How to know if the roots are rotten

One of the most common problems when caring for plants is excess watering or humidity. Whether we pour water on them too often or leave their plate full when they don’t need it, it’s very likely that sooner or later we’ll have to throw them away.

Fungi are microorganisms that do not take long to present themselves at the slightest sign of weakness, so that most of the time nothing can be done to save them. Therefore, below you will discover how to know if the roots are rotten .


  • 1 When to water?
  • 2 How to know if the roots are bad?
    • 2.1 Can anything be done to save the plant?

When to water?

Person watering with metal watering can

If we take into account that excess watering is the worst enemy of plants, it is important to know when to water. And the truth is that it is complicated, because in gardening 2 and 2 are never 4. There is no universal rule to follow to have perfect plants. Only daily observation and, also, mistakes will help us to acquire the experience we need. Now, if you are new to this, don’t worry. There are several tricks that will be very useful to you, which are these:

  • Check the humidity of the substrate before watering, in any of these ways :
    • Insert a thin wooden stick (the kind you get in Japanese restaurants) to the bottom. If it comes out practically clean, it means that the soil is dry and therefore needs water.
    • Weigh the pot once watered and again after a few days: as moist soil weighs more than dry soil, this difference in weight will serve as a guide to know when to water.
    • Use a digital humidity meter: when you enter it, it will tell you what degree of humidity the piece of land that has come into contact with has. To make it more useful, you must introduce it in other areas (closer to the trunk of the plant, further away).
  • Do not put a saucer under your plant , unless you remember to remove the excess water within ten minutes of watering.
  • Use a suitable substrate for each plant . For example, a cactus does not need the same soil as a petunia. Using a proper mix will prevent many problems. 

How to know if the roots are bad?

Healthy leaves of Fagus sylvatica

Healthy leaves of Fagus sylvatica (Beech)

We would all like to have plants as healthy and beautiful as the beech that you can see in the image above. However, when we overwater the roots weaken and many even die. But how can we know? What are the symptoms of overwatering?

  • Lower leaves turn yellow
  • No growth seen
  • The ground turns green
  • Presence of fungi
  • Roots turn dark brown and then black

Can anything be done to save the plant?

If the trunk or stem is still green and potted, yes. What we will do is take it out and wrap the root ball or earth bread in several layers of kitchen paper. We will have it like this for at least 24 hours and, the next day, we will remove it and plant it again in the pot, but we will not water until a few days have passed.

In the event that it is on land, the only thing we can do is suspend irrigation and resume it when we see that the land is dry.

I hope it has been of interest to you

How to know if the roots are rotten

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