Monstera is a popular houseplant with captivating beauty. Unfortunately, monsteras are susceptible to root rot when continuously overlooked and not suspected. But what causes root rot in monstera, and how can we deal with it?
Overwatering is the most common cause of root rot in monstera. Root rot takes over the roots due to the deprivation of oxygen in the growing medium. Other reasons are over-fertilizing, low-temperature levels, wrong pot size, and other environmental factors like humidity, temperature, etc.
We don’t want you to panic; instead, alert yourself and move quickly as soon as you know your monsteras could get endangered.
Treatment of root rot is easier if we know the definite problem with our monstera. Thus, we want you to go through the signs and causes first to know the real reason why your monstera is suffering.
Once we identify the problem, we can fix it with ease and prevent it from happening again.
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Signs of root rot in Monstera plant
Root rot can be difficult to identify as visual signs of root rot appear at the later stage once it spreads widely in the roots.
Some of these signs are common for various problems, so it can be daunting for the owner to identify the same.
However, knowing all these signs early could help with the identification of the problem. So, let’s get right into it.
Brown and mushy roots
Root rot is damaging your monsteras so fast that you won’t even know, but the most prominent problem is they start with roots and soil. Root rot makes the roots weak, mushy, and brown.
It is hard to identify from your outer world as your monstera will seem healthy from outside in the initial stages. Roots become so weak that they break down on their own when slightly pulling your plant from the pot.
You might need to dig a little deep or take the monstera plant out of the pot to check on their roots.
Foul odor from roots
One good symptom of root rot is foul odor from the roots.
If you can detect this smell, you can save your monstera plant from root rot in its initial stages.
They have not yet affected the leaves and stems of your monsteras. But if you don’t treat it right away, the foliage and rest of the plant are likely to follow.
Yellow and pale leaves
Foliage is the reflection of healthy roots and soil of any plant. Suppose you find any signs on your monsteras leaves symbolizing something wrong with the roots and soil. It could be root rot.
Yellow and pale leaves are often due to overwatering and root rot related issues. You need to examine your monsteras’ roots and soil if all other conditions are on the check.
Also read: Why does my monstera have droopy leaves?
Monsteras being sturdy plants don’t get easily affected and infected with common plant problems. In any case, you suspect anything kosher in your monsteras growth; the culprit is mostly the root rot.
It is a matter of stress as they don’t get easily affected and if they are now showing new growth or the growth is too slow to be counted. That means the plant need aid with their roots and soil.
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Wilted leaves of monsteras are due to scarcity of nutrients as the roots cannot absorb nutrients required by the plant.
The untimely supply of nutrients by the roots and soil is commonly due to overwatering or root rot, and these will result in wilting and drooping of the leaves.
When the branches and stems of your monsteras seem thin, brown, or odd in shape, the root rot has advanced beyond recovery most of the time.
Your monsteras have been continuously stressed with watering, fertilizing without proper detection.
Monsteras can survive with minimal care, but too much of anything will lead to several issues, and root rot is one of them.
Black spots on leaves, often surrounded by yellow hue, indicate root decay on your monsteras.
That is due to pathogens and bacteria taking over your monsteras roots for a long time and has grown to the level of endangering your plant’s life.
What causes root rot in monstera?
There are various causes of root rot in monstera.
Although overwatering, contaminated supplies and poorly drained soil are some of the most common ones.
But there can be a wide range of other issues leading to rootrot in your monstera plant. Let’s get right into it.
Overwatering monsteras is like inviting root rot, fungi, and other diseases. Monsteras likes their soil moist but not soggy.
Many growers water their monsteras following a particular routine without monitoring the water needs of the soil.
That is a significant reason your monsteras soil is soggy all the time; thus, the plant cannot breathe easily.
Lack of oxygen and waterlogged soil leads to root rot, spreading fast among the healthy roots. Uptake of water suffers, and physical processes are not carried out efficiently.
Overwatering affects the functioning of the roots and soil, where they cannot absorb and supply sufficient nutrients to other plants of monsteras.
Due to overwatering pathogens, such as water mold and other common pathogens, quickly attack your monsteras, causing root rot and other diseases.
Also read: How much water do monstera need?
Poor drainage system
Often it is seen that some beginner enthusiasts use pots with no drainage systems. That is fine if you know the exact amount of water your monsteras would need every time you water them.
Since your pots don’t have enough pockets to allow the soil to drench excess water, this leads to filling the pores in the soil with extra water and pushing required oxygen out, reducing the concentration of oxygen in the soil.
Also, sections in the soil are formed. This prolonged humid environment in the soil and the roots attract fungi, bacteria, and root rot.
