Root Rot in Philodendron Plants

Last Updated on September 9, 2022 by Stephanie

The root rot problem is typical problem for philodendrons, however, if you take good treatment of the plant, and watch out for signs of infection and fungi, you can stop it from happening and even eliminate it.

Sometimes, the root rot is too severe to be able to save your plant and thats when its time to either propagate or eliminate your philodendron in order to stop spreading the disease.

What is Root Rot in Philodendron?

The root rot disease is an infection that affects both outdoor and indoor plants that develops when theyve been damaged to their roots, mostly due to excessive watering. The disease begins with the initial layers of roots getting wet and causing an infection caused by a fungal or bacterial organism to spread throughout the stem of the plant.

Related: Do Indoor Plants Attract Bugs?

The first layers of the root of the philodendron behave like human skin, blocking numerous deadly diseases and viruses. The removal of these layers leaves the plant vulnerable to infection if you dont work swiftly.

What Causes Root Rot in Philodendrons?

There are several common causes of root rot in philodendrons.

Overwatering a Philodendron

The main cause of root decay in philodendrons is excessive watering. The roots of houseplants that are exposed to excessive moisture begin to decay, stopping the water from spreading to other areas in the plants.

The first indication of a philodendron that has been overwatered is when it begins to appear limp. The excess water can clog the plants pores, which prevents the nutrients or moisture from getting to the leaves.

The roots then get saturated and soggy, similar to cooked noodles. Then, the dry roots will go to waste and start to decay.

Person carrying Philodendron

Underwatering a Philodendron

Surprisingly enough, just as excessive watering can lead to root rot, extreme underwatering can cause similar issues.

The root structure that has been for too long without water will be weak and brittle and eventually break down. If you are able to water the plant in order to counter the dehydration, it can cause a blockage to the roots, which can cause damage and block oxygen from getting to the plant.

Transporting a Philodendron to Different Countries

The plants in transit may suffer severe damage during transport and can leave the root system vulnerable to infections.

Certain countries also spray imported plants with a lot of chemicals to prevent insects and invasive diseases. However, these chemicals could cause serious harm to plants which increases the risk of developing diseases like root rot.

Bacterial and Fungal Growth Spreading

A fungus, a bacteria, or a virus could create root rot. The thing that a lot of people arent aware of is that these pathogens are constantly present within the plant.

The pathogens are dormant, waiting for the conditions needed by the disease to spread and infect others. Most of the time, the plants natural defenses protect against harmful toxins, however, when your plant is stressed or weak or stressed, it might have a hard time fighting the fungal pathogens.

The disease is transmissible. Therefore, you should be cautious about reuse of pots and tools when one of your plants is suffering from root decay. Make sure to clean your tools and pots when you take care of your plants to prevent spreading disease.

How To Identify Root Rot in Philodendron

It is important to understand the cause of root rot and the best methods for treatment, it is essential to recognize the symptoms. Being aware of them as early as you can give your philodendron the greatest chances of survival if affected.

It is possible to identify root rot in a philodendron based on the color of the roots, their texture, and scent. If your philodendron is suffering from root decay, it will have roots that are dark, and smelly, and break up when you hold them. If the disease has been spread to the leaves and stems and leaves, the roots may appear to be wilted with yellow or dark spots.

Other signs that show root rot are slow growth and soil that is excessively wet.

A lot of the signs of root rot could be indications of other issues in your houseplants. It is crucial to keep in mind to check the roots as quickly as you can if there are numerous signs of visual damage.

What to Do When Philodendron Has Root Rot

If your philodendron is suffering from root rot, youll be required to determine if the disease is restricted within the root system or higher into the plant. The extent to which it has spread throughout the plant will indicate whether you need to remove any affected roots or if you need to spread the plant.

How To Remove Infected Roots Properly

In order to stop the decay from occurring, youll have to trim off the unhealthy roots.

