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

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Pothos plants (Devil’s ivy) are very popular houseplants, and for a good reason!

They are easy to care for and can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions.

However, even the tough pothos can fall victim to root rot if not cared for properly.

Root rot is a severe condition that can kill your pothos plant if left untreated.

Here’s what you need to know about root rot in pothos plants, including how to spot it and what to do if your plant is affected.

What is Root Rot?

Root rot is a disease that affects the roots of your plant, causing them to rot.

This can be caused by several different fungi, including Fusarium and Pythium.

Fusarium is a fungus that thrives on dead or dying plant tissues, while pythium is a bacterial infection carried by fungus gnats.

Root rot is often the result of overwatering, as this can create the perfect conditions for the fungus to thrive.

Your plant’s roots will start to turn brown and mushy, and the plant itself will begin to wilt.

If left untreated, root rot can kill your pothos plant.

What Causes Root Rot?

There are a few different things that can cause root rot in pothos plants.

The most common causes are:

Overwatering

Overwatering is the most common cause of root rot.

Pothos plants prefer to grow in moist, but not wet, soil.

If you water your plant too often, the roots will start to rot.

The roots cannot get the oxygen they need to survive.

To avoid overwatering your pothos plant, only water it when the top inch of soil is dry.

If you’re unsure when to water, it’s better to err on the side of too little rather than too much.

Poor Drainage

Pothos plants need well-draining soil to thrive.

If the soil doesn’t drain properly, the roots will sit in water and start to rot.

To ensure that your pothos plant has well-draining soil, mix perlite or sand into the potting mix.

This will help to improve drainage and prevent root rot.

You also need to make sure that your pot has drainage holes in the bottom.

If it doesn’t, the water will just sit in the pot, and the roots will start to rot.

Root Damage

Root damage can also lead to root rot.

This can happen if you damage the roots when repotting your plant or if pests damage them.

When the roots are damaged, they are more susceptible to fungal infections.

To avoid damaging the roots, be careful when repotting your pothos plant.

Use a sharp knife to remove damaged or dead roots before repotting.

Fungal Infections

Fungal infections are another common cause of root rot.

These can be caused by several different fungi, including Fusarium and Pythium.

Fungi thrive in wet, humid conditions, so overwatering is the most common way to contract a fungal infection.

To avoid fungal infections, ensure you only water your pothos plant when the top inch of soil is dry.

You should also ensure that the pot has drainage holes to allow any excess water to drain away.

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats are small, dark-colored flies that are commonly found near houseplants.

While they are not harmful to humans, they can carry a bacterial infection called pythium, which can cause root rot.

Fungus gnats are most often found in damp, humid conditions.

To avoid them, ensure that your pothos plant is in a well-ventilated room and that the pot has drainage holes to allow any excess water to drain away.

What Does Pothos Root Rot Look Like?

Pothos root rot can be difficult to spot because it often starts small and gets worse over time.

Although most signs of root rot can indicate other problems, there are a few key things to look for that will help you identify it.

Some of the most common signs of root rot in pothos plants are:

Wilting Leaves

If the leaves of your pothos plant start to wilt, it could be a sign of root rot.

This is because the roots cannot take up water from the soil, so the plant starts to wilt.

Yellow Leaves

If the leaves of your pothos plant start to turn yellow, it could be a sign of root rot.

This is because the roots cannot take up nutrients from the potting soil, so the leaves start to turn yellow.

Brown Leaves

If the leaves of your pothos plant start to turn brown, it could be a sign of root rot.

This is because the roots cannot take up water from the soil, so the pothos leaves start to turn brown.

Dry and Shriveled Leaves

If the leaves of your pothos plant start to dry out and shrivel, it could be a sign of root rot.

This is because the roots cannot take up water from the soil, so the leaves start to dry out and shrivel.

Brown or Black Spots on the Roots

If you see brown or black spots on your pothos plant, it could be a sign of root rot.

This is because the roots are rotting, and the spots are a symptom of the infection.

Soft or Mushy Roots

If you notice that the roots of your pothos plant are soft and mushy, it’s a sure sign of root rot.

This is because the roots have been damaged by the fungus and are starting to decay.

Soft and Spongy Stem

If the stem of your pothos plant feels soft and spongy, it’s a sign that the plant is suffering from root rot.

This is because the fungus has started to decay the stem.

Bad Smell

If your pothos plant starts to emit a bad smell, it’s a sign that the plant is rotting.

This is because the fungus has started to decompose the plant.

Mold Growing on the Soil

If you see mold growing on the top of the soil, it’s a sign that the plant is suffering from root rot.

This is because the fungus needs damp conditions to thrive, so it’s often found on top of the soil.

Stunted Growth

If your pothos plant’s growth starts to slow down or stop, it’s a sign that the plant is suffering from root rot.

This is because the roots cannot take up nutrients from the potting soil, so the plant’s growth is stunted.

How To Treat Pothos Root Rot

If you think your pothos plant has root rot, it’s essential to take action immediately.

Root rot is a severe problem that can kill your plant if it’s not treated.

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

1. Remove the Plant from the Pot

The first step is to remove the plant from the pot.

Be careful when doing this, so you don’t damage the roots any further.

Remove the soil from around the roots and discard it.

2. Inspect the Roots

Once you have removed the plant from the pot, look closely at the roots.

If they are brown or black, it’s a sure sign of root rot.

If they are soft or mushy, it’s also a sign that the plant is suffering from root rot.

3. Cut Away the Dead Roots

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

Use a sharp knife or pruning shears to cut away the dead roots.

Ensure you cut well above the affected area so you don’t damage the healthy roots.

4. Discard the Soil

Once you have removed the plant from the pot and cut away the dead roots, you must discard the potting soil.

