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my aloe vera have severe root rot. now what?

Lexi Coleman
5 days ago

The leaves of my two aloe vera plants were becoming extremely hollow despite having sufficient water, so I unearthed them and sure enough they had root rot. The rot had spread all the way up the roots to the base of the stem, but had not taken over the entire stem. I have two questions:

1. Is it worth trying to save my aloe vera plants? I basically had to cut all of the roots off as well as a bit of the stem. Is it worth trying to repot them? Will they grow healthy roots again?

2. I use one of those moisture meters to measure the soil moisture of all of my plants (about 6). Should I be concerned that I've spread root rot to my other plants? Should I repot them all with fresh soil? How contagious is root rot?

Thanks in advance,


Comments (20)

  • Meyermike

    Root rot is very contagious to all my orchids, that is why I will sterilize the scissors before doing any root work and even the pots. I usually cut back all the rotted roots and then rinse the root system with with either hydrogen peroxide or Pyhsan20. This usually stems the rot and helps grow new roots. I had done this to a couple of aloes of mines last spring, and they sprouted new roots. I would give it a shot.

    Leave the aloe out of the soil mix until it calluses after treating the rot, then give it a try)

    As long as the very base of the stems is not rotted, there is always hope and a good chance.

  • Lexi Coleman

    Are you saying that I leave the plants in the hydrogen peroxide solution until it grows new roots?

  • Lexi Coleman

    Also, should I soak the roots of all of my plants in hydrogen peroxide? Since you're saying root rot is extremely contagious.

  • Meyermike

    No, what I am saying is that you can pour it over the entire roots sytem killing all the bacteria that causes the rot. A rinse like or pour some in a bowl deep enough to sway the roots back and forth to get soaked by it then pull it out and let the entire root system dry out.)

  • rina_Ontario,Canada

    Maybe what you referred to as having sufficient water was just too much water, and it caused rot. It is advisable to keep suculents in fast draining mix and pots with drainage holes. It is also important to make sure there is no rot leftover, otherwise it could continue. Just rinse it as Mike suggested - do not keep in liquid for extended period of time, but rinse well. Rot often starts with too much moisure, so try to avoid it. After rinsing, put the plant on something absorbent, out of direct sun. Make sure there is good air circulation. Aloe (most succulents would) will be ok for a while out of any soil/mix. Prepare fast draining mix before sticking leftover of plant in it.

    Btw, those moisture meters are usually not very reliable. You will get better results by using wooden/bamboo skewer or chopstick, dowel wih sharpened end or even pencil. Stick it deep inside of pot, leave for few minutes. When pulled out and is dry and clean, time to water. Otherwise, wait - repeat test in a day or few.

  • Karen S. (7b, NYC)

    The base of the stem is where Aloes grow from. If that's already rotted, it's likely a lost cause. No amount of explanation can match a pic for this. Pls SHOW US, so we can make a better assessment. From the sound of things, it's already a goner.

    Sorry to have to disagree w/ Mike, but I would not do the peroxide thing, would probably kill the plant, if it's not already a goner.

  • rina_Ontario,Canada


    I am guilty of not noticing Mike said peroxide - my fault, just was thinking of rubbing alcohol that I use if needed. I never used Physan, so can't comment either. I don't think I ever used hydrogen peroxide on plants; why do you say it would kill the plant?

  • Karen S. (7b, NYC)

    Gut feeling Rina, feels wrong to me. I'd prefer giving it time to dry if it's not already mush inside.

  • Meyermike

    I have always used peroxide on wounds and the roots of my plants. I have not killed one yet and in fact saved many. Alcohol is also good but have only used that to kill bugs and soak my tools for plants to disinfect them. Never thought of using that as a rot prevention on roots.

    I have Learned this method of peroxide through reading books and friends at the orchid forums.

    But if you don’t trust using it , physan and the suggestions of others will work too.

    I agree with Karen. A picture is worth a thousand words. You may have false hope if the rot is to far gone or if the very base of the leaves are mush that renders the plant un savaeable . It depends on how severe the rot it and whether or not it’s taken the are where the leaves emerge from.

  • Meyermike

    Hered is one of the Aloes I saved. Now it’s growing healthy new growth. I lost all the roots on this one and new roots started from the base.

    It affected the growth. It was growing poorly until I discovered it. I actually rinsed the whole area I saw rot or infection. Remember to put it in a warm area with lots of bright light and in a good porous mix. It rotted for a reason and you need to understand what mistake were made or what factors caused it and how to prevent it from happening now and in the future

    Now new healthy growth.

  • Meyermike

    Karen by the way thank you for your e-mail and thoughts. It meant a lot. I e-mailed you a while back in response. Hope you well.

    RIna. Good to see you. I was worried when I didn’t see you start a new flowering thread and no comments there. Glad your ok

  • cactusmcharris, interior BC Z4/5

    Mike, that's not healthy growth, that's Aloe cancer (caused by a mite). Get rid of it (it's cureable, but needs to have intensive care done to it, using heavy-duty miticides).

  • Meyermike

    Jeff. Thanks. Are you sure it’s still mites? It’s been like that since last summer aNd not worst and there is new healthy growth coming out. If it is still being attacked for Sure I will.

    Its as if it’s healing itself now or old damage

    Much appreciated

  • cactusmcharris, interior BC Z4/5

    Yes, that growth is empirical evidence that mites are still there, from last summer. Unless drastic measures are taken, it can infect the rest of your collection. Isolate it or, IMO, getting rid of it will be the best thing you can do to resolve this problem. There's no healing involved here unless you use some potent medicine.

    A Plague Upon Aloes

  • rina_Ontario,Canada


    Thnx; maybe I should try it :).

    Hydrogen peroxide is used as a disinfectant and sterilizer; I remember that school (and homes) had bottle ready to clean up/disinfect scrapes we got as kids. I remember it foaming slightly when there was some blood - I wonder if hat was reaction/decomposition when in contact wih organic (I read about it decomposing...) I wonder if it would be really harmful to plants? It is in many products we use and put in our mouths- like a teeth whiteners, or a Peridex = oral rinse and many more products. I think in small amounts, should check it out. As everything, probably should not be overused...


    Thank you, I am fine. Just forgot to start the thread as I didn't have anything blooming...but it was started by Tyler. hope you are OK too.

  • Meyermike

    Jeff, thank God I even posted it here. I really appreciate that. Once I get home it's in the trash although I was kind of attached to it. Funny how some of us can get attached that way. Take good care. I noticed how bad my spelling was using my cell phone at the time on the last few posts. Sorry for that.

    Rina, good! I am glad. Ok, that explains that. You see, it's noticed when some are not around at times) I'm ok. Been pretty sick lately but much better. Thank you)

  • cactusmcharris, interior BC Z4/5

    My phone constantly thinks it can spell better than I can, Mike. No worries.

  • Chad19 (AB-CA-3b)

    I've never used peroxide for root rot, but I've used it a number of times for above the soil rot. It foams and bubbles when it hits the rot but does nothing to the healthy skin. Always seemed to stop the rot in place and saved the plant.

    Also I've added peroxide when watering in the winter for the past 5-6 years. Just a teaspoon or two per jug of water. I read somewhere that it breaks down to provide extra O2 to the roots. Not really sure if it does anything, but definately no harm.

  • rina_Ontario,Canada


    It breaks/decomposes to oxygen and water, so it probably does...

  • hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

    Aloes are pretty easy to re-root. I do not use hydrogen peroxide. I cut down to a firm healthy stem, let it callus, and stick the plant into dry C&S mix in a shady place. When it has roots again, I start watering again. It can sometimes take several months for roots to grow, so patience helps.

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