Calathea Orbifolia Root Rot Causes And Solutions


Root rot is a condition that is common both in indoor and outdoor plants. In scientific terms, it is necrosis of root tissues resulting in damaging the stem and other parts. Calathea orbifolia root rot mostly happened due to the clogging of roots due to excess water. All plants which require a high level of moisture and water for growth are more likely to get root rot. Calathea orbifolia is also one of those plants.

Root rot only happens when a person is neglecting is not good care of his plant. We will discuss the causes of Calathea orbifolia root rot and see the best possible solution for all these causes.

Causes Of Calathea Orbifolia Root Rot


Calathea orbifolia requires a good level of water for proper growth. If the upper 2 inches of the plant’s soil is wet, then it doesn’t need any more water. But people who are not aware of it overwater the plant; it results in the clogging of plant root pores. Because of it, Calathea orbifolia roots cannot absorb oxygen due to, eventually resulting in root rot. Extra water clogs the roots and creates an anaerobic environment resulting in the rotting of Calathea orbifolia roots.

In this image it is shown in form of infographic that how water around the roots clog the roots and stop the exchange of oxygen eventually leading to root rot and Calathea orbifolia death.
Overwatering and Root Rot

In the natural habitat, it happens in the rainy season when the land is flooded, but as soon as rain passes, it gets normal, and the plant grows its roots back. As compared to inside the house, if your pot doesn’t have aeration and water channels, then a little negligence can result in many issues for your plant. More prolonged exposure to such an environment can cause yellowing of your Calathea orbifolia leaves.

To avoid this issue with Calathea orbifolia or any other plant, you need to make sure you know its growth requirements. You can check the guide for Calathea orbifolia care to properly understand how to take care of your plant.

Poor Drainage

All plants need airy pots so their roots can have a well-oxygenated environment for growth. When your pot doesn’t have a good drainage system or holes for drainage, then this root rot is likely to happen.

Many people use a ceramic and plastic pot with no drainage system resulting in Calathea orbifolia root rot. When the pot cannot remove extra water, it will eventually clog the pores of the root and damage the roots. You can use an automatic watering system for plant pots, terracotta pots, drip irrigation, and trickle irrigation systems to solve this issue. Always take care of drainage before décor.

Large Pots

The use of large pots by new users is common. When people get new Calathea orbifolia, they buy the large pots in enthusiasm.

Large pots can hold a good amount of water; even if you use your fingertips to check the upper 5 centimeters of the soil, it will be wet. It will create issues for you because large pots have a lot of rootless areas with excessive water resulting in the creation of an anaerobic environment eventually leading to Calathea orbifolia root rot. Because roots will use water from the adjacent area, but rootless area water will not allow oxygen exchange leading to the rotting of Calathea orbifolia roots.

You need to know the best pots for Calathea orbifolia to eliminate this issue. Mostly terracotta pots are recommended for this plant with a pebble tray. Make sure that you use just a little bigger pot than your plant size.

In large pots when you give water to the plant it get stock around the edges eventually leading to the stop of exchange of oxygen for the roots resulting in root rot for Calathea orbifolia.
Large Pots and Waterlocked Roots

Fungal Infections

Cercospora, Bipolaris, Botrytis, and many other fungi are dangerous for your plant. They mostly grow in a moist and highly waterlogged environment. In simple words, if your plant soil is old and you haven’t changed it in a while, then there are chances of fungal infections.

You cannot treat fungal infections until you have identified what type of fungi it is. For this purpose, you can hire an expert, get someone who has seen a similar problem, or prune the infected root area and repot it in a new pot with new soil. 

Negligence Of Temperature

In the case of Calathea orbifolia it is improbable to happen. It requires a temperature from 16°C to 24°C for normal growth and propagation. If the plant surrounding temperature drops below 16°C, it is will be because of your negligence. In this case, plant optimum functioning will stop, and all enzymatic processes like photosynthesis and respiration will halt.

Calathea orbifolia require a good amount of water; you need to check the soil around the roots, whether it is wet or not, with a moisture meter. You need to use the best moisture meter for it. If the soil is dry then you need to water it, otherwise overwatering can result in root rot.

Calathea Orbifolia Root Rot
Calathea Orbifolia Root Rot

Overuse Of Fertilizers

Fertilizers are necessary for the growth of plants. But most fertilizers are hygroscopic, which means when they are applied to soil, they absorb water. So, if anyone is using more than the required amount of fertilizer, it will result in water absorption from the roots, resulting in root damage and infections.

In some cases, excessive fertilization also can result in the contraction of roots and root pores. When the pores of Calathea orbifolia are small, it results in less water absorption. As a result, excessive water creates an anaerobic environment around the roots, eventually resulting in root rot.

