Root Rot in Deffenbachia

Root rot is by far the most frequent issue I’ve come across in my dieffenbachias. It’s also the likely to cause death to your cane’s dumb if you do not take action immediately.

If you notice a foul smell coming from the soil then your Dieffenbachia probably has root rot.

The disease can spread to the leaves, which causes them to change color and form brown spots. If you do a thorough inspection you’ll be able determine the source and help save your Dieffenbachia.

Dieffenbachia root rot is usually caused by an excessive amount of water. The overwatering of the Dieffenbachia in soil that has poor drainage are two of the most common reasons.

When repotting your plant, take out the roots that are brown and squishy to replace with fresh plant material. If you are unable to save the Dieffenbachia then propagate it using cuttings of cane.

Signs of Dieffenbachia Root Rot

Your Dieffenbachia is going to be devastated if it is suffering from root rot. Apart from causing irreparable damage to the plant’s roots, the disease also has the potential of spreading throughout all of the plant.

Although the dieffenbachia root rot has been concealed in the soil, you will observe the typical signs on the stems, leaves or the soil, which is good news.

Root rot is easily detected by these symptoms:

Overgrowth of Soil Mold

Root rot can occur by soil that is too moist. It could be that the soil holds too many gallons of water.

More often it’s because you water your plant often. Pots that don’t have drainage holes can result in the soil becoming saturated or wet.

Soil fungus can eventually develop and multiply because of excessive water regardless of the reason. In the end, you’ll see a rise of mildew or mold on your soil.

Leaf Yellowing

The yellowing of leaves is often one of the initial signs that dieffenbachia root decay is present. Due to root destruction, the nutrition (such like nitrogen) needed to keep the leaf greenery aren’t getting to the leaves.

The leaves that are yellowed tend to be weak, sulky, or limp. They’ll eventually change color to into brown or black, and then fall off the plant.

Stunted or Distorted Growth

Root rot can reduce your Dieffenbachia’s capacity to absorb nutrients and water.

Due to this issue due to this deficiency, leaves will become significantly smaller than normal and may be bent, twisty, or damaged. The leaves could even cease to grow completely.

Additionally the new shoots and leaves are likely to appear later than you expected. In extreme instances of root rot your Dieffenbachia might not grow any new growth in the least.

Wilting that is persistent and severe

Dieffenbachia root rot could cause your plant to appear weak and limp, no matter the amount of water you provide it.

This is due to affected roots’ ability to take in moisture out of the soil. In the end, your Dieffenbachia will be a literal suffocation in the midst of a sea of prosperity.

Leaf Drips or Guttation

Guttation is a result of overwatering, which is a physiological reaction. Because overwatering can lead to root decay, it’s an obvious indication that something is likely to occur.

Dieffenbachias are drought-tolerant plants that cannot stand in water for long periods of time. Instead, they try to compensate by releasing excess water from the edges of their leaves.

Foul-Smelling, Brown, Mushy Roots

The color of the roots is the most reliable method of determining the presence of root decay. If the affected roots are touched, they appear reddish-brown or black and may feel spongy or soft.

Other symptoms related to root causes include:

  • They can also emit a smell that is an unpleasant, decaying smell.
  • Roots that are rotten tend to be limp.
  • The outer layer is sluggish and may peel off when pulled, leaving their inner layers.

Brown Spots on Leaves

The worst part lies in the brown spots that appear on the leaves that are caused by water suggest root decay.

The good thing is that they’re an early warningsign, meaning you have plenty of the time to act and avoid your stupid cane. In the beginning, however, keep an your eyes open for browning, wet leaf edges and tips.

What Causes Dieffenbachia Root Rot?

The excessive dampness of soil is an important contributor to the growth roots rot. It hinders soil aeration which damages roots and encourages the development of root rot.

In certain instances, the fungal rot can start on the stems or foliage and then spread to the root.

In any event, here are the possible causes or contributors of dieffenbachia root dieffenbachia root.

[1] Poor Drainage Causes Waterlogging

The problem of waterlogging is caused due to poor drainage. It is more likely to cause soil to become soggy or saturated than excessive watering.

The water should flow freely through the potting mix within an area that is well-drained, which will prevent it from becoming soggy or saturated.

However, soils that have poor drainage, like ones with a high amount of organic matter, or clay, will hold water for a lengthy duration.

Thus the combination of excessive water and inadequate drainage can result in soil that is waterlogged which can cause root rot.

The drainage holes on the bottom of the pot can cause drainage issues.

The drainage of water can be affected by the kind of pot being used. For instance, glazed ceramic and plastic containers are more likely to hold water for longer periods of time than unglazed clay and Terracotta pots.


The most effective corrective approach is to target the root of drainage issues.

Begin with the pot:

  • Does it have enough drainage holes? If not, you can use an alternative container with drainage holes , or insert them into the existing container.
  • Are you sure it is made of a poorly draining material such as glazed ceramic or plastic? If so, you should consider switching to a terracotta pot that is of the highest quality (Check the most current prices at Amazon right here).
  • Do you see an obstruction at the base? If so, you can use an instrument to break the blockage, allowing excess water to drain through the base without obstruction.

