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Monstera Root Rot: How to Tell, Treat, Prevent & Save (Pictures)

Root rot is a condition that can kill your monstera plants in a week or so. Clear signs show up later. That is when the plant is really stressed. It can’t cope sitting in a flooded, suffocated rooting medium anymore.

Nevertheless, you can trace the signs and save your houseplant from dying of root rot. Just diagnose and monitor the plant closely. Know when to save it in good time then follow the revival procedure.

Tips to Prevent Monstera Root Rot

It is easy and cheap to avoid cases of monstera root rot in the future.

1) Check the Pot Medium Status

If you used vermiculate alone as an ingredient, the container medium could compact easily. When you buy potting soil, go through the list of ingredients.

Avoid adding ground or potting soil. Some contain heavy particles that can lead to compacting. They can carry pathogens and other foreign materials not so friendly to plant development. Compacted soils increase water retention and negatively impact their drainage qualities. So do checking on a regular basis.

2) Check, Correct Drainage Holes

Unsurprisingly, your plant pot may have drainage holes not functioning. They may have stopped working or ceased to let excess water out as required.

You don’t want to hurt or disturb the roots of your monstera. So it’s best to moisten the edges of the container first. Temporarily, remove the plant from the pot. Besides correcting the issue of the holes, you can assess the root’s health.

Place your pot on the saucer or pan. Pour enough water. If water seems to sit on one side, you may add a few holes if your container is made of plastic. Use a sterilized screwdriver.

3) Water your Monstera by Need

This is a good starting point if you want to put flooding your houseplant to an end. You ought to figure out when your plant feels thirsty. Or poke 1 – 1.5 inches of the topsoil until the layer dries out. However, monitor your monstera regularly for signs of water stress or distress.

Water in the morning. While watering makes sure the spreading is done evenly. Stop watering in the evening!

4) Repot (Transfer) the Monstera

Repotting as a maintenance practice helps fix soil issues. Check the roots for signs of them outgrowing. In that case, find a larger pot that has drainage holes. Transfer it immediately then plan how you can re-pot it ASAP.

Signs of Monstera Root Rot

Track down these signs to help you identify if the plant is developing root rot.

Wilting & Droopy Leaves

How does overwatering a monstera result in wilting? It is obvious to think that only dry, soil conditions cause wilting in plants.

While that is true, soaking the roots in water reduces oxygen levels in the root region. As a result, root cells lack sufficient energy to take up water or nutrients. This affects the transportation of water and food. Hence, wilting.

Drooping monstera leaves is almost the first sign to tell you water is accumulating in the root zone. Over time, you would see green leaves turn pale before they start turning yellow.

Soft Brown Stems or Roots

Monstera and other popular houseplants can signal this symptom through part of or whole plant suddenly dying back. As mentioned, excess soil moisture means there is limited oxygen for root cells to work properly.

Ultimately, the water-soaked roots will rot (become mushy) and can sometimes be discolored.

Yellow Leaves

Yellowing in leaves can be a sign that your houseplant is either rarely watered or flooded. This sign indicates your monstera are ‘suffocating’ as a result of poor nutrition.

Sometimes, these yellow leaves may turn brown from the tips or edges. Older lower leaves may drop off first leading to stunted growth.

Severity in signs of root rot in monsteras

Both under-watered and over-watered monstera plants display nearly similar stress levels. However, if you notice the following signs, it is likely your monstera is getting very little water.

  • A thin gap between the soil and the pot is a sign of an under-watered plant
  • Twisted leaves with wrinkled surface appearance
  • Brown spots on leaf edges

Also read: Signs of an overwatered monstera

Treating Monstera with Root Rot

Start by inspecting the plant. Smell for any unpleasant stuff in the pot. Observe clear signs of drooping leaves and mushy or smelly stems.

To be sure, inspect the roots. Healthy roots feel firm and look white. Infected roots or root portions turn brown and feel soft (mushy). With the severity of root rot, a foul smell emanates from them.

Follow these simple steps to treat root rot and save your monstera.

  • Turn the pot over to its side
  • Carefully tap the base of the container to detach soil from its walls
  • Then slide your symptomatic monstera out
  • Gently remove excess soil by hand or rinse the roots with running water
  • Hold it gently and then inspect the roots

Steps to Save Monstera with Root Rot/Signs

  • Smell and gently feel them between fingers
  • Cut off and remove all of the soft, mushy roots or parts with an unpleasant smell
  • Wash-treat the roots with bleach water solution for a few minutes
  • Then let the plant sit in a cool moist room to dry
  • Prepare fresh potting mix composed of vermiculite, peat moss, and perlite

DIY new Potting Mix

  • Mix thoroughly in the shortest time you can
  • Get a new pot but not smaller in size than the current one
  • If you have to reuse the current pot, ensure to clean it thoroughly

If you want to give your houseplant a huge chance to bounce back, treat it before it can wither. Carry out these steps quickly in the shortest time you can.

Quick Revival Tips

Having saved your monstera, follow up with these tips to help it recover and rejuvenate quickly.

  • Repot the plant using a little bigger pot at least 2.0 inches (ca. 5 centimeters) larger
  • If the saved monstera appears to have effects of dehydration, add some water crystals
  • Alternatively, trim it lightly, especially if there are more than 5 leaves in good shape
  • In case leaves turn pale, then move the plant to a room with better lighting conditions
  • If the roots were badly damaged, don’t add any amount of water immediately
  • Feed the plant with a balanced, water-soluble houseplant fertilizer

With good care in place, recovery progress should go on well. Be assured to see your plant back to life within 3 – 4 weeks.

Monstera plants not diagnosed with root rot in good time stand a little chance of being saved. In other words, if root rot develops beyond the revival status, the plants will die. Remember that your houseplants won’t recover even after you have fixed water problems.

References and Sources

1) Split-leaf philodendron, Monstera Deliciosa. Wisconsin Horticulture Division of Extension. https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/split-leaf-philodendron-monstera-deliciosa

2) Monstera deliciosa Liebm. (Araceae). Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford. https://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/plants400/Profiles/MN/Monstera.

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