Monstera Root Rot (Signs, Causes, Prevention & Treatment)

Monstera Root Rot

Do you have a Monstera deliciosa or Swiss cheese plant in your home?  Is it starting to look less than healthy?

Have you seen curled leaves, yellowing leaves, or droopy stems? If so, your Monstera may be showing signs of root rot.

This fungal disease is difficult to diagnose early on, but learning about the potential cause and symptoms can help prevent this from happening in the future.

Read on for an overview of what Monstera root rot is, including an examination of its cause and common signs as well as steps for prevention and management.

Monstera Root Rot Signs

  1. Stunted growth
  2. Discolouration of leaves
  3. Wilted and droopy leaves
  4. Curling of leaves
  5. Limp and soft leaves and stem
  6. Discoloration of roots
  7. Mushy roots
  8. Foul odor from the soil
  9. Black patches on leaves
  10. Falling off leaves and sudden wilting
  11. Thinning of branches and stems

What is Root Rot?

Monstera Root Rot (MRR) is a fungal infection that affects Monstera plants, one of the most popular houseplants.

This infection can cause root rot and brown or black lesions on the stem and leaves of the plant. MRR can also cause white cotton-like growths on the roots of the plants.

If left untreated, this will eventually lead to death of the plant. It is important to recognize what Monstera Root Rot looks like so you may be able to treat an infested plant before it is too late.

If caught early enough, MRR can be treated with fungicides and other non-chemical treatments, saving your beloved houseplant from certain death.

Monstera Root Rot Signs

Determining if your Monstera is suffering from root rot can be a complex and difficult task. It is hard to know if a crop is doing well just by looking at it.

You need to know more about the roots of the crop in order to make accurate assumptions. Below are some of the signs that Monstera plants may have root rot:

Stunted growth

To identify stunted growth on a monstera, look for smaller than usual leaves and stunted stem length. An ideal length for a mature monstera is 4-6 feet tall.

While stunted growth from root rot may not appear immediately, it is important to take preventive measures such as avoiding overwatering, to avoid stunted growth altogether.

Discoloration of leaves, especially yellowing and browning

The most reliable way to identify Monstera root rot is to observe the leaves. Look for any discoloration, especially yellowing and browning, as well as wilting or limpness of the foliage.

Additionally, if possible inspect the roots – they may be blackened, slimy, or have formed a mushy texture. Additionally, a loss in firmness or limpness of the foliage may be observed.

Wilted and droopy leaves

Wilted foliage indicates that the soil is not adequately retaining moisture for your Monstera to flourish.

To assess whether your Monstera is withering, take a look at the ground and determine if it’s moist or parched.

When your Monstera is thirsty, supplying it with an adequate amount of water should keep it happy and hydrated.

If the soil is already slightly moist and you notice your Monstera leaves are wilting, then it’s likely that the roots have been affected by rot.

Occasional curling of leaves

Occasional curling of Monstera leaves is a sign that the plant may have root rot. Monstera root rot can occur when the plant is overwatered or its roots are sitting in water for too long.

This results in anaerobic conditions and promoting the growth of pathogens like Pythium or Phytophthora.

The curling of Monstera leaves is usually accompanied by yellowing and wilting of the lower leaves, as well as an unpleasant odor emanating from the roots.

Limp and soft leaves and stem

Limp and soft leaves and stems are one of the most common signs of Monstera Root Rot. Monstera plants with root rot will often have their leaves drooping or wilting, as well as a softer feel.

The Monstera plant cannot absorb enough water when the roots have been invaded by a fungus or bacteria. This causes the limps, soft leaves, and stems.

If you notice that your Monstera’s leaves are beginning to hang down, it is important to take action quickly in order to save your plant.

Discoloration of roots; dark brown or black

Discoloration of Monstera plant roots is a common symptom of Monstera root rot. Dark brown or black roots are indicators that the plant is suffering from this condition.

Monstera root rot is when the roots are discolored. To know if this is happening, look for signs like soft or mushy roots, a bad smell coming from the soil, and brown or black lesions on the roots.

Mushy roots

Signs of Monstera Root Rot can include brown and mushy roots and discoloration. If you notice the roots of your Monstera plant beginning to feel soft, then this is a sure sign of advanced root rot.

The soft and slimy roots mean that there is too much water around the plant’s roots. This can make it hard for the roots to get oxygen, which they need to survive.

As a result, any affected root systems will be unable to absorb essential nutrients from the soil and may even release harmful toxins into the Monstera’s system.

