Skip to Content

7 Steps to Treat Root Rot in Aloe Vera (Signs and Diagnosis)

Have you noticed your Aloe vera plant wilting or dying off? It could be due to root rot – a condition that causes the roots to rot and become mushy, making it impossible for the plant to absorb water and nutrients.

If left untreated, the entire plant can become weak and eventually die. In this article, I will discuss root rot, its symptoms, common causes, and, most importantly, how to save your Aloe vera plant from root rot.

Can Aloe Vera Survive Root Rot?

Signs of Aloe Vera Root Rot
Aloe Vera root rot is characterized by the appearance of brown, mushy, and foul-smelling roots

It’s a common misconception that root rot is solely responsible for aloe vera plants dying, but in reality, it’s just one piece of the puzzle.

The sudden withering of stems and leaves above ground is a characteristic symptom, particularly in unique cultivation forms like hydroculture.

Even if the roots are examined, diagnosing the issue can still be challenging. The roots may also rot due to gradual withering and wilting caused by primary conditions like temperature and sunlight, diseases, and pests.

It’s similar to diagnosing “heart failure” as the cause of death for most people – while it may be a contributing factor, there are often other underlying issues at play.

Causes of Aloe Root Rot

As an aloe vera plant enthusiast, I’ve learned that root rot can significantly threaten your plant’s health. When the roots begin to rot, the plant often doesn’t survive for long. Several causes of aloe vera root rot are common and worth knowing about.

  • Fungal root rot is one of the most common causes of root rot in aloe vera plants. Many fungal pathogens can attack the roots, leading to wilted spots and pale or yellow leaves. Identifying which fungus is causing the root rot can be tough, as many diseases can lead to this problem.
  • Another common cause of root rot is a bacterial infection. If certain bacteria invade your aloe vera plant, the stems and leaves will quickly become soggy and develop damaged spots. Unfortunately, there are no home remedies for bacterial root rot, so you’ll need to dispose of the affected plant.
  • It’s worth noting that bacteria or fungi are not always to blame when roots start to rot. Overwatering and too much moisture can cause the roots to become soggy and rot.

This is particularly true for potted aloe vera plants, which are at a higher risk of root rot due to their tendency to be overwatered. Check out my other article to learn how to save an overwatered aloe vera plant.


When your aloe vera is infected with root rot, it is better to stop fertilizing. 

How to Identify Aloe Vera Root Rot

Signs of Aloe Root Rot
One of the signs of Aloe root rot is a weakened stem neck that becomes soft and mushy due to the fungal pathogen

Are you suspicious that your aloe vera plant is suffering from root rot? If so, you may ask yourself questions like, “How can I tell if the roots are healthy or not?” or “What are the different colors and smells I should be looking for?”

These are essential questions to ask yourself, and as someone who has dealt with aloe vera root rot before, I can tell you that identifying it can be challenging.

When it comes to the roots’ color, it can be difficult to distinguish between healthy and rotting roots, especially if they are covered in soil.

However, healthy aloe vera roots are typically white and have many fine roots. If you touch the roots and they feel mushy, watery, or crushed, your plant likely has root rot.

Aloe Healthy Roots
Healthy Aloe roots are firm, white, and plump, indicating that the plant receives enough water and nutrients.
Aloe Root RotHealthy Roots
Brown or BlackMaybe Balck, white or pale
Mushy and may fall off if touchedFirm and Strong
Emits rotten smellNo such Smell
  • There are a few different causes of root rot. Physiological root rot can occur if the soil is not well-draining, while a disease causes fungal or bacterial root rot. In fungal or bacterial root rot cases, you may notice that the edges of the roots are narrowed, or the center or periphery of the cross-section may turn brown when a thick root is cut with a cutter.
  • If the cause of root rot is physiological, you can help your plant recover by improving its environment. Try removing the plant and replanting it in a raised area of soil. If a disease causes root rot, it may disappear as the plant grows larger, but it’s important to ensure that the soil is not consistently wet or deprived of sunlight, as this can also hinder root growth.
  • Finally, if the roots turn black, feel soft and water-soaked, or have a strong, pungent, unpleasant odor, it’s time to take action. Don’t be afraid to get up close and personal with your plant and give it a good sniff – trust me, it’s for a good cause!

