What Causes Root Rot In Pothos?

This article will explain the methods to recognize the root rot that is found in pothos, the causes of it, and the best way to treat it. There three root rot-related causes that are found within pothos: Rhizoctonia, Phytophthora, and Pythium. The pathogen Phytophthora is the most frequent pathogen that causes root rot in photos of plants.

Additionally, Pythium or Rhizoctonia root decay is due to fungi. Each one has distinct symptoms and treatments.

  • Reduce or eliminate stress on plants like open wounds for the disease, when taking care to treat Rhizoctonia root decay. Reusing growth media that has been damaged is not advised as Rhizoctonia is a soil-borne. If you are reusing the same container for potting your plant, you should to make sure it’s thoroughly cleaned.
  • You can eliminate Phytophthora diseases and pathogens through spraying the soil using a three percent solution of hydrogen peroxide. Let a solution of 1 part peroxide and 3 parts water to penetrate the soil prior to resuming regular irrigation.
  • If you are dealing with Pythium root rot, cut off the healthy root right over the affected area. Replant it within a couple of hours, working swiftly. If you wish to prevent spreading fungal spores onto other plants or soil, clean the cutting tools after trimming the roots using an equal amount of bleach and 3 parts of water. The root rot of pythium can be spread to other plants and result in harm if not treated.

With all these names Pothos is likely to have a criminal past! Devil’s Ivy, commonly known as Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) is a stunning plant that trails along the house with strong oval green leaves. Pothos is beautiful and easy to grow plant.

It’s not uncommon to see it in a variety of office buildings, homes and commercial spaces. But, many house plants, like pothos, can be susceptible to root decay.

Root Rot is a disease of plants that is characterized by the gradual browning of roots as the stage of rotting advances.

The total decomposition of the plant follows it. Since it happens beneath on the ground, it can be difficult to assess the condition that the root system is in until it starts to show signs.

With this in mind Let’s take a close look at the ways to spot root decay in pothos, the causes and what can be done to stop it.

How To Identify Pothos Root Rot

Through the years of being an enthusiastic and passionate plant lover I’ve discovered that a fungal or bacterial disease can cause roots rot which is a very frequent houseplant disease. The infections thrive in soil that is moist and can cause root rot to plants.

If roots are exposed to extreme damp conditions it is possible that they get root rot over an extended time.

The roots function like the engine of a plant: they maintain the engine and power all the foliage that is visible over the ground. In the end when they die, the remainder of the plant follows the same pattern.

To convert the energy from food, plant need oxygen. The roots cells are unable to produce the essential chemical needed to conserve energy and deliver it within cells if oxygen is not present in your root systems.

The roots start to die, which hinders the intake of nutrients and gradually sucks away the vitality of the pothos plant. In addition, black and yellow leaves can indicate potential decay. Even with frequent watering, leaves that are discolored may appear dry and swollen.

Another warning sign is the existence of tiny fungus gnats that are circling your plant. This indicates that the soil is excessively saturated, and should action not be taken in the near future, your plant could be suffering from root issues. An unpleasant stinking, decaying eggy smell that is flowing out of plants is the last indication to be looking for or, more accurately look for, smell for.

If any of these signs occur, it’s time to take the plants from the pot, and examine the roots of your plant more thoroughly. Root rot can be identified by black or dark roots that appear squishy or mushy, rather than healthy, smooth white. It’s time to act when root rot has been identified.

Since each kind of root rot can be treated in a different way Let’s take a close review of the symptoms to look out for, regardless of whether it’s due to Phytophthora, Rhizoctonia, or Pythium root rot.

pothos in turquoise planter

How To Identify Phytophthora Root Rot In Pothos Plants

Phytophthora root rot happens to be the largest common disease that can affect pothos. Importation of propagative cuttings is the most common way to spread this disease.

The infection usually begins at the root and then extends to the leaves and then the whole plant. Pothos leaves turn dark brunette to black because of Phytophthora roots rot.

Additionally, the The root tips turn dark brown and then become fragile and mushy in a short time. Even if pothos material has been adequately watered, I noticed that pothos plants often suffer from wilting as a result. The infection may also result in lower branches to turn brown, black, or mushy. This can result in lower leaf coloration and dropping.