The best way to avoid this situation is to be aware of best fertilizers for Calathea orbifolia. You can use a different combination of fertilizers for this purpose. You can check our Calathea orbifolia care guide for this purpose.

How To Diagnose Calathea Orbifolia Root Rot?

Root rot is not a simple phenomenon. At what level your Calathea orbifolia root rot is, and decide what actions you need to take.

Calathea orbifolia is shown from the top view for a better morphological understanding of the reader.
Calathea Orbifolia

Early Stage Of Root Rot

Calathea orbifolia at the early stage of root rot shows leaves drooping, yellow leaves, and stunted growth. In most cases, people overwater the plant due to dehydrated and drooping leaves, which results in Calathea orbifolia root rot. In this case, roots are clogged, and they are not able to absorb water. We have discussed two major symptoms of root rot under as:

  • Stunted Growth

In the early stage of Calathea orbifolia root rot, you will observe that despite taking good care of your plant and providing all optimum conditions, your plant can experience stunted growth. It mostly happens at a lower temperature when your plant roots are clogged because of slow respiratory and photosynthetic mechanisms.

  • Yellowing of leaves

In the early stage of root rot, your Calathea orbifolia leaves will start to turn yellow. Yellowing of leaves can have multiple causes, but you can check whether it is because of roots by taking out your plant from the pot.

Advance Stage Of Root Rot

If you are not able to detect root rot at an early stage due to some issue, then you are going to have some major issues later on. At this stage, your leaves will start to turn dark brown, and Calathea orbifolia will begin emitting a foul smell. If you observe these symptoms, immediately take your plant out of the pot and prune the damaged area. After pruning the damaged area, repot it in a new pot. You can confirm it with the appearance of these symptoms:

  • Smelly roots

If your Calathea orbifolia root rot is at a later stage, you will probably experience a foul smell around your plant. In this case, first, you need to take your plant out of the pot and discard the smelly pot and then prune the damaged area if you think the plant can be saved. It mostly happens when an anaerobic environment promotes the growth of bacteria around the roots, which results in a foul smell of plant roots.

  • Dark Leaves and Roots

Calathea orbifolia, whose roots are rotten to such an extent that the soil is emitting smell, their roots are black and mushy. In this scenario, if you are too much busy and do not take good care of your plant, you will see that your plant leaves will start turning black or dark brown. If you see this happening, immediately take your plant out of the pot and prune the damaged area; otherwise, your plant will be beyond saving.

Calathea Orbifolia
Calathea Orbifolia

If you are not able to judge these signals, then most probably your Calathea orbifolia is going to die. In this case, you can just discard your Calathea orbifolia and get a new one.

How To Treat Calathea Orbifolia Root Rot?

Calathea orbifolia root rot is a serious issue; if it goes untreated, it can create a lot of problems for your plant and even lead to your plant’s death. The best way to avoid this problem is to follow Calathea orbifolia care guide. If you are not fortunate enough to take good care of your plant then, you can take these steps to treat root rot in Calathea orbifolia:

  • Checking the root rot

The only way to check and confirm the root rot is to take your plant out of the pot. But don’t be hasty; act with caution for this procedure. First, take a plastic cover and put it on the top of your plant, then turn your plant pot upside down and shake it. Make sure you take the plant out of the pot in a gentle manner. Then check whether the roots are smelly, brown mushy, or waterlogged. If they are, then your Calathea orbifolia has root rot.

  • Clean the roots

After removing the Calathea orbifolia from the pot, clean it gently with a soft brush. You will see some mushy and smelly roots. Clean the soil around it with water and check how far root rot has progressed.

  • Cut the damaged roots

Now make sure you have identified the damaged root area. Now use a sterile blade and cut 2 cm up the area of the roots. Just be sure that you cut out the damaged root area because if you left it out in negligence, you will face this problem later on.

  • Disinfect the roots and prune the damaged area  

After cutting the damaged part of the roots, you have to make sure you have removed all the anaerobic damage-causing bacteria. You can use hydrogen peroxide or bleach for it. If you are using hydrogen peroxide, first, you will need 3% concentrated hydrogen peroxide. Then you need to make sure you use 1/3rd of hydrogen peroxide and 2/3rd of water. This combination can disinfect and remove all harmful bacteria from roots.

You can also use different disinfectants, which are good to go with plants.

Once you clean your roots, you just need to prune the yellow and brown leaves. After pruning the damaged leaves, you need to repot your Calathea orbifolia in the new pot.


It is not very hard to take good care of your plant if you are a plant person. But if you are someone new, then you can face these issues. You need to make sure that the environment is optimum for your Calathea orbifolia, and that you are aware of its needs. But in any case, your plant leaves start turning yellow; take it out of the pot, check the root rot and take care of it.

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