How To Save a Pilea From Root Rot (A Complete Guide)

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Root rot is a common problem for houseplant growers, and it can be especially devastating for Pilea plants, commonly known as the Money Plant and UFO Plant.

If you suspect that your Pilea has root rot, it’s essential to act quickly.

This guide will show you everything you need to know about saving a Pilea from root rot, including what causes it, how to spot the symptoms, and how to treat it.

What Is Root Rot?

Root rot is a type of plant disease that is caused by fungi or bacteria.

These organisms enter the plant through the roots and begin to grow, often causing the roots to rot away.

Root rot can be caused by various fungi, including Fusarium and Pythium.

Fusarium is a common soil fungus that grows on decaying or dying plant tissues, and pythium is a bacterial disease commonly transmitted by fungus gnats.

What Causes Pilea Root Rot?

Several different factors can contribute to Pilea root rot, including:

Overwatering

This is by far the most common cause of root rot.

Overwatering results from watering the Pilea plant too often or giving it too much water at a time.

This can cause the roots to become waterlogged, which prevents them from getting the oxygen they need to stay healthy.

When a Pilea is overwatered, the roots are constantly wet and begin to suffocate.

The lack of oxygen prevents the roots from functioning correctly, and they begin to die.

Overwatering can also lead to fungal and bacterial growth, further contributing to root rot.

Underwatering

While overwatering is the most common cause of root rot, underwatering can also contribute to the problem.

Underwatering your Pilea can stress the plant and make it more susceptible to disease.

The roots need water to stay healthy, and if they don’t get enough, they will begin to die.

This can lead to several problems, including root rot.

Poor Drainage

If the roots of your Pilea are constantly sitting in water, they will begin to rot.

It’s essential to ensure that your houseplant is in a pot with good drainage so the excess water can drain away from the roots.

If the roots are constantly wet, they will eventually die.

The pot you use for your Pilea should have drainage holes in the bottom to allow excess water to escape.

If it doesn’t, you can drill holes in the bottom of the pot yourself.

To provide good drainage, you need to use a well-draining potting mix.

A general rule of thumb is to use a mix that is one part sand to two parts potting soil.

To improve drainage, you can also add perlite or vermiculite to the potting mix.

Compacted Soil

If the soil around your Pilea’s roots is too tight, it can prevent the roots from getting the oxygen they need to stay alive.

This can lead to root rot.

It’s essential to loosen the soil around your Pilea’s roots to ensure they can breathe.

You can do this by breaking up the soil with a fork or trowel.

Root Damage

If the roots of your Pilea are damaged, they will be more susceptible to disease.

Damage to the roots can occur if you accidentally damage them when repotting the plant or if pests damage them.

Once the roots are damaged, they will be more susceptible to fungal and bacterial diseases, including root rot.

Fungal and Bacterial Diseases

As we mentioned earlier, root rot is often caused by fungi or bacteria. These organisms can enter the Pilea plant through the roots and begin to grow, causing the roots to rot away.

Fungi and bacteria can also enter the plant through wounds in the roots.

Once inside, they grow and multiply, causing the roots to rot.

Different fungi and bacteria can cause root rot, including Fusarium, Pythium, and Phytophthora.

These organisms thrive in wet, humid conditions, so if your Pilea is being kept in an environment that is too wet, it is more likely to develop root rot.

What Does Pilea Root Rot Look Like?

Root rot symptoms can be challenging to spot, especially in the early stages of the disease.

However, there are a few tell-tale signs that you can look for, including:

Yellow Leaves

One of the first signs of root rot is yellowing leaves.

This is caused by the plant’s inability to take up nutrients from the soil.

As the roots rot, they become less effective at absorbing nutrients from the soil, which causes the Pilea leaves to turn yellow.

Yellowing leaves are often one of the first signs that something is wrong with your houseplant.

Wilting Leaves

Another symptom of root rot is Pilea drooping and wilting leaves.

This is caused by the plant’s inability to take up water from the soil.

As the roots rot, they become less effective at absorbing water from the soil, which causes the leaves to wilt.

Brown Spots on the Leaves

Another symptom of root rot is brown spots on the leaves.

These spots are caused by the fungi or bacteria causing the root rot.

As the fungi or bacteria grow, they produce toxins that can damage the Pilea plant leaves.

The brown spots are usually circular and can be of any size.

Dry and Shriveled Leaves

As the root rot progresses, the plant leaves will begin to dry out and shrivel.

This is caused by the plant not being able to take up water from the soil.

The leaves will become dry and brittle, eventually falling off the plant.

Pale Leaves

As the root rot progresses, the plant leaves will begin to pale.

This is caused by the plant not being able to take up nutrients from the soil.

The leaves will become pale and will eventually fall off the plant.

Soft and Mushy Stems

One of the final symptoms of root rot is soft and mushy stems.

This is caused by the plant not being able to take up water from the soil.

As the roots rot, they become less effective at absorbing water from the soil, which causes the stems to become soft and mushy.

Soil with a Foul Odor

Another symptom of root rot is soil that has a foul odor.

This is caused by the fungi or bacteria causing the root rot.

As the fungi or bacteria grow, they release toxins into the soil that can cause it to smell bad.

Mushy and Black Roots

One of the final symptoms of root rot is mushy and black roots.

This is caused by the fungi or bacteria causing the root rot.

As the fungi or bacteria grow, they will cause the roots to rot away.

The roots will become mushy and black and eventually fall off the plant.

Stunted Growth

One of the long-term effects of root rot is stunted growth.

As the roots rot, they become less effective at absorbing nutrients and water from the soil.

This can cause the plant to stop growing or to grow very slowly.

How To Treat Pilea Root Rot

If you think your Pilea has root rot, there are a few things you can do to treat it.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to treat Pilea root rot:

1. Remove the Plant From the Pot and Inspect the Roots

First, remove the Pilea plant from the pot and inspect the roots.

If you see any mushy or black roots, those roots are most likely affected by root rot.

2. Cut Away the Affected Roots

Once you have identified the affected roots, you must cut them away.

Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut away the affected roots.

Make sure to cut away any roots that are mushy or black.

Be careful not to damage the healthy roots.

3. Wash the Roots With Water

After cutting the affected roots away, you will need to wash the roots with water.

This will help to remove any dirt or debris that may be on the roots.

4. Discard the Soil and Roots

Once you have cut away the affected roots, you will need to discard the soil and roots.

Do not try to salvage the soil or roots, as they may be infected with the fungi or bacteria that caused the root rot.

5. Clean the Pot and Put Fresh Soil in It

After you have discarded the old soil and roots, you need to clean the pot and put fresh soil in it.

Use a mild soap and water solution to clean the pot.

Make sure to rinse the pot well so that no soap residue is left behind.

Once the pot is clean, fill it with fresh, sterile potting mix.

6. Place the Plant in the Pot and Water It Lightly

Once you have put fresh soil in the pot, you can place the plant back in it.

Water lightly until the soil is moist.

Do not water too much, as this can cause the roots to rot.

7. Place the Plant in a Bright Indirect Light

After you have watered the plant, you need to place it in a location with bright indirect sunlight.

Avoid placing the plant in direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves.

8. Monitor the Plant Closely and Water When Needed

Once you have placed the plant in bright indirect light, you will need to monitor it closely and water it when needed.

The soil should be kept moist but not wet.

Water the plant when the top inch of soil is dry.

How To Prevent Your Pilea From Getting Root Rot

There are a few things that you can do to prevent your Pilea from getting root rot.

Here are a few tips on how to prevent root rot:

1. Use Well-Draining Soil

One of the best ways to prevent root rot is to use well-draining soil.

Soil draining well will not hold water for too long, preventing the roots from waterlogging.

2. Water the Plant When Needed

Another way to prevent root rot is to water the plant when needed.

The soil should be kept moist but not wet.

Water the plant when the top inch of soil is dry.

3. Avoid Overwatering

One of the most common causes of root rot is overwatering.

It is essential to avoid overwatering your Pilea, as this can cause the roots to rot.

4. Use a Pot With Good Drainage

Another way to prevent root rot is using a good drainage pot.

Pots with good drainage have holes in the bottom that allow water to drain out of the pot. This prevents the roots from getting waterlogged.

5. Place the Plant in Bright Indirect Sunlight

Another way to prevent root rot is to place the plant in a location with bright indirect sunlight.

This will help to prevent the roots from getting too wet.

Avoid placing the plant in direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves.

6. Provide Good Air Circulation

Another way to prevent root rot is to provide good air circulation.

Good air circulation helps prevent fungi and bacteria from growing.

This can be done by placing the plant in a location with good airflow or using a fan.

7. Prune Dead or Dying Roots

Another way to prevent root rot is to prune dead or dying roots.

If you see any mushy or black roots, you will need to cut them away.

8. Check the Roots Regularly

Another way to prevent root rot is to check the roots regularly.

You will need to check the roots every few weeks to ensure they are healthy.

If you see any signs of root rot, you will need to take action immediately.

Caring For Your Pilea After Root Rot

Once you have removed the Pilea plant from the pot and cleaned off the roots, you need to take extra special care of your Pilea.

The first few days after treatment are critical, and you must carefully water your plant.

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Water your plant with clean water. If you can, use distilled or filtered water.
  2. Allow the plant to drain completely after watering.
  3. Do not water again until the soil is dry to the touch.
  4. Place the plant in a bright location but out of direct sunlight.
  5. Keep an eye on your plant, and adjust your watering schedule as needed.
  6. Don’t fertilize your plant for at least a month.
  7. Keep an eye out for new growth. This is a good sign that your plant is on the road to recovery!

You will need to take extra care of your plant after root rot.

This includes ensuring that you water it carefully, place it in a sunny location, and don’t fertilize it for at least a month.

By taking these extra steps, you can help your plant recover from root rot and get back to its healthy self!

Final Thoughts

Pilea root rot is a severe problem, but your plant can recover and thrive with some extra care.

Just be patient and don’t give up hope!

With time and effort, your indoor plant will be back to its old self in no time.