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Monstera Root Rot: Signs, Causes & Treatments

Root rot is a gradual degeneration of roots caused by fungal infection and anaerobic activities in the soil.

Generally, overwatering is the most common cause of root rot in Monstera, with other culprits including poor drainage, improper soil type, fungal infections, and low temperatures. Cut off all affected areas of the Monstera and repot after applying fungicides to treat root rot.

When the substrate gets waterlogged for an extended period, it creates an anaerobic environment. Increased anaerobic activity and suffocation of roots lead to root rot in Monstera.

Read along to identify the causes of your Monstera root rot, ways to resolve them, and adopt preventive measures.

What does Monstera Root Rot Look Like? [Monstera Root Rot Signs]

The development of Monstera root rot can be divided into three different phases.

root rot through yellow leaves
When there is Monstera root rot, the plant produces unnatural leaves.

1. Early Stage Root Rot

  • Stunted growth
  • Discoloration of leaves, especially yellowing and browning
  • Wilted and droopy leaves
  • Occasional curling of leaves

2. Intermittent Stage Root Rot

  • Limp and soft leaves and stem
  • Discoloration of roots; dark brown or black
  • Mushy roots
  • Foul order comes from the soil
  • Black patches on leaves
  • Falling off leaves and sudden wilting
  • Thinning of branches and stems
  • Black spots on leaves surrounded by a yellow hue

3. Final Stage Root Rot (Beyond Saving)

  • Degeneration of almost all roots beyond the possibility of reviving back
  • The infection spreads to the upper shoots. As a result, stems and leaves turn limp and dull.
  • Leaves get covered with leaf spots that are broken or black.
  • However, if your plant is busier and more mature, you might find some stems for propagation. The phenomenon is rare, and you must be extremely lucky for that.

Possible Causes of Monstera Root Rot

There are several causes of Monstera root rot. All of the problems are related to water issues and the growth of anaerobic activity in the soil.

The following important factor responsible for Monstera root rot is mechanical injuries and fungal and bacterial growth.

1. Overwatering the Plant

When you overwater Monstera, the tiny air pockets in the soil are replaced by water. You all know that aeration is fundamental for healthier plant growth.

No air pockets equal no air circulation. Your Monsteras root chokes and becomes weak.

Lack of oxygen in the soil invites anaerobic growth. This negative growth brings bacterial, fungal, and other soil infections.

Similarly, overwatering allures pathogens like water mold, which severely attack your roots spreading the infection even to the shoots.

2. Inappropriate Container

Pots with no drainage hole do not allow the soil to drench surplus water; the extra water fills the pores in the soil, pushing essential oxygen out and lowering the oxygen concentration in the soil.

Similarly, root rot is prone in oversized pots. In a big container, water takes longer to dry. And as the bottom-most soil remains soggy for a more extended period.

Montera does not like to be rootbound, so a small pot, too, can be vulnerable for your plant. 

3. Improper Soil Mix

Monstera loves the consistently moist substrate, but too much soil moisture is vulnerable.

Similarly, too much peat moss, coconut coir, and organic matter in the soil are vulnerable. These matters retain excessive moisture, and hence the potting mix gets waterlogged.

Besides, poor soil can also hamper the plant, symbolizing high soil compaction and limiting air circulation.

Hence, on the one hand, high soil compaction causes root injuries by exerting high pressure. On the other hand, it reduces oxygen concentration in the soil.

4. Low Temperature

Temperature primarily affects soil moisture retention capacity. When the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit or so, the rate of soil drying decreases.

The lower the temperature, the higher time it takes for water to dry up in the soil. Hence, the longer the soil remains soggy, the higher the chances of root infection.

Hence, always reduce the watering frequency by half whenever winter approaches to avoid your plant sitting in soggy soil.

5. Inadequate  Sunlight

Generally, a non-variegated Monstera needs 5-8 hours of bright diffused light, while a variegated Monstera needs about 7-10 hours of light.

Light intensity is crucial in decreasing soil moisture or drying the soil. When the light intensity is high, moisture in the soil remains for a shorter period—drying the soil.

In contrast, if the light intensity is low, moisture in the soil will remain longer.

Thus, if you water your Monstera at an ascribed frequency, it takes longer for the soil to dry up the water.

