Plants love water, but they hate getting too much of it.
Unlike a human who gets wrinkly when left to soak in water too long, a plant can develop root rot, a devastating disease often unnoticed until the late stages.
While poor drainage is the main factor in developing root rot, the disease itself is usually due to fungal diseases and infection facilitated by the overly moist environment.
Root rot is a severe fungus condition that can be very difficult to treat and can quickly kill a plant, although the spores usually die unless nearby plant soil is wet.
Thankfully, a few root rot treatments are available, which can be more or less successful depending on the extent of the damage.
One of the most popular treatments for this condition may even surprise you – the ever-popular neem oil insecticide.
Does Neem Oil Work For Root Rot
The ingredients of Neem oil is an extract from the pressed fruits and seeds of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica) that is indigenous to India.
Any product that works against root rot requires clarification, as a product that works in the early stages of rot may not affect advanced stages.
That said, neem oil can be a very effective treatment for root rot and even prevent it.
Use Neem Oil For Root Rot?
There are three primary forms of treatment using neem oil for root rot.
Neem foliar sprays are a topical treatment best used to take care of pests like aphids, bugs, mealybugs, spider mites, caterpillars, grubs, beetles, whiteflies, and larvae of other insects.
It’s also an effective medium for controlling diseases in the above-ground portions of plants, such as powdery mildew, black spot, rust, leaf spot, scab, and anthracnose.
Neem cakes are a form of natural compost made from the solids leftover from pressing neem seeds to extract the oil and serve both as a composting agent and as a preventative treatment due to trace amounts of Azadirachtin present.
A Neem oil soil drench is a natural treatment for the soil, and roots are a form of systemic pesticide once absorbed by the plant.
When dealing with root rot, therefore, you will want to use a neem soil soak.
The soil soak can help prevent root rot when proper watering techniques are observed and can treat existing rot below the soil surface.
Be warned that the severity of damage to your plant’s roots may be too extensive for the healthy plant to recover. Neem oil and other treatments are best used in the early stages of infection.
It’s also best to test the solution first on a small area.
Making a Neem Oil Root Soil Drench
It’s easy to make your soil soak (sometimes referred to as a drench) at home, and it can be quite effective when used on both indoor and outdoor plants against a wide range of pests, fungi, and even bacteria.
- Begin by emulsifying 1 gallon of water by slowly blending in 1 teaspoon pure castile soap. Warm water may work well.
- Add 2 tablespoons of 100% percent cold-pressed neem oil.
- Test the mix on a tiny portion of the plant and wait 24 hours to ensure no adverse reactions before applying a full dose.
- For a full dose, pour 2 to 3 cups of the soil drench directly onto the soil around the plant, increasing the amount for larger plants.
- Count the treatment as a watering cycle to avoid further drowning the entire plant and rooting the root system.
- Repeat in three weeks or when the next watering is due, whichever comes first, until there are no remaining traces of root rots.
Keeping the Rot Away
Once your plant has started to bounce back, you will likely want to monitor its condition closely.
Once the roots have recovered enough, take some additional measures to handle a partial or full soil transplant to a new pot.
- Add some perlite to the soil around the plant, improving drainage and helping prevent future waterlogging.
- Make sure any container has adequate drainage holes and transplant the patient to a better pot if needed.
- For plants fond of high organic content, consider breaking up a neem cake and mixing it into the upper soil layers.
- As a preventative measure, do a soil soak once per month.
Remember that fungal forms of root rot require a moist environment to survive, so always follow any watering schedules carefully for each plant to make cross-contamination as difficult as possible.