Root rot is a common problem among succulent owners and can be a frustrating and difficult problem to fix. However, with the right treatment, it is possible to save your beloved plant before it’s too late.
Identifying Root Rot in Succulents
The first step in treating root rot is to identify the problem as early as possible. This is easier said than done, as the signs of root rot can be difficult to spot in the early stages. However, if you notice discolored roots or a bad smell coming from your succulent, it’s important to take action right away.
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Treatment Methods for Root Rot
The Drying Technique
One treatment method that can be effective in curing root rot is the “drying technique.” This involves allowing your succulent to dry out for a period of time in order to kill off the infected roots. However, this method is only effective if the rot has not spread to the stem of the plant and is caught early before the leaves turn yellow.
Remove as much rotten tissue as possible. Gently excavate the soil around the succulent and remove any rotten or darkened roots you see. Use a sterile knife, tweezers or your fingers to pull away rotten roots. This will help prevent the rot from spreading further into healthy roots.
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Trimming off Rotten Roots
Another treatment method is trimming off the rotten roots. This is done while repotting and involves cutting off a few centimeters above the infected area. This can help save the plant by removing the source of the rot, but it’s important to make sure the remaining part of the stem is clean and does not have any black spots. The cuttings should also be left to callous for a couple of days before planting.
Dusting with Powdered Sulfur
Dusting on powdered sulfur is another method that many experienced gardeners recommend for treating root rot. Sulfur is used to acidify the soil and can help protect the succulent from fungi and bacteria. However, it’s important to note that sulfur will not help cure root rot caused by overwatering and can harm beneficial microbes in the soil.
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Beheading and Propagation
Finally, as a last resort, beheading the succulent and propagating the healthy cuttings can be done to save the plant. This is typically done when the rot has spread throughout the entire plant, including the roots, stems, and leaves. However, it’s important to keep in mind that succulents with rotten stems may have a lower chance of survival. The cuttings should be planted in soil and left to dry for a day or two before watering.
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Preventing Root Rot in Succulents
Here are some tips in simpler terms to prevent root rot:
• Use dirt that drains really well. Root rot needs wet soil to survive. Choose a soil mixture that is almost dry, with lots of ingredients like perlite, grit, and coco coir to allow lots of air flow to the roots.
• Don’t over-water. Only water when the top inch or so of soil is dry. Put your finger in the soil before watering again. Too much water leads to root rot, so water conservatively. It is always better to under-water than over-water.
• Make sure air can circulate. A fan blowing on your plants or improving ventilation will help keep roots dry. Leave some space between plants and open pots.
• Check roots regularly for rot spots. Look at roots weekly, especially after repotting or if root rot happened before. Find and remove any dark or rotten parts right away. Early detection prevents disease spread.
• Let wounds dry before putting in new soil. If pruning roots, let cut areas dry for 1-2 days before repotting. Dry wounds can’t get infected again.
• Use rooting hormone (optional). After root damage, powder or gel rooting hormone helps new roots grow in. Follow directions on the product.
• Fertilize lightly, if at all. Fertilizer provides food for growth, but too much can promote lush growth needing more water. Only fertilize at 1/2 strength if growth seems stunted. Otherwise, little or no fertilizer is best.
• Remember, root rot thrives on wet, dense conditions with no air. Keeping roots moderately dry, with good air circulation is the key to preventing root rot. Follow these tips and your plants will establish healthy roots and stay happy!
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By following these tips and treatment methods, you can successfully treat and prevent root rot in your succulents, saving your beloved plants from a premature death.
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