Then, look at the soil’s drainage qualities. To improve drainage, plant in a well-aerated and fast draining soil that is rich in peat and drainage materials like perlite, pumice, and others. It is possible to use:

  • Pure peat, or
  • A mix consisting of one part peat and one part peat, or
  • Mixture consisting of 1 part soil one part peat as well as 1 part of vermiculite, or peat.

[2] Overwatering Damages Dieffenbachia’s Roots

Waterlogging or excessive soil moisture is the most common root rot that occurs in the houseplants. But, overwatering is the most common reason for dieffenbachia root rot that’s not a surprise.

If you water your Dieffenbachia You are at risk of blocking the drainage system, causing root decay.

Without oxygen, roots can’t endure in a soil that is flooded and will drown, decompose, and eventually die.

Like us, roots require oxygen for growth and heal correctly.

Overwatering can promote an increase in the number of fungi which thrive in humid conditions. Root rot happens when they cause root rot under moist conditions.


After watering make sure that the growing medium’s surface is completely dried out.

Let the top 2 inches of the soil to dry out slightly between waterings to prevent overwatering. A test with a finger could help in this case.

Most likely, you didn’t intend to excessively water your Dieffenbachia. Therefore, the circumstances that caused overwatering need to be addressed:

  • Plant the plant on a warm and sunnier area where it will get plenty of sunlight
  • Improve air circulation to lessen the amount of moisture and allow the soil to dry out
  • Improve drainage of soil by expanding drainage holes or repotting

Of course, you have to take care to treat root decay ( More on how to treat this in advance)

Dieffenbachia in small pot

[3] Wrong Size Pot Causes Erratic Drainage

Dieffenbachia’s main source of life is its pot. It’s where it gets the water it needs, its food, and other essentials. This is why you might be tempted to place your plants in the largest massive container you can find.

Big blunder.

An overly big can keep moisture from the ball of root. This leads to water stagnation, which creates ideal conditions for the fungi that cause root rot.

However an inadequately-sized container can cause roots to cluster in. The overcrowding of roots results in erratic drainage, but it can cause the root becoming bruised and damaged.

It can also weaken your Dieffenbachia, which makes it more susceptible to fungal infections.


It is important to move your Dieffenbachia into a suitable size pot. It shouldn’t be more than 2 or 3 inches larger than the root ball.

Also, make sure to refill your Dieffenbachia every 2 to 3 years in a pot that is 1-2 sizes bigger.

[4] Fungal Diseases of Dieffenbachia

Dieffenbachia-related root rot are typically caused by fungi. The majority of fungi responsible for root rot are soil-borne they don’t attack until they are in extreme wet conditions.

Unfortunately, too much soil moisture can cause havoc to the roots and can open the way to fungal infections.

The spores of fungus can get into the wounds that result from the burning of fertilizer, cold injuries or other forms of root injury.

The fungi usually get into the medium through tools, potting soil or pots from the past which have been infected by root rot pathogens.

If you’re searching for the pathogen that causes this specific disease I’ve provided a list of known fungi that trigger dieffenbachia root-rot.


The application of copper-based fungicides, or sulfur is a good option to control, manage or treat fungal infections. Make use of a commercial fungicide that is labeled specifically for the fungus in question, like Fusarium Spp., Pythium spp., or Phytophthora Spp.

Cleanse your gardening tools and pots prior to use to avoid spreading.

Hygiene and sanitation can make a difference.

Expand the space between your houseplants , and increase the aeration.

[5] Low Temperatures and Frost Encourages Root Rot

Most of the fungal species responsible for root rot are pathogens that can be opportunistic. They typically affect the root system, that has been damaged by cold drafts and frost.

Additionally, cold temperatures hinder drying of the soil, which increases the chance of excessive watering. In low temperatures the Dieffenbachia will also require less water.


Move the Dieffenbachia to a warmer environment in which temperatures are between 60 and 75degF (15-24degC)

Keep your plant out of cold drafts, like close to windows in winter.

[6] Watering During Dormancy

A majority dieffenbachia species hibernate during the latter part of autumn and the beginning of winter. If temperatures drop below 60degF (15degC) and below 15degC, they’ll likely shed lower leaves and develop an appearance reminiscent of palms.

In this condition it is almost completely eliminated the absorption of water and its use. The risk of the possibility of root rot and waterlogging when you continue to wash your Dieffenbachia.


Reduce the amount of water you drink once your Dieffenbachia is dormant during winter.

Let the first 2 inches of the soil to dry out between waterings . Water thoroughly.

How to save Dieffenbachia From Root Rot

1. Stop Watering Immediately

The more often you water your Dieffenbachia the more rot-prone the root rot gets.

2. Cut Away Affected Parts

Remove all leaves and stems of your Dieffenbachia. Utilize sterilized shears or pruners and clean them every time you use them by taking bleach baths.

