I've been growing pumpkins in home made growbags (old cat litter bags filled with well rotted horse manure).

Obviously I have to remember to put plenty of holes in the base of the bags.

One pumpkin has been yellowing badly over the last week. Today I checked the base of the bag and it's very wet and when I pierced the base a little dark liquid seeped out and there's quite a pong. So I'm figuring it's an insufficient drainage problem. Either there are insufficient holes or we (this was a project with my kids, and if you've ever gardened with kids you'll know it can get a bit chaotic) completely overlooked piercing the base of this one.

I've added fifty or so holes with a screwdriver. Is their a good chance the roots will recover and the pumpkin will revive? As I say, it's gone rather yellow, but it has barely wilted.

Edit, 1 month on:
Appreciate the suggestions on repotting and I am sure they are valid. However due to limited time in the garden, and a few days of OK sunshine I thought I would leave the plant to try carrying on in the same container (but with the newly punched drainage).

I figured that cucurbits at this time of year are pretty vigorous growers and it might very well make it without much further help.

So it has proved, with a pretty strong recovery. However it has a way to go if it is to catch up with the other pumpkins alongside it. And how well it will fruit remains to be seen.


2 Answers 2


If the plant has been yellowing for a week, I strongly suggest that you remove it from its current location and take a good look at the roots after cleaning the soil off with running water.

If there are roots that are black and mushy, those are almost certainly rotten. If you have any which remain firm and pliable, regardless of their color, you may have enough healthy root to save the plant.

You will want to remove the rotten roots with clean scissors or some other cutting object, as they will only spread the rot to the healthy ones.

Another site's answer includes a suggestion to wash the healthy roots in fungicide, as fungus is what causes root rot.

You will want to either completely clean and bleach the container it was in, or use a different container, and will definitely want to use new soil.

Do not fertilize the plant until it has had a chance to recover, as that will only stress the existing roots.

I do hope that you have enough healthy roots left! And, if not, you at least have a valuable new lesson to teach your kids. Both the problems of root rot, and what to do about it.


Without a very bright sunshine, the soil will remain wet for many days because the soil is already very wet and the hole is too small that they might be blocked by the wet soil.

My suggestion would be to dig up the plant and place it in a suitable container with dry soil with good drainage capability. Remember to add support if the plant cannot stand straight after the movement.

  • thanks for the answer. with your permission, the few days of OK sunshine we had, i reclassified as "very bright" sunshine in order to allow me be lazy and to leave it in situ! Jul 17, 2011 at 23:18

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