How to Save Aloe Vera From Root Rot (5 Causes And Solutions)


Aloe vera plant in a container

Root rot is the most dangerous disease for aloe. It can make your favorite aloe vera plant die. This type of rot occurs because of 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 are the steps to save aloe vera from root rot:

  • Move your aloe vera to a better lighting condition
  • Let the potting soil dry
  • Take out the plant and rise the root system to get rid of soil
  • Trim away the damaged, soft, mushy roots
  • Repot in a new container with fresh potting mix
  • Make sure of the drainage system in the new pot

Now, I’ll share how to detect the disease in time. Also how you can save your aloe vera plant from root rot in details. So, keep reading!

Can Aloe Vera Survive Root Rot?

The most dangerous thing about root rot is that you can not detect this disease at an early stage. it does not show visible symptoms while developing.

Yes, aloe vera can survive root rot if you can treat it in a proper way. But you need to act fast as soon as you suspect that it has got the disease.

Causes of Aloe Root Rot

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 and hot climate. It loves sandy, well-aerated, light soils.

If you fail to ensure the required conditions your aloe vera becomes vulnerable to this type of disease. 

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.

Overwatering makes the soil remain wet most of the time which is a favorable condition for root rot development.

Therefore, frequent watering and moist condition create a suffocating condition for roots. If the zoot zone immersed underwater for more than 15 minutes, it will accelerate the risk of root rot.

To learn more about the signs and causes of root rot. Read this article on How to Save Overwatered Aloe Plant (Step-by-Step Instructions).

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 the pot, the moisture inside the potting soil will remain for a while. The tight condition within the soil makes the water drainage difficult. Even if the ground looks dry from above. 

As a result, there will be a shortage of oxygen in the root system. Waterlogging makes the oxygen unavailable for roots. Also, stagnant water encourages fungal growth. This leads to additional stress on the plant and rotting inside.

Hypothermia

Plants can get hypothermia too! Besides if you keep your aloe vera in a cold place and 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. Cold and soggy soil is a perfect breeding ground for root rot fungus.

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

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 keep aloe vera in the container where another diseased plant lived before this one. It is not impossible that some disease causal agent still remaining there.

Because they can live for years on the walls of an old pot. And they become active when there are favorable conditions like wet and soggy soil.

As soon as the situation is favorable for them, they can easily get into the new host. 

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 fungi that will provoke root rot. If you have overwatered your aloe vera and it is showing symptoms of root rot then hold back application of organic fertilizer or any kind of fertilizer. 

Important!

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

How To Know If Aloe Has Root Rot 

Rotting of the roots often occurs due to overwatering and improper care. This is a fatal disease for aloe vera and other succulents. Your aloe may end up dying from root rot.

Since the plant is in a pot, you may not notice the disease infection before it’s too late! So what are the symptoms that will tell you if your aloe vera has root rot?

To find out, you need to inspect your aloe vera regularly. So that you can identify alarming symptoms and take measures to fix it.

Aloe vera care for identifying problems

Often gardeners drag the plant out of the pot at the very last moment. They try to fertilize it or take other measures to change the situation. But this only makes it worse.

Now, I think you’ll agree that it is a very important step to detect the disease before it does further damage. So, What do rotten aloe roots look like?

Here’s how you can detect root rot in time:

  • With a regular inspection of the aloe vera, you’ll notice that the growth has stopped or slowed down. At this point, 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, aloe vera 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.
  • The root becomes brown or black, it will feel soft and water-soaked.

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How to Save Aloe Vera If The Root System Is Rotted?

Now, you found out that the root system of your aloe has root rot! So, What to do at this point? An urgent plant repotting is required. 

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

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

  • Choosing the right container for your aloe vera
  • Use of appropriate potting mix
  • Appropriate repotting process
  • Watering after transplantation

With these steps in mind, let’s move on to the steps of saving aloe vera from root:

Inspect the Aloe Vera Root System

If you have found any symptoms of root rot then “now” is the time to take some actions. Otherwise, it will be difficult to save your aloe vera from this dangerous disease.

Move your plant to a better light condition and let the pot dry for a few hours. It will make it easier for you to take out the plant and insect the root system closely.