Foul odor comes from the soil

The presence of Monstera root rot is often identified by foul odors coming from the soil.

This happens when the roots can’t take in water anymore. Then there is no oxygen and it starts to smell bad.

If you notice a strong odor emanating from Monstera’s soil, it could indicate that there’s root rot present.

Black patches on leaves

These black spots usually look like ink splotches and can appear on Monstera leaves when the plant is infected with root rot.

The black patches are caused by a fungus that invades Monstera roots in wet, soggy soil and spreads to the stems and leaves.

Falling off leaves and sudden wilting

Falling off leaves and sudden wilting on Monstera leaves are two of the most common indicators of Monstera Root Rot.

It is especially common in Monsteras kept in soil since Monstera roots require good drainage and proper aeration to survive.

When Monstera roots are saturated in water for long periods of time, they become suffocated and start to rot, then end up with wilting and falling off leaves.

Thinning of branches and stems

In Monstera plants, thinning of branches and stems is an indication of root rot. This is noticeable when the Monstera’s leaves and stems start to become thin and sparse.

Monsteras with root rot will often have their strength sapped and they may be unable to hold up their own weight as they grow.

What Causes Root Rot in Monstera?

Let’s now look at Monstera Root Rot and examine the causes of this disease.

Overwatering

Overwatering your Monstera leaves the small air pockets in its soil saturated with water, causing it to lack the necessary oxygen.

You’re aware that aeration is an elemental factor in promoting healthier plant growth. Without air pockets, there is no airflow.

This means, your Monstera’s roots are becoming strangled and feeble. The absence of oxygen in the soil encourages anaerobic development.

This stagnant growth exposes crops to soil-borne diseases, from bacteria and fungi to other pathogens.

In the same way, over-watering invites pathogens such as water mold to invade your roots and spread infection throughout your plants.

Poor drainage

Poor drainage is one of the main causes of Monstera root rot. It can be identified by symptoms such as wilting leaves, discoloration, and stunted growth.

To improve soil drainage for this species, you can add organic matter like perlite or bark to your potting mix.

You can also choose pots with plenty of drainage holes, water Monstera plants less frequently, and ensure that the soil is not soggy or wet.

However, providing Monsteras with the right amount of drainage can be tricky. Too much or too little will create poor conditions that may put your plant at risk.

Heavy soil

A major factor that can cause Monstera root rot is heavy soil. Heavy soil often contains excessive moisture and can cause the roots of the plant to become waterlogged.

This leads to a lack of air in the root system, resulting in multiple symptoms such as yellowing leaves, wilting, chlorosis, and, eventually, death.

This may also leave you with an unhealthy plant if heavy soil is not addressed correctly.

It is important to know the makeup of your soil so that you can avoid problems, like root rot, in your plants. This will help your plants stay healthy and strong.

Inappropriate pots

Inappropriate pots can spell trouble for your plants. Poorly sized pots that are too large or too small can cause the soil to dry out too quickly, drown the roots, stifle growth, and make it difficult for the plant to get enough nutrients.

Non-permeable material and uncovered bottom holes can also lead to mean doom for your plant. Water and other useful nutrients will be unable to reach the root system, resulting in a wilted, unhappy plant.

It’s essential that you invest in pots of an appropriate size and material with covered bottom holes if you want your plants to thrive.

Low temperature

Low temperature is a major cause of Monstera root rot. Monsteras do best in temperatures that are 18 to 24°C. If it is colder than this, the plant might get root rot.

Some indicators of low temperature-induced root rot are yellowing leaves, wilting stems, rotting roots, and defoliation.

Keep the temperature in low light-intensity environments at 18 – 24°C by using humidity trays or low-wattage heating mats.

Additionally, when you bring plants inside during colder months, make sure to keep them away from places where there are drafts or radiators.

These places might make the environment too cold for the plants.

Inadequate sunlight

Monstera root rot is a pathogen that can be caused by inadequate sunlight. Symptoms of root rot caused in this way can include yellowing foliage, wilting, stunted growth, and bacterial ooze.

On average, non-variegated Monstera species require between 5 and 8 hours of soft radiant light per day to remain healthy, while variegated varieties will need at least 7 to 10 hours.

Adequate indirect sunlight will prevent inadequate exposure and promote the growth of the plant.

If your plant receives inadequate amounts of rays, supplement its exposure with a grow lamp in order to provide appropriate levels of light for optimal growth.

Remember, light intensity plays a pivotal role in decreasing soil moisture and drying the soil.

