How to Save Aloe Plant with Root Rot?

A Women Inspecting Her Aloe Vera Leaves
A Women Inspecting Her Aloe Vera Leaves (Source: Pexels)

Root rot is a pathogen that can harm all kinds of plants if it goes unchecked, not just an aloe plant.

Like most cacti and succulents, the aloe vera plant is particularly vulnerable to root rot and must be appropriately maintained.

When roots begin to rot, they lose their ability to absorb hydration and minerals from the soil and hence cannot transmit them to the entire plant body.

It causes extreme dehydration and hunger in the plants leading to death.

You can save an aloe plant with root rot by trimming the infected roots and repotting the plant in a new light potting mix. As per the symptoms demonstrated, you might also need to alter your aloe’s water schedule and positioning.

A Potted Aloe Vera Plant (Source: Pexels)

Because root rot reveals itself initially down into the soil, caregivers are sometimes unaware of the dangers until it has progressed and worsened.

If you think something about how your aloe looks are beyond normal, you might want to consider keeping an eye on the roots.

This article is an elaborative description of how you can detect and save your dear aloes from root rot. So, let’s get to it.

What Causes Root Rot in Aloe Vera Plant?

Excessive watering and fungal pathogens are the two most common culprits of root rot in aloe vera plants.

Aloe vera roots will rot and decay if they are exposed to moisture-soaked substrate. The roots are attacked by fungi present in the soil, which causes them to rot away.

The aloe plant root rot problem arises when a particular type of fungal infection blooms on the plant for various reasons.

Although root rot mainly attacks the base of the plant, specific varieties of fungus can also injure the foliage and prevent the plant from developing.

How Long Does Root Rot Take to Kill Aloe Plant?

One of the most severe and prevalent conditions for aloe vera plants is root rot. It has the potential to kill your cherished aloe vera plant.

And, your baby aloe will undoubtedly decay and die if the ailment is not detected in time. 

Aloe vera plants could perish in as little as ten days in the worst-case scenario. As for best cases, they have been seen to resist the root rot for as long as 45 days before finally giving up.

Can you Save Aloe Plant from Root Rot?

The most harmful aspect of root decay is that it is impossible to pinpoint early as it may not have any apparent signs while the plant grows.

On the good side, if you handle aloe vera properly, it can withstand root rot and thrive again.

However, you must respond swiftly if you fear that your beloved aloe has contracted the sickness.

If you have discovered any clinical manifestations of root rot, today might be your best shot to save your plant.

Usually, you can save aloe vera plants from root rot by trimming the roots and repotting them in a fresh potting mix.

A Collection Of Healthy Aloe Vera Plants
A Collection Of Healthy Aloe Vera Plants (Source: Pexels)

However, is it not a complete solution to save your aloe.

Read through the following in more detail to contrast the symptoms with the cause and best treatment associated.

Signs of Root Rot in Aloe Plant

If you are an experienced gardener, it might be easy for you to identify root rot in most cases as the leaves give it all away.

However, if you are a beginner to houseplants, you might have a hard time understanding the needs of your aloe plant.

Deep brown, squishy root tips and dark brown, soggy older leaves are the most common signs of root rot in plants.

Here you will find a detailed breakdown of all the symptoms demonstrated by an aloe plant with root rot.

But before that, let’s look at how you can distinguish between a healthy root and an unhealthy one.

Aloe Root Rot vs. Healthy Roots

Identifying and distinguishing between a healthy aloe vera root and a rotten one is not very difficult.

The following guidelines will help you quickly differentiate and identify the differences.

Color of the Root

Good health roots are whitish or creamy, especially at the apex. They can be moderately transparent or even translucent in young aloe veras.

On the contrary, dark brown, black, grey, red, or pink is frequent shades of roots that signal declining health or root rots.

Root Texture

Better and healthier roots are solid to touch. They are broad, dense, and sturdy, stretching deep into the soil for minerals and hydration.

Roots on established aloe vera plants are frequently so lengthy that they retain and hold the soil in the pot’s outline. 

As for unhealthy and rotten roots, the texture is exceedingly mushy and floppy. They are also very few and do not run throughout the soil.

The Smell of the Root

Healthy roots should have a soil-like aroma. The odor of sulfur, decay, or decomposing debris is an indication of root disease.

Additionally, they release oozing liquid that smells terrible.

And now, let’s look at the signs your aloe plant with root rot exhibits.

1. Soggy Leaves

The first most visible indicators of root rot are dark and soggy leaves. Root rot is nearly always present when aloe vera leaves begin to get brown and limp.

When the aloe vera plant’s foliage turns dark and floppy, the roots are usually severely damaged. And, it is possible that saving the plant will be challenging.

As root rot sets in the aloe plant, the base of the leaf are where the signs begin to appear. This is the first spot to turn dark and become soggy.

The base probably becomes so fragile that the leaf breaks off the plant, but it can also disseminate upwards, turning the whole leaf brown.

2. Unhealthy Roots

The best way to detect root rot is to examine the roots by digging them. The ends of the roots will appear squishy and different from regular healthy roots.

You can also gently uproot the plant and see whether the roots are healthy.

The roots must uproot easily when you tug the aloe plant. However, if most of the origins detach from the plant and remain in the soil, this is a symptom of root rot.

Next, the roots will feel slimy to touch and have a distinctively pungent smell (resembling decaying matter). 

Save Aloe Plant With Root Rot

The first and foremost step to saving an aloe vera plant with rotten roots is to change its growing medium.

