Updated: May 21, 2022


Charlie plants, also known as the Chinese evergreen, are a popular houseplant due to their hardiness and low maintenance. However, one of the most common problems with Charlie plants is rotting. Rotting occurs when the plant’s roots become waterlogged, causing them to decay and eventually leading to the death of the plant. In this article, we will discuss how to prevent Charlie plants from rotting.

Understanding the Causes of Rotting

The first step in preventing rotting is understanding what causes it. As mentioned earlier, rotting occurs when the plant’s roots become waterlogged. This can happen due to a variety of reasons, including overwatering or inadequate drainage. Overwatering is a common mistake that many people make while caring for their Charlie plants. It is important to remember that Charlie plants prefer moist but not wet soil. Therefore, it is essential to ensure proper drainage to prevent waterlogging.

Tips on Preventing Rotting

  1. Watering: The most important tip for preventing rotting is proper watering. Charlie plants should be watered only when the top inch of soil is dry. This will ensure that the plant receives adequate moisture without becoming waterlogged.

  2. Drainage: Charlie plants should be planted in well-draining soil and pots with drainage holes. This will allow excess water to drain out, preventing waterlogging.

  3. Light: Charlie plants prefer moderate to low light conditions. Excessive exposure to direct sunlight can cause the soil to dry out quickly, leading to overwatering.

  4. Temperature: Charlie plants thrive in temperatures between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures outside this range can lead to stress and weaken the plant, making it more susceptible to rotting.

  5. Humidity: Charlie plants prefer high humidity levels. Placing a humidifier near the plant or misting it regularly can help prevent the soil from drying out too quickly.

  6. Fertilization: Charlie plants should be fertilized every 4-6 weeks during the growing season. Over-fertilization can lead to salt build-up in the soil and cause root damage, leading to rotting.

Signs of Rotting

It is essential to catch rotting early to prevent it from spreading to the rest of the plant. The following are signs that your Charlie plant may be rotting:

  • Yellowing or wilting leaves
  • Soft or mushy stems
  • Foul smell coming from the soil
  • Stagnant water in the pot’s saucer

If you notice any of these signs, it is essential to take immediate action to save your plant.

How to Save a Rotting Charlie Plant

If your Charlie plant is showing signs of rotting, you can still save it by taking the following steps:

  1. Remove the plant from its pot and inspect the roots for damage. If the roots are brown and mushy, they will need to be pruned.

  2. Cut off any damaged roots using a clean pair of scissors or pruning shears.

  3. Repot the plant in fresh, well-draining soil, and a pot with drainage holes.

  4. Water the plant sparingly until it shows signs of new growth.


Can I save a Charlie plant that has completely rotted?

Unfortunately, if a Charlie plant has completely rotted, it is unlikely that it can be saved.

How often should I water my Charlie plant?

Charlie plants should be watered only when the top inch of soil is dry.

Can I use tap water to water my Charlie plant?

Yes, tap water can be used to water Charlie plants. However, if the water in your area is high in minerals such as fluoride and chlorine, it may be beneficial to let it sit for 24 hours before using it on your plant.

How often should I fertilize my Charlie plant?

Charlie plants should be fertilized every 4-6 weeks during the growing season.

Can I propagate a rotting Charlie plant?

It is not recommended to propagate a rotting Charlie plant as the cuttings may also be affected by rotting. It is best to wait until the plant has recovered before attempting propagation.


Preventing rotting in Charlie plants requires proper watering, adequate drainage, and suitable environmental conditions. By following the tips discussed in this article, you can ensure that your Charlie plant remains healthy and free from rotting. Remember to keep an eye out for signs of rotting and take immediate action if you notice any issues. With proper care, your Charlie plant will thrive for years to come.