Root rot is a common problem in Anthurium plants. They have soft root ball that is prone to root rot in certain conditions.
If you have an anthurium plant and it is suffering from root rot. Then you should fix it immediately because your plant cannot fix itself.
It will die if you do not give proper attention to your dying anthurium.
To save your plant, at first you need to identify the root rot in anthurium. For that, you must know the signs of root rot.
Then identify the cause of root fungus in your case and follow the below-written solutions.
Yellow leaves, slow growth, mushy roots, and rotten smell from plants are the few main symptoms of root rot. If your plant has these symptoms then immediately unpot your plant, cut the damaged parts, apply fungicides and repot it in a new pot.
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Identify Root Rot in Anthurium
Yellow Leaves and Stunted Growth
We can check the plant’s health by inspecting its leaves. Bright velvety leaves mean your plant is healthy and you are doing good.
Anthurium leaves turning yellow indicate that something is wrong with it that triggers the yellow color.
Roots are the main part of the plant they supply water and nutrients to the plant. When root rot damaged the anthurium roots, they become unable to supply water and nutrients to different parts of the plant.
Due to a lack of nutrients, your plant loses chlorophyll. Losing chlorophyll means losing the natural color of the anthurium leaves.
Moreover, a Lack of chlorophyll results in weak photosynthesis and less production of plant food.
In the absence of sufficient plant food, it slowdowns its growth, and in some cases, it completely stops growing. This condition is called stunted growth due to a lack of essential nutrients.
Smell your plant from the base if it smells like rotten eggs. This means the roots the decaying and the problem is in its advanced stage.
It is the law of nature, when something decays it smells bad.
In this case, you need to unpot your plant and check the condition of its roots. Then cut the infected parts and repot them in the new soil.
At once you can cut 50% of the root ball. If the entire root ball is infected or damaged then propagation is the only way to save your anthurium.
Remember that some organic fertilizers also smell like rotten eggs but they will not turn yellow leaves.
Yellow leaves + Rotten smell = 100% root rot
Brown Leaf Edges
After some time, yellow anthurium leaves will develop brown spots or patches. At first, they are visible on the undersides of the leaves.
You can see them more often on the leaves that are close to the base of the plant.
Excessive water in the plant leaves causes leaf edema. This disease turns green leaf edges into brown color.
When the root rot enters the advanced stage, the entire leaf will turn brown with small spots on both sides.
Caution: Having some leaves with brown tips does not mean your plant is suffering from root rot. Other conditions like overwatering, fertilizer burn, and too bright light also trigger brown edges.
But mushy and soft leaves with brown edges = Root rot.
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The most effective way of inspecting anthurium root rot is manually checking the roots. Gently take your plant out of the pot (without damaging it).
Now remove the soil from the roots and check them. If the roots are brown, black, soft, mushy, or smell bad. This confirms the root fungus.
The good news is you still have time to save your anthurium from dying.
Algae on the soil
Green algae is a result of lots of water in the potting soil. Algae develop on the top surface of the potting soil.
When more than 50% of the roots get infected. The fungus bacteria slowly come upwards and make their colony on the surface of the soil.
Then it starts affecting the main stem of the plant, its leaves, and all other parts of the anthurium.
Causes of Anthurium Root rot
Excessive Use of Water
Overuse of water is the main cause of Anthurium root rot. Because when you give lots of water at once the soil holds too much water.
This extra water closes the air pockets in the soil and this puts stress on plant roots. The anthurium roots start decaying due to no fresh oxygen.
Moreover, waterlogged soil is the best breeding ground for harmful plant pathogens and fungus bacteria.
According to the general watering, rule let the top 2 to 3 inches of the soil dry before watering anthuriums.
This way you can prevent overwatering and its problems.
Frequent Watering in Winters
We all know winter is the dormancy period of houseplants. In simple words, plants do not grow or slow their growing process in winters.
This is the reason they do not need much water and nutrients in winter.
But new growers continuously follow the summer watering routine in the winter season. This results in waterlogged soil.
The extra moisture and cold environment make the leaves soft, and mushy and infect the anthurium roots.
In the winter season, you should only water your plant when you see the soil is drying or the top 3 inches of the soil are already dry.
