Monstera Root Rot: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

By | Updated November 16, 2023

To prevent and treat root rot in monstera plants, avoid overwatering and ensure good drainage. Symptoms include yellowing leaves, slow growth, and mushy roots. Remove infected roots and replant them in fresh soil while avoiding over-fertilizing and promoting good air circulation.

The Monstera, also known as the Swiss cheese plant or split-leaf philodendron, is a popular houseplant due to its attractive foliage and hardy nature.

Despite being relatively easy to care for, Monstera can be susceptible to root rot if not given proper attention.

This guide will provide an overview of the causes, symptoms, and treatment of monstera root rot so you can keep your plant healthy and thriving!

Causes of Root Rot

Monstera plants are often prone to root rot, but understanding the causes can help prevent it.


One of the most common reasons your Monstera may be suffering from root rot is overwatering. 

When your Monstera’s roots are constantly submerged in water, they become oxygen deprived and start to rot.

Also, an overwatered Monstera plant is more susceptible to fungal and bacterial infections.

To prevent root rot from overwatering, make sure to check the soil before watering. If it’s still moist, wait a few days until you water again.

Poor Drainage

To thrive, Monstera plants need well-draining potting soil with good air circulation. 

But if the pot or container you’re using has poor drainage, the water can’t escape and causes your Monstera’s roots to become waterlogged.

This leads to root rot which can quickly spread throughout the entire plant if left untreated. 

To prevent this from happening, make sure your pot or container has adequate drainage holes so that excess water can easily flow out.

Soil Issues

Monstera plants need a potting soil that is light and airy in order to thrive. If your plant isn’t in the right type of soil, it can cause root rot. 

Soils that are too dense or don’t have enough organic matter can lead to soggy soil and root rot. 

In addition, potting soils with low pH levels can also contribute to root rot issues.

To ensure your Monstera has the best possible environment to grow, use a well-draining potting mix specifically designed for tropical plants like Monsteras.


Too much fertilizer can be just as bad as not enough when it comes to caring for Monsteras.

Fertilizers contain a lot of salts and minerals, which can accumulate in the soil and damage your Monstera roots. This can lead to root rot and even kill the plant if it is not caught in time.

To prevent excessive fertilization of your Monstera plant, apply a well-balanced liquid fertilizer just once a month throughout its active growth phase.

Fungal and Bacterial Infections

Fungal and bacterial infections can also cause root rot in Monsteras. 

These diseases thrive in moist environments, so if your Monstera’s roots are constantly wet, it can create an ideal environment for them to spread.

To prevent root rot from fungal and bacterial infections, make sure your plant is in a well-ventilated area with good air circulation. In addition, avoid overwatering and ensure the potting soil drains properly.

Growing a Monstera Inside a Big Pot

Another cause of root rot in Monstera plants is growing them in a pot that’s too big.

When Monsteras are grown in pots that are too large, it can be difficult for the soil to dry out properly, leading to root rot due to waterlogging.

It also makes it harder for the roots to absorb nutrients, so your Monstera won’t grow as well.

To prevent root rot, make sure you choose a pot slightly bigger than your Monstera’s root ball.

Low Temperature

Monsteras prefer warm climates, so a cold environment can affect their growth and lead to root rot. 

Cold temperatures cause the roots to become waterlogged, making them more vulnerable to fungal and bacterial infections. 

To keep your Monstera healthy, make sure it’s in a warm and humid room with temperatures between 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Not Enough Sunlight

Lack of light can indirectly cause root rot in Monstera plants.

When a Monstera does not receive enough light, it will not be able to use water efficiently, and the soil will remain damp for extended periods. This dampness creates an anaerobic environment that encourages the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi, leading to root rot.

To ensure your Monstera gets enough sunlight, place it in a spot with at least 6 hours of bright indirect light daily.

You can also use grow lights to supplement the natural light if needed.

Symptoms of Monstera Root Rot

Now that you know the common causes of root rot, it’s also important to be familiar with the symptoms.