You will look for brown or black roots, also infected roots will feel water soaked and soft.

The easiest way to be sure about root rot is the smell of the roots. If your aloe vera has root rot then it will have a strong foul and pungent odor.

Cut off The Infected Roots

Now, you are confirming that your aloe vera has root rot. Then this the time to do some surgery to save the aloe. Cut off the infected roots with a clean disinfected garden scissor.

Clear away only the black/brown soft parts of the root system. Now dip the whole root system into a fungicide solution. Potassium permanganate solution is also a great way of disinfecting the roots.

This way there will be no further infection from old fungal agents. Now, dry out the roots wrapping with a kitchen tissue or a lean soft cloth.

Pot Preparation

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

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

The drainage holes will help drain out the excess water. 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.

As I said before, when the roots are in the water for a long time, the aloe is vulnerable to root rot disease. 

So you should be skeptical selecting these tools for your aloe vera.

Select a pot that has large water drainage holes and make sure they are doing their jobs.

Of course, assuming that you have properly prepared the soil or bought the right potting mix for your aloe vera.

When choosing the right planting pot for aloe vera, remember that aloe vera likes to spread out the roots. So the ideal planting pot size should be wide enough to hold the growing root system.

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

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Prepare Soil Mix for Aloe Vera

Ready soil mixtures for transplanting aloe vera are available in the market. It is okay if you want to prepare your own soil mix.

Aloe likes 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. 

Preparing soil mix in a container for transplanting aloe vera

This means that they are clean and free from fungus or bacteria. 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.

Now, let’s find out how you can mix the soil ingredients at an optimum proportion.

Best soil mix for aloe is:

You can use a cup or just a regular spoon to measure the proportion. If you want to use the soil for the old pot then make sure to disinfect it. A microwave oven is an easy option to sterilize the soil.

You should do it to be sure when repotting the aloe vera. You do not want to transfer the bacteria from the previous plant to the new one. Just heat the soil to 302°F/150 °C for 30 minutes, your soil will be free from fungus or bacteria.

Let’s move on to how you should transplant the aloe vera.

Remove Aloe From The Pot

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

Transplanting aloe vera to a new container to save it from root rot.

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.

After you remove the aloe from the pot and remove the soil around the roots. Inspect the root system carefully. 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.

How to Repot Aloe Vera (Step by Step)

  1. Gently disinfect the roots with charcoal/fungicide solution/potassium permanganate to prevent infection. 
  2. It won’t hurt aloe if you leave it for a day so that the roots can dry out.
  3. I recommend using a new pot. If a replacement is not possible, wash the old container thoroughly with soap and hot water. 
  4. Make sure that excessive water is draining through holes at the bottom.
  5. Fill in the prepared soil mixture and repot the aloe vera without watering or slightly moistening the substrate. 
  6. Keep the plant in a warm, shaded place. 
  7. Do not water your aloe vera for at least 1-2 weeks after repotting.

How to Care for Aloe Plant After Repotting

When the aloe has settled in,  you can switch to the mode of moderate moistening of the soil.

Use room temperature water, cold or warm water will harm the plant.

I would recommend watering the aloe twice a month in the warm season. In autumn and winter, water it 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 draft. 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.

How to Prevent 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. 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.

Tip 2: Regular Water Schedule

You can not water aloe for the whole plant at a time. Aloe vera needs water on a regular basis 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, you plant will be free from the risk of root rot.

Tip 3: Consider Plant Rotation

If you have root rot in your garden, you should definitely pay attention to your planting 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 keeping 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 4: Loosen The Soil

If your soil is hard you can add sand or compost to make it lose and aerated. Using perlite and sand with the soil mix is a great way to loosen the soil.

Organic material promotes humus formation and water storage capacity. So you do not need to water it frequently.

Therefore your aloe will not be overwatered. The root root will not develop if there is no water logging condition.

Tip 5: Prevention

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. 

Conclusion

Finally, 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.

Arifur Rahman

I'm the owner of gardenforindoor.com. After completing my bachelor of science in agriculture, I'm serving as a civil service officer at the Department of Agricultural Extension, Bangladesh. I started Garden For Indoor to make your indoor gardening journey easy and enjoyable.

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