The soil is likely to be infected with the fungus that caused the root rot, so it’s best to get rid of it.

5. Wash the Roots

After removing the plant from the pot and cutting away the dead roots, you need to wash the roots.

This will help to remove any remaining fungus that could cause the root rot to come back.

Rinse the roots in clean water and make sure that you remove all the dirt and debris.

6. Allow the Roots to Dry

After you have washed the roots, you must allow them to dry.

This will help to prevent the root rot from coming back.

Place the plant in a well-ventilated area and allow the roots to dry completely.

7. Clean the Pot

After removing the plant from the pot and cutting away the dead roots, you need to clean the pot.

This will help to remove any remaining fungus that could cause the root rot to come back.

You can use mild soap and water to clean the pot.

8. Repot the Plant

Once you have cleaned the pot, you can repot the plant.

Use fresh, well-draining potting mix and ensure the roots are not crowded in the pot.

Water the plant well and place it in a well

8. Repot the Plant in Fresh Soil

Once you have cleaned the pot, you can repot the plant in fresh soil.

Use a well-draining potting mix and ensure the roots are not crowded in the pot.

Water lightly and place the plant in a well-ventilated area.

Allow the soil to dry out completely between watering.

9. Monitor the Plant Closely

After you have repotted the plant, it’s essential to monitor it closely.

Root rot is a severe problem and can come back quickly if the conditions are right.

How To Prevent Pothos Root Rot

Pothos root rot is a severe problem, but there are some things that you can do to prevent it.

There are a few things that you can do to prevent pothos root rot:

1. Use Well-Draining Soil

One of the most important things you can do to prevent pothos root rot is to use well-draining soil mix.

The roots of the plant need to be able to breathe, so they need to be in well-draining soil.

2. Avoid Overwatering

Another essential thing to do is to avoid overwatering.

Overwatering is one of the most common causes of pothos root rot.

Make sure that you only water the plant when the soil is dry.

3. Provide Good Air Circulation

Another thing you can do to prevent pothos root rot is to provide good air circulation.

The plant needs to be in a well-ventilated area so the roots can breathe.

4. Use Pots With Drainage Holes

Another essential thing to do is to use pots with drainage holes.

This will help to prevent the roots from sitting in water, which can cause root rot.

5. Repot in Fresh Soil Every Year or Two

Another thing you can do to prevent pothos root rot is to repot in fresh soil every year or two.

This will help prevent the build-up of fungus in the soil and help provide the plant with fresh nutrients.

6. Place the Plant in Bright Indirect Light

Another thing you can do to prevent pothos root rot is to place the plant in bright indirect sunlight.

This will help prevent the build-up of fungus on the pothos leaves and help provide the plant with the light it needs to grow.

7. Avoid Fertilizer

Another thing to do is to avoid fertilizer.

Fertilizers can build up in the soil and cause the roots to rot.

8. Check for Pests Regularly

Another essential thing to do is to check for pests regularly.

Pests can cause the plant to become stressed, leading to root rot.

9. Monitor the Plant Closely

Finally, it’s crucial to monitor the plant closely.

Root rot is a severe problem and can come back quickly if the conditions are right.

You should take action immediately if you see any signs of root rot, such as yellowing leaves or wilting.

How To Care For a Pothos After Root Rot

If you have successfully saved your pothos from root rot, there are a few things that you need to do to care for it.

Here are a few tips:

1. Place the Plant in a Bright Indirect Light

The first thing that you need to do is to place the plant in bright indirect light.

Pothos plants thrive in bright light but cannot tolerate direct sunlight.

If you place the plant in direct sunlight, the leaves will turn yellow and brown and eventually fall off.

2. Water the Plant When the Soil is Dry

Once you have placed the plant in bright indirect light, you must water it when the soil is dry.

Pothos plants do not like to be waterlogged, so ensure you only water the plant when the soil is dry.

3. Prune the Plant if Necessary

You may need to prune the plant if the pothos leaves are turning yellow or brown.

Pruning will help the plant to focus its energy on new growth.

4. Place the Plant in a Humid Environment

Pothos plants thrive in humid environments.

You can increase the humidity around the plant by placing it on a pebble tray or by using a humidifier.

5. Keep an Eye on the Soil

Even though you have saved your pothos from root rot, keeping an eye on the soil is essential.

Ensure that the soil is not waterlogged and the plant is not sitting in water.

6. Avoid Fertilizing the Plant

After a plant has been affected by root rot, it is best to avoid fertilizing it.

Fertilizing a plant can put stress on the plant and make it more susceptible to diseases.

7. Repot the Plant if Necessary

If you notice that the plant’s roots are starting to come out of the pot, you may need to repot the plant.

Repotting will give the plant more room to grow and help prevent future problems with root rot.

8. Keep an Eye on the Plant

Even though you have saved your pothos from root rot, you must keep an eye on the plant.

Make sure you check the soil regularly and water the plant when the soil is dry.

9. Be Patient

It may take some time for your pothos to recover from root rot.

Be patient and wait for new growth to appear before you start to fertilize or prune the plant.

10. Enjoy Your Plant

Once your pothos has recovered from root rot, you can sit back and enjoy your plant.

Pothos plants are easy to care for and make a great addition to any home.

Final Thoughts

Pothos plant is a popular indoor plant because they’re easy to grow, requires minimal care, and can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions.

However, even the toughest plants can succumb to disease, and pothos plants are no exception. One of the most common problems that pothos face is root rot, which can quickly kill the plant if left unchecked.

However, all is not lost if your pothos plant has root rot. In this article, we’ve given you a complete guide on how to save a pothos plant from root rot.

Following the steps outlined in this guide, you can save your pothos plant and get it back to good health.