Whether you are a novice or experienced gardener, you have to take good care of your plants to keep your garden alive. If the striking appearance and amazing features of succulents have impressed, you will likely add a few of them in your greens collection.
Although succulents are usually not prone to pest or insect infestation, overwatering them can cause rotten roots or stems. If you have noticed your plant has stopped growing or showing symptoms of root rot, no need to fret! Fortunately, there're a few things you could do to save them.
How to Identify Roots Rot?
If you unpot your succulents and notice their roots have turned dark brown or black, it indicates that your plant has developed infected roots. As a result, you need to treat it immediately, or else your plant will die.
Root rot on succulent
In case the rot spreads to stems and leaves, they will become paler and yellow. Over the course of time, the leaves of your succulents will become mushy. If the lower leaves are turning pale, it is probably because of overwatering. Nevertheless, if the top leaves become yellow, it probably indicates a nutrient deficiency.
Ways to Treat Root Rot
Fixing the roots of your succulent before your plant dies completely depends on how early you determine the rotten roots and start treating it. In most cases, however, identifying the issue is never easy; particularly in the early period. Nevertheless, there are some ways you can treat and cure your lovely succulent with rotten roots.
1. Use the 'Drying Technique’
First and foremost, allowing your plump greens to dry out is a potential cure. However, this technique does not work every time. It is effective only when the rot has not spread into the stem. Furthermore, it usually works before your affected plant’s leaves turn yellow. But it’s quite difficult to predict whether or not the plant has been cured. So, it’s better to repot it a couple of days later. However, if you find the roots have not been completely fixed, leave your delicate plant unpotted for a few days for air dry.
2. Trim Off the Roots
While repotting if you find the roots have become rotten, trimming the affected part can help save your plant from dying. However, make sure to cut off a few centimeters above the infected area. So, if the internal part of your plant’s roots would be rotting too, cutting it off will completely remove the rot. Make sure the remaining part of the stem is clean and do not have any black spot (sign of root rot). After trimming off the rotten part, let the cuttings callous for a couple days. DO NOT skip this step. This will increase the chance of surviving for your succulents.
If you do not trim off the rotten stem, it will continue to spread, affecting all of your plant. As a result, your succulent will die soon. Moreover, trimming the root is among the positive pruning practices. Therefore, do not be worried about chopping it off.
3. Dust in some Sulfur
Many experienced gardeners recommend powdered sulfur to treat the root rot of succulents. Since the chemical is used to acidify the soil, it is usually dusted on plant’s root at the time of repotting. Sulfur tends to protect the fragile succulent from fungi and bacteria.
While sulfur kills the microbes, it can also harm the beneficial ones. However, it is imperative to keep in mind that Sulfur never helps in curing the rotten roots caused by overwatering. If you still want to give it a try, make sure the roots are dried and not moist when you are dusting them with sulfur.
Root rot treatment for succulent
4. Try Beheading as your Last Bet to Save the Plant
Unfortunately, if the rot has spread to the whole plant, i.e., including the roots, stems, and leaves, beheading your succulent might save it. Beheading is just like propagation, which can salvage a part of your plant. Most experienced gardeners recommend beheading in most critical conditions.
However, it is important to mention here that succulents with rotten stems may have fewer chances of survival. Still, propagating with the healthy cuttings can be your last bet to save this drought-tolerant green. To do that, cut the stems 2-inches above the rotted part and plant it in soil. Do not water it for a day or two; it is possible that these cuttings will grow back into healthy and happy succulent.
Tips for Preventing Root Rot
Fortunately, preventing the root rot is quite simple since it is usually caused by overwatering. Here is what you need to keep in mind while growing your succulents.
The Bottom Line
In a nutshell, succulents grow healthier in well-drained soil as it has a high water-holding capacity. However, if you notice your plant has developed the symptoms of rotting roots, following the techniques mentioned above would help in saving it.
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