How to Save Aloe From Root Rot


Root rot is the most dangerous disease for aloe. It can kill your favorite aloe vera plant. This type of rot occurs at low temperatures and excessive watering. If you do not identify the disease at an early stage, the plant will definitely rot. Root rot is the most common and fatal for aloe. 

Here I will share how to detect the disease in time. I’ll also tell you about the signs and symptoms of the disease in the plant. Don’t worry there are also ways to save your aloe from root rot. So, keep reading!

Causes of Aloe Root Rot

Bacteria and fungi are usually the culprits that cause this rot on the plant roots. Remember that aloe belongs to succulents. 

In its natural environment, aloe grows in an arid, hot climate on sandy, well-aerated, light soils. If you fail to ensure the required conditions your aloe becomes vulnerable to this type of disease. 

  1. Frequent Watering

You should not water Aloe Vera frequently. Once a week is ideal. Before watering, make sure the soil is not moist. If it is wet, do not water. 

If you water your aloe too frequently then there will be some problems. Which is very easy to avoid. Frequent watering makes a dense crust forms on the surface after drying. As the plant breathes not only its above-ground but also its underground part. 

So, carbon dioxide is constantly released into the soil. Souring of soil during waterlogging is a common consequence of this. Many nutrients go into forms that are not absorbed by the plant. Strong dampness and increased acidity of the soil lead to the start of root rot disease. 

  1. Small Container

You may have never thought of it. If the container size is small then the roots get twisted in a tight ring.

Now, if you water it the moisture inside the potting soil will remain for a while. Even if the ground looks dry from above. 

As a result, there will be a shortage of oxygen. This difference leads to additional stress on the plant and rotting inside.

  1. Hypothermia

Plants can get hypothermia too! In addition to keeping aloe to cold place if you water it excessively, the situation gets worse. 

I have seen that succulents rot more often in autumn and winter. Because the windows are blowing strongly and the soil in the pots is cooling down.

But even in warm seasons, watering with cold water is harmful to the plant. Sometimes, even with moderate watering, a disease may develop due to a fungal infection. 

  1. Pathogenic Infections

Another important thing that you might never have thought about it! Your aloe may get infected even if you have taken care of all the precautions. But forgot to disinfect the old container before planting a new one. 

If you plant aloe in the container where the diseased plant lived before it. Some bacteria can live for years on the walls of an old pot. So, as soon as the situation is favorable for them, they can easily get into the new host. 

  1. Organic Fertilizer Application

Often, indoor gardeners, try to revive a diseased plant with fertilizer application. You don’t want to do that. This extra fertilizer causes a surge in the development of bacteria that will provoke rot. Especially, Manure or bird droppings are harmful to aloe. 

When your aloe vera is infected with the disease, it is better to stop fertilizing. 

How to detect a problem in time? 

Rotting of the roots often occurs with improper care. This is a dangerous disease, often leading to the death of your aloe. Since the plant is in a pot, it is not always possible to understand that the root system is suffering. Therefore, you need to inspect your aloe vera regularly. So that you can identify alarming symptoms by external signs.

Often gardeners drag the plant out of the pot at the very last moment. Because they think this might harm the plant. They try to fertilize it or take other measures to change the situation. But this only makes it worse. There are no external signs of improvement, and the “home doctor” continues to grow weak.

  • With a regular inspection of the agave, you can notice that the growth has stopped or slowed down. At this moment the plant does not react to watering. 
  • You will see the withering of old leaves.
  • The aloe stem starts to get exposed from the bottom.
  • The stem will dry up.
  • At the root neck, the plant becomes so thin that it can even break down.
  • The appearance of the stem looks satisfactory. But the lower leaves become soft, loose as if saturated with water.
  • A strong, pungent, unpleasant odor comes from the aloe pot.

How to save the aloe if its root system is rotted? 

You maybe got lost finding out that the root system of your aloe is rotted! So, What to do at this point? An urgent plant transplant is required. 

I will show you how to transplant aloe vera yourself. Here I’ll walk you through the step by step process of transplanting aloe plant: 

To prepare for this, you need to take into account the following aspects. Which have an impact on the success of the whole process, that is:

  • preparing the right container for your aloe
  • use of appropriate soil
  • appropriate transplanting
  • watering after transplanting
  • With these steps in mind, let’s move on to choosing and preparing a pot for transplanted aloe vera

Pot Preparation

The pot for your aloe vera is not only a decorative element. It also has another important function, which is to help you regulate humidity. 

When choosing an aloe planting pot, pay attention to the size and number of drainage holes that are at the bottom of the pot.

It is through these holes that excess water will pour out. I am intentionally talking about excess. Many beginners think that aloe, like other succulents, does not like a lot of water. 

Nothing could be more wrong. 

Aloe likes a lot of water but only for a short time. It means that aloe just doesn’t like standing in the water. When the roots are in the water for a long time, the aloe is vulnerable to root rot disease. 

That is why it is so important that all the elements that affect your aloe vera are properly selected and the first is the right pot. 

Choosing a pot for transplanting disease affected aloe vera choose one that has large drainage holes and there are at least 4 of them. Thanks to this, water will be able to flow freely from the pot. Of course, assuming that you will have properly prepared soil.

When choosing the right planting pot for aloe vera, also remember that the plant is quite spread out. So the ideal planting pot should be wider than its height.

