Root Rot and How to Avoid It

Root rot is the bane of my existence as a plant mom.

Since I exclusively use LECA, I have to transition any soil plant I buy to LECA; this generally involves propping it. Whenever I unpot a soil plant or try to prop a cutting, there is a risk of root rot. These are some tips and tricks that I’ve found over the years to help prevent it.

Let Cuttings Callus

This cannot be overstated. Leave them out for a few hours or days, depending on the stem’s thickness. It helps prevent the problem before it starts.

Rooting Hormone

I’ve had limited success with this, though some people swear by it. I got some on Amazon for less than 10 dollars. Just stick the end of your fresh cutting into the rooting powder and let it dry. In my experience, it doesn’t help much and is messy, but it’s pretty cheap, so it might be worth a try.

Hydrogen Peroxide

It has many applications when it comes to plants; if I notice a plant might have a root rot issue but don’t want to unpot the whole thing yet, sometimes I just put some hydrogen peroxide in its reservoir. Surprisingly, it does help if I catch it early enough.

I also use hydrogen peroxide to spray on soil roots before I transfer them to LECA. I’m unsure how much it accomplishes, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

Clean Tools

Use clean pruning shears to take cuttings and to remove root rot; once you see root rot, cut it off ASAP. Clean them between plants, spray them with hydrogen peroxide, and keep cutting.

What I Do When Root Rot Happens

Generally, if I notice root rot, I first immediately unpot the plant from whatever vessel it’s in. Cut off all rotted parts, spray or dip in hydrogen peroxide, let callus depending on the plant, and place in a new clean container with new clean LECA.

Cleaning LECA

Having clean LECA does matter; I wish it didn’t because it’s a pain to clean, but it does. There are many ways to clean LECA; some people boil it, which works but is labor-intensive. Plus, I use way too much LECA for that to be practical.

I take used/dirty LECA and put it in a bin, fill it with water, and squirt hydrogen peroxide until I hear it bubbling. Let soak for at least a day, sometimes a week, depending on my motivation. Then, strain the LECA out. Rinse off it. There’s still a lot of plant debris stuck on the LECA, and put in another container to dry. That’s it. It’s not the most scientific, but it works.

Feel free to message or DM me with questions. Love to talk all things plant and will gladly help you on your plant journey.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *