leaves, your monstera will want bright indirect light.
For the first few weeks, you can plant a monstera where it usually grows or in a location with lots of sunlight, but ideally at room temperature. The monstera’s first few weeks of recovery should be sufficient to demonstrate whether the sickness has been eradicated and whether it is safe to return it to its natural environment.
Propagation From Cuttings
This isn’t a stage in the rehabilitation process; instead, it’s one that you hopefully won’t even have to take. And it has to do with the circumstance where your monstera is about to die and the stem is progressively becoming contaminated.
Take stem cuttings of the remaining healthy stem sections in this case, and if feasible, remove any residual foliage that has become affected.
Your monstera cuttings can be propagated in either soil or water. If you’re propagating in soil, pot the stem just like you would the plant if some of the roots were still there, and watch for it to grow again. Of course, when the soil is dehydrated, provide water.
Water propagation is superior and much more enjoyable because you can watch the roots grow! Just put a cutting in a glass of water and set it somewhere shaded. The stem should start to sprout new roots after a few weeks! If the water becomes unclean or smokey, replace it.
Improve Drainage and Prevent Overwatering
Poor drainage and overwatering, which resulted in water collection near the roots and favorable growth conditions for fungi and, ultimately, root rot, are, of course, what ultimately caused this disease. Your roots should never be entirely moist; they should always feel and appear like a wrung-out rag.
You should refrain from giving your plants too much water as a result. Never rely on a set watering schedule and always examine your soil before watering.
Your best allies are touch, sensation, and sight; you can water your Monstera plant as soon as the top two inches of soil feel and appear dry. Keep in mind that as soon as you water the plant when the soil is already moist, overwatering problems will start!
This issue will be exacerbated by poor drainage. Choose a container with one or more drainage holes at the bottom. In the mixture of inorganic material and pine bark, plant your monstera! These soils’ bigger particle sizes cause them to dry up more quickly and adequately aerate your roots.
On the other side, excessive amounts of organic soil and clay will exacerbate overwatering problems. Moreover, stay away from using a pot that is too large for your Monstera because larger pots will inevitably take longer for the water to evaporate!