Root Rot in Pilea

The most frequent and risky issues you’ll encounter while taking care of your plants is root decay.

It’s a sneaky illness that devours the Pilea’s roots, destroying plants from the bottom up.

The spread of rot disease is rapid It is therefore recommended to catch it early and prevent the disease from spreading.

Then, I’ll discuss the reasons why root rot can occur in pilea and the best way to recognize it, treat it, and stop it.

Overwatering is a major risk cause in Pilea root rot, and is the principal reason for its development. The result is that the roots turn black or brown mucus, inability to absorb and carry nutrients, resulting in the leaves wilting and turning yellow. Make sure you repot the pilea, taking out the fungus-infected root and applying fungicides to healthy ones to treat root decay.

Signs of Pilea Root Rot

If you allow your plant to be in too moist or sloppy soil for too long the plant will develop root decay.

The plant may initially be enthralled by the abundant water, however the roots will soon give way to the sloppy conditions.

The first symptoms of root rot are difficult to distinguish from other issues with houseplants.

But, there is no slowing down of the activities of the killer beneath the surface.

Here are some signs and symptoms of rot in the pilea root you need to know about.

Rapid Leaf Yellowing

The yellow leaves can be among the first indications that root rot is a problem and excessive watering. The foliage that is lower and inner and older leaves typically begin to turn yellow before the older leaves.

If a plant in a pile is lacking in water or nutrients the leaves can change color to yellow.

The reason for this is that their roots have degraded and are unable to absorb vital sources like minerals, water, and nutrients.

Other elements can interfere with water and nutrients, which could cause leaves to change color to yellow.

This includes diseases, insects such as fertilizer burn, nutritional issues, humidity issues temperatures stress and shock from transplants.

How can you distinguish between the yellowing of leaves caused by root rot and yellowing caused by an infection caused by a fungal organism?

The soil will be damp and smelly if it’s affected by root rot. Lesions that are soaked in water may be visible on foliage that is yellowing.

The foliage that is yellowed will begin to shrink, wilt and then develop brown spots.

Black Spotted Leaves

If you spot the presence of black marks on your lawn, it’s not a good indication. Root rot may cause leaf spot infections caused by bacteria and fungi.

The lesions usually begin as tiny, water-soaked mushy brown spots. They’ll continue to increase in size and become darker over time.

A few lesions become massive dark black or brown spots, and scars that will eventually over the leaves.

They’re usually found on the undersides of lower leaves that are closer to the ground.

These black spots can stop photosynthesis, however they also slow down the growth of the plant.

pilea leaves

Rapid, Persistent Wilting

First thing that pops into your the mind when you look at an unruly pilea isn’t root rot since it is a typical plant symptom.

For added stress the possibility of wilting is increased when your pilea plant is submerged and overwatered.

If the leaves that are wilting appear brown or yellow dry and crisp the plant could have been flooded and did not suffer from root decay.

If your plant is quickly losing its leaves and turning yellow, despite your best efforts to water it, it’s likely to be suffering from root rot.

It is common to see the leaves of a pilea to drop or turn limp when they are infected by root rot. They are soft, spongy or even mushy the feel.

Soft, Swollen Stem

Pathogens such as fungal and bacterial are able to exploit weak roots due to overwatering and other causes.

This is why rot usually starts in the roots and then moves through the stem before it spreads to the rest of the plant.

Stem bases make up the next thing to be cut off on the cutting line. They can absorb excessive water and then swell up, leading to tissue injury and even death.

The fact that your stems are healthy doesn’t necessarily mean your plant is free of roots to be rotten.

There are additional indicators of advanced rot, like the appearance of deformed or swollen stems.

Additionally the pilea could fall over at the base of the stem If it isn’t taken care of.

Don’t forget that stem rot can be an immediate result of root rot that has advanced.

Fungal species belonging to the genera Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, and Pythium are the cause of fungal illness.

Other indicators that a pilea plant’s stem is decaying include slowing wilting, dying, and appearing thin.

Additionally, the bottom of the stems could be covered in black, brown or grayish-red spots.

Pilea Brown Leaves

In the beginning stages of water loss, the yellowing leaves are an indication. However it is unlikely that they will remain colored for very long!

The foliage that is yellow will change to brown as the root damage continues typically beginning near the edges of the leaves and at the ends.

When there is severe root decay, streaks of dark brown and black spots can appear on the leaves.

