One of the biggest mistakes that succulent beginners and sometimes succulent experts make is overwatering a succulent. When you overwater a succulent this allows mold and bacteria to grow and appear, later attacking the roots of the succulent.
The succulent will then start to look moldy, have mushy leaves, and start to rot. This is known as succulent root rot and it simply occurs when you overwater a succulent. Root rot is the #1 most common reason why a succulent will die. Beginners experience root rot the most because they think their succulents need a lot of water so they overwater them. This is a huge beginner mistake and it may cause their succulent to die unless they take action immediately.
So you have come to a conclusion that your succulent has root rot. Now how do we fix root rot? Is it even fixable? Will my succulent survive or is it too late? After reading you will know the answers to these questions and you’ll be able to fix root rot and learn how to prevent it.
Before we Begin...
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SIGNS YOUR SUCCULENT HAS ROOT ROT
Common signs and symptoms of succulent root rot are mushy leaves, rotting, molding, lack of color, and just an unhealthy or dying looking succulent. You can easily tell if your succulent has root rot, especially if your succulent was growing very healthy before root rot has occurred.
Another way to check if your succulent has root rot is to unpot the succulent. Simply take the succulent out of its pot and check out its root system. If the soil or roots have mold and bacteria on them or the soil smells, then the succulent definitely has root rot. You sometimes will see some small worms that are also eating up the roots.
It’s very easy to tell if your succulent has root rot, the succulent will just look like it’s dying and look very unhealthy.
Root rot on succulent
WHY YOUR SUCCULENT HAS ROOT ROT
Your succulent has root rot because it has been overwatered. Succulents don’t like or need too much water, and they certainly don’t want to sit in a puddle. When watering succulents, succulents just want to get a quick drink of water and then go back to sitting in dry soil. They don’t want to be soaked for a couple of days, they want to stay dry.
If your succulent is sitting in wet soil for a couple of days then root rot will appear because the soil is releasing bacteria due to the moisture. That bacteria will eventually attack the roots of your succulent and that is how root rot will appear.
The bacteria attacks the roots to try to take over the whole soil, mold wants to spread everywhere in the soil. This is why your succulent looks like it's rotting, dying, or unhappy, simply because it is getting attacked by bacteria, mold, etc.
HOW TO SAVE/TREAT YOUR SUCCULENT FROM ROOT ROT
Saving/treating your succulent from root rot simply all depends on how fast you catch it, and take action to get rid of it. Understand that it is very hard to tell if root rot is appearing in the beginning, usually people will not know their succulent has root rot until they see the signs and symptoms we mentioned earlier.
As soon as you see these signs of root rot, you must take action, do not wait. Root rot spreads fairly quickly, and the quicker it spreads, the faster your succulent has a chance of dying soon.
DRY THE ROOTS/REPOT THE SUCCULENT
Root rot treatment for succulent
For treating and fixing succulent root rot, you must unpot the succulent and dry its roots. Simply grab the succulent pot by the bottom of it and also grab the stem of the succulent. Carefully pull on the stem and both the bottom of the pot pull more from the pot than the stem.
The succulent should come out of its pot very easily. If the succulent isn’t coming out then you might have to use a small shovel and dig deep enough into the soil to get the succulent out. Whichever way you feel comfortable, just make sure to get the succulent out of its pot.
After getting the succulent out of its pot you need to brush off all of the soil on its roots. You must make sure that all of the soil is off the roots, you want the succulent to be bare rooted. After the succulent has no more soil go ahead and let it sit in a safe area bare rooted for 2-3 days or until the roots completely dry out. You must let the roots get very dry so the infection can die.
You can also dust in some sulphur on its roots. Sulphur is known for treating succulent root rot and it does help a lot. The sulphur eats away at the bacteria, which will easily cure the succulent from root rot.
After the roots have dried out, then it’s time to repot the succulent. Before repotting make sure that you throw out the old soil and clean the pot very well. This is important because you can’t have that old soil in the pot still, this will allow root rot to come back.
After your pot is cleaned and you have fresh soil, it’s time to repot the succulent. Fill up your clean pot with fast/well draining succulent soil only half way. Then place your succulent into the soil and then add the rest of your succulent soil. Pat it down so you can make the succulent sturdy so it can grow straight.
After you repot the succulent, don't water for about 2-4 days. After 2-4 days have passed go ahead and give the succulent some water.
Sometimes root rot takes over the entire succulent and gives it zero chance to survive. The succulent just gets destroyed completely, leaving on its stem and some leaves. You can still technically save the succulent by propagating the stem and leaves.
You will have to cut the stem a little to avoid the dead part of the stem. After cutting the stem make sure that the stem forms a callus before propagating. Wait 2-4 days after cutting the stem or until a callus forms. After a callus forms go ahead and plant the stem in fast/well draining succulent soil.
This is simple propagation and you should definitely do it if your succulent does not survive root rot and just gets destroyed completely. This is the only way to technically save a succulent if root rot has killed it completely.
TIPS FOR PREVENTING ROOT ROT
Preventing root rot is very easy!
It’s very important to use fast/well draining succulent soil to prevent root rot. Fast/well draining succulent soil will drain the excess water and keep the soil dry. Fast/well draining succulent soil will prevent overwatering and later on root rot. It’s definitely a must to prevent root rot and to grow healthy!
USE WELL DRAINING SUCCULENT SOIL
Root rot will be avoided by using well-drained succulent soil. It's very important that you use well-drained succulent soil so the soil doesn't stay soaked with water for several days. If you overwater the succulent and the soil stays wet and not dry for several days, then mold and bacteria will grow and appear. The mold and bacteria will then attack the roots of the succulent giving it root rot. Root rot is known as the #1 most common reason why a succulent will die.
To avoid mold/bacteria and root rot, you must use well-drained succulent soil. Well-drained succulent soil will keep the soil dry at a very fast rate preventing mold/bacteria and root rot from appearing. Any succulent grower expert will tell you that you need well-drained succulent soil, it's definitely a requirement for growing this succulent and every single other succulent out there.
We use Ramsey Succulent Soil when growing succulents and avoiding root rot. It is well-draining with sand and perlite and it’s loaded with nutrients, having seaweed fertilizer. Seaweed has 60 trace minerals and nutrients, so your succulent plants will grow faster, stronger, healthier, and of course avoid root rot when using Ramsey Succulent Soil.
Use a pot or a container with a drainage hole so excess water can leak out the bottom of the pot. Remember, the goal with succulents is to keep the soil as dry as possible and not soaked with water. A succulent pot with a drainage hole is a must have when growing succulents, especially if you want to prevent root rot.
Keep track of the exact last time you watered your succulent. Most beginners just keep overwatering their succulents, this leads to root rot. It’s important to keep track so you know when was the last time you watered the succulent. This will prevent overwatering because you won’t water your succulent when it doesn’t need water at all.
Now you know all about root rot, how to care/treat for root rot, and some tips to prevent root rot!
Root rot is very serious, it’s the #1 most common reason why your succulent will die! You know the signs and symptoms, and now you know how to cure and prevent root rot, now it’s time to save your beautiful succulents!
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