How To Identify Rhizoctonia Root Root In Pothos Plants

Rhizoctonia Blight very susceptible to pothos leavesproduced by Rhizoctonia solani spores that are found in the soil. In the stage of rooting, Rhizoctonia root rot can cause severe damage to pothos cuttings.

Rhizoctonia causes necrotic patches on the leaves of pothos which are black and uneven. The fungus is visible at the top of affected roots and stems as coarse threads of reddish-brown which look like spider webs.

The fungal strands can be visible when leaves muddle together. The cuttings may wilt, turn dark brown and then die when Rhizoctonia is infected by roots in the course of propagation.

How To Identify Pythium Root Rot In Pothos Plants

Pythium-induced root rot can exhibit signs that are like Phytophthora, Rhizoctonia, or both. The spores are produced and remain in the soil or in plant debris for long periods of time.

Since it’s like Phytophthora and Phytophthora, symptoms are typically associated with pathogens like Rhizoctonia as well as Phytophthora. In certain instances the same symptoms as other root rot-related causes can sometimes appear confused, but they indicate more likely to be an induced root rot caused by Pythium.

Common symptoms of pythium root rot include stunting, wilting, uneven growth of the plant, crown rot, and death. Roots appear discolored and the cortex can be removed, exposing the vascular cylindrical.

How To Naturally Treat Pythium Root Rot For Pothos Pot Plants

I suggest that it is recommended to act quickly regardless of whether the issue stems caused by persistent overwatering or a one-time overwatering that triggers an outbreak of fungal root rot. The treatment of root rot as quickly as you can gives your plant the greatest chances of survival. These steps are the most effective methods to deal with root rot that is found in pothos plants.

  1. To combat the root-rot problem, gentle lift the plant from its soil and rinse its roots with running water.
  • The dirt that is is possible is to be cleaned away, and be careful around the plant.
  • It’s now time to cut off all remaining infection roots using a sharp, tidy cutting blade or shears.

Tips: If your plant is seriously damaged by root rot, it may be necessary to cut off the majority of its roots. In this instance, wash the scissors or shears using rubbing alcohol, and then trim about one-third to one-half leaves. With fewer leaves, the plant has greater chances of regrowing its roots.

  • Continue to treat root rot by cleaning the dirt out of the container of the plant.
  • Utilizing a bleach solution, completely clean the pot with bleach.
  • The remaining healthy roots should be dipped in a solution of fungicide if possible to kill any root rot fungal infection.
  • Following treatment for root rot, repotte the plant using an unclean pot mix.

Make sure the container has enough drainage. Only water the plant once the soil on the top is dry. I do not suggest feeding the plant while growing its roots because this could cause stress to the plant.

It is not a good idea to treat root rot within the plant once more. It is hoped that the plant will be able to recover and you’ll be able to restore your beautiful home plant.

What Causes Root Rot In Pothos Plants?

Indoor plants, like pothos, are susceptible to root decay. This is why they are potted plants that have little space to grow.

The root functions suffer because of this restriction and are more susceptible to disease. Knowing the factors that are most likely to cause root rot can assist you in preventing it from happening before it happens.

Overwatering Your Pothos Plant

Pothos plants are relatively small during winter which makes it challenging to keep their health. Pothos plants can fail to thrive because of poor temperature and humidity, lighting and even watering.

Root rot is a result of overwatering which is one of the most severe issues for pothos houseplants. In winter, the most common indoor pothos disease I’ve seen in my circle of plant lovers are root rot.

Pothos do not require a lot of water, like many indoor plants, unless you’re cultivating the plants in water. It’s not a good idea to overwater when you’re using soil as your medium.

The addition of this much water to the soil will decrease the amount of oxygen that is available for the root. Like humans, roots struggle to breathe when their oxygen supply is slowed. Plants are stressed due to this.

The roots that drown eventually die and begin to decay. This can lead to an entire plant to die if it is not prevented. Since the signs of root rot begin by causing the withering of leaf surfaces, the symptoms can progress upwards until the plant completely collapses.

In the end, the symptoms are often misinterpreted as water deficiency and it is essential to check the root structure and the potting mix’s moisture levels prior to adding more water. However, the following causes can lead to overwatering your pothos plant

Soil With Poor Drainage Proficiencies

The most dangerous combo for plants in indoor environments is soil that has poor drainage capacity and a high level of water loss. This can lead to overwatering. Extremes can hamper plant development in drainage. When the system for irrigation isn’t adapted to provide water frequently, but in small amounts to ensure an aeration zone that is moist the plant is subjected to suffer from repeated stress on their water supply.

Plants that have poor drainage experience an unendingly wet root system that leads to an increase in root diseases iron deficiency, other issues with growth.

Root rots can be caused by a variety of fungal and fungus-like species that include Pythium, Phytophthora, and Rhizoctonia. These virusesgenerally thrive in moist soils that are not well-drained and potting mixes, and they can infect the roots of weaker or stressed plants.

Using Pots That Don’t Offer Appropriate Drainage Capabilities

Pots that have drainage holes allow you to ensure that your plant is adequately watered each time, without risk of root decay. Drainage holes do not just allow excess water to escape, but also let you monitor the health of your plant’s roots.

As the plant develops and develops, roots could start to grow through the hole at on the side of the container, signalling that it is time to get a bigger container. If water flows through the pot quickly it’s an indication that the ratio of soil to root is not enough (meaning there’s no enough soil in the potting area to provide the proper nutrients to the roots) The plant needs to be relocated.

If I discover it’s not perfect however the water drains too slow or is clogged frequently, I know that I’m using the wrong pot, or it doesn’t contain enough drain holes, or the holes aren’t big enough which can lead to clogging and the accumulation of water.

In the end, the pothos plant has to be relocated or changes need to be made to the existing pot.

The Size Of The Pot

In addition to poor drainage and the dimensions of the pots that you’re using to store your pothos could contribute to the roots of your plant rotting. Pots that are too large can hold more soil and also have larger capacity for water. It is normal for roots to get too wet.

If the pot isn’t big enough and the roots are not able to grow, they will connect if there’s not enough space for them to expand. Roots block containers when they get caught. The capacity to drain excess water is impacted because of.

Temperature Plays An Import Role For Pothos Roots

Pothos is able to withstand a wide spectrum of climates however, it is most productive in temperatures that are between 70-90 degrees F. Temperatures less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and temperatures that exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit can significantly hinder the growth.

It is not suitable for pothos if temperatures fall lower than 50-60°F. Extremely cold temperatures can make the soil wet. Roots can suffer if the soil becomes too wet for a long period of time.

In the end If you’ve let your pothos get exposed to low temperatures and to water frequently, you could anticipate that their roots are likely to begin to decay.

Excessive Fertilization May Cause Root Rot For Your Pothos

The overfertilization of pothos plants in commercial containers or pots leads to excessive salts that dissolve in the potting medium.

They harm roots by reducing the flow of water to them, and also indirectly exposing plants to root diseases and damping off.

Pothos Root Rot In A Greenhouse System: Treatment And Prevention

Root rot is hard to spot since it is asymptomatic of soil beneath its surface. This means that it could cause significant damage before we even notice it. This isn’t like bugs or insects, which we typically detect immediately.

But, you have noticed several signs that suggest a possible root rot disease in the present. For instance, you can check the health of the roots when you notice a slowing of growth and yellowing of the leaves of an once flourishing plant.

If a pathogenic fungus or mold is found to infect roots, the system’s dysfunctional state hinders water and nutrients from reaching the rest part of the plant. In the end, the plant’s vitality decreases because of a deficiency in nutrition.

Root rot is a fast-growing disease that spreads all over the plant and can completely suffocate the root system within as little 2 weeks.

The entire plant of pothos could be dead in about three weeks. The bacteria that cause root rot could spread through water, soil that is sloppy, or any other carrier that is suitable.

In the end, there’s the possibility that they will be able to infect another plant. As I’ve mentioned the three main kinds of root rot symptoms in pothos, these following steps will provide ways to protect your pothos plant from further damage from each pathogen.

How To Treat And Prevent Rhizoctonia Root Rot

If you are using disease-free cuttings, Rhizoctonia should not be worried about the cultivation of pothos in greenhouses and soil mixes do not contain indigenous (unsterilized) native soils. Pothos plants should be housed on benches that are raised above the surface of the soil in the greenhouse for production.

