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Don’t Ignore These Subtle Signs of Root Rot In Your Chinese Evergreen

Don’t Ignore These Subtle Signs of Root Rot In Your Chinese Evergreen

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Chinese Evergreen is a popular houseplant loved by all plant enthusiasts for a good reason. It’s a hardy low-maintenance plant that brightens up your space.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s not prone to common plant issues, such as root rot. Worried about your lovely houseplant?

This article provides you with all the information about Chinese Evergreen root rot causes, symptoms, and remedies.

What Is Root Rot?

Root rot is a fatal disease that may affect your houseplant. When the soil gets soggy, the roots can’t receive the oxygen they need to thrive.

This disease causes the roots to rot and die. It may even transfer to other healthy parts of the plant. If not treated fast, root rot may kill the plant.

Signs of Chinese Evergreen Root Rot

Unfortunately, diagnosing root rot isn’t easy. Plant roots are hidden under the soil, which makes it hard to spot problems without tell-tale signs.

If you see any of the following symptoms, check if your Chinese Evergreen is suffering from root rot:

Yellow leaves

Root rot may cause the green leaves to turn yellow or even brown. This happens because the leaves can’t receive the nutrients they need. After all, the roots are too sick to deliver them.

So, you should keep an eye out for any discoloration.

Brown Spots

The leaves of an infected Chinese Evergreen can develop brown spots, especially on the tips and edges.

This is just the beginning. However, when the problem gets worse, the entire leaf will turn brown or black.

Foul Odors

When the roots rot, they get mushy and die. That causes bacteria to grow in the soil, causing a foul odor.

This bad smell is a sign of severe cases. So, when you smell any strange scents coming out of the Chinese Evergreen, act fast to save it.

Stunt Growth

With no healthy roots to absorb nutrients and oxygen, your plant won’t get what it needs to grow.

That causes the plant to stop growing at its normal rate. You’ll notice that the leaves wilt and decrease in size or that the plant looks unhealthy and diminishing.

Brown Mushy Roots

Now, that’s the ultimate sign. If you notice any of the other signs, you can check the roots for reassurance.

Typically, the roots of Chinese Evergreen are white, dry, and crisp. However, rotten roots are mushy, soft, and brown.

Causes of Chinese Evergreen Root Rot

Knowing the reasons behind Chinese Evergreen root rot can help protect the plant. Here are the most common causes of this problem:


Overwatering is the primary culprit of root rot in Chinese Evergreen. This plant prefers moderate watering. You should leave the soil to dry before you water it again.

Your plant’s water requirements differ according to the season. For instance, you should reduce the amount of water you give it in winter to match the decreased growth rate in this season.

Poor Drainage

Chinese Evergreen doesn’t thrive in poor drainage. Your plant will do well in a pot with drainage holes to get rid of the extra water.

Excess water suffocates the roots, which makes them fragile. That prevents them from delivering water and nutrients from the soil to the rest of the plant.

Wrong Soil Mix

The ideal soil mix for Chinese Evergreen is slightly acidic, well-aerated, and well-drained. You should make sure the mix drains fast to avoid sogginess.

Ensure that the soil mix doesn’t contain much clay because it tends to retain water. That may trap water and allow bacterial growth, which affects the roots.

Poor Air Flow

Chinese Evergreen needs ventilation to grow. Proper airflow helps the water evaporate from the soil.

Locate your plant where it can get enough fresh air. Otherwise, the water remains in the soil long enough to cause sogginess and root rot.

Improper Pot Size

The size of the pot makes a difference. It shouldn’t be too large or too small.

A small pot won’t allow proper ventilation, which suffocates the plant and leads to root rot. In addition, it’ll contain a small amount of soil and, thus, deliver a small amount of nutrients to the plant.

On the other hand, if the pot is too large, it’ll take more soil and more water, which leads to overwatering.

Low Temperature

Although Chinese Evergreen can tolerate different conditions, it doesn’t do well in cold weather. In other words, if the temperature falls under 55°F, it may be more prone to disease.

Low temperatures stress the plant, making it more vulnerable to disease, including root rot. In addition, the soil won’t dry out fast in low temperatures, so you need to reduce watering.


Chinese Evergreen root rot may be the result of bacterial or fungal infections that spread in moist soils, such as:

Moreover, these infections may also spread due to the use of contaminated tools or exposure to other infected plants. So, make sure you clean the tools and inspect every plant you bring home.

Over Fertilization

You only need to fertilize your Chinese Evergreen during the growing season. This plant is a slow-grower by nature.

Unnecessary fertilization leaves salt residue in the soil. That increases the roots’ vulnerability to root rot.

Treatment of Chinese Evergreen Root Rot

So, what to do if you notice the symptoms of Chinese Evergreen root rot? Simple! Follow these steps to clean the plant and get rid of the problem:

  1. Stop watering the plant. It probably suffers from excess moisture.
  2. Repot the plant into a new pot with a suitable size and proper draining holes.
  3. Trim rotten roots to get rid of any mushy, dark, or soft parts.
  4. Apply fungicide after you repot the plant to eliminate any trace of the problem.

Final Thoughts

Chinese Evergreen can develop root rot for several reasons, including overwatering, poor ventilation, and poor drainage.

In addition, bacterial or fungal infections can cause this problem. You should ensure you keep your Chinese Evergreen in the right conditions for their healthy growth.

Fortunately, you can treat this problem if you act fast enough. Simply, repot the plant; water it only when the soil is dry enough; and apply fungicide.

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