How to Re-Pot a Root-Bound Plant

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How to Re-Pot a Root-Bound Plant....5

Re-potting a root-bound plant is crucial to encourage healthy growth and nutrient absorption. Transplant a root-bound plant into a slightly bigger pot with a demonstration from an organic gardener in this free video on potted plants.

Part of the Video Series: In & Out of the Garden
Promoted By Zergnet

Video Transcript

Hi. My name is Willi Galloway, and I'm a west coast-based organic gardener. On my website--digginfood.com--I teach people to grow their own vegetables and cook with seasonal ingredients. I also spend a lot of time helping people learn how to grow really beautiful, productive gardens without using chemicals. So, today I want to show you how to take care of a plant that has outgrown its pot. A lot of times when you buy a new houseplant at the nursery, or you've had a plant in the same container for a while, it'll become what's called root bound. And what that means is that the plant's pot has pretty much filled up with roots, and the reason why that happens is, when you're growing a plant in a container, there's only a finite amount of space for its roots; and so, as the plant grows, its roots reach out and they eventually hit the side of the pot, and then they grow down and they coil around and the pot begins to fill with roots. And this isn't bad at first, but over time your plant will start to grow more slowly, and you'll also need to water it more. And those are the first two signs that your plant is pot bound. The other is that roots will sometimes start to sneak out the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot, looking for more room. And so, if you notice that, that's a sure sign that you need to get that plant out of its little pot and up into a bigger one. So, the first thing you need to do is take the plant out of the pot, and sometimes it can be pretty tricky to get the plant out of the pot. If it's in a plastic nursery container, you can give the pot a few squeezes to kind of loosen it up, and then also if that's working, you can flip the pot upside down. Support it with one hand and then bang it on the side. That usually lets you pull it off. So, now, when you have roots that are really root bound, like this, you need to loosen them up so they're not all coiled, because if you just go ahead and plant them in the next pot, they'll keep coiling around. So, what you do is you just sort of gently begin to work them apart. Shake out some of that soil in the middle, and just loosen up those roots. Ideally, you want them all be hanging down, nice and loose... because then, when you put them into the new pot, you can spread them out and they won't be growing in that tight circle. When you choose a new pot, there's a couple things you want to look for. First, you want a pot that's only an inch or two in diameter bigger than the pot that the plant was in already; and the reason why is, if you put a plant into a huge pot, there's a lot of excess soil; and when you water, there's so much soil that the plant can't take up all the water that's in the soil, and so the soil will stay wet longer than it should... and that can cause root rot problems and other things can go wrong with your plant. So, you want a pot that's the right size for the plant. So, I'm going to go ahead and put this little plant into it's new pot. The first thing is you just add some soil into, about, the bottom third of the pot. Then you can take your plant and stick it in, flaring out the roots, and see how deep it is in the pot. You want the crown of the plant--where the roots come out of the plant--to be about an inch below the surface. That gives you plenty of space to water when you're watering the plant, without having the water spill over the edge. So, just double-check that, and then you can go ahead and fill in with some soil, just around the edge of the plant, and gently tamp it into place. You don't want to compact the soil, but you also want to try and get rid of any air pockets that are down there. So, get the soil in nice and smooth. Kind of smooth it out, and then, to really settle the soil, the key is to water it. That'll really get any air pockets that are out, and get your plant all settled into its new pot.

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