How to transplant a plant that has attached roots? – A PUZZLE

The pots don’t grow, so eventually our plants need more space or a cutout. Transplanting is the solution, but it is a serious operation for a plant and the little effort can damage it. Let’s see how to identify a rooted plant, why it’s important, and the best way to repot a rooted plant.

How to transplant a plant that has attached roