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So I was growing a pineapple at home which was doing well for more than 1.5 years. Its leaves are growing larger, and it was growing more as the time passes.

It was planted in a small pot though, so I thought let me take it to someone who can be smooth enough in re-potting it into a larger one to give it more space. And that's when problems started.

It seems the guy had just put it in a sandy-soil that is too hard, and right after that, the leaves started to die until only a few left with healthy condition.

So I have brought different soil that was similar to the one it was in before and mixed it with the current one, because I did not want to re-pot it again.

It went fine for a while without more leaves dying, however at one night my son (6 years old) decided it is time to give it a shower, and he just poured a lot of water on the soil while I was not around, and only noticed it the second day when I saw the soil was too wet.

So I thought ok let me just leave it to dry out hoping nothing will happen more than what already has happened, and considering the soil now is much better than before I thought it will just dry faster. Only to find out I was wrong.

A few leaves just turned black and then died off, and I had to pull them off the plant. And when I did that I found their bottom was too wet as well...

Now the plant looks like this: enter image description here enter image description here

What I did was to clear some soil around the plant to help drying it off, I'm not sure if I was too late for that, but the first inch of soil is now dry. It is still wet when you go deep.

I'm afraid of just re-potting this not to cause any more damage, but I am also aware that the roots may be just rotten by now, except for the 2 still healthy leaves that are there, as well as a small one that is still also green in the center.

I am also concerned that if I just try to take the plant out and dry it and inspect the roots, it will just break apart as when I gently touch the plant, it appears as if it is just disconnected at the center..

So are there any tips to try and revive this one? And should I just go ahead and re-pot it in a better soil and get rid of this current one?

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  • Which part of the world do you live? As your plant is in a pot, is there enough sunlight and warmth in your home to naturally dry the soil in the pot?
    – joy
    Feb 12, 2022 at 19:08
  • I'm in a hot area with a good sun light exposure for the plant. It would get warm enough for the plant if I just keep it under the sun even indoor..
    – Bluescrod
    Feb 12, 2022 at 19:49
  • Have you done something yet? If not, I have posted an answer which might be helpful. If you have already done something, I am curious how the plant is doing now.
    – joy
    Feb 15, 2022 at 20:29
  • Nope, haven't done anything yet, honestly I'm just leaving it while it is looking green (or what's left of the leaves), and since it is not getting worse I'm not very much encouraged on touching it... Actually thanks a lot for the answer that you provided! It is a much needed info really! And it does support me in just leaving it and watch it hoping it will recover. Will keep off watering for a few more days then resume to make sure more deeper soil is drying..
    – Bluescrod
    Feb 15, 2022 at 21:31
  • You are very much welcome, @Bluescrod :) I am also rooting (metaphorically) for your plant to recover :) If the deeper soil is not too hard or clayey, then your warm environment with good sunlight should be enough to bring it to a normal condition (i.e., not too much wet).
    – joy
    Feb 15, 2022 at 21:38

1 Answer 1

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Transplanting any plant almost always cause significant damage to its root network. A lot of its roots get damaged, many completely torn off, which causes the plant to go into a state called transplant shock. Here, the remaining roots also do not function in their full efficiency, resulting in water deficiency in the plant body. It is water pressure which maintains the shapes of fresh leaves, and insufficient water in the plant body causes the leaves to droop and lose their lively appearance. An individual would naturally think that the transplanted plant needs water in this state.

However, this does not fully work in the case of the pineapple plant. While is has a fragile root system, a significant portion of the usual function of roots is taken up by its leaves which can absorb and store water. Further, pineapple plants require porous and fast draining soil, and is very vulnerable to an assortment of pathogens causing various kinds of rots, including root rot and heart rot. These pathogens thrive in an high-humidity environment. Also, any transplanted plant is more vulnerable to all kinds of diseases till it recovers from transplant shock, because of an weak immune system at this stage.

In the current condition, the plant is not doing well, and a few leaves have blackened and died. When the dead leaves are removed, their bases were found abnormally wet. These particular symptoms are similar to those of heart rot, and a transplanted plant is unlikely to have its parts too wet, as it suffers from water deficiency. However, the tell-tale sign of heart rot is the presence of rotting smell from the infected leaves.

Based on these points, let's analyze the possible actions and their probable outcomes. You can do:

  • Re-pot again: This would likely create another transplant shock, further weakening the plant. Further, if the plant is already infected with the pathogens, re-potting it will carry the pathogens to a new place.

  • Re-pot and examine the roots while re-potting: Examining the roots will do no benefit to the plant. If the roots are not infected, the process of examining will very likely severely damage of tear off more roots, as it would involve clearing the soil from the roots. If the roots are infected, it would do nothing to cure infection, but cause significant damage to the remaining roots.

  • Do nothing: If the plant is taken care of usually in the current condition, then in case it is not already infected, it will likely recover. If it is infected, since most of the infections are resistant to fungicides once established, and persist for the remaining life of the plant, almost no harm is done to the plant by doing nothing.

  • Apply fungicides: If the plant is not already infected, then since it is weak now due to transplant shock, preventive application of fungicides may be helpful in resisting opportunistic infections of a weak plant. If the plant is infected, fungicides are not that effective in curing the disease.

In my opinion, you should perhaps leave the plant in a place where it receives good sunlight (but not scorching sunlight), water is as usual, and wait to see what happens. You might think of applying fungicides if you think presence of rotting fungi is probable. This is usually unlikely in a potted environment in a home, or the levels of these fungi are relatively low in such a setup.

This document is a good resource to find the symptoms of various diseases in pineapple, including root rot and heart rot. You might look into it, and check if the symptoms match with the conditions of your plant.

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  • Thanks a lot! In addition to my comment above, I'll probably have to use fungicides as the symptoms are appearing to be heart rot.. Still not going to try and inspect the roots so will just leave it at that and give it its time to recover..
    – Bluescrod
    Feb 15, 2022 at 21:35
  • @Bluescrod Yes you might like to use fungicides in this condition. The presence of rotting smell is a characteristic of heart rot, and you might look into whether such smell is present.
    – joy
    Feb 15, 2022 at 21:41

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