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pot bound roots

(4 Posts)
NotAnEMERGENCY Thu 26-Oct-17 13:45:07

What exactly is the problem with having a plant with pot bound roots? What are the actual consequences?

I can imagine that if you want to re-pot a plant with roots coming out of the bottom of the pot, it can be difficult to get that plant out of the old pot and its roots are likely to be damaged in the process, meaning it may not survive the re-potting and die. But what if I don't particularly want to re-pot it?

For example, I got a spider plant as a cutting and have already re-potted it a number of times as it has been growing rather quickly. It is now at a size where I don't really want it to grow any bigger but if I re-pot it, it will think: 'Ooh more space - I'd better grow some more!'

The roots are starting to come out of the bottom of the pot again. Can I just leave it? Or will it just die like that if I don't re-pot it?

JT05 Thu 26-Oct-17 13:59:37

It will probably survive by getting nutrients from the water leached through the pot that the roots sit in. I’d make sure you feed it so the external roots get some.

Qwebec Fri 27-Oct-17 15:25:39

Roots coming out of the drainage holes are not a problem (some plants have roots that groe downwards before growing laterally). The problem is when the roots are so dense that the soil cannot do it's job. The plant dries out faster and faster starts suffering from the drought. The washed out nutrients in the soil will also be an issue on the longuer term.

As long as you spider plant can maintain the level of humidity for a few days it will be fine. It is a tough plant that can sustain drought for a while. I would say once you get to a 8 or 10 inch pot you don't need to move up the plant will ajust. If you want to keep it in a smaller pot, I'd say wait and see. If you get to the point you need to water it every other day or it starts to look miserable you can simply take it out, divide it and plant the part you want to keep back in the original pot.

NotAnEMERGENCY Sat 28-Oct-17 17:36:00

Yes, what you have both said makes sense now!

The spider plant is currently in an 8" pot so I think I'll leave it in that for the time being but keep an eye on it. Thanks for the advice!

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