3. Unpot Your Dieffenbachia

Take any damaged Dieffenbachia out of the container and wash the root system by water. After that, scrub the soil using the help of a soft brush.

4. Trim off the Affected Roots

To get rid of any dead or infected roots, make use of sharp, disinfected shears or scissors to trim the edges of the roots. Don’t be afraid of removing all roots you can.

The reason is that decayed roots that aren’t removed continue to cause destruction in your Dieffenbachia.

5. Final Touches

Cut down the size of your Dieffenbachia to a half size. This decreases the amount of leaves that need assistance from the root system that heals.

6. Prepare the Pot

To decrease the chance of re-infection, you should use an entirely new pot. If you do decide to reuse the pot you have be sure to clean it by soaking it in bleach solution. The solution is made by mixing one part bleach and ten parts water.

Let the pot fully dry after washing it.

7. Repot Your Dieffenbachia

It can aid in the treatment of the rest of the root system using the use of a dip for fungicide. It is recommended to wait 24 hours after applying the fungicide prior to repotting your Dieffenbachia. After that, you can use an aerated, fast-draining peat-based mix for potting. (Check the most current prices at Amazon right here).

8. Watering after Repotting

After the irrigation, set up an appropriate routine for watering. Dieffenbachias do not like walking on feet that are wet So the soil should not be soggy or wet.

9. Care for Dieffenbachia following Repotting

Make sure you provide your Dieffenbachia with the right conditions for growth which include:

  • Improve the circulation of air
  • A lot of indirect, bright sunlight
  • Warm temperatures ranging from 60 to 75 degrees (15-24degC)
  • Do not wet the leaves or excessively watering them.
  • Keep away from plants in your home which may be a source of insects or disease
  • Do not disturb your plant and allow it to adapt to the new growth medium

Last Resort: Propagating Dieffenbachia

If root rot has killed the majority of, if not all of the roots of Dieffenbachia and is unable to be saved, it will not be able to be regenerated. If that’s the case, propagating the new Dieffenbachia is the last option.

This can be accomplished by three methods:

(A) (A) Propagating Dieffenbachia by cuttings

This is the simplest and most efficient method to reproduce the dieffenbachia.

  1. Make several cane cut pieces from a healthy dieffenbachia
  2. Place the cut pieces in clean water until the roots begin to sprout.
  3. The leaves will grow slowly as cane cuttings gain root
  4. Transplant the cuttings when they have established enough roots

(B) Propagating a Dieffenbachia Stump

  1. Remove the top of the leggy, more seasoned Dieffenbachia (aka The stump)
  2. Apply rooting hormones to the cut the site
  3. Place the stump in new pot soil
  4. Take off older leaves when new leaves appear.
  5. Offer standard treatment and conditions that are growing

(C) Propagating by Root Divisions

  1. Make root divisions or offsets of an established mother plant.
  2. Be careful not to damage the parent root system of dieffenbachia.
  3. Make sure to use instruments that are sterilized when you divide the root divisions
  4. Each root division is placed in its individual pot
  5. Make sure to thoroughly rinse and then place in a bright, warm surroundings

Treatment of Dieffenbachia Root Rot with Chemical Fungicide

Dieffenbachia root rot is often caused by fungi, as we’ve learned, and the use of fungicides is a sensible and effective solution. But, it’s not recommended to apply chemical fungicides until you’ve identified the cause of the problem.

Dieffenbachia plants must be tested for the fungus by a specialist in plant medicine or nursery. After that, you’ll be able to determine the fungus that is causing the problem and choose an effective and efficient fungicide in this is the best way to go about it.

If the pathogen that causes the Dieffenbachia’s root rot isn’t able to be identified and isn’t identified, then applying chemical fungicides isn’t an ideal choice.

However chemical fungicides can be expensive and require special care when using them.

The plant is prone to burns on the roots due to fungicides that are chemically contaminated of the medium it grows in. It’s hilarious how this happens do you not think? The label for fungicides must be followed strictly and used according to the directions.

Homemade Fungicides for Treating Dieffenbachia Root Rot

There is a lot of uncertainty about the use of chemical fungicides it’s an easy choice to go to homemade remedies rather than buying store-bought ones.

To control or treat the root rot that I have in my dieffenbachias, I often make use of the following household products:


Activated charcoal is a common remedy that is a reliable. It is also an effective natural antifungal. Additionally, it’s porous, repels insects, and absorbs smells.

Activated charcoal is also employed to stop the growth of mold and mildew.

Before you repot your Dieffenbachia to repot it, apply a thin layer of it on the bottom inside the container.


Cinnamon is a great antifungal ingredient It’s also non-toxic, widely accessible, and deters fungus and gnats.

Before the repotting process, sprinkle cinnamon powder on the trimmed healthy roots.


Similar to cinnamon, chamomile also is antifungal. But, Dieffenbachia must be applied to as a liquid.



Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)