Here are some Monstera root rot signs to watch out for:

  1. Yellowing Leaves: If your Monstera leaves start turning yellow, it could be a sign of root rot. When roots rot, the plant struggles to transport nutrients and water up to the leaves.
  2. Wilting: If your Monstera leaves are wilting despite having been watered recently, it could be a sign of root rot. This is because the rotting roots can’t absorb enough water to keep the plant hydrated.
  3. Stunted Growth: If your Monstera isn’t growing as quickly as you expect it to or its growth has stopped abruptly, root rot could be the cause. Healthy roots are essential for a Monstera to take in nutrients and grow properly.
  4. Root Discoloration: Check the color of your Monstera’s roots. Healthy roots should be light-colored and firm. If they are dark, mushy, or discolored in any way, it could be a sign of root rot.
  5. Foul Smell: If your Monstera’s soil smells musty or rotten, it could be a sign of root rot. The smell comes from the decaying roots.
  6. Black or Brown Spots: includes the presence of dark black or brown markings on the leaves and stems of the Monstera plant. This usually indicates a fungal infection that has spread to the plant due to the rotting roots.
  7. Soft Leaves: If the leaves of your Monstera are soft and limp, it could be a sign of root rot. Healthy leaves should be firm and sturdy.
  8. Mushy Roots: When you examine the roots of your Monstera, they should be firm and light-colored. If they are mushy or dark, it could indicate root rot.
  9. Thinning Stems: Healthy stems should be thick and sturdy. If your Monstera’s stems become thin and weak, this could be a sign of root rot as the rotting roots cannot provide the necessary support.
  10. Dark and Mushy Stems: Another sign of root rot is if your Monstera’s stems become dark and mushy. This is a surefire indicator that the roots are rotting and have spread the infection to other parts of the plant.

How to Prevent Root Rot in Monstera Plants

Prevention is key when it comes to monstera root rot. Here are nine tips you can use to stop your beloved plant from succumbing to this disease:

  1. Proper Watering Techniques – The key is to water only when the soil feels dry. If there is any standing water in the pot, avoid further watering until the top layer of soil has dried out.
  2. Good Drainage – Make sure your plant’s pot has plenty of drainage holes to allow excess water to escape and air to circulate, which can help prevent fungal growth.
  3. Use of the Right Soil – Use a soil mix that is light and well-aerated, such as a mixture of peat moss and perlite. This type of soil helps to keep the roots dry, reducing the risk of root rot.
  4. Quarantine Affected Plants – If you have discovered a monstera plant with root rot, remove it immediately from other plants in your collection, as fungus can spread quickly.
  5. Treat Healthy Roots with Fungicides – To protect your healthy plants, you can use a fungicide to help prevent root rot from occurring.
  6. Repot Regularly – Plants should be repotted every year or two, as the soil becomes compacted over time and can impede drainage.
  7. Improving Drainage – Add some perlite or other coarse material to your potting mix to improve drainage. This will help keep moisture away from the roots.
  8. Aerating the Soil – To make sure your plant’s roots get enough oxygen, mix some coarse material into the soil and stir it regularly.
  9. Provide Plenty of Airflow – Ensure your plant is getting plenty of air circulation, as this will help keep fungus and bacteria at bay.
  10. Monitor for Early Signs – Keep an eye out for signs of root rot, such as yellowing leaves or wilting. If you notice any of these symptoms, take action promptly to address them.

Following these tips and monitoring your plant regularly can help keep monstera root rot at bay and ensure a healthy harvest!

How to Treat a Monstera with Root Rot

If your Monstera has been affected by root rot, there are a few steps you can take to help it recover.

  1. Stop Watering Immediately: The first and most important step is to stop watering your Monstera for a few days. This suspension of watering can help the roots dry out, slowing down the progress of root rot.
  2. Prune Affected Parts: If your plant’s leaves, stem, or any parts of the roots are visibly discolored, it’s best to prune them off immediately. This will help keep the rot from spreading further.
  3. Repot Your Plant: In most cases, the plant needs to be transferred to a pot with fresh soil. It’s important to use a light and airy soil mix that doesn’t hold too much moisture. Also, make sure the new pot has plenty of drainage holes at the bottom.
  4. Treat with Fungicide: If the root rot is severe, you can treat the plant with a fungicide. This may help to reduce the spread of fungi and improve the health of your Monstera roots.
  5. Monitor Your Plant: After taking all these steps, it’s essential that you monitor your plant closely for any signs of root rot. If you catch it early enough, these treatments should help your Monstera recover and thrive again.

By following these steps for treating Monstera root rot, your beloved houseplant can stand a chance of getting back to its healthy and vigorous self.

With some patience and proper care, you can give your Monstera the best chance to survive and thrive.