6. Overfertilizing the Monstera

If you over-fertilize them, salts will build up in the soil, which stresses the soil and roots, causing them to develop faster.

They’ll provide a conducive atmosphere for root rot to thrive. 

rotted roots of Monstera
Chemical fertilizer may harm the young roots of Monstera easily.

7. Fungal Disease Infection

Monstera is prone to root rot, especially in the winter season, as the temperature drops and prolongs soil moisture evaporation.

The primary pathogens that bring root rot in Monstera are Pythium, Phytophthora, and Rhizoctonia.

Pythium Root RotPoorly draining substrate, overwatering, excessive thatch, and high accumulation of organic matter and fertilization
Phytophthora Root RotOverhead watering, frequent misting of leaves, and using contaminated soil and water
Rhizoctonia Root RotOverwatering, overhead watering, and high temperatures
Is your Monstera leggy? Learn how to identify the symptoms and fix them.

How to Treat Monstera Root Rot?

You can save a Monstera at the early or intermittent stage of root rot. Before heading to the treatment of Monstera root rot, let us first inspect its roots.

You need to take your plant out of the pot and inspect if its roots are brown, black, limp, or mushy.

Step-by-step Guide to Treat Monstera with Root Rot

It is always best to save your plant from further rot than letting it rot, assuming that repotting will further stress it.

After you take your Monstera out of the pot, inspect for the signs like soil moisture, and mushy and discolored roots. If you see that, you need to proceed with its treatment.

You may need to collect pruning shears, healthy potting mix, a clean container, bleach or vinegar, fungicide, isopropyl alcohol and a pair of gloves to start. 

Step 1: Rinse the Roots Off

Take your Monstera out of the container. Now, loosen the soil from its root ball. Try to get off as much soil as you can.

Afterward, wash off its root in running water. As root rot is a disease that can spread further, you must remove all the contaminated soil.

After taking the plant out of the pot and loosening its soil, rinse the roots off with clean water.

Step 2: Cut all of the Damaged Roots

The primary source of contamination for your Monstera is the infected roots themselves. Thus, you also need to get rid of them.

Take a sterilized knife or pruning shears and chop off all the mushy and discolored roots. Ensure to sterilize your instrument before and in between pruning.

Step 3: Dry and Disinfect Roots

Leave the roots in the air after you are done with the pruning of infested parts. The roots have been exposed to prolonged moisture, so they must dry up completely.

It could take about 1-2 hours. After that, disinfect the roots using a fungicide. Otherwise, you can dip the roots into a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution.

To prepare the hydrogen peroxide solution, mix one tablespoon of peroxide for every single cup of water.

Step 4: Prune the Damaged Parts

If the root rot is severe, it is certain that the upper shoots are also affected. Hence, get rid of the infected and damaged leaves and stems.

Prune only the affected parts. Excessive pruning might induce another wave of stress to your Monstera.

Step 5: Repot Monstera in a New Pot

Now, it is time to grab clean pots.

  • If you use older pots, rinse them off with clean water.
  • Then, soak the pots in vinegar or bleach solutions for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Again, rinse the pots with water and leave them to dry.
  • Once the pots are dry, layer them with a few pebbles. Avoid using more pebbles; only use them to cover drainage holes.
  • Then, fill 1/3rd part of the pot with a new potting mix. Next, place your Monstera plant into the pot and fill it with soil from the sides.
  • Once you are done filling the soil, press the soil exerting a bare minimum pressure. Ensure that the root is at the same depth as the earlier pot.

Step 6: Leave the Plant in a Favorable Condition

After repotting, the plant generally gets slightly stressed before successful adaptation. As a result, it might wilt and droop for a couple of days.

You need not worry about it as the plant will revive naturally. As the plant gets stressed after repotting, you need to provide it with a suitable environment for better adaptation.

Place the plant in bright indirect light and water thoroughly. Also, maintain warmer temperatures and humidity above 40%.

Read more to find out why your Monstera is drooping after repotting.

Step 7: Propagate from Healthy Stem Cuttings (In Case of Severe Infection)

Unfortunately, if your Monstera’s root is dead, you can still propagate it through an unaffected healthier stem with a node.