Heres how to get rid of the roots that are infected:

  1. Seperate Plant: Begin by separating the affected Philodendron from the rest of your plants to stop the spread of the infection.
  2. Take Out of Pot: Remove the plant from its pot and inspect the roots.
  3. Clean Roots: Clean the roots thoroughly to get rid of any soil. Cleansing the root is a crucial step, and a successful task at this will aid in determining if there is root rot on the plant.
  4. Check Roots: Look for healthy roots that range between yellow and white.
  5. Find Affected Roots: They will appear dark brown to black soft, mushy, and then pull apart with your hands. They also emit an unpleasant smell.
  6. Remove Affected Roots: Get rid of the affected roots and then dispose of them properly and ensure they dont come in contact with any other plants.
  7. Cut Roots: Cut roots only to the point of the affected part. Cutting them further back exposes more of the roots center, and the plant will be more susceptible to disease.
  8. Soak Roots: The roots of your plant can be soaked in an equal amount of hydrogen peroxide as well as water. The peroxide kills any remaining bacteria that may have escaped from the root decay. There is no requirement to soak the roots. A quick splash will suffice. Bleach is a substitute for hydrogen peroxide. Be aware of the bleach youre using and ask for advice regarding the amount you need to make use of since bleaches can be different.
  9. Repot Plant: Move the plant into an additional pot, and then make use of fresh soil to repot the plant.

Removing Infected Roots – What To Consider 

  • Pot Size: Based on the number of roots you have removed, think about altering the size of the pot for your Philodendron. A pot that is appropriately sized will ensure that your soil stays adequately damp for your philodendron without becoming too moist in the incorrect areas.
  • Stop Fertilizing: Do not add fertilizer to the repotted philodendron until at least 8 weeks, which will help improve root development.
  • Leaf Removal: I suggest removing a portion of the leaves if you were forced to take out significant portions from the root systems. Although no plant owner would wish to do this, a good guideline is to remove one-third of the foliage when youve had to take out one-third from the root systems.
  • Take a Cutting: If youre not sure youve eliminated all affected roots, you can take the cutting from some of your healthy branches. The cutting can be grown as an individual plant. If the plant you started doesnt succeed, this new plant can be used as a backup.

How To Propagate Philodendron Properly

When the root rot has reached the roots and affects the leaves and stems, it is possible to try to stop it from spreading.

  1. Remove From Pot: Take the plant carefully out of its pot.
  2. Remove Affected Roots: Dispose of affected components of the plant, making sure to clean and disinfect any pots or tools youve used.
  3. Place in Water: Put the stems that are healthy in water and then in direct sunlight so that they can recover.
  4. Check Plant: Maintain the plant in water for about four weeks. You should be watching the growth of new roots.
  5. Repot Plants: Plant the plants in a new pot and add perlite to the soil mix to promote the growth of the roots.
  6. Check Water: You can leave the plant in place for a week before you start to give it water.
  7. Clean Tools: Cleanse all gardening tools that you might have used to care for this plant.
  8. Check Plant: Keep watching the plant carefully. Look for signs of leaves turning yellow.

How To Prevent Root Rot in Philodendron

Weve learned that root rot is one of the most threatening threats to your Philodendron. Follow my top suggestions to stop root decay and ensure that your philodendron is happy, beautiful, and healthy.

Avoid Clay Pots and Check Soil PH

If you decide to plant your philodendron inside clay pots, be aware that root decay is more likely to be a problem because clay can alter the soils pH.

Also, make sure that the pH and oxygen levels are in a low state regularly. Make sure to maintain the pH between 5.0 and 6.5, which is ideal for philodendrons.

Avoid Overfeeding  

Avoid overfeeding and fertilizing your philodendron too much. Feeding it too much fertilizer could cause burns to the root system and also cause a fire to the leaves of the plant.

Fertilizer burns may stress and weaken the plant, which makes it more vulnerable to root rot and other diseases.

Related:  How Do You Fertilize Plants in LECA (Clay Balls)?

Infected Soil Should Not be Reused 

It is not recommended to reuse soil from the plant that has root rot to plant another. Reusing soil could cause the spreading of the root rot.

Therefore, it is recommended to remove infected soil from your house when you plant your Philodendron. It is also possible to clean the soil if youre against throwing it away.

DIY Fungicide Can Kill Root Rot

Make this recipe at home for an alternative to a fungicide that is natural. The ingredients used in this recipe will supply your philodendron with much-needed nutrients.


