To ensure your Money Tree thrives and avoids root rot, it’s crucial to comprehend the condition of its roots and follow a proper care routine. While Money Trees are unique and believed to bring good luck, their roots are vital in supporting the plant’s growth and health. If the roots become damaged or rot, the plant will struggle to grow strong and remain healthy. So, what causes root rot, and how can you address it?
Often Overlooked Facts
Many people are unaware of Money Tree root rot and fail to realize that Money Tree roots are delicate, fragile, and fine. Typically, individuals focus on their houseplants’ stems, leaves, or flowers, overlooking the roots hidden beneath the soil. To ensure a healthy plant, it’s essential not to neglect the hidden parts.
Facts about Money Tree Roots
Healthy Money Tree roots should have a light brown or whiteish hue. When compared to other vine-type houseplants, Money Tree roots are thicker and denser. When you touch the roots, they should feel firm and solid, without any unpleasant odor emanating from them or the soil.
You may encounter somewhat braided roots when purchasing Money Tree as a houseplant from nurseries; This is a common practice where the Money Tree is combined with other plants and sold in one pot. If you encounter root rot in this type of plant, you need to scrutinize the roots, and it may even be necessary to un-braid them to identify the actual cause of the issue, although this can be challenging.
Money Tree roots tend to grow slower than those of other houseplants. Additionally, their root systems are shallow, which is unusual given their natural size. As a result, repotting is typically required only once every 3 to 4 years.
Identifying the Main Culprit
If you notice excessively moist soil and squishy roots, accompanied by a foul smell, your Money Tree is likely suffering from root rot. Root rot is primarily caused by excessive moisture in the soil, creating an ideal environment for fungi and bacteria. Therefore, it is essential to avoid overwatering the plant, as it can lead to rot and disease.
This situation can be perplexing because Money Trees are native to swamp settings, which means they prefer moist surroundings but not excessive moisture. You can monitor the soil moisture using a moisture meter to address this issue. This tool helps determine when it’s time to water the plant.
While having a watering schedule is common, it’s essential to remember that plants are living organisms that can exhibit unpredictable behavior. Soil moisture levels can also fluctuate unexpectedly. Factors such as temperature drops or hot and humid weather can influence the plant’s water needs. While you can stick to your watering schedule, using a moisture meter and regularly observing the plant’s condition is advisable to stay aware of what’s happening.
Maintaining Healthy Roots
Money Trees are generally resilient houseplants, making them popular among beginner growers. To prevent root rot, following a proper watering regime and avoiding overwatering is crucial. Additionally, having well-draining soil is essential for the plant’s health.
Considering the plant’s native soil preference, which should be damp and moist, you can mix regular soil with other elements to retain moisture while ensuring proper drainage. Although unique mix soil is available, you can use regular soil and add perlite in a 3:1 ratio to improve drainage.
Another crucial aspect is that Money Trees, like other plants, require fertilizer to support their growth. However, Money Trees are not heavy feeders, so applying fertilizer sparingly is sufficient. During the growing season, you can fertilize the plant once a month, while it’s unnecessary during the winter months when the plant is dormant. Fertilizing during this period could harm the plant, particularly the roots. All-purpose water-soluble fertilizer is suitable for Money Trees, as it allows easier tracking of your fertilization routine.
Like other problems, Money Tree root rot displays specific symptoms or signs. Some common indicators include unusual root color, stunted growth, changes in leaf appearance, and an unpleasant smell emanating from the soil. If you notice any of these signs, it’s crucial to inspect the roots and take appropriate action.
If you observe wilting leaves, the roots are likely unable to absorb nutrients properly. Consequently, the leaves become sickly and malnourished. Wilting leaves are just one of several signs. Upon closer inspection, you may find that the leaves and the plant’s overall appearance indicate poor health. To confirm root rot, check the soil moisture by inserting your finger. Root rot is likely the issue if it feels excessively wet rather than slightly moist.
Poor growth can have multiple causes, but if your plant fails to grow during the regular growing seasons or exhibits minimal growth, there may be an issue with the roots. Roots are responsible for nutrient absorption, and the plant should display robust growth during the growing season. If this is not the case, examine the roots closely.
Money Trees are naturally dormant during winter, so slow or poor growth is expected. However, if poor growth persists during spring and summer, it is cause for concern, and the roots should be inspected.
While Money Trees are not fragrant, they should not emit a foul smell. It is abnormal if you detect an unpleasant or strange odor from the plant. Check the soil for moisture levels, as wet soil combined with an odor indicates a potential root rot issue.
Yellowing leaves may indicate root rot. Money Tree leaves are sensitive and delicate, and any disruption in nutrient supply to the roots can lead to rot. Moreover, such disturbance can cause the leaves to lack oxygen. The leaves may turn yellow when excessive water, lack of oxygen, and disrupted nutrient supply coincide.
However, it’s important to note that root rot is not the only cause of leaf discoloration. Underwatering or pest infestation, such as aphids or mealybugs, can also lead to leaf discoloration. When you notice discolored leaves, check the root to determine the best cause.
Upon removing the roots from the pot, you can discern any issues based on color. Healthy roots should be white, firm, and surrounded by dry soil. Damaged roots, conversely, will appear brown, gray, or even black, with a soggy texture and wet soil.
Treating Damaged Roots
If you discover Money Tree root rot, it doesn’t necessarily mean your plant is doomed. There’s still a chance to save it by taking the following steps:
- Dry the soil: Since excessively moist soil is the root cause of rot, remove the plant from its current pot and soil. Set the roots aside to allow them to dry without being soaked in moisture.
- Address the rot: Prepare pruners and consider sterilizing them to prevent the further spread of the issue. If you notice signs of fungi, use a fungicide accordingly.
- Remove unhealthy parts: Trim any unwholesome roots using sterilized pruners with alcohol or bleach. Additionally, inspect the leaves and remove any damaged ones using sterilized scissors.
- Thoroughly clean remaining parts: Ensure you wash other plant parts thoroughly.
- Allow soil and roots to dry completely.
- Prune leaves if necessary: Depending on the extent of the damage, you may need to prune around two-thirds of the leaves if most of the roots have rotted; this helps reduce stress on the plant and allows it to recover more effectively. However, if the rot is not extensive, pruning may not be necessary.
- Repot the plant: Use a clean pot and fresh soil of similar size to give your plant a fresh start.
- Avoid watering or fertilizing immediately after repotting. Allow your plant time to heal and recover.
Although root rot is a challenging issue, it can be effectively addressed. Regularly inspect your Money Tree to detect any signs of trouble early on. The sooner you identify the problem, the better your chances of successfully dealing with it. Take immediate action upon noticing Money Tree root rot symptoms to ensure the health and longevity of your plant. Read more article about How Big Do Money Trees Get? What To Do To Decide On The Size and Unveiling The Intricacies Of Lily Pad Roots: A Comprehensive Guide in Avi Hoffman Garden.