Use fresh water that sits at room temperature to prevent cold shocks.
As I mentioned above waterlogged soil is the best place for fungus and pathogens.
These microbial eat the root ball and suck the plant glucose. As a result, your anthurium becomes weak and dies in a few days.
Keep the plant and its surroundings clean. If you are going to use your garden soil mix it with potting soil. Then sterilized garden soil before use.
Use filtered water to prevent bacterial attacks.
Wrong potting soil
Potting soil plays important role in growing houseplants. For the best growth of anthuriums, you need to use well-draining rich potting soil.
This type of soil has some organic material in it that give a continuous supply of nutrients.
Organic material also reduces the total weight of the soil and makes it fluffy and increases the number of air pockets.
When you do not use well-draining soil then watering the plant soil holds too much water. It does not allow the extra water to drain out of the pot.
The water stays in the soil and you know the rest of the case.
Large Size Pot
Using too large pot can also increase the chances of root rot in anthurium plants. Because such pots hold too much soil.
A large quantity of soil holds a large amount of water for a long time. But your plant just needs moist soil to grow.
The extra water in the soil increases the chances of bacterial build and these bacteria start eating the roots.
This way your happily growing anthurium gets root rot.
No Drainage System in Pot
The small holes in the base of the plant pots play important role in saving your anthurium from root rot.
When you give water to your plant the soil absorbs the desired amount of water and allows the extra water to drain to the bottom.
Then the holes in the bottom of the pot allow the water to drain out of the pot. This way the complete action of soil and drainage holes save your plant from overwatering and root rot.
This is why I always encourage people to use the latest pots with drainage holes. Repot your plants in new pots that are growing in old pots with the drainage system.
Anthurium needs a comfortable temperature to stay healthy. It starts suffering from cold below 50 F.
Your plant thinks that winter has arrived and it slows down its growing process.
Absorb less water and nutrients but you know it is not winter and you follow the regular watering routine.
This creates an overwatering situation and I have already explained the drawbacks of excessive water in the plant soil.
How to save Anthurium roots?
Now you know that the main cause of root rot in anthuriums is extra moisture in the soil. The moisture in the soil comes from water.
Therefore, you need to stop watering your plant until you fix the issue.
Below is the step-by-step process of saving anthurium plant with damaged roots.
Prune Damaged Parts
Now the first step of the saving process is cutting the damaged parts of the plant and saving its energy.
Use sterilized shears to cut the yellow, black, brown, and other dead parts of the plant. Do not cut the main stem.
After pruning, again sterilize shears and store them.
Now slowly unpot your plant by losing the soil. You can use any sharp tool that you think is helpful in losing the soil.
But do not give water to your plant to lose the soil.
Gently lift your plant and remove soil from the roots with the help of a paper towel or use your fingers.
Do not use any sharp tool because this can damage the roots that are already weak and suffering.
Closely inspect the roots, and cut the brown, mushy, and damaged roots. At a time, you can cut 50% of the root ball.
Then apply copper-based fungicide to the roots and infected stems.
Do not use cinnamon powder this will not work at any cost. This home remedy is nice to hear but in my experience is not effective.
Prepare the new pot
Now place your plant on the newspaper and take a new pot with drainage holes and fresh soil. The soil has to be well-draining and has some organic material in it.
If your existing pot is perfect for the plant. Then throw the old soil and wash your current pot with dishwashing soap and warm water.
Let it dry for 10 minutes and fill it with new potting soil to its half. Place your plant in it and fill the rest of the pot with fresh soil.
Gently tap around the plant base to prevent falling over.
Follow Regular Care Tips
Now place your newly transplanted plant in an indirect bright place and do not water for 3 to 4 hours. After 4 hours spray some water on the soil to keep the soil moist.
Repeat this process for 24 hours.
After 24 hours you can follow the regular watering routine.
Save your plant from direct sunlight to speed up its healing process. At first, your plant shows weakness.
But after a few days, you will see a healthy anthurium plant with healthy roots.
Overwatering is the main cause of the root rot. Limit the watering in the winter season and follow the general watering technique.
Repotting is the best option to save anthurium from dying from root rot. Use the correct size of the plant pot with drainage holes and fresh soil for repotting.