Similar problem may also occur if your drainage holes are blocked and the pot cannot excrete excess water out.
Poorly drained soil
Soil mix in any plant is essential, it should be according to the need of the particular plant.
Monsteras love water, light, and well-draining soil because they help monsteras keep their soil and roots moist and healthy when combined appropriately.
This condition helps the soil to dry out between watering draining the excess water and easy airflow.
If your monsteras’ soil mix is not light and soaks water, your plant will sooner or later be prone to root rot and other diseases.
Many growers wonder that they are watering right; still, their monsteras are having root rot issues.
It is because the soil beneath is not dumping excess water out. Hence the plant is not able to absorb nutrients from the soil, thus leading to root rot.
Monsteras don’t get easily affected by external conditions and stay healthy, even in harsh environments.
But sometimes they might get affected, especially if the temperature levels drop below 50°F and you are not doing anything about it for a long time.
The chances are your monsteras will suffer from root rot because the soil will take a lot of time to dry out in a colder climate like that.
Fertilizing your monsteras helps them to thrive and grow with the help of the required nutrients.
But if you are using fertilizer to encourage your monsteras’ growth and fertilizing them more than prescribed, you will build salts in the soil.
Over-fertilizing and excess salt buildup will also stress the soil and roots to push their growth. They will give a comfortable environment for root rot to grow. Fertilizing after repotting your monstera plants also leads to root rot.
Pythium root rot
Pythium root rot makes the leaves of monsteras turn yellow and brown, wilted leaves as well. Roots get mushy, soft, and black. If you are using contaminated soil mix, be ready for the roots to get infected soon.
Using garden soil is a huge mistake as they contain spores of pathogens contaminating the entire plant rapidly. These pathogens remain dormant in the soil until they get the perfect atmosphere to grow.
Phytophthora root rot
Even if watered adequately, the monstera plant can get infected with Phytophthora root rot due to external reasons. Contaminated cuttings, overhead irrigation, watering with dirty water will infect the soil and roots of the monsteras.
This agent is ready to attack through these sources, attacking the roots and taking its time to grow to other parts of your monstera. These pathogens turn leaves yellow and weak when grown to a large extent.
Rhizoctonia root rot
Rhizoctonia occurs due to high-temperature levels and overwatering of your monsteras.
They can also infect your monsteras through polluted soil and cuttings. They can be identified if the roots and stems have coarse brown threads (like spider webs) over them.
When you find the foliage of your monsteras growing irregular, having dark spots and stems turning brown and weak, then it is a sign of Rhizoctonia.
Your monstera is giving you open signals. Check for the drainage system of your plants if you suspect any signs of root rot. You must take the plant out and inspect the roots carefully.
Monsteras love and need bright light to thrive and to keep ailments away.
When you compromise the lighting needs of the monstera, the photosynthesis process slows down or gets affected.
That is due to the roots and soil not being able to absorb and use water to carry out the operation.
When you keep your monsteras in low light and water them with the regular watering routine, the roots and soil will be soaked in water for a long time, causing root rot.
As the soil will take a lot of time to dry out, and with the same watering routine, they will remain soggy.
Using the right pot size is something many growers don’t give much importance to. But it is a crucial factor to keep other conditions working on your monsteras properly.
If your monsteras are planted in an oversized pot, watering them right will get troublesome. Whenever you water your monstera, it will become hard to check if the soil is dry enough from within to water them again or not.
The roots will suffocate because the soil will not be able to drain water properly, triggering fungi and bacterial growth.
The roots will also not be able to get hold of the soil thoroughly, and lack of oxygenation will lead to root rot.
Also read: What happens if you use too big of a pot for a plant?
Pot type means the material of the pot you are using to plant your monsteras. However, you can use any kind of pot you like there’s always the best option available for a better thriving environment for your plant.
In case you don’t pay much attention to the pot type and use plastic or glazed pots, it’s relatively easy for fungus to attack your monstera plant.
The reason is they don’t support the easy movement of water and air and also keep the soil soggy and moist for much longer. That, in return, will infect your monsteras with root rot and other overwatering-related issues.
Monsteras appreciate an excellent flow of air around them for good health.
When kept in areas with poor ventilation leading to a spongy environment in the soil and the water on the foliage will also not evaporate.
It is one of the causes of root rot in monsteras. Providing adequate ventilation around your monsteras should be given equal importance for a healthy plant.
Other causes of root rot on your monstera
Contaminated tools can have fungi and pathogens stick to these tools, easily infecting your monstera when used without sterilizing.
If you are buying plants often but are not inspecting them before following your care routines, then there are high chances that those plants could be contaminated or sick or infected with root rot already.