How To Repot A Monstera Plant to Treat Root Rot

Repotting your Monstera is one of the best ways to treat root rot. This will give the plant a fresh start and prevent further damage.

Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Prepare the New Pot – Choose a new pot that is roughly an inch or two bigger than the previous one. Make sure it has several drainage holes at the bottom.
  2. Prepare the Soil – Choose a well-draining soil mix that is specifically designed for tropical plants. You can also mix in some perlite or sand to improve drainage. Avoid using heavy soils or those that retain too much moisture.
  3. Remove the Plant from the Old Pot – Gently remove the plant from the old pot by loosening the soil around the roots. Be careful not to damage the roots.
  4. Inspect the Roots – Check the roots for signs of rot. If the roots are brown, mushy, and smell bad, they are likely affected by root rot. Trim off dead, brown, or mushy roots using clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears.
  5. Repot the Plant – Place a layer of fresh soil mix in the bottom of the new pot, then position the plant in the center of the pot. Add more soil around the sides and gently press it down. Ensure the soil level is about an inch below the pot’s rim.
  6. Don’t Water Immediately – Wait a few days before watering the plant to allow the roots to settle in and recover from any damage. After a few days, water the plant thoroughly but avoid overwatering. Allow the soil to dry slightly before watering again.
  7. Monitor the Plant – Keep an eye on the plant for any signs of stress or further root rot. Make sure to provide proper lighting and humidity to help the plant recover.

Natural Fungicides That Treat Root Rot

Fungicides are chemical compounds used to treat fungal diseases such as root rot.

However, many gardeners prefer natural fungicides that use ingredients derived from plants or other natural sources.


Cinnamon is a common spice that is effective in fighting against a variety of fungi, including the ones that cause root rot.

Simply sprinkle a small amount of cinnamon powder onto the soil around the base of the plant, or mix it with water to create a spray.

Cinnamon is gentle on the plant and safe to use regularly.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a natural antifungal and antibacterial agent commonly used to treat various plant diseases, including root rot.

Mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide with 3 parts water and apply it to the soil around the plant, taking care to avoid the foliage.

Repeat this treatment once a week until the root rot has cleared up.

Neem Oil

Neem oil is a popular natural pesticide that is derived from the seeds of the neem tree.

It has powerful antifungal and antibacterial properties, making it an effective treatment for root rot.

Mix a few drops of neem oil with water and apply it to the soil, taking care to avoid the plant’s leaves.

You can repeat this treatment once a week.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a natural acid that can help create an environment that is hostile to fungi.

Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 4 parts water and apply it to the soil around the plant.

You can repeat this treatment once a week until the root rot has cleared up.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a natural fungicide that can help prevent and treat various fungal diseases, including root rot.

Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 quart of water and apply it to the soil around the plant. Repeated once a week until the root rot has cleared up.

Can Monstera Recover from Root Rot?

Yes, Monstera plants can recover from root rot, but it depends on the severity of the root rot and how quickly the problem is addressed.

If the root rot is caught early, before it has spread to the majority of the roots, the plant has a better chance of recovery.

One way to check if your Monstera has root rot is to gently remove the plant from its pot and check the roots.

Healthy roots should be firm and white, while rotting roots will be soft, brown, and have a foul odor.

To help your Monstera recover from root rot, it’s essential to repot the plant into a new pot with fresh, well-draining soil.

Be sure to trim away any dead or rotting roots and avoid overwatering the plant going forward.

It’s important to note that recovering from root rot can take time, and the Monstera may not bounce back immediately.

The plant may drop some leaves or appear to be struggling for a while, but with proper care, it should eventually recover and begin to grow new healthy roots.

Monstera plants can recover from root rot but require quick action and proper care.

Repotting the plant into fresh soil, trimming away dead roots, and avoiding overwatering can all help the plant recover.

However, prevention is always the best course of action, so be sure to provide your Monstera with well-draining soil and proper watering practices to prevent root rot from occurring in the first place.

Final Thoughts

Root rot can be a serious problem but can also be treated. With the right knowledge and tools, you can save your monstera plant from root rot and get it thriving again!

All you have to do is pay attention to the signs of an issue, know how to prevent problems in the future, and take immediate action when necessary.

Remember, being proactive is the best way to avoid serious root rot issues in your monstera.

If you notice any signs of root rot or anything else wrong with your plant, take action right away. 

With a little bit of effort and care, you can keep your monstera healthy and happy for years to come!

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