5 Root Rot Propagation Questions (Answered!)

Don’t be afraid of root rot, here is how we can prevent it!

Can you propagate a plant with root rot?


First you need to determine if the plant can be saved. If the roots contain at least some white, firm roots, you will need to do the following.

  1. Begin by unpotting the plant.
  2. Remove as much soil as you can under running water.
  3. Soak the roots in a liquid fungicide bath.
  4. Rinse the roots of the plant with fresh water.
  5. Switch or sanitize the pot and repot with fresh soil.


This way you have a chance to propagate your plant.


How to prevent rot in water propagation?

Water propagation can be tricky and it can easily lead to plant rot.
Here are 5 steps you need to follow to maximize your chances of growing a healthy plant.

  1. Change the water at least once a week. The oxygen inside the water is depleted and carbon dioxide is accumulated. Your plant needs fresh water with oxygen to propagate its roots.
  2. Check the water regularly for any kind of insect larvae. If you encounter larvae, change the water, sanitize the container, rinse the plant and its roots, and fill the container with fresh water.
  3. Don’t keep your cuttings in direct light as it is too powerful for them in the propagation stage. Indirect light is more than enough for your cuttings to propagate and grow.
  4. Don’t submerge leaves and the crown in the water. If submerged the cutting will rot.
  5. Don’t let the roots grow too long or too short. Your goal is to let the cutting grow to a 1 inch root before you change it from one medium to another.


Water propagation roots turning brown.

Here are 5 causes that will turn your roots brown and damage your plants irreversibly.

  1. Root rot which is caused by bacteria buildup and lack of sufficient oxygenation.
    Change the water, cut away the rotten part with sterilized scissors, rinse the roots, sterilize the reservoir, and add fresh water.
  2. Brown algae can appear on roots, it’s not something to stress about.
    Rinse the roots with clean water and make sure you keep the reservoir above 65°F (18°C). Use an UV sterilizer to purify the water.
  3. Lack of oxygen can lead to softer roots which can lead to root rot.
    Trim the affected roots, increase the oxygen in the reservoir or just change the stale water with fresh.
  4. Nutrients
    The nutrient concentration could be too high. Possible pH change.
    Add less nutrients and see if this fixes the issue.
  5. Tap water might contain chemicals that are not fit for your plant.
    Chlorine will increase the pH levels making it harder for the plant to absorb nutrients.
    Use a UV sterilizer and lower the pH levels.


Why won’t my cuttings root in water?

There are 3 main reasons why the cuttings may rot in water propagation.

  1. The water itself is too contaminated.
    Check the pH levels. They might be too high because of the chlorine and other chemicals present. Try using a UV sterilizer and a pH stabilizer in case you don’t have access to a different water source.
  2. Your cuttings are too long or cut the wrong way.
    Try snipping just below a node where the next leaf will be growing and removing the one above. This way you ensure all the energy is used to grow roots.
  3. Keep the plant in indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight is too much for a cutting and the shade might be too little.

Also remember that not all plants are made equal, some prefer a different medium such as plain soil.


Best fertilizer for water propagation?

Dyna Gro Foliage Pro is a product you can get from Amazon for around $25 – 32oz.
Be careful you can burn your roots pretty easily if you mix too much fertilizer.
Try adding 1 quarter of what is recommended since fertilizer is usually intended for soil and not water. Although I would suggest skipping adding fertilizer because it’s just another variable that can go wrong and ruin your cutting.