How to Fix Root Rot


Root rot is a disease caused by fungus. Rotting of the roots keeps the plant from absorbing water and nutrients from the soil. This fungal attack is one of the most serious diseases any plant can be infected with. The early stages cause wilting of the plants leaves and discoloration. In many cases, the plant will die if measures are not taken to contain the infection. Prevention is key with root rot--once the symptoms appear, it is often too late, but there is a chance to save the plant.

Step 1

Free the plant from the dirt, making sure not to damage the roots. Check the root system for excessive damage. If the roots look strong, you may pot the plant again.

Step 2

Cut off excessively damaged roots, leaving healthy ones in place. This will keep the fungus from spreading further to the foliage.

Step 3

Wash the old soil off of the root system to remove fungus.

Step 4

Soak your old pot with a 10 percent bleach-and-water solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water) for 30 minutes, then rinse.

Step 5

Place new soil into the disinfected pot and soak the soil with thiophanate-methyl, the fungicide. This will prevent spread of the fungus from the roots into the soil and kill existing spores.

Step 6

Place the plant in the soil, making sure to cover the root system properly. Water the soil lightly and ensure there is enough drainage.

Things You'll Need

  • Bleach
  • Water
  • Soil
  • Scissors
  • Thiophanate-methyl


  • UMN: Root rot of houseplants
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension: Phytophthora Root Rot on Woody Ornamentals
  • Bartlett Tree Research Labratories: Phytophthora Root Rot and Collar Rot of Landscape Plants
Keywords: root rot, root rot cure, fixing root rot

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.