Recognize and dissolve root rot immediately

Maybe you’re familiar with it, maybe not yet: root rot. If you and your watering can are best friends, you may use it too often.

And the problem of the multiple use of that watering can? Too much water causes the roots to rot. How can you recognize and dissolve root rot?


  • Indoor plants with (probably) root rot
  • Scissors or knife
  • Old towel
  • A water tap nearby
  • Flowerpot with fresh potting soil

Dissolve and treat root rot

The biggest problem when taking care of houseplants is water. Lots of water. If you are an enthusiastic water giver, pay close attention. Root rot can occur in all kinds of plants. From a Calathea to a Yucca and Aloe Vera. You are never safe from root rot.

Root rot is caused by giving too much water. Because the plant cannot absorb it itself, all the water sinks to the bottom of the flowerpot.

If water has nowhere to go, it will look for a place to go itself. In most cases all this water goes into the roots. As soon as too much water is absorbed by the roots, root rot will occur. The roots will rot, break down and at some point your houseplant will no longer be able to absorb nutrition through the roots. At such a moment your houseplant will unfortunately give up.

Recognizing root rot

How can you recognize root rot? You can recognize root rot on plants by the discolored yellow leaves. However, it is also possible that the leaves of the plant turn brown and dry out.

With root rot, yellow spots often appear on the leaf first, and then the leaf begins to hang limp. It is also possible that the leaf falls off. In this case, the yellow spots turn brown and release the leaf.

In the case of a cactus or succulent plant, root rot can be recognized by a soft trunk or stem. This softness will eventually look snotty. Not such a fine sight!

It is best to check the soil of the plant. Stick your finger into the soil and feel how moist it is. Does the soil appear to be quite wet? That could be root rot.

Dissolve root rot in 3 steps

Step 1: Repot the plant

Do you suspect that your houseplant is suffering from root rot? The best thing you can do is carefully remove the plant from its flowerpot. When doing so, remove the soil from the roots. You can do this by carefully shaking your plant, so that the soil comes loose. It is not a problem if all the soil does not come loose. As long as you can see the roots!

Step 2: Cut off the roots

Plant loosened up? Then check if the roots are damaged. You can easily see this! Healthy roots are firm and have a white or brown colour. Rotten roots anyway? You can carefully remove the unhealthy roots with a clean knife. Be careful not to touch the healthy roots with the knife, so that you don’t spread bacteria.

Step 3: Cut your plant in half

After you have removed all the unhealthy roots you can cut off a part of the plant. By removing some parts of the plant, the ratio between the roots and plant will be in order again. Make sure you have a clean knife, or clean your used knife well! With a used knife you can transfer the wrong bacteria to the healthy roots. Especially if you just cut off the rotten roots. In this case it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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Tip! Get plants in water

Are you afraid that your indoor plant will suffer from root rot again? You can also choose to put your indoor plants, just like cuttings, in water. Would you like to try it? First remove all the soil from the roots. Any remaining soil can be carefully rinsed away under a tap or with the shower head. Then put the plant in a vase with enough water. Change this water once in a while so that no algae is formed. You don’t have to worry about it anymore! This also applies to a terrarium. Perhaps also a tip if you don't have green thumbs!

Extra note: not every plant likes to live in water. Find out which plants like to llive in water, and which not.

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