The leaves can turn completely brown, but they will soon become black before falling off.

The leaves’ browning is not just due to water loss and root rot, along are other signs that can be seen early.

Find other reasons, like fertilizer burn, water quality low humidity, sunburn, transplant shock, diseases, and insects.

Root rot could be the reason for soft, water-soaked leaves.

Mushy Roots

The most effective way to determine whether roots are dying is to examine the soil. Examine the root ball if think your pilea is affected by the rot.

The roots of rotten have a soft, mushy texture to the touch. They are darker brown, or even black hue. They’re soft, with the top layer is able to come off with just a little some pulling.

The soil surrounding the roots smells of decaying plants. It has the smell of an egg that has been rotten.

However, healthy roots feel solid when you rub them. They appear white with yellowish hue. They have a earthy scent to the roots.

Causes Pilea Root Rot

[1] Overwatering and Poor Drainage

Root rot can be caused by overwatering. If your plant’s soil is damp or wet for long periods of time it’s likely that the pilea and roots are not getting enough oxygen they require to remain alive.

The lack of oxygen damages the roots, preventing them from breathing and promoting the growth of fungal organisms.

The root tissue is likely to degrade which allows fungal and bacterial infections to enter the root system.

Root rot can develop if you fail to cut down on irrigation frequency during winter months of dormancy. Insufficient drainage could also trigger or worsen it.

  • The pot is a bit small drain holes.
  • The pots are placed in medium that has low drainage.
  • Place your pile in a pot that is not the correct size.
  • The soil drainage takes too much time.
  • After you have watered your pilea, don’t forget to empty the drip tray or saucer.
  • Place your furniture in an unlit, dimly illuminated space.
  • Place your plant in a humid, stale space with poor air circulation.
  • The pile of plants should be watered, but without first giving the top couple of inches to become dry.

The signs of a pilea plant that is overwatered include:

  • Rapid yellowing of leaves
  • The leaves are drooping and wilting rapidly despite constant irrigation
  • Shedding of older, lower foliage
  • The stem gets soft, swollen, or weak at its base.
  • The soil remains wet for a long period of time between irrigations.
  • The soil and heavy pots are wet to the touch.

How to Fix

It’s a good thing that the plant you overwatered does not have root decay. If that’s the case, then stop irrigation and allow the top 2 inches of soil dry completely before returning to the irrigation.

Remove the plant gently of the pot . Place your rootball on top of a mattress of old magazines or newspaper towels. This will assist in drying out the soil.

Plant the plant on a more bright area to promote the evaporation of moisture from your soil.

It is helpful to look for drainage issues. Make sure that your pilea is placed in a well-drained potting mix that has adequate drainage holes.

If you notice that your root is rotting Read on to find out how you can save your plant.

[2] Pilea Fungal Diseases

One of the main causes of root rot is the excessive amount of watering. Another major factor is fungal diseases that cause rot.

The pathogens are opportunistic and are found in the roots after waterlogged conditions cause them to become weak damaged, damaged, or stressed.

These spores are absorbed into the cutting tools that are dirty and soil that was previously used, and oil containers that are already infected.

Conditions of soil that are wet and moist are perfect for these fungus spores develop and grow.

They can spread and infect the roots via the affected regions.

Because your plant isn’t able to absorb nutrients from the soil, it will be weak and ineffective against fungal diseases such as this.

There are five kinds of fungi that can cause the rot of the root:

How to Control and Manage Rot-Causing Fungal Diseases in Pileas

Control and manage these fungal root rot diseases by using the following strategies:

  • Remove and discard the plant components that are contaminated.
  • A regular application of an antifungal soil-drill as well as spray treatment may aid. I would highly recommend copper or sulfur-based system fungicides such as this one that I like (Check the most current prices at Amazon right here).
  • Sterilize the soil in pots prior to use by using the process of heat
  • Repotting your plant in a new pot is the best way to eliminate soil-borne fungus.

[3] Low Temperatures, Cold Drafts, and Frost Damage

Pilea plants are not able to endure temperatures that are freezing. A short burst of cold may stimulate your plant to flower.

However, exposure for a long time to cold breezes and temperatures that are below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10degC) can strain the roots.

Low temperatures can cause slow or even stunted growth, which reduces the amount of water used. In the end, your pilea is more prone to root rot and overwatering.

Be aware that pileas are susceptible to frost and can cause root decay.

