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Identifying and Fixing Root Rot in ZZ Plants

Identifying and Fixing Root Rot in ZZ Plants

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ZZ plants are incredibly popular all over the world because of a few reasons. First up, the florae are exceptionally resilient.

They can go for almost a month without a drop of water. Besides that, they have broad, shiny, bright green leaves.

That’s why ZZ plants can add a cozy, welcoming air to any space. Yet, just like all other plants, this variety has its fair share of issues.

For instance, the plants’ roots are prone to rotting. So, if you’re wondering why that happens, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about ZZ plant root rot. I’ll also cover what you can do to resolve the issue.

Root Rot in ZZ Plants Overview

Root rot is a common issue that can affect most plant species. As you can guess by the name, this condition involves the roots of a plant rotting underground.

There are a couple of culprits that may be behind the problem.

For starters, the cause behind root rot is usually over-watering. If the moisture level of the soil is too high, the roots and rhizomes will begin to soften.

Over time, this will impact the structures’ ability to absorb oxygen from the soil. This, in turn, will lead to the entire plant fading away.

Moving on, root rot may be a result of a fungal infection. Certain types of microorganisms can live in soil for years without detection.

Then, as soon as roots start sprouting through the medium, the fungi will spring into action. It’ll attack the structures and break them down.

Identifying Root Rot in ZZ Plants

Now that you know what root rot is, I can tell you how to identify it. Unfortunately, most of the early symptoms of the issue occur under the soil.

That means you won’t be able to detect the disease straight away. Instead, you’ll notice changes in the leaves of ZZ plants.

At first, the foliage will slightly wilt and lose shape. Then, over time, the leaves will turn a sickly yellow-green.

Other than that, the fungal infection may spread to the stems. In that case, they’ll deform and bend out of shape.

Plus, the disease can cause stunted growth. So, your ZZ plants won’t be able to grow new leaves.

Lastly, root rot is a type of mold. Because of that, it can give off a musty scent that’s difficult to ignore.

Although by the time the smell is noticeable, the infection may have spread over the entire plant. This will make saving the florae a bit of a chore.

Getting Rid of Root Rot in ZZ Plants

At this point, you should know what root rot is and how to identify it. So, I can move on to how to resolve the issue.

In this section, I’ll go over how to get rid of the rot, step-by-step.

Step 1: Depot Your ZZ Plant

The first thing you’ll want to do is examine the roots of your ZZ plants. This will allow you to gauge the extent of the fungal infection.

Thankfully, this part of the process is exceptionally simple. All you have to do is depot your plants.

Although, you should be careful while you do that. Since the rot will soften the roots, it’ll be easy to damage the structures.

So, you have to remove the plants from their containers gently. Make sure you don’t use excessive force or yank the ZZ out of the pot.

Instead, scoop out the top layer of soil with a garden shovel first. Then, flip over the planter and allow any excess growing medium to fall out.

After that, the roots should easily detach from the pot.

Step 2: Check the Severity of the Infection

Once the roots are out of the pot, it’s time for the visual inspection. Start by giving the network a quick rinse.

This will wash off any soil that may still be on the roots. Then, take a minute to examine all parts of the root network.

Look for any soft or mushy structures. Plus, you can also keep an eye out for discoloration.

That’s because healthy roots are typically white. Yet, as they rot, they’ll turn slightly yellow.

It’s important to note that handling root rot with your bare hands can lead to rashes. So, to ensure your safety, it’s always best to wear gloves.

Step 3: Prune the Roots

The only way to get rid of root rot is to cut it out. This will ensure that the infection doesn’t keep spreading around the plant.

So, you have to prune the damaged roots. For this part of the process, you’ll need sharp garden shears.

Grab the scissors and begin cutting out any rotting sections.

Take your time with this step and make sure you remove all diseased roots. Keep going even if you have to remove the majority of the root network.

That’s because, once a root starts rotting, there’s no going back. You can’t save the structures after they’ve gone mushy.

For that reason, cutting them out will give your ZZ plants the highest chances of survival.

Lastly, it may be best to prune the rest of the ZZ plant while you’re at it.

Step 4: Repot the Plant

With all the rotting roots gone, you can repot the plant. Ideally, it’s best to use a new container for the flora.

Yet you may still use the old pot after a good scrubbing.

Place the container on a level surface and fill the bottom third with soil. Next, gently lower your plant into the pot.

Finally, fill in the rest of the container with the growing medium.

Final Thoughts

If you want to get rid of ZZ plant root rot, there are a few steps you can follow. Start out by identifying the issue.

After that, you can depot the plant to expose the roots. Then, check the network and examine the severity of the infection.

Once that’s done, prune the roots and remove any rotting structures. Finally, repot the plant in a new container with fresh soil.

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