When light shines at its brightest, our soils experience faster periods of dryness due to decreased water content in the ground.

Overfertilizing the Monstera

Overfertilizing a Monstera can be harmful for the plant, resulting in root rot. A common example of an abiotic stress.

Overfertilizing will result in a buildup of salts at the bottom of the soil, causing roots to suck up too much water and nutrients, leading to root death.

Signs of Monstera root rot caused by overfertilizing include wilting leaves, yellowing leaves, or collapse of the plant.

To help prevent monstera root rot from overfertilizing, careful monitoring and measurement is important for ensuring that your Monstera receives adequate nutrition without being overfed.

Make sure to precisely follow the instructions listed on the fertilizer packaging and use fertilizer every few weeks at most; dilute to half strength if you’re reluctant to increase frequency more times than suggested.

Fungal Disease Infection

Fungal diseases are a type of infection that affects many plants. Understanding fungal root rot is key for anyone who grows plants.

These are the  most common fungal diseases that can cause Monstera root rot:

Phytophthora Root Rot

Phytophthora is a type of root-rotting fungus that attacks Monstera roots and cause quick deterioration.

The leaves on the plant may turn yellow, or brown and develop lesions. Additionally, the stem may become soggy and mushy as it starts to rot from the inside out.

The spread of this pathogen happens quickly, so it’s important to identify and treat the Monstera as soon as possible.

Pythium Root

Monsteras are vulnerable to the deterioration of their roots by certain types of Pythium fungi. Soggy conditions favor its growth, and some pests like fungus gnats may spread it to your plants.

Signs of infection are impeded growth, roots that become water-soaked and shed off to leave behind a hollow cylinder, crown rot, and in the worst cases, death.

Rhizoctonia Root Rot

This pathogen causes aerial blight and root rot which also affects the leaves and stems of monstera.

Wilting leaves and aerial web blight are common signs of this disease, as well as yellow cankers and lesions on the stems located at the soil level. Furthermore, roots can turn brown, become mushy and crumble.

Sclerotinia Stem Rot

Southern blight is a plant disease that causes damp lesions that cover the leaves and stems on the lower levels of your plant.

Wilting, yellowing leaves and the preference for warm wet conditions are the common signs of an infected plant. Upon inspection, you will observe white mats of fungus and sclerotia on the potting mix.

Fusarium Root Rot

Fusarium root rot is a soil-borne fungus that prefers to infect Monstera roots in warm, wet conditions.

It will slowly cause the plant to wilt and discolor with yellow patches, soggy stems, and mushy root systems. The leaves may also start to fall off.

How to Prevent Root Rot

The best way to prevent Monstera root rot is to take measures to ensure that your Monstera’s roots stay healthy and well-aerated.

Here are some tips for doing so:

Proper drainage

Monstera plants prefer moist soil, but not soggy or waterlogged soil. Make sure your monstera’s pot has proper drainage to make sure the roots stay aerated and don’t become saturated with water.

Also, be mindful of how much you are watering your Monstera. Check the top of the soil with your finger to see if it is dry before watering.

If the top of the soil is still damp, wait until it has dried out before watering again.

Do not reuse soil

Reusing soil can be a major cause of Monstera root rot. Old soil often contains pathogens and pests, which can harm the Monstera’s roots.

If you must reuse potting soil, make sure to sterilize it first by baking it in an oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.

Change your potting soil after every one and a half years to ensure your Monstera’s roots are healthy.

Disinfect pots before reusing

Before reusing a Monstera pot, make sure it is thoroughly cleaned. Use alcohol or vinegar or 10% bleach to do away with the pathogens.

Dry it in direct sunlight for further disinfection. Adding neem oil for antifungal and antibacterial protection.

Interesting: Do self-watering planters cause root rot?

Use the right soil mix

Monstera plants prefer a soil mix that is well-aerated and drains easily. Use a combination of peat moss, perlite, and coco coir to create the ideal Monstera potting mix.

Let the soil dry before watering

Allow the Monstera’s soil to dry before watering it again. Check the topsoil with your finger to see if it is still damp soil or dry.

Wait until the top of the soil becomes dry before you water your Monstera again.

How to Treat Monstera Root Rot

The most important step in treating Monstera root rot is to identify the cause of the issue and determine what type of rot has infected your Monstera.

Once you have identified Monstera root rot and diagnosed the type of infection present in your Monstera plant, it is important to act quickly to address the problem.

