Information Center

  • Garden Knowledge

Root Bound Plants

Root bound plants are a common occurrence in container gardening. Recognizing this problem early is crucial to the plant’s maturity. A couple ways of recognizing a root bound plant are that roots may be visible out of the bottom drainage holes or the top of the container. Another sign of a root bound plant is poor water retention, or unexplained foliage decay. When you have identified that the plant is root bound or is becoming root bound, there are a few simple steps that need to be taken in order to successfully repot the plant.

1) Select a container that is about 2 inches larger in diameter than the current one. You don’t want to select a container that is too large, because it will hold more moisture than needed, possibly resulting in root rot.

2) Gently remove the plant from its original pot, knock off any old soil, and tenderly unwind and loosen the roots. It’s also advised to cut off roots that look rotted or need to be pruned back.

3) Prepare the new container by checking for drainage and putting a layer of soil on the bottom. This helps for proper placement of the plant in the new container. The plant should be placed in the direct center of the container about a half inch from the top.

4) After it is correctly placed, fill the remaining container space with soil. Pour soil around the edges, occasionally pressing it down lightly. After this is completed, thoroughly water the plant, checking for proper drainage when doing so.