How to Fix Root Rot Without Repotting?


Chic shelf with various houseplants and décor, a healthy environment free from root rot issues.

One major problem that arises with potted plants is root rot.

This is generally the result of overwatering and can lead to severe symptoms for your indoor plant, possibly even killing it.

If you notice these symptoms, it’s best to act quickly. But can you fix root rot without transplanting or repotting your plant?

To fix root rot without repotting, you’ll first have to assess how severe the rot is. If the plant isn’t experiencing severe symptoms, allowing the soil to dry out for five days can reduce the symptoms. Alternatively, you can remove some of the brown and dead roots.

This article will discuss various ways to fix root rot without repotting your plant.

So keep reading! We have everything you need to know about root rot and how to fix it.

Can You Fix Root Rot Without Repotting?

Healthy plants should have roots that are light in color. The leaves should be in good condition and the soil hydrated. If you notice some of these factors are off, your plant may be suffering from root rot.

To treat a plant suffering from root rot, we must first be able to ensure that this is the problem behind your plant’s recent string of poor health.

There are various telltale signs that your plant has root rot. These include a change in the color of the leaves, standing or trapped water in the pot’s saucer, and any issue with your plant’s root system.

If you begin to notice the telltale signs of root rot, chances are you’re already thinking about repotting the plant. However, did you know it’s possible to rid your plant of root rot without actually repotting?

How To Fix Root Rot Without Repotting?

Repotting or transplanting your plant can be a lot of effort, especially if it’s fully grown.

While it’s generally recommended to do so if your plant has root rot, there are ways around this, so long as the plant isn’t suffering from severe symptoms.

Below we will list a few of the best methods to employ to save your plant from root shock without actually repotting.

Allow The Soil to Dry Out

If your plant has begun to show various root rot symptoms but isn’t experiencing severe damage, you can allow the soil to dry out.

Allow the soil to air dry for around five days by greatly reducing the amount of water you give to the plant daily. In some cases, you can even stop giving the plant water altogether for up to three or four days.

After this, you should notice that the soil has begun to dry out. After five days you can begin to water the plant with a small amount of water once a day.

Reducing soil moisture is one of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce root rot symptoms.

As you allow the soil to air dry, the plant’s roots will enjoy some well-needed air and may even begin to heal themselves.

Dry The Soil with Paper Towels

The next option for a plant suffering from mild root shock is drying it out yourself with paper towels. This method should be employed on plants that are waterlogged and need immediate assistance.

First, begin by removing the plant from its pot carefully without disturbing too much of the roots. After this, gently squeeze the plant’s soil with both hands to remove the excess water, and then wrap the soil in paper towels. Once wrapped in the paper towel, place the plant back into its pot.

Repeat this process every two hours for the first day and this will begin to soak up all of the excess water stored in the plant. You can further assist the plant in this process by placing the wrapped roots in the sun or close by a fan.

This will increase the rate at which the water is absorbed by the paper towel.

If you plan to use one of the previous two methods, remember that this will only work on plants suffering from minor root shock symptoms.

Chemical Treatment

If the symptoms have not cleared up after allowing the soil to dry, chemical cleaning is another method you can try. This is a simple and effective way to kill the bacteria that cause root rot.

Hydrogen peroxide is one effective chemical that can be used to cure root rot. Mix two parts of water with one part 3% hydrogen peroxide and soak your soil with this mixture. Alternatively, you can opt to use bleach to cure your plants from root rot.

Begin by mixing 8-10 drops of bleach with 1 quart of water. Then pour the mixture over the plant’s soil. Before applying either of these solutions, ensure that you allow the soil to dry out for a few days. Place the solution into a spray bottle and lightly spray over the affected areas, such as roots, leaves, and stems.

Just spray enough to drench the top layer and allow it to flow through to the root ball. The hydrogen peroxide or bleach solution should begin to kill off the nasty bacteria which cause root rot. If you feel like the roots aren’t getting enough of the solution you can always remove the plant from its pot and spray the roots directly.

If you’re looking for a more natural method, then you can try apple cider vinegar.

Begin by mixing a 5% solution of apple cider vinegar into 1 gallon of water. Then follow the same application steps as before. Apple cider vinegar is known for its natural antifungal properties and is one of the best natural options for killing off root rot.

When applying the solution, ensure that you only spray it over your plants in the morning, as the hot sun will force the vinegar to burn the leaves in the afternoon.

Rid The Plant of Rotten Roots

If you’ve noticed that some of the plant’s roots have begun showing slightly more severe root rot symptoms, there’s still a chance you can cure the plant without repotting the plant.

The removal of the infected parts of the plant is another easy option. Following this method, you can still place the plant back in its original pot.

This last-ditch attempt to save your plant without repotting involves removing all of the rotten roots, leaves and stems. In this case, you’ll have to remove the plant from its pot to get to the root system and access the situation.

Begin by removing the plant from its pot and running the roots under clean water until some of the soil has been removed. After this, take sterilized scissors and trim away all of the rotting roots. You can identify the rotten roots by their brown or yellow color.

After this, place the plant back in its original pot, then prune its foliage.

hile removing the foliage can be heartbreaking, it ensures that the root system won’t have to work as hard as it’s trying to recover from the root rot.


So, if you identify that your plants are suffering from various symptoms of root shock, you’re now aware that you can fix the problem without repotting the plant.

If your plant is suffering from minor root rot symptoms, allowing the soil to dry out or using a paper towel to soak up the excess moisture may fix the plant’s problems.

However, if the symptoms are more severe, chemical treatment or the removal of the plant’s rotten roots may be necessary to fix the problem.

If you catch the root rot quickly enough, one of the previously mentioned methods should ensure you get your plant back to optimal health.

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