Don’t be that gardener who waits until the last second to rescue their plant! Drag that sucker out of the pot and take action before it’s too late. Trust me, fertilizing and other hocus-pocus remedies only make the situation go from bad to worse.

So there you have it – with these symptoms in mind, you’ll be able to diagnose root rot in your aloe vera plant and take steps to prevent it from spreading.

How to Save Aloe Vera From Root Rot

Did you know that fungi can cause root rot in aloe vera plants and can be quite challenging to fight?

Typically, fungicides aren’t effective at removing the fungal pathogens lurking in the soil and could even harm the surrounding ecosystem.

But don’t fret! If you catch the root rot early on, such as in potted plants, you can take action by removing the aloe vera from the damp soil and save them from further damage. 

1- Repot Using Fresh Soil and Pot

The most effective approach is to repot it to restore your aloe vera plant’s health after root rot. As soon as you detect root rot, acting quickly and repot your plant is crucial.

This process involves using fresh soil and a new pot to replace the old, nutrient-poor, and potentially disease-ridden soil that caused the problem in the first place.

It’s important to note that the old soil may also contain pest eggs that could harm your plant’s health.

So, don’t hesitate to repot your aloe vera to provide a healthy environment for optimal growth and well-being!

2- Choosing The Perfect Pot For Your Aloe Vera Plant

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “A pot is just a decorative element, right?” Wrong! It is crucial in regulating moisture for your plant’s health and well-being.

So, when you’re on the hunt for the ideal aloe vera planting pot, pay attention to the size and number of drainage holes at the bottom.

These holes are like the club’s bouncers, keeping out the excess water your aloe vera just can’t handle. I mean, we all have our limits, right?

Contrary to popular belief, aloe vera loves water only for a short time. Think of it like a thirsty marathon runner; they’ll take a sip of water to keep going, but they don’t want to swim laps in it.

When the roots are in the water for too long, your aloe vera becomes vulnerable to root rot disease, and that’s a real party pooper.

So, be picky about your pot selection, people! First, opt for a pot with large drainage holes that are up to the task of keeping your aloe vera feet dry.

And, of course, assuming you’ve got the soil or potting mix situation under control, choose a pot that’s wide enough to accommodate your plant’s roots.

While you can buy soil mixtures to transplant aloe vera, preparing your own is also fine. So you’re ready to prepare the perfect soil mix for your aloe vera plant? Awesome! Here’s what you need to know:

  • Aloe vera likes well-drained soil, so mix inorganic elements like aquarium stones with the soil.
  • Use clean and fungus/bacteria-free stones. If you’re unsure, pour boiling water on them to sterilize them.
  • Choose the right size stones for your pot, and feel free to use colored stones to add some personality.
  • The best soil mix for aloe vera is 3 parts potting soil, 2 parts small stones/pebbles, and 1 part perlite. You can use a cup or spoon to measure.
  • If using the soil for an old pot, disinfect it first. Microwave the soil at 302°F/150 °C for 30 minutes to remove bacteria/fungus.

3- Loosening The Roots After Pot Removal Allows for Better Observation of Their Condition

Rot Advancing Towards Stem
Aloe root rot can advance toward the stem, causing the base of the plant to become mushy and soft

It’s time to loosen those roots and inspect your aloe vera’s situation. But let’s be gentle, people! We don’t want to damage those roots.

Once you’ve removed your aloe vera from its pot and cleared away the soil, give the root system a thorough inspection to determine the level of damage. It’s like a root check-up at the dentist’s office, but for plants.

Rinse the roots with running water to remove any excess dirt, and then grab a clean, sharp knife to remove any rotten roots carefully. It’s like surgery but without the big bills.

Here’s a pro tip from someone who’s been there and done that: leave the aloe vera alone for a couple of days to let the roots dry out before replanting.

It’s like giving your plant a mini-vacation to recover from all the root rot drama.

I’ll admit that I haven’t always followed this tip with my aloe vera, but I have helped my friends’ plants recover from root rot.

4- Disinfecting Old Pots Before Repotting Helps To Prevent The Spread Of Harmful Microorganisms

So, you’re thinking of reusing your old pots for your aloe vera, eh? Great idea, but let’s ensure those pots are spick and span first!

If you’re using plastic or clay pots that have been used before, give them a good wash and then sterilize them by soaking them in boiling water and bleach solution. It’s like giving those pots a fancy spa day but with some cleaning products.

You probably think, “Will boiling water and bleach kills most fungi?” Unfortunately, the answer is, “It’s doubtful.”

But it’s still essential to disinfect the pots to prevent diseases from lurking around. It’s like wearing a mask to protect yourself from germs; it may not be 100% effective, but it’s better than nothing.

If your pots have had any root disease, it’s best to buy new ones. But if they’re disease-free, give them a light rinse and then fill a deep plastic container with water and dishwashing liquid.

Soak the pots until they’re entirely covered in water, then wash them off with a scrubbing brush under running water. And voila, your pots will look and feel brand new again!

In my experience, I like to scrub away any dirt or mold with a brush and then pour boiling water over the pots.

Then, after soaking up some sun, I stack the pots on top of each other like a game of pot Jenga to kill off insects and sterilize them. It’s like a pot Olympics, but for cleaning.

But if you’re short on time, simply soak the pots in a sodium hypochlorite (bleach) solution after removing any dirt. It’s like giving your pots a bleach bath without the towels and candles.

Just remember to let them dry for a few days to prevent any chlorine residue before using them again. It may seem like overthinking, but trust me, your aloe vera will thank you for it!

5- Keeping Your Tools Clean and Sanitized Is Crucial for Preventing The Spread of Diseases

Having the right tools for the job is essential, but so is keeping them clean and disinfected. 

When cutting thick aloe stems, use a cutter knife with a clean cross-section of the cut. It’s like giving your aloe a fancy haircut with a sharp pair of scissors.

The cleaner the cut, the quicker the surface will dry, preventing the disease from penetrating. You don’t want any unwanted conditions creeping into our plants’ lives.

And to prevent the transmission of fungal diseases, be careful not to use the same cutter for more than one plant. It’s like not sharing your toothbrush with your roommate; it’s just not hygienic.

Now, let’s talk about disinfecting those tools. You can occasionally disinfect with rubbing alcohol or a 5 to 10% bleach solution. 

But to disinfect scissors and knives here’s a pro tip: heat the cutting edges with a lighter flame. It’s like giving your tools a sauna treatment to kill unwanted microbes.

And if you want to go the extra mile, you can prepare a chlorine bleach solution to disinfect utensils and containers. It’s like creating a magical potion to keep your plants healthy and happy.

6- Trimming Away Rot-Infected Roots Can Help Prevent The Spread of Pathogens

Trimming away the infected roots of an Aloe plant while preserving the healthy parts
Trimming away the infected roots of an Aloe plant while preserving the healthy parts

It looks like your aloe vera needs some surgery, folks! But don’t worry; it’s not as scary as it sounds.

First, let’s remember that aloe vera can still be saved if the body is alive. It’s like the plant version of Frankenstein’s monster, but with a happier ending.

Grab a clean and disinfected garden scissor and get ready to remove some root rot. Cut off only the root system’s black or brown soft parts, like a botanical hairstylist. You want to keep the healthy parts intact.

Now, it’s time to disinfect those roots like they’re going into surgery. First, dip the entire root system into a fungicide or potassium permanganate solution. It’s like giving your plant a bubble bath with some powerful disinfectant.

Cut off the tops of parts that aren’t rotting, like giving your plant a fresh haircut.

Once you’re done with the root rot removal, hang the plant upside down on a string or something to dry in the shade. 

Leave it to dry for a few days or weeks until the cut ends are parched. It’s like letting your plant nap to recover from the surgery.

