How to Tell if Monstera Has Root Rot: Essential Detection Tips

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Monstera plants make for eye-catching additions to homes and offices, but being aware of common ailments is crucial for maintaining their health. One such issue, root rot, can lead to the deterioration and possible loss of these popular green companions. In this article, readers will find essential information on how to recognize and handle root rot in Monstera plants.

Detecting early warning signs of root rot is a vital step in saving a Monstera from irreparable damage. From subtle discolorations to more overt symptoms, this resource aims to provide a comprehensive guide to identifying and addressing Monstera root rot. Armed with this knowledge, Monstera enthusiasts will be better equipped to keep their plants thriving.

By understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for Monstera root rot, readers can ensure their plant’s well-being and extend its lifespan. Let this article serve as a valuable tool in guiding plant caretakers towards a healthy, fruitful relationship with their beloved Monstera plants.

Identifying Root Rot Symptoms

When it comes to detecting root rot in your Monstera plant, there are key symptoms to look out for. This section covers several signs you should be aware of, such as yellowing leaves, wilting, soft and mushy roots, and a foul smell.

Yellowing Leaves

One of the earliest signs of root rot is the yellowing of leaves. Keep an eye out for leaves that start to lose their green color and turn yellow, especially around the edges. This can indicate that the roots are not functioning optimally, which may be due to decay.


Another symptom of root rot is wilting. The leaves of your Monstera may lose their vitality and begin to wilt, even when the soil seems to have adequate moisture. This can be a strong indication that the plant’s roots are not effectively absorbing water and nutrients.

Soft and Mushy Roots

Root rot can cause the roots of your Monstera to become soft, fragile, and mushy. Healthy roots should be firm and white or light tan in color. If you notice dark brown or black roots that easily break apart, it’s likely that your Monstera is suffering from root rot.

Foul Smell

A foul smell coming from the soil or the roots of the plant can also indicate root rot. This unpleasant odor is caused by the decay of the roots and the presence of harmful pathogens. If you detect a bad smell when watering or repotting your Monstera, it’s essential to take action and address the issue as soon as possible.

By becoming familiar with these symptoms, you will be better equipped to identify root rot in your Monstera plant and act swiftly to remedy the situation.

Causes of Root Rot

Root rot in Monstera plants can be caused by multiple factors. In this section, we will discuss the common causes, which include overwatering, poor drainage, and contaminated soil.


Overwatering is a major cause of root rot in Monstera plants. When the soil is consistently wet, it deprives the roots of the necessary oxygen, leading to the rotting process. To prevent overwatering, it is essential to understand the Monstera’s watering needs and follow a proper watering schedule. Additionally, it is helpful to allow the top few inches of soil to dry out between waterings.

Poor Drainage

Poor drainage is another significant factor that contributes to root rot in Monstera plants. If the soil does not drain well or the pot lacks proper drainage holes, excess water will accumulate around the roots. This will eventually lead to root rot, as the roots remain submerged in water for extended periods. To avoid this issue, ensure that the pot has sufficient drainage holes and consider using a well-draining soil mix.

  • Ensuring proper drainage holes in the pot
  • Using a well-draining soil mix

Contaminated Soil

Contaminated soil can also cause root rot in Monstera plants. If the soil is infected with fungi or other pathogens, it can spread to the roots and cause them to rot. To avoid this problem, it is essential to use sterilized or clean soil when repotting or planting your Monstera. Additionally, avoid using tools that might be contaminated with harmful pathogens.

In conclusion, understanding the causes of root rot and taking appropriate precautions can help ensure the overall health of your Monstera plant.

How to Check for Root Rot

Checking for root rot in a Monstera plant is essential to keep it healthy and thriving. This section will guide you through the necessary steps to diagnose root rot in your Monstera plant.

Gently Remove Monstera Plant from Pot

Begin by carefully taking the plant out of its pot. Gently squeeze the sides of the pot to loosen the soil and the root ball. Slowly lift the plant out, trying not to damage the roots any further.

Inspect the Roots

Now, observe the removed plant’s root system. Healthy roots should be firm and white or light tan, whereas those with root rot are often black or brown, slimy, and mushy. When touched, rotten roots may easily break apart and release a foul smell.

  • Black or brown, soft roots are an indication of rotting
  • Foul-smelling roots suggest a rotting infection
  • Roots that break apart easily signal a compromised root system

Yellowing leaves can also serve as an early warning sign. A Monstera with healthy roots should have bright green foliage without any yellowing. If the plant exhibits pale or yellowing leaves, it may be struggling with root rot.

By following these steps and observing the plant’s roots and foliage, one can effectively diagnose root rot in a Monstera plant, allowing for proper treatment and care to save the affected plant.

Treatment and Prevention

Trimming Affected Roots

When dealing with Monstera root rot, it’s crucial to remove the infected roots promptly. Begin by gently taking the plant out of its pot and thoroughly cleaning its root system. Carefully trim away any black, slimy, or mushy roots, as these indicate rot. Be sure to use sterilized cutting tools to prevent further infection.

Repotting in Fresh Soil

Once the affected roots have been removed, repot the Monstera in a fresh, well-draining soil mix to promote recovery. Choose a pot that offers ample room for the remaining healthy roots, and avoid using previously infected soil. This can help prevent the root rot from spreading further and give the Monstera a better chance of regaining its health and vitality.

Providing Adequate Drainage

Ensuring proper drainage is essential for preventing root rot in your Monstera plant. Select a pot with drainage holes, and consider adding a layer of perlite or coarse sand to the soil mix. This promotes water movement through the soil, preventing it from becoming overly saturated and creating an environment conducive to root rot.

Establishing a Proper Watering Schedule

A balanced watering schedule is key to preventing root rot in Monstera plants. Be mindful not to overwater, as excess moisture can lead to the development of rot. Water the plant only when the top one to two inches of soil have dried out, and adjust your watering schedule based on environmental factors such as temperature and humidity.

Additionally, ensure proper air circulation around the plant to help maintain healthy roots and prevent the spread of disease. Proper circulation can be achieved by placing the Monstera in a well-ventilated area and avoiding overcrowding with other plants.


In summary, it’s crucial for Monstera enthusiasts to be vigilant in detecting the early signs of root rot to maintain their plant’s health. Some key indicators to look out for include wilting or yellowing leaves, slow growth, and soft stems. Furthermore, inspecting the plant’s roots directly for any foul-smelling, discolored or dead roots can be a helpful preventative measure.

By taking these necessary steps, avid gardeners and plant-lovers can ensure the longevity and vitality of their beloved Monstera plants. Identifying and treating root rot early allows for effective intervention, helping to save the plant and enjoy its lush, green presence for years to come.