  • 2 Tbsp of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of hot water


  1. Combine the cinnamon with warm water until it is well combined.
  2. The mixture should be left for a night at room temperature.
  3. The mixture should be filtered by putting it through a mesh bag or tea strainer to take the excess pieces out.
  4. Mix the ingredients in the spray bottle
  5. Cover the soil of the philodendron using a thin coating of spray, making sure to get that you get uniform coverage.

The addition of fungicides, such as cinnamon, to your soil can stop the growth of fungi, stopping your philodendron from developing diseases.

Philodendrons Root Rot Types

There is a variety of root rot and the conditions must be ideal for each of them to develop. Lets take a look at the different varieties of rot and talk about what makes each distinct:

Fusarium in Philodendron

Fusarium can be described as a fungal disease that is introduced into the plants system through the root canals. The infection may spread throughout into the plants stem, degrade the leaves and result in dark brown patches on the leaves.

Related: What Causes Brown Spots in Philodendron Birkin?

Fusarium is among the easiest root rot types to treat, as long as you recognize it in the early stages and trim back damaged and infected roots.

Light Blight Rot in Philodenron

Light Blight Rot is caused by Phytophthora, which is a kind of water mold that may result from excessive watering.

Although it is unlikely that philodendrons will suffer this kind of root decay, they could be affected by an infected plant. It is essential to clean your equipment as well as quarantine any plants with root rot or another fungal disease.

Gray Rot in Philodendron

Gray rot is a seasonal issue and is most prevalent in the winter months. It is extremely contagious and could destroy all the plants in your home.

It is, therefore, essential to keep an eye on your houseplants for fungal growth in order to ensure that you spot it in the early stages and eliminate your plants prior to spreading.

Bacterial Soft Rot in Philodendron

Bacterial root rot is a different, extremely contagious disease that plant owners are able to transmit through gardening tools. Insects are also able to spread this kind of rot. If your philodendron is affected, its not a good idea since theres no cure.

The best way to deal with this is to eliminate the plants immediately and in a way that does not allow the spread of this disease to your other plants.

How to Care for Philodendron 

Root rot is an extremely destructive disease for the plants in your home. It is possible to avoid treatment for root rot by giving it time and care.

Here are some suggestions for providing the best care to your philodendron so that it can remain in top condition.

Provide Lighting That is Bright and Indirect

Philodendrons need a place with indirect sunlight to ensure good growth.

The philodendrons might love light. However, they require indirect sunlight to remain healthy. If a philodendron that is exposed to excessive light may be burned and display the following signs:

  • Leaves are pale leaves that are yellow
  • Crispy brown patches of foliage
  • Stunted growth

Related: Why Are My Philodendron Atom Leaves Yellow?

However, the philodendrons that do not receive enough light may exhibit these signs:

  • Slow to expand
  • The roots of the mold
  • Root rot is a common problem.

Another aspect to take into consideration when searching for the right location in your home to house your philodendron is the proximity they are to heat sources as well as dark spots that are excessively dark. By avoiding these spots, you will reduce the chance of your philodendron developing root decay.

The amount of light you can provide to your philodendron directly affects how much water you will need to supply it with.

Soil Should Be Kept Moist

The watering of your philodendron is a crucial part of keeping it healthy. But, it is also difficult to do.

It isnt easy to know exactly the amount of water you should give the plant, especially when many guidebooks and retailers offer suggestions such as giving your plant a moderate or light watering. What does that mean for your Philodendron? Lets discuss it.

How to Tell When Philodendron is Underwatered

The philodendron in your garden may require more water if it has been drier, yellower or has curled at the edge. Another sign is dry cracks, crumbly, or cracked soil.

The most effective method to determine the time to water is by using the test of your fingers. It is as easy as placing your fingers around 2-3 inches (5 7cm - 5 inches) in the dirt. If dirt adheres to your fingers its moist and does not require additional water. If however, theres no stick and the dirt appears dry, its time!

Philodendron Watering Frequency Guide 

If youre just beginning to learn about having a philodendron in your garden, you might want to follow these suggestions for watering your philodendron as well as creating your schedule.

