Unveiling the silent killer of plants

We received a request from a distraught user with a question:
"Hey there! I've been keeping an eye on my Moth Orchid, and something doesn't seem right. It's wilting, and both the leaves and flowers are drooping. To try and help it out, I decided to transplant it, but guess what? The roots looked all unhealthy too. I'm getting a bit worried now. Any idea what could be happening to my poor Orchid?"
Let's take a look at what's wrong with orchids and find out how to get rid of and prevent this problem in the future!

Based on the photo and description, it appears to be root rot in this case. However, don't let the name fool you, as it is far from harmless. Root rot is a highly dangerous disease that can pose a significant threat to your plant's health.

Whether your plants are indoors or outdoors, fusarium, a fungal infection, is often the main culprit. Another possible cause is rhizoctonia, which can also damage plant roots. Overwatering and stagnant water in pots create favorable conditions for the development of these bacterial infections.

Root rot is a common problem with houseplants, but it can be challenging to identify and treat effectively. If left unchecked, it can lead to the demise of your Moth Orchid. Since the symptoms may resemble other issues, root rot is often detected at an advanced stage.

Signs of root rot

If you start noticing a gradual wilting of the leaves, flowers falling off, yellowing, and lifelessness, it's crucial to examine the orhid's roots for their viability.

Carefully remove the orchid from its pot and examine the roots. If the plant is affected by disease, the roots will appear black and soft. Diseased roots will easily detach when touched. However, not all roots may be affected. Among the diseased ones, you may find relatively healthy-looking roots that are pale or black in color but still retain their flexibility and firmness.

You're fortunate to have discovered the problem in time due to your decision to transplant your orchid. This action saved its life, giving you a chance to address the issue and nurse it back to health.


At the initial stage of the disease, it's crucial to take immediate measures for treatment. If you notice slight blackening on the tip of cuttings or twigs, carefully remove the affected area and immerse the cuttings in water mixed with phytosporin.

If the plant starts to wilt, it's important to remove it from the pot urgently, thoroughly rinse the roots, and treat them with a suitable fungicide solution.

If upon examining the roots of diseased plants, you observe widespread blackening and softness throughout the entire root system, further treatment will be ineffective. In such cases, it's necessary to discard the affected plant to prevent the infection from spreading to healthy plants.


In general, soil always contains pathogens, but their active proliferation is often triggered by mistakes made by gardeners in plant care.

Here are some common mistakes that gardeners should avoid:
  • Excessive watering, particularly when combined with low or high air temperatures.
  • Planting seedlings too densely, which can lead to the death of young plants.
  • Sudden temperature changes and exposure to drafts.
  • Inadequate lighting for plants.
  • Using cold water for watering.
By avoiding these mistakes and implementing proper care practices, you can minimize the risk of pathogen proliferation and promote the health and well-being of your plants.

To save your plant from root rot, it's essential to take immediate action. Remember, early detection and timely intervention are key to saving your plant from root rot. 
And to make sure your plant is suffering from root rot, be sure to use the Plant Doctor feature. But we hope you never have to deal with this problem in the future!