Root Rot in Philodendron Plants

With more than 480 species of philodendron, it is among the top sought-after plants to add color to your home. However, it is susceptible to root rot, which could cause serious problems particularly if you have multiple plants within your home.

Being prepared for the possibility of root rot occurring in your plants is a great plan since you’ll be prepared if it happens.

The root rot disease is typical disease that affects the philodendron plant. Root rot happens when roots become soggy and begin to decay in a way that invites fungi and bacteria to the plant. If you spot root rot in the early stages and cut away the infection might be in a position to save your philodendron from dying.

In this article, I’ll be discussing the root rot that can affect your Philodendron. I’ll offer some tips for how to recognize root rot and treat the philodendron that is infected. I’ll also give you the most effective methods to prevent root rot and how to properly care for your philodendron to ensure it continues to flourish all year long.

What Is Root Rot?

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

The first layers of root of the philodendron behave as human skin, blocking numerous deadly diseases and viruses. The removal of these layers leaves the plant vulnerable to infection if you don’t work swiftly.

Person carrying Philodendron

Typical Causes of Root Rot in Philodendrons

There are several common causes of root rot in philodendrons.

Overwatering The 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 plant’s pores, which prevents the nutrients or moisture from getting to the leaves.

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

Underwatering The 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 Your Philodendron Into Other 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.

Spread of Fungal and Bacterial Growth

A fungus, a bacteria or virus could create root rot. The thing that a lot of people aren’t 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 plant’s natural defenses protect against the harmful toxins, however when your plant is stressed or weak or stressed, it might have a hard time fight 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 Do You Identify Root Rot in a 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 will 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, smelly and break up when you hold them. If the disease has been spread to the leaves and stem and leaves, the roots may appear to be wilted with yellow or dark spots.

Other signs that show root rot are:

  • Slow growth
  • Wet 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 Should I Do if My Philodendron Has Root Rot?

If your philodendron is suffering from root rot, you’ll 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

In order to stop the decay from occurring, you’ll have to trim off the unhealthy roots.

Here’s how to get rid of the roots that are infected:

  1. Begin by separating the affected Philodendron from the rest of your plants to stop spread of the infection.
  2. Remove the plant from its pot and inspect the roots.
  3. 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. Look for healthy roots that range between yellow and white.
  5. Find the 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. Get rid of the affected roots and then dispose of them properly and ensure they don’t come in contact with any other plants.
  7. Cut roots only to the point of the affected part. Cutting them further back exposes more of the root’s center and the plant will be more susceptible to disease.
  8. 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.
  9. Bleach is a substitute for hydrogen peroxide. Be aware of the bleach you’re using and ask for advice regarding the amount you need to make use of, since bleaches can be different.
  10. Move the plant into an additional pot, and then make use of fresh soil to repot the plant.

Other Factors To Consider With Removing Infected Roots

  • 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 fertiliser 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 you’ve had to take out one third from the root systems.
  • Take a Cutting. If you’re not sure you’ve 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 doesn’t succeed, this new plant can be used as a backup.

Learn more about the process of removing the roots of a Philodendron in this video of 10 minutes from Urban Tropical.

How To Propagate Your Philodendron

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

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

If you’re looking for more information regarding propagation, this 15-minute video from Christine Kobzeff can assist you.


How To Prevent Root Rot

We’ve 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 Monitor the 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 soil’s pH.

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

Stop Overfeeding Your Philodendron

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.

Do Not Reuse Infected Soil

It is not recommended to reuse soil from the plant that has root rot to plant another. Reusing soil could cause the spreading 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 you’re against throwing it away.

Use a DIY Fungicide To Kill Off Root Rot

Make this recipe at home for an alternative to 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 the 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 an that you get a uniform coverage.

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

Types of Root Rot In Philodendrons

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

Light Blight Rot

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

Although it is unlikely that philodendrons will suffer this kind or 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.


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

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.

Gray Rot

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

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 it’s not a good idea since there’s no cure.

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

Care Tips for Philodendron

Root rot is an extremely destructive disease for your 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 Bright Indirect Lighting

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 is that is exposed to excessive light may be burned and display the following signs:

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.

Keep The Philodendron’s Soil Moist

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

It isn’t 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 an “moderate” or “light” watering. What does that mean for your Philodendron? Let’s discuss it.

How Can You Tell if Your Philodendron Is Under Watered?

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 it’s moist and does not require additional water. If however, there’s no stick and the dirt appears dry, it’s time!

Watering Frequencies for Philodendrons

If you’re 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.

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

Tests To Check Water Content of Philodendron

If you’re not sure whether you’re 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 you’re 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 doesn’t 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 it’s noticeably heavier, it could be that the difference in water content is. I suggest not watering your philodendron when it appears heavy.

Keep Your Philodendron at Room Temperature

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 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 philodendronand increasing the likelihood of developing root decay.

The Issue With Drinking Water Temperature

Philodendrons can also be sensitive to cold water. A alteration in the temperature of 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 they’ll give for 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 water whenever you can. This can be accomplished by purchasing a container that can take rainwater.

If you are seeking a rainwater tank I would recommend the portable rain Barrel water Tank. The tank can hold enough rainwater to water your garden and is enclosed to stop insects like mosquitoes from destroying your yard.


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.

Here’s how to increase the drainage of your garden plants:

  • Make sure there is 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.

Other Elements To Consider

  • 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.
  • 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 summer time. In winter, you should fertilize your philodendron at least every six times that you water it.

If you’re 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a Philodendron Grow Outside?

The philodendron is a plant that can be found in the tropical and coastal areas of 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.

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.


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 that’s when it’s time to either propagate or eliminate your philodendron in order to stop spreading the disease.



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