Make an incision at an angle of 45 degrees just below the node. You can opt for both water and soil propagation. Ensure that the node lies beneath the soil while in soil propagation.

Similarly, for water propagation, ensure to have the water every 3-4 days. The stem cuttings will most likely produce roots after 2-3 weeks.

This way, you can easily learn to grow Monstera Albo from node.

Natural Fungicide for Black Root Rot

While you can always opt for chemical fungicides, we recommend a natural fungicide. Natural fungicides are eco-friendly, cheap, readily available, and enhance soil quality.

Here are a few options you can try to treat Monstera root rot.

Natural FungicideHow to Apply?
Neem OilMix 1 teaspoon of raw neem oil in 1 litre of water.

Add 3-5 drops of dish soap, make a mixture and apply.
CinnamonSprinkle cinnamon powder on soil.

Make a spray using powder cinnamon, make a strong tea and spray on the underside of leaves.
Baking SodaTake a gallon of tepid water, mix 3-4 tablespoons of baking soda and 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.

Spray the mixture on the soil.
ChamomileTake 1/4 or 1/2 cup of chamomile flower and add 2 cups of boiling water.

Let the mixture cool down and spray it.
Apple Cider VinegarMix 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into a gallon of water and spray it to the soil and the plant.
Hydrogen PeroxideAdd 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide in water.

Spray the mixture over the plant and soil as well.

Are your Monstera leaves turning black? Find the causes and solutions to treat them.  

How to Prevent Root Rot in Monstera?

Sneaking a peek at your Monstera regularly to inspect signs of root rot is the fundamental step to keeping your Monstera Problem-free.

Here are some tips you can follow to prevent root rot in Monstera.

  • Provide ample sunlight and introduce the plant to 1-2 hours of morning sunlight or afternoon shade. Rotate your plant once a week to saturate every part with balanced light.
  • Grow Monstera in an eastern-facing window or about 1 foot away from the western or southern-facing window.
  • Avoid low temperatures for Monstera. You can use frost blankets and heating pads or provide insulation to prevent plants from the harsh cold.
healthy potted Monstera plant
Monstera plant needs pruning in spring.
  • Maintain humidity levels up to 50 to 70%. You can use Humidifiers or pebble trays which raise the moisture level.
  • Water your plant once a week in summer and twice or thrice a week in winter.
  • Use well-draining, light porous, organic soil.
Quick Tip: Make an ideal potting mix using 2 parts of regular soil, 1 part of perlite, 1 part of peat moss, 1/3rd part of coarse sand and 1/4 part of activated charcoal.
  • Fertilize your Monstera every 2-4 weeks with slow-releasing organic fertilizer.
  • Always keep your Monstera in a well-aerated space.
  • Avoid purchasing plants that are unhealthy and show signs of pests and diseases.
  • Avoid grouping your Monstera with other infested plants.
  • Wipe off your Monstera leaves with soap water once a week to knock off pests and diseases.

Can Monstera recover from root rot?

Monstera can recover from root rot. However, you must identify the problem as soon as possible and take the required steps to remedy it.

Unfortunately, if your plant’s entire root system has turned mushy, it may be too late to salvage it.

Generally, if you can save its node, you might succeed in reviving the plant. Its nodes are capable of producing a new and healthy root system.

Thus, you might be able to save your Monstera even without root through propagation.

How to identify Monstera root rot?

Some symptoms include yellow leaves, wilting and drooping, brown tips and margins of leaves, lesions on leaves and stem, moldy potting mix, a mushy stem base and crown rot. 

Besides, stunted growth, defoliation and sudden plant collapse also indicate the same.

What is the best way to water Monstera and prevent root rot? 

If you don’t have an idea to water Monstera, check the 1-2 inches of dry soil. Besides, you can also set watering schedules in a watering timer. 

From Editorial Team


Monstera is not a plant that is hard to care for. If you provide them with adequate light, water, temperature, nutrition, etc., it thrives well.

However, if, unfortunately, your Monstera root beings to rot, treat it as early as possible. You can apply natural fungicides or synthetic, depending on the severity of the infection.

The prominent cause of Monstera root rot is overwatering, soggy soil, and poor drainage. Thus, sneak peek at these conditions timely.

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