Since you already know which pot to choose for aloe vera, let’s move on to preparing the soil. 

Aloe Transplanting Soil

Ready soil mixtures for replanting succulents are available in stores. The soil should be light, air-permeable with the addition of river sand in a ratio of 2: 1. You can use the ready mixture for cacti. 

However, in my experience, most often, such soil is too fertile, compact, and retains too much water to be used for transplanting aloe vera.

Because of this, I offer you independent preparation of the land. To do this you will need several ingredients:

Expanded clay, which is available in stores, is quite large. So it’s best to crush it with a hammer before using it. 

To break the expanded clay without getting dirty all around, put it in a plastic bag. A few hammer strokes should do the trick.

Time for stones. 

Aloe likes a well-drained soil, so it is necessary to mix it with inorganic elements. Aquarium stones are quite good for this because they are prepared as a substrate for living organisms. 

This means that they should be well cleaned. If you have any doubts, pour them with boiling water. Just throw it on a sieve and pour hot water. By brewing them in this way you will remove any fungi that could be on their surface.

Remember to choose the right size of stones, because too big ones will not go well with smaller aloe vera. 

If you want to spice up your composition, you can also use colored stones of different sizes or sand. 

The choice is huge, so it’s best to go to the aquarium store and find something best for yourself.  You can also check them here

When you prepare stones, expanded clay and sand (optional) it’s time to mix these ingredients in the right proportions. 

I recommend the best soil mix for aloe is:

  • 3 parts of soil
  • 2 parts of small and medium stones
  • 1 part of expanded clay

For measuring it is most convenient to use a measuring cup or just a regular spoon. 

Then mix the ingredients as shown in the picture below.

The soil shown in the picture is quite dry because I burnt it in the oven. Sometimes I do it to be sure when transplanting. I won’t transfer the bacteria from the previous plant to the new one. 

I do this burning in an ovenproof dish. Just heat the oven to 150 °C and put the earth in it for at least 30 minutes.

In this way, you will get rid of not only bacteria and fungi. This will help you get rid of root rot bacteria. 

Let’s move on to transplanting.

Remove aloe from the pot

We start by removing aloe from the pot. Start when the soil is dry, which will make your task easier. 

Hold the aloe on your left hand and remove the pot from the plant with your right hand.

Loosen the roots

Then gently loosen the soil so as not to damage the roots.

When you remove the aloe from the pot and remove the soil around the roots. Determine the damage level. 

Rinse it with running water. Then Use a clean, sharp knife to remove rotten roots.  From my experience, it is good to leave the aloe for two or three days to let the roots dry. 

I have to admit that I have never done that with my own aloe. But have had the opportunity to help my others with root rot of aloe. 

Here are the final steps to transplant your root rot affected aloe: 

  1. Gently powder the cuts with charcoal, sulfur powder, or a crushed tablet of activated carbon to prevent infection. 
  2. It won’t hurt aloe if you leave it for a few days so that the roots can dry out.
  3. I recommend using a new pot for planting. If a replacement is not possible, wash the old container thoroughly with soap and water. 
  4.  At the bottom of the pot, make sure that the sand is draining excessive water through a hole.
  5. Fill in the prepared soil mixture and transplant the plant without watering or slightly moistening the substrate. 
  6. Keep the plant in a warm, shaded place. 
  7. Water for the first time three weeks after planting.

Caring for an Aloe After Transplanting

When the aloe has settled in,  you can switch to the mode of moderate moistening of the soil. You should use room temperature water.

I would recommend watering the aloe twice a month in the warm season. In autumn and winter, water aloe once a month. You can leave the plant without water until spring.

Make sure that the plant does not stand in the cold or in a drought. If you keep to the golden rule for aloe that dryness is better than waterlogging. Then you can enjoy the healthy appearance of Aloe for a long time.

Prevent and Control Aloe Root Rot

Below I have summarized the most important tips for you to prevent and control root rot in your plants:

Tip 1: Avoid waterlogging

In general, you can prevent aloe root rot by controlling the environment. Moisture and wetness promote fungal infections. So avoid waterlogging and keep the soil or substrate loose and well aerated. Remember: the harder and wetter the soil is, the more likely root rot will occur.

Tip 2: Consider Crop Rotation

If you have root rot in your garden, you should definitely pay attention to your cultivation sequence next year. Often a certain pathogen only grows on a certain Plant or plant family. So make sure your indoor garden is diversified. If your aloe root rots, avoid placing aloe in the same pot the following year.  You should try changing soil and container when you are planting a new one. This will help prevent aloe root rot.

Tip 3: Beware of planters

Planters are very decorative for houseplants. You can quickly submerge your ornamental plants. In this way, it is easy to overlook the fact that there is still water in the pot. This way there will always be the presence of excessive water. In addition, permanent moisture promotes infestation with root rot pathogens.

Tip 4: Loosen the soil

If your soil is hard you can add sand or compost to make it lose and aerated.

Organic material promotes humus formation and water storage capacity.

Tip 5: Prevention instead of control

When you use pesticides they will not work every time as expected. Because the active ingredients of fungicides will not penetrate the soil. But you can apply the best practices described above to inhibit aloe root rot and promote healthy plant growth. 

So make sure that the soil conditions of growing aloe are favorable. Preventive measures are better than control after disease infection.  Now that you have known how to save your aloe from root rot, I am curious about what preventive measures you are going to take next? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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