To treat root rot, use the following steps:

Step 1: Rinse the roots first

Start by rinsing the Monstera roots in lukewarm water and then gently removing the affected or damaged parts.

This step will help to get rid of any existing fungus, bacteria, and contaminated soil.

Step 2: Remove infected roots

After rinsing the Monstera roots, trim off any discolored or damaged leaves and stems. This will help to promote better airflow throughout the Monstera plant and reduce further infection.

To trim your Monstera roots, use a sharp and sterilized pair of scissors or pruning shear. Cut off the damaged roots as close to the crown (base) of the Monstera plant as possible.

Remember to disinfect your cutting objects using rubbing alcohol before and after pruning.

Step 3: Allow the roots to dry before repotting

Allow the Monstera roots to air dry for two days before repotting them. This will help to prevent further infection or infestation from occurring in the Monstera roots.

You can also sterilize your Monstera roots by soaking them in a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water for an hour prior to repotting.

Step 4: Repot the plant

After allowing the Monstera roots to air dry, repot them into a new container filled with sterilized potting soil. Use well-draining soil that is free from pests and disease-causing organisms.

If necessary, Monstera plants can also be repotted into a larger container to give the Monstera roots more room to grow.

Make sure to use a pot with good drainage holes and use adequate amounts of soil to keep the Monstera plant stable.

Step 5: Prune the harmed leaves

Once Monstera roots have been repotted, prune any leaves or stems that have been affected by Monstera root rot.

This will help to reduce the amount of spread and improve airflow throughout the Monstera plant.

Again, because the plant has fewer roots to support its growth, you will need to prune your Monstera regularly to ensure that it continues to thrive.

Step 6: Place your Monstera in indirect, bright sunshine

Finally, place your Monstera in an area that gets indirect, bright sunlight for a few hours each day.

Monstera plants love receiving light but need to be protected from harsh direct sunlight and windy conditions.

When plants don’t get enough light, they can’t take in as much water. This makes them more likely to get Monstera deliciosa root rot.

Allowing your Monstera to bask in the sun will not only protect it from decaying, but it will also enable it to attain greater heights and growth.

Your plant can become larger and healthier when exposed to direct sunlight.  If a plant gets enough sunlight, it can heal more quickly.

Step 7: Propagate new Monstera

Propagating Monstera from healthy cuttings is another option for restoring Monstera root rot.

Start by cutting off a few Monstera stems that are free from infection and have active growth buds at the end.

Leave them in water or directly into a pot of soil to allow new roots to form.

How Do You Fix Root Rot in Your Monstera Without Repotting?

1. By early detection

Early detection is key to Monstera Root Rot treatment. Inspect Monsteras regularly for discoloration of leaves, wilting, and yellowing.

Upon detection, separate the affected plant from other Monsteras to prevent the further spread of infection. Minimize your plant’s water consumption promptly to assess how it adapts.

If root rot is still in its initial stages, you may be able to fix root rot for the entire plant. If the damage is irreparable, potting might be your best option.

2. By propagation

Propagating Monstera plants is a great way to treat Monstera Root Rot without repotting.

This method allows you to isolate the infected roots from the healthy roots, separating them into two different pots.

When propagating Monsteras with root rot, be sure to select a healthy stem and cut it down to size.

Gently wash away any visible rot and remove all affected roots. Place the Monstera in a fresh pot with new soil, taking care not to bury the stem too deep.

You can also use water to propagate Monstera; in case you are wondering, can monstera grow in water? This will allow you to keep the Monstera in its original pot.

3. By applying fungicides

The application of fungicides is another method to treat Monstera root rot. You can use a variety of commercially available products, such as mancozeb or thiophanate methyl.

Be sure to read the instructions carefully and apply the fungicide according to them.

When applying fungicides, wear protective gear and avoid contact with your skin. Make sure to also keep the Monstera away from children and pets to avoid any adverse effects.

Natural Fungicide for Black Root Rot (Types and How to Apply)

1. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a natural fungicide that can be used to treat Monstera root rot and other fungal diseases.

It contains antifungal properties that have been proven to help eradicate fungi from the roots of Monstera plants.

Not only does cinnamon ward off decay in healthy cells, but it also stimulates the development of new roots.

To apply, mix 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon with 1 gallon of water in a spray bottle and then use it as a spray on the Monstera’s roots.

2. Hydrogen peroxide

Another fungicide, cleaning agent, and disinfectant for Monstera root rot is hydrogen peroxide.

Simply mix 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide with a cup of water and use it to drench the Monstera’s soil.