If you have a lot of pothos plants growing within your garden, I suggest that those infected be identified, packed, and removed as quickly as is possible. If sanitation is not effective in reducing the disease, triflumizole or Thiophanate-methyl applications could be beneficial.

Fungicide drenches can be effective to prevent or eliminate Rhizoctonia. Biological microorganisms, such as the bacillus bacteria included in the Pro-mix Biofungicide+Mycorrhizae growth medium, would naturally inhibit and minimize Rhizoctonia occurrence.

However, chemical and biological control are more effective when they are used in conjunction with the following great practices of culture:

  1. Reusing growth media from plants that have disease is not advised since Rhizoctonia is a soil-borne disease.
  2. Get rid of sick plants and plant waste from the area of growth.
  3. Use brand new containers. If containers are reused the containers must be properly cleaned, otherwise the disease will be cause a spread to the next crop.
  4. It is recommended to stay clear of contact with dirt as it is a frequent cause of Rhizoctonia.
  5. It is best to water the plants in the morning to dry out the leaves and stems prior to when the sun sets.
  6. Increase the air flow through the pot of plant.
  7. Increase spacing between plants so that humidity can escape the canopy of the plant and to keep humidity under 93%..
  8. It is best to prevent stress on the plant and injury, which can result in open wounds which serve as entry points to Rhizoctonia.
  9. The plants should be planted at 70 degF (12degC) or lower. Be aware that this can create ideal conditions for other root diseases.
  10. Keep the hose’s ends off the floor, and away from containers, plants, and other equipment.

How To Treat And Prevent Phytophthora Root Rot

The cause of this disease is Phytophthora Nicotianae which is a kind that is a type of mold found in water. Phytophthora produces zoospores when it is exposed to. The disease is transmitted by zoospores that can swim. Zoospores are active for a number of hours or even days, based on the humidity and temperature in the greenhouse.

Water contaminated with contaminants and water sprayed by affected plants could quickly propagate the disease during the overhead watering. Exclusion is the most efficient method to control this disease in commercial greenhouses or when shared among many plants in the garden.

Pothos that are symptomatic must be removed or put aside to be treated. A reduction in the amount of irrigation will to reduce the spread of disease since water is able to transfer Phytophthora Zoospores. The remaining plants must be treated with a fungicide that is suitable to stop further spread.

The fungicides are available on Amazon and include the Copper Fungicide from Southern Ag as well as Propiconazole Fungicide. Phytophthora diseases and pathogens can be eliminated by applying a three percent fungicide solution.

Allow one part peroxide, or fungicide for 3 parts water to penetrate the soil prior to resuming regular irrigation.

Other ways of preventing the rot of the roots in greenhouses:

  • Get rid of the plant parts that are contaminated to dispose them in a safe manner.
  • Effective drainage of soil is among the most effective methods to prevent Phytophthora. Loam soil, which is composed of sand, clay, and silt, is believed as the “ideal soil” because of its ability to hold water and nutrients, while remaining well-aerated and allowing proper drainage to stop the spread of pathogens and diseases.
  • Check your soil frequently to determine the pH balance and what fertilizers are needed to ensure your plants are healthy. Pothos plants are less susceptible to diseases that are opportunistic when they are healthy.
  • They are known for bringing diseases that can cause illness. They’re roots must be removed from damp (loose) dirt as often as is possible. To prevent spreading to other plants remove the plucked plants as quickly as is possible.
  • When you’ve used cutting, pruning, and digging equipment, be sure you clean them thoroughly. The equipment must be cleaned with a solution of bleach and water in the event of a plant that is unhealthy. life. It is recommended to use one part bleach for every 4 parts of water. To avoid recontamination of your equipment, use disposable gloves.
  • Don’t ever put any cut section of a plant that is infected into compost bins, or other mulching system as this can aid in the spread.


The majority of the houseplants, such as pothos, are susceptible to root decay. Be attentive to the changes in behavior and habits of your plant to identify any issues.

If you can implement the above measures the pothos you have an excellent chance of beating this disease.



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