How to Effectively Treat Root Rot in your Monstera Plants - No Plant No Life

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

How to Effectively Treat Root Rot in your Monstera Plants

Monstera plants, with their lush green foliage and unique split leaves, have become popular choices for indoor gardening enthusiasts. 

However, despite their hardy nature, Monstera plants are susceptible to various issues, with root rot being a common and potentially devastating problem. 

Root rot is a fungal infection that affects the plant's root system, compromising its ability to absorb water and nutrients. 

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the causes, symptoms, and most importantly, the effective treatments for root rot in Monstera plants.

Causes of Root Rot in Monstera Plants

Root rot is primarily caused by the presence of overly wet or poorly draining soil. 

Monstera plants, native to tropical rainforests, thrive in well-aerated and well-draining soil. 

When the soil retains excessive moisture, it creates a breeding ground for harmful fungi, particularly species like Pythium and Phytophthora, which attack the plant's roots.

Symptoms of Root Rot in Monstera Plants

Identifying root rot in its early stages is crucial for successful treatment. 

The symptoms may not be immediately apparent, but as the disease progresses, you may observe the following signs:

1. Yellowing Leaves

One of the initial signs of root rot is the yellowing of leaves, starting from the bottom of the plant. 

This occurs because the damaged roots can no longer supply essential nutrients to the upper parts of the plant.

2. Wilting and Drooping

Root rot disrupts the water uptake process, leading to wilting and drooping of leaves, even if the soil is adequately moist.

3. Foul Odor

A distinct foul smell emanating from the soil is a clear indicator of root rot. 

This odor is a result of the anaerobic conditions created by the fungal infection.

4. Mushy and Discolored Roots

Healthy roots are firm and white, but in the case of root rot, they become mushy and may develop a brown or black color.


Now that we understand the symptoms, let's explore effective treatments for root rot in Monstera plants.

1. Diagnose and Confirm Root Rot

Before implementing any treatment, it's crucial to confirm that your Monstera plant is indeed suffering from root rot. 

Gently remove the plant from its pot and inspect the roots. Healthy roots should be white and firm, while roots affected by root rot will be mushy, discolored, and may have a foul odor. 

Trim away the infected roots using sanitized scissors or pruning shears.

2. Repotting in Well-Draining Soil

The first step in treating root rot is to remove the plant from its current soil and replant it in a well-draining mix. 

Use a high-quality potting mix designed for aroids, or create a mix by combining potting soil with perlite or orchid bark to enhance aeration. 

Ensure that the new pot has drainage holes to prevent water accumulation.

When repotting, gently shake off the old soil from the roots, removing as much of the infected material as possible. 

Trim any remaining damaged roots, leaving only healthy ones. Be cautious not to damage the healthy roots during this process.

3. Adjust Watering Practices

Overwatering is a leading cause of root rot, so modifying your watering routine is essential for recovery. 

Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Use a moisture meter or stick your finger into the soil to check for moisture levels. 

Water the plant thoroughly only when the top inch of the soil feels dry.

Consider the environmental conditions, such as humidity levels and temperature, which can influence your plant's water needs. 

In drier conditions, you may need to water more frequently, while in humid environments, less frequent watering may be required.

4. Implement a Systemic Fungicide Treatment

To eradicate the fungal infection causing root rot, the application of a systemic fungicide is often necessary. 

Systemic fungicides are absorbed by the plant and translocate throughout its tissues, providing long-lasting protection against pathogens.

Choose a fungicide specifically formulated for root rot, and follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. 

Apply the fungicide to the soil, ensuring thorough coverage. Repeat the treatment as recommended on the product label.

5. Improve Air Circulation

Enhancing air circulation around your Monstera plant can inhibit the growth and spread of fungal pathogens. 

This can be achieved by placing a fan near the plant or ensuring that the room has adequate ventilation. 

Good air circulation helps prevent the development of the stagnant, humid conditions that promote fungal infections.

6. Isolate Affected Plants

If you have multiple plants in close proximity, it's crucial to isolate the infected Monstera to prevent the spread of the root rot fungus. 

Place the affected plant in quarantine until it shows signs of recovery. This precautionary measure can protect your healthy plants from potential contamination.

7. Monitor and Maintain Optimal Conditions

After implementing the treatments, closely monitor your Monstera plant for any signs of recurrence of root rot. 

Maintain optimal conditions for growth, including appropriate light levels, humidity, and temperature. 

Adjust your watering routine based on the plant's needs, and avoid the temptation to overwater.


Effectively treating root rot in Monstera plants requires a combination of diagnostic skills, proactive measures, and the right treatments. 

By promptly addressing the issue, repotting in well-draining soil, adjusting watering practices, applying systemic fungicides, improving air circulation, and maintaining optimal conditions, you can give your Monstera the best chance for recovery. 

Remember that prevention is key, so consistently monitor your plant's health and make adjustments to your care routine accordingly. 

With dedication and proper care, you can revive your Monstera and enjoy its stunning foliage for years to come.


How can I differentiate between overwatering and root rot symptoms in my Monstera plant?

Overwatering symptoms include drooping and yellowing leaves, while root rot progresses with a foul odor, mushy roots, and black discoloration.

Can I treat root rot without repotting my Monstera plant?

Repotting is crucial for eliminating the infected soil and providing a fresh, well-draining environment, enhancing the plant's chances of recovery.

Is it possible to salvage a Monstera plant with severe root rot?

Depending on the extent of damage, severe cases may be challenging to recover. Swift action, including root trimming and systemic fungicide application, improves the chances of revival.

How often should I water my Monstera plant after treating root rot?

Water when the top inch of soil feels dry. Adjust the frequency based on environmental conditions, aiming for a balance to prevent both overwatering and underwatering.

What should I look for when choosing a systemic fungicide for my Monstera plant?

Choose a fungicide labeled for root rot, follow manufacturer instructions, and ensure it is safe for indoor use. Consider systemic options for prolonged protection.

Can I use common household fungicides to treat root rot in my Monstera?

It is advisable to use fungicides specifically formulated for plant diseases. Common household fungicides may not effectively target the root rot pathogens.

Should I isolate healthy Monstera plants if one is affected by root rot?

Yes, isolating the affected plant prevents the spread of the root rot fungus to healthy plants, minimizing the risk of contamination.

How long does it take for a Monstera plant to recover from root rot?

Recovery time varies based on the severity of the infection and the plant's overall health. With proper care and treatment, noticeable improvement may take several weeks to months.

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