Using garden soil or other contaminated soil also leads to root rot in your monsteras. You must not use such a potting mix without sterilizing.
Another reason your monsteras are infected with root rot could be they are stressed and vulnerable. They are not healthy from within. So even if you are pouring your love through proper care routines, it is not helpful.
Such care routines increase the stress as the soil and roots are not able to absorb and supply nutrients and are readily attacked by infectious agents.
Also read: Why is my monstera dying?
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How to fix root rot in monstera?
Fixing root rot that is severe means you need to repot your monstera plant.
Repotting will lessen the moist environment in the pot and soil, preventing further fungal infection in the root system. You must carry out these processes only if you were able to detect root rot at an early stage.
Roots rot stresses your monsteras already and repotting means another wave of stress for your plant. The process needs to be carried out gently.
Some of the supplies you will need includes:
- New potting soil
- Clean pot
Steps to follow:
- Hold the base of the stem firmly and pull your monsteras plant out of the container. Loose the soil around the root ball. Please get rid of the soil around the roots as soon as possible and dispose of it.
- Rinsing your monsteras thoroughly will further help to remove some dirt and bacteria. Prune away decayed roots and damaged leaves and stems. Please don’t leave any damaged part of the plant as they can further lead to rot.
- Fewer leaves mean less pressure on the root ball to supply nutrients to the foliage and stems. You can prune 1/3 of the foliage to increase the chance of revival.
- Now soak the roots in a solution of bleach and water for an hour. It will kill any bacteria and fungi in the roots.
- If you want, you can keep your monsteras in the air for one day to let the roots breathe. This step is optional.
- Wash with a bleach solution and water the new pot in which you want to plant your monsteras.
- Put some stones at the bottom of the pot, making sure your pot has good drainage holes. Now repot your monsteras with a fresh, sterilized soil mix.
- For mild root rot conditions, just reschedule your watering routine and stop watering for a few days.
- Usually, the pathogens have not been attacked or grown to a large extent; only prolonged moistness in the soil is a principal issue. It can be solved through conscious watering.
- Don’t fertilize till your monsteras get rid of decay. It will mostly solve the mild infection in your monstera. Keep an eye on your monsteras until everything seems healthy again.
For organic lovers, there are few choices to save and prevent root rot in your monsteras. Cinnamon, chamomile, and hydrogen peroxide are few natural fungicides to fight and inhibit root rot.
Cinnamon can be dusted on the plant leaves, stems, and soil to kill the fungal and bacteria.
Chamomile can be used in a liquid by making tea. Mix with the soil and spray on the leaves of your monsteras.
Hydrogen peroxide can be made into a solution by diluting one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide with water. Spray over the plant and mix the solution with the soil.
Also read: How to propagate monstera plant
How to prevent root rot in monstera?
Prevent your monstera from root rot or any other houseplant issues just by being aware of your plant needs.
You can prevent root rot in monstera by keeping following things in mind:
- Avoid excess watering
- Avoid using contaminated soil.
- Avoid using contaminated or used pots.
- Avoid using garden soil.
- Avoid low-temperature levels
- Avoid low humidity levels.
- Avoid pots with an improper drainage system.
- Avoid imported or infected cuttings propagation.
- Avoid plastic and glazed pots.
- Avoid using closed containers.
The only best way to keep your plants healthy is to avoid the above-given points plus inspecting your monsteras now and then.
You must not ignore the signs your plant gives you, as ignorance could increase your problem by many folds in the future.
Yes, this is true that every monstera’s needs are the same. However, it still varies with the location, the environment they are growing in, etc.
The only way to find the appropriate care routines for your monsteras is by inspecting and spending quality time with them.
Tips to keep your monstera thriving
With easy and effective thumb rules, you can simply keep your monsteras healthy in any environment.
- Bright indirect light, fertilizing once a month, watering when the topsoil is dry, proper drainage system, well-draining potting mix are some major needs of your monsteras to be kept in mind.
- Please don’t keep a lately bought plant with other plants till you are sure it is healthy.
- When propagating, choose only healthy stem cuttings. Use the bottom watering method if you are not comfortable with watering from the top.
- Don’t ever place your monsteras near the wooden furnace, radiators, vents, etc. Mist your monsteras only if you feel humidity levels are too low.
- Prune regularly for better growth and the shape of your monsteras.
- Allow the soil to dry between waterings.
- Occasionally check the soil and roots to make sure they are healthy from within and drying out evenly between waterings.
Source: Anthracnose disease of Swiss cheese plant, Monstera Growing in the Florida Home Landscape.
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