Root rot sucks. Left untreated, it can damage or kill a plant, and nearly any plant is susceptible to it to some degree. That goes for plants growing in soil, water, or leca.The simplest way to think about root rot is that it is your plant rotting, starting with a single root but potentially spreading to others and ultimately your plant rotting as well. It’s pretty nasty to witness but also easy to catch early signs if you’re paying attention, especially if you’re growing in water.
One of the benefits of growing plants in water is that there is easy visual access to your plant’s root system. This comes in very handy in catching root rot before the plant begins showing other signs of stress. Additionally, plants growing directly in water make the removal of any roots experiencing root rot much easier because there is no disruption to the other roots which happen when growing in soil or leca.This way, you can stay diligent about maintaining your healthy plants.
Read on to learn more about how to spot and treat root rot.
As a fellow plant parent, I believe I’m speaking for all of us when I say, root rot is a pesky menace to all plant parents! Deadly but treatable, root rot is a disease that attacks a plant’s root system, causing them to decay. The roots will be the first thing to rot because they are sitting in water--and signs will show up in the plants’ leaves soon after. Later stages of root rot express themselves as leaves being wilted and discolored. If left untreated, root rot will make it very difficult (and almost impossible) to bring your plant back to normal health.
Something similar to root rot can happen in the propagation process with plants that haven’t rooted yet. If the cutting is slow to propagate, extended time in water can cause some parts of the plant to begin to rot as well, similar to root rot. You’ll most often see this happening on a stem section beyond the last node, and that is why we recommend taking cuttings just below the node.
Root rot for plants growing in water can come about because of four main reasons:
Root rot can be easily treated by following these three simple steps:
Step 1: Remove Rotting Roots
Cut off any diseased roots using a sterile cutting tool like a knife or scissors. You want to make sure that you’re cutting off the roots that are black and mushy.
Step 2: Soak in Hydrogen Peroxide Bath
After you’ve cut off any dead roots, we recommend soaking them in an 80:20 solution of water to hydrogen peroxide. Five minutes or so should be sufficient.
Step 3: Replace Water
Lastly, you’ll want to clean your MOBO planter and replace the old water with fresh filtered water. Carefully put your plant back into the planter by guiding the roots with your hands to avoid disrupting the root system.
If the cause is cold temperatures, figure out an area in your space like away from a window where your plant would receive more stable temperatures. If the cause is a lack of oxygen, continue to refill the water every week and replacing the water every 2-4 weeks.
Now that you’ve learned more about how to treat root rot, you’re one step closer to being the ultimate plant parent. For more information about your particular plant, check out our plant resource library on the Modern Botanical website.