ZZ plant (Zamiifolia Zamiokulkas) is a plant native to the rainforests of Africa. They usually live on low floors, are close to the ground, and need little light. Therefore, the ZZ plant has become a favorite plant to grow in homes and offices.
This plant does not take much care, fertilizer, and water. They still grow and develop well in indirect or artificial light conditions.
During the process of planting and caring for the ZZ plant, one of the most important issues that you need to pay attention to is root rot. Root rot disease is the most dangerous culprit causing the ZZ plant to die and difficult to recover.
Root rot also comes from many different causes. So, what causes root rot? How to save ZZ plant from root rot. Let’s find out more details in the article below.
How to save ZZ plant from root rot (Cause and fix)
To learn about ways to revive a ZZ plant with root rot, you need to learn about root rot, what causes it, and how to fix it. What are the early signs of root rot? Can ZZ plant with root rot recover? All will be answered below.
1. What is root rot?
Root rot is a root-related disease of the ZZ plant. Their roots will be rotten, hummus, pasty and slowly dying.
Damage to the roots will cause the entire stem and leaves to wilt and die because the roots cannot transport water and nutrients to them.
Root rot disease is difficult to detect early because the signs often appear underground. When you find that the stems and leaves are humus, mushy and wilted, the ZZ plant is very difficult to recover.
The two most common causes of root rot are over-watering and fungal pathogens. Overwatering causes waterlogging, and a humid environment creates favorable conditions for fungi and bacteria to grow.
If waterlogging occurs for a long time without being remedied, root rot will quickly appear.
2. Excessive watering is the culprit of root rot
As you know, plants need light, oxygen, and water for healthy growth and development. If one of these three factors is exceeded, plants will have growth problems.
As with other plants, if you over-water the ZZ plant every day, root rot will potentially develop. Over-watering with poor drainage will cause waterlogging.
Waterlogging creates a wet, sticky, and oxygen-deficient environment. This will seriously affect the root system in the long run. The root system will be deprived of oxygen and absorb too much water making them humus and mushy.
The damaged root system will not be able to transport water and nutrients to the stem and leaves. Therefore, the entire ZZ plant will slowly die and be difficult to recover if the signs are too obvious.
In particular, the root system of the ZZ plant resembles underground bulbs. Their job is to store water, so it can grow normally in the long run without water.
3. Signs of root rot
Signs of root rot usually appear on the roots, stems, and leaves. A common phenomenon that you can easily spot is leaf discoloration. Leaves and stems will gradually lose their green color and turn brown, or yellow.
In the coming time, the leaves will gradually fall off and the stem will start to become soft, bent, and broken. If you find mold or moss around the base, it is also a sign of root rot.
In particular, you can also smell mold or rot from the roots from the humus layers. If these signs just appear, you need to check the roots of the ZZ plant to fix it in time.
The healthy roots of the ZZ plant are bulb-like and white. If they rot, they will turn gray or black and appear humus. What’s more, an odorous root system is also an early warning of root rot.
4. Check and evaluate the extent of root rot disease
ZZ plant suffers from root rot disease for a long time causing the roots, stems, and leaves to become humus, it has very little chance to revive. The key to saving this plant from root rot is timing.
You detect root rot early, you can save the life of the ZZ plant easily. If the signs are too obvious and there is a rotten smell then you need to plant a new ZZ plant.
If you suspect a ZZ plant has root rot, you need to conduct a root inspection. Turn your pot upside down, support the stem and pull gently to avoid breaking the roots.
This will help relieve pressure on the roots if you pull vertically and directly. Then, you tap the soil to loosen it and test the roots for hardness by hand.
You can also remove soil by rinsing the roots with warm water. If they are white, hard, and appear as only a thin layer of humus, the ZZ plant can revive.
If the roots are gray or brown, the layer of humus is abundant and there is a rotten smell, it is difficult for the ZZ plant to recover.
5. Steps to restore ZZ plant when root rot disease
The revival of the ZZ plant depends on the extent of the root rot. If the roots still have healthy branches, the tree can still recover. However, if their root system is completely damaged then you should not try to save them.
Step 1: Remove the ZZ plant from the old pot or container. You should do it gently to avoid breaking the roots. Do not pull too hard or use sharp objects to dig as it will cut the roots.
Then you proceed to gently tap to remove the soil, and humus layer or wash them with warm water. You just need to wash it through to remove some soil for testing.
Step 2: If the roots still have white and hard bulbs, you can prune them. Use clean scissors to cut off damaged roots and keep them healthy. Root branches that have rotted are not able to recover, if you keep them, they will only spread to other branches.
Therefore, you need to remove all rotten and non-recoverable root branches. In addition, you must also remove mulched leaves or stems. You just need to keep the healthy roots and a strong stem, then your ZZ plant will come back to life.
Step 3: Clean the old pot or plant it in a new pot. You should clean the old pot because fungal spores or humus of rotting disease are still present. When the root system is weak, it is susceptible to attack by harmful fungi and bacteria.
If you want to be on the safe side, you should plant the ZZ plant in a new pot. Use dry soil with necessary nutrients as well as holes to drain and prevent waterlogging.
Step 4: Completely remove old soil because they have been infected by fungi or bacteria. You can use soil mixed with organic matter to stimulate root growth.
Avoid mixing fertilizer directly with the soil when you’re starting to replant as it can make it difficult for roots to grow. Fertilizers can burn roots and are sensitive to ZZ plant pruning.
You don’t need to water the ZZ plant because its stem and roots are already waterlogged and need transpiration. You should only water when the surface of the soil is completely dry and the plant is strong again.
An important note during this process is that you need to wear gloves and wash your hands after the process is over. Because ZZ plant is a poisonous plant and it affects the health of humans and animals.
How to prevent root rot?
Root rot is caused by over-watering and damaging fungi. Therefore, watering properly and at the right time is extremely important.
Water properly and at the right time as follows:
- Water only when the soil is dry, check moisture by hand or hygrometer.
- Water during the day, do not water at night. Sunlight will dry the leaves and stems and limit much moisture.
- Watering the root, not watering the leaves. Water that sticks to the leaves and stems will create conditions for the fungus to grow in a humid environment.
- Watering deeply and infrequently. Water once with just enough water to stimulate root growth and absorb water deep in the soil.
- Use fungicides to destroy
- Regular cleaning of brown patches on leaves and stems
- Keep the humidity in the room or office at least 40%
The last word
Root rot is the leading culprit that causes ZZ plants to die and be difficult to revive. The time of detecting root rot disease is extremely important for timely treatment.
To restore the ZZ plant, you need to follow steps such as inspecting the roots, removing rotten branches, stems, and leaves, cleaning the old pot, replacing the soil with new soil, and watering when the soil is dry. You must give the ZZ plant time to heal because it is severely damaged.
Over-watering and fungus are the two leading causes of root rot. Therefore, you need to limit watering too much, causing waterlogging and creating a favorable environment for harmful fungi and bacteria to grow.