Whats wrong with my Philodendron?How often should I water it?
New seedlings of a brand new variety that was recently plantedEvery five days
Seedlings four weeks oldWeekly
Plants that are up to 2 years oldEvery two weeks
Plants older than two yearsEach three or four week
The summer months are the best time to live in hot regionsEvery 6-8 days (however this is only for hot climates in areas such as Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico)
Winter monthsEvery four weeks, but make sure to make sure to check the soil for moisture prior to taking action.
After the repottingDo not water for one week. However, do water each week for the next four weeks.

Philodendron Water Content Tests

If youre not sure whether youre providing the correct quantity of water for your philodendron, there are two kinds of tests you can conduct.

  • Moisture Test: You could test the amount of moisture in the soil around your plant using the fingers (which is described in the previous) or using the help of a soil tester. If youre looking for an instrument to test the amount of water in your houseplants, I would suggest the Yimusen plant moisture Meter. It can be used for both outdoor and indoor plants and doesnt require batteries.
  • Weight Test: Based on the dimensions of the pot you may be able to take the pot of your philodendron and test the weight. If its noticeably heavier, it could be that the difference in water content is. I suggest not watering your philodendron when it appears heavy.

Can I Grow Philodendrons in Water?

Philodendrons can be grown in water and be a part of your life in the water. Different varieties like those known as the Heart Leaf philodendron and the Velvet Leaf vine are more well-known for their water-based growth. New plants require water changes to ensure that new roots develop.

Room Temperature is Best for Philodendron 

The fact that you keep your philodendron in a cold climate can affect its capacity to take in water. This means that you might not require watering your plant more than you believe.

Low temperatures cause the metabolism of the Philodendron to slow down, which means that the amount of water consumed by it will decrease.

The owners of plants may be interested in this option when they live in a cold climate. Even if you adhere to the directions to water your plant, it is possible that you are overwatering your philodendron and increasing the likelihood of developing root decay.

Can a Philodendron Grow Outside?

The philodendron is a plant that can be found in the tropical and coastal areas of the United States. If you are experiencing winters that are colder, make certain to keep your plant inside or bring it indoors in the fall. Philodendrons thrive in humid and warm conditions and like indirect light.

Drinking Water Temperature Causes Issues for Philodendron

Philodendrons can also be sensitive to cold water. An alteration in the temperature of the water makes the root system of the plant more vulnerable to damage. Therefore, choose moderately warm water to safeguard your plants.

Another aspect for homeowners to think about is the type of water theyll give to their plants. If you decide to give their philodendrons tap water, allow it to sit for at least 24 hours in a sun-drenched location. The process of airing out the tap water permits the chlorine and fluoride to evaporate.

The most beneficial thing you can do to your philodendron is to provide it with water whenever you can. This can be accomplished by purchasing a container that can take rainwater.

Provide Drainage

The philodendron requires adequate drainage in order to make sure that water does not have a chance to grow within the root system. Inadequate drainage is among the main reasons why philodendrons develop root rot, therefore making sure that there is enough drainage.

Heres how to increase the drainage of your garden plants:

  • Make sure there are enough drain holes inside the container that you use.
  • Repot any plant that has inadequate drainage in containers that have holes and trays.
  • Make use of a soil mix for your philodendron, which includes perlite as well as sand.
  • Use unglazed or ceramic pots to improve the aeration.

Philodendron Prefers Humidity 

The philodendron prefers to be in a humid atmosphere. As per UK Houseplants, placing your plant on a bed of damp stones will result in greater humidity. It is also possible to use an air humidifier to increase the humidity around your plants.

How to Fertilize Philodendron

Fertilization - The frequency at which you need to fertilize your philodendron will depend on the time of year. It is recommended to fertilize your plant at least once per month in the summertime. In winter, you should fertilize your philodendron at least every six times that you water it.

If youre looking for an effective fertilizer for your houseplants such as philodendrons, I suggest this Philodendron Fertilizer Liquid Plant Food. This product is perfect for plants such as philodendrons, pothos, and various trailing plants.

Furthermore, it has the same high quality as all of the best indoor fertilizers at less than half the price.



Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)