Splitting plant roots
Dividing The Roots (Source: Pexels)

Below are a few steps that can help you save your aloe vera from further damage.

Step 1: Carefully clean the roots in running water. Trim off the dead and decaying roots.

Step 2: Prepare a well-draining potting mix with plenty of perlites. Make sure to either opt for a terracotta pot or a ceramic pot.

Step 3: If the pot does not have a drainage hole make sure to create one for the outflow of excess water.

Step 4: Slowly position your aloe vera root ball inside the new potting mix. Gently pat it down and add in some amount of water.

Step 5: Place it in a shady location with suitable humidity levels of around 40 percent and nothing more. Gardeners also prefer covering the plant with a plastic bag with a few holes to induce humidity around the plant.

How to Prevent Root Rot in Aloe Vera?

Because precaution is better than treatment, you should try these basic guidelines to avoid your prized aloe vera plant from signs of root rot.

Here are a few top-notch precautions to take ahead of time to prevent your plant’s roots from decaying.

1. Modify Watering Schedule

A bacterial condition that creates water-soaked patches on aloe leaves is known as soft rot.

The leaflets become squishy and crumble as deterioration advances into the plant’s interior. The patches may get larger and fuse altogether. 

Soft rot can be caused by moisture accumulating in the head of the aloe plant.

Remember that aloe vera are desert plants and do not require plenty of water to thrive.

Allow the soil to dry out completely between watering schedules and avoid excessive watering. 

2. Maintain Location and Lighting

One crucial factor that contributes to root rot in aloe is putting the plant in an unsuitable habitat.

It is best to place your aloe in a shady location during the summer and not directly under the hot sun. Bring it indoors if you want to maintain your aloe in the best shape possible, even during winter.

3. Proper Temperature and Humidity Requirements

If you place your aloes in a cold and humid location, they are more prone to root rot as the moisture in the potting soil cannot dry out effectively.

It is not an unusual event for aloes placed in bathrooms to develop root rot due to the very reason.

Make sure to keep in mind that aloes love temperatures between 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13°C) and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27°C). Anything significantly below or above this temperature range can serve as an ignitor for root rot.

Aloe vera plants are not very demanding in terms of humidity. So you are well off without investing in a humidifier.

4. Check the Soil Type

Root rot is exacerbated when the soil type does not drain and dry out adequately, permitting moisture to fill every gap in between the potting soil.

Poor water drainage aggravates poor water drainage if the growing medium is highly compact or the wrong soil type is chosen to grow the potted aloes.

Moisture enters and accumulates in all the spaces in the growth medium when it is constantly overwatered, driving oxygen away from the roots.

Nutrient and water intake and respiration all come to a standstill when oxygen levels in the soil are minimal, thus causing root rot.

Make sure always to use well-draining cacti or succulent mix when potting aloe vera. It would be beneficial to add a generous amount of perlite in the potting mixture to remove moisture.

Proper Soil Mix (Source: Unsplash)

5. Choose the Best Pot Type

Plastic pots are by far the most typical variety you will encounter at a florist or horticulture store where you buy your houseplants.

They are lighter, low-cost to manufacture, mess-free, and handy at holding plants, especially succulents.

However, they are not very friendly to your aloe plants.

Unlike terracotta and ceramic pots, plastic pots do not contain minute holes in the pot for a proper flow of air.

Hence, plants potted in plastic pots are more prone to root rot.

Another issue with using plastic pots is infiltrating dangerous chemicals from the plastic into the soil and eventually into the plant roots and body.

It is always best to opt for organic and natural planters such as terracotta or ceramic pots to have a healthy root system.

Check out this article I wrote about the 10 best pots for aloe vera plants: 10 Best Pots for Aloe Vera Plants.

Tips to Take Care of Aloe Plant After Repotting

You could be puzzled as to why your aloe vera is dying right in front of your eyes after a good repot.

Many variables might cause your plant to appear sickly after repotting, but there are a few simple procedures you can consider to lessen the likelihood of frail-looking aloe.

Aloe Vera Plant In A Metal Pot
Aloe Vera Plant In A Metal Pot (Source: Unsplash)

Like most plants, aloe veras go through a shock phase after being repotted. Your aloes may seem limp and dehydrated, but don’t water them for approximately a week after they’ve been repotted.

Not watering them for about a week ensures that any wounded roots during the repotting have regenerated.

  • If your aloe vera was previously exposed to improper sunlight, reduce the intensity a little to more modest levels. This will promote plant development without putting the plant under unnecessary stress.
  • Take into account clustering your newly repotted aloe, using a humidity pan, or trying one of the other beautiful strategies to encourage dampness for your plant. Repotted plants generally demand more humidity than usual.
  • Keep an eye on the warmth around your aloe vera to be sure it is just right. You can also keep track of the current, maximum, and minimum temperatures with a digital thermometer.
  • To combat drooping after repot, do not fertilize your aloe veras for a minimum of 2 – 3 weeks. Plants are stressed by repotting, and quick input of nutritional salts could be hazardous. Sources of stress in aggregate can typically lead to disaster. 
  • To avoid drying, give particular attention to the water requirements after repotting. It is best not to water aloes on a schedule. Instead, inspect the soil and leaves consistently for signs that they need to be hydrated.

Conclusion

After going through this piece, you should be capable of preventing the aloe vera plant from root rot.

Hence, you can now take steps to keep the plant alive and thriving.

Go ahead and dig in that frail and drooping aloe vera and give it a brand new life.

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