How to Fix

  • Beware of exposing your plants to abrupt temperature fluctuations.
  • Remove any plant parts or leaves that are severely damaged by the cold or frost.
  • The pilea plant can’t withstand temperatures that are below 50degF (10degC). Make sure that the temperature of the surrounding area stays within the range of 65-85degF (18-29degC).
  • Protect your pile from exposure for long periods to cold breezes.

[4] Wrong Size Pot

Utilizing a container that is either too small or too big is an ideal way to cause root rot.

If the pot is too big to accommodate the plants, the soil holds excessive moisture, which results in waterlogging zones that are ripe for root decay.

Additionally, a small-sized pot restricts the roots in their ability to breathe and develop. The soil medium can quickly dry out, become compacted and result in root injury.

Fertilizer salts and heat may build up within the root system in any of the cases. All of them can lead to roots damage as well as root decay.


Repot your plant in the correct size pot. It will require about 1 inch of soil surrounding the roots.

[5] Continue Normal Irrigation Frequency during Dormancy

Pilea plants are dormant from the end of fall until the beginning of spring. This means that they require less nutrients and require less water in this period of. The usual practice of watering can lead to overwatering as well as root rot.

The slowing of growth can cause your plant to weaken and malnourished. It also makes it more susceptible to infection.


If your pilea becomes dormant, it is best to reduce the frequency of watering. Make sure that the top 3 inches of the soil is dry before you water once more.

How to Protect the Pilea Root Rot

There is no need to remind yourself that root rot needs immediate intervention. Instead take these steps to save your pilea tree from root decay:

1. Stop Watering

Continued irrigating will only make the situation worse.

Move your pilea into an Shady Spot

One of the last things you need to do is stress the exposure of your plant directly to sunlight. Keep the plant in a shaded area until the soil and roots are sufficiently air-conditioned.

2. Trim off Affected Foliage & Other Parts

Dead or diseased foliage may be a reservoir for pathogens that cause disease. In addition, they don’t come into new life.

Take them off and dispose of them. Same goes for dead, infected, damaged stems as well as other plants.

Make sure to wash your knife or scissors using bleach or rubbing alcohol after every use.

The goal is to trim the plants in your plant pile by 50 percent.

3. Unpot Your Pilea and Dry Out the Root System

  • Remove your pilea from the pot to allow to allow for further root inspection
  • Exposed the roots by sweeping soil off around the rootball
  • Clean the dirt with an easy blast of distillated water
  • Set the root system down on top of an old magazines or paper towels.

4. Trim off Infected Roots

The mushy, infected root must be cut off at their edges. Make use of sterile pruning shears.

5. Repot Your Pilea Using New Soil and Pot

After the infected roots have been cut and trimmed, following step will be to repot:

  • I suggest using a brand fresh, well-drained pot.
  • Put a drainage layer at the base of your pot.
  • Fill it to the top with a fresh and well-draining potting mixture. Any peat-based or coir-based growth medium (Check the most current prices at Amazon here) can be used.
  • Plant your pilea treat plant gently
  • The rest part of the container with the soil mix.
  • The soil should be compacted a bit around the plant’s base to give it more stability.

6. Avoid Fertilizing Until New Growth Emerges

The application of fertilizer will only harm the roots, which are delicate. Instead, be patient until your pilea puts out new leaves, and then give your plant water-soluble fertilizer that is diluted.

7. Watering after Repotting

The Pilea medium for potting should not be allowed to completely dry. Be sure that it’s evenly moist, but not too wet.

Since your plant isn’t growing at this point, a sprinkle of water every couple of days will suffice.

When new leaves begin to appear Continue to water the same way as before.

Treating Root Rot Using Chemical Fungicide

I would not suggest applying a chemical fungicide to treat rot in the pilea root. This is particularly relevant if it is the first choice.

This is due to the fact that the exact nature of the fungus that causes the rot disease is only identified through thorough and expensive laboratory tests.

If you have to apply a chemical fungicide, select copper-based products.

Then, mix two teaspoons of the fungicide in one gallon of water to create an application spray or drench.

Homemade Remedies for Pilea Root Rot

I’ve tested a range of homemade fungicides as well as everyday products throughout the many years. The following homemade solutions are effective against rot in the pile root.

  • Charcoal
  • Cinnamon
  • Chamomile

They’re natural and have amazing antifungal properties that last for months, if not even years.



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