And when the cut is dry, and you can see the roots through the cut, it’s time to bury it in the soil and let it grow like a reborn plant.

Just make sure to wait until the cut is completely dry and the roots are visible, or it’s like trying to plant a carrot that’s not fully grown yet.

So there you have it, folks! You can save your aloe vera from root rot with a little bit of plant surgery and some patience.

7- Repotting Aloe Vera with Root Rot

First, let’s gently disinfect those roots with charcoal/fungicide solution/potassium permanganate to prevent any future infections. It’s like giving your plants a hazmat suit to protect them from unwanted germs.

And don’t be too eager to water your plant just yet. It won’t hurt the aloe vera if you leave it for a day or two to let those roots dry out. It’s like letting your hair air dry after a shower; it’s good for the hair, and it’s good for the plant roots.

Now, when choosing a pot, I recommend using a new one. But if that’s not possible, wash the old container thoroughly with soap and hot water. It’s like giving your plant a new home or cleaning out your old closet.

Ensure excessive water is draining through holes at the bottom, like creating a drainage system for your plants to avoid any potential flooding.

Once ready to repot, fill in the prepared soil mixture and repot the aloe vera without watering or slightly moistening the substrate. It’s like giving your plant a fresh bed to sleep in without waking it up.

And here’s the kicker: don’t water your aloe vera for at least 1-2 weeks after repotting. It’s like going on a water fast for your plant to help it recover from the transplant.

Keep the plant in a warm, shaded place, like a tropical vacation for your plant, and watch it thrive!

How to Care for Aloe Plant After Repotting

Now that your aloe vera is settled in its new home, it’s time to switch to moderate moistening of the soil. It’s like creating a hydration schedule for your plant to keep it healthy and happy.

When watering your aloe vera, be sure to use room temperature water. Cold or warm water can harm the plant, just like we prefer water that’s not too hot or too cold.

During the warm season, I recommend watering the aloe twice a month. In fall and winter, water it once a month.

You can even leave the plant without water until spring. It’s like adjusting your plant’s water intake to the season, just like how we adjust our water intake depending on the weather.

Ensure the plant does not stand in the cold or a draft. We don’t want our plants catching a cold, do we?

If you keep to the golden rule for aloe, that dryness is better than waterlogging, then you can enjoy the healthy appearance of your aloe for a long time.

It’s like finding the perfect balance between hydration and dryness for your aloe vera to thrive.

How to Prevent Aloe Root Rot

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

1- Avoid Waterlogging

In general, you can prevent aloe root rot by controlling the environment. You know that 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.

2- Regular Water Schedule

You can not water aloe for the whole plant at a time. Aloe vera needs water regularly, depending on the season, growth stage, and the surrounding environment.

So you need to maintain a schedule for watering aloe vera. And try to maintain the schedule; your plant will be free from the risk of root rot.

3- Choosing the Right Location

Waterlogging can occur particularly frequently in heavy and heavily compacted soil. That’s like walking with a heavy backpack; it’s just not easy.

Therefore, if possible, place your aloe vera in an area with loose, well-drained soil. It’s like giving your plant the right shoes to walk in.

If you’re dealing with heavy soil, don’t worry! You can loosen it up by mixing sand and compost into the soil. It’s like giving your plant extra padding in its shoes to make it more comfortable.

With the right soil and location, your aloe vera will have the perfect environment to thrive and show off its beautiful, healthy appearance.

4- Strengthen Your Aloe Vera

To protect your aloe vera from root rot and other diseases, you can water them with various plant boosters. It’s like giving your plant a nice, healthy smoothie to keep it strong and healthy.

One great option is diluted garlic tea. Yes, garlic tea! It might sound a little strange, but it’s a great way to give your plants a little energy boost. It’s like adding some extra spice to your plant’s smoothie.

With the right care, including plant boosters like garlic tea, your aloe vera will be stronger and more resistant to diseases.

It’s like giving your plant the superhero power it needs to fight off any pesky diseases that might come it’s way.

Sharing is caring!