After trimming your monstera, apply the product to the roots for maximum impact. You can also use it as an oxidation treatment when watering plants.

Hydrogen peroxide’s extra oxygen molecule quickly battles against the anaerobic environment, which gives root rot a place to thrive.

Do this once every two weeks until signs of root rot are gone. Be sure to wear gloves and eye protection while applying this solution.

3. Neem oil

Neem oil is also a natural fungicide that can be used to treat Monstera root rot and other fungal diseases.

It has antifungal and antibacterial properties that make it effective in preventing the spread of infection.

Simply mix 1 teaspoon of neem oil with 1 teaspoon of liquid soap and ¼ cup of warm water. Apply the mixture to the Monstera’s affected areas with a cotton swab.

This should be done every two weeks until signs of root rot are no longer present.

4. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has anti-fungal properties and can help reduce the spread of infection.

To make your own apple cider vinegar solution, mix equal parts of water and apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle.

Spray this on Monstera’s affected areas every two weeks until signs of root rot are gone.

5. Baking soda

Baking soda helps in treating Monstera root rot by destroying the fungal spores that cause it.

Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 cups of water and apply it directly to the Monstera’s affected areas with a cotton swab. You should also sprinkle some baking soda on the Monstera’s soil.

Root Rot Vs Healthy

Root rot can be a difficult affliction to diagnose because it often carries similar symptoms to those of a healthy root system.

The major differences between root rot and healthy root are mainly detected through hue and texture.

Symptoms of root rot often include dark, mushy roots with a greyish or blackish tint and an off-putting odor.

On the other hand, a healthy root will have a tan color with crisp edges, giving off no strange odor.

If you notice your root system does not match these criteria, you should inspect more closely for root rot immediately and take action according to what you find. Early detection is key in military winning the battle against root rot.

FAQs

Can Monstera recover from root rot?

Yes, Monstera can recover from root rot. The first step in treating Monstera root rot is to remove any infected roots using sterilized tools. After removing the affected roots, make sure that Monstera is planted in soil that drains well. This means that there is not too much moisture in the soil and there is enough air moving around.

How do you deal with Monstera in water root rot?

  • Rinse the roots
  • Remove the infected roots
  • Allow the roots to air dry
  • Repot the plant in new soil
  • Prune the harmed leaves
  • Place your monstera in indirect bright sunlight
  • Propagate new monstera from new cutting

Is it okay to place moss on top of the soil of my monstera plant?

Yes, it can be OK to place moss on top of the soil of your Monstera plant. Moss helps retain moisture, which Monstera plants require for healthy root growth. However, adding too much moss can cause Monstera Root Rot, a condition caused by overly moist soil and wet roots that are unable to breathe.

What is the best way to water Monstera and prevent root rot?

Monstera plants prefer their soil to be moist, but not soggy. You should water your Monstera deeply and then wait until the top few inches of soil are dry before watering again. Overwatering can cause Monstera root rot, so make sure to check the moisture level in the soil regularly.

My monster plant doesn’t have a lot of roots and some wrinkling at the leaf base; is this root rot?

If the roots appear mushy and discolored, then it is likely Monstera root rot. Monstera root rot is a fungal disease that’s caused by overwatering and poor drainage. Symptoms of Monstera root rot include yellowing leaves, wilting, shriveled roots, and mushy or rotten spots on the stem and leaves.

Are red-ish roots on a monstera plant ok? Or is that root rot?

Reddish roots are normal. As long as the roots feel firm and not soggy, there is no need for concern. Root rot are soft and mushy and will often have a foul odor.

What causes Monstera aerial root rot?

Monstera aerial root rot is caused by a fungal infection. Fungal infections can occur in Monsteras that are over-watered, kept in overly humid conditions, or have poor drainage. Monstera plants are particularly susceptible to this type of root rot due to their thick foliage and the fact that they tend to hold moisture close to the roots.

My monstera plant easily snapped off/fell out of the pot, is that root rot?

Yes, snapping off could be a sign of root rot. It could also mean that the plant has outgrown its pot and the roots have become constrained, leading them to snap or break off when pulled.

Is a drooping leaf sign of root rot?

No. A drooping leaf isn’t a sign of root rot. Signs of root rot are discoloration, wilting and/or a rotten smell at the base of Monstera.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Monstera Root Rot is a serious issue requiring proactive action. To avoid this common houseplant disease, it is important to be preventive.

This means that you should know how to recognize the disease, how to treat it, and how to stop it from spreading. If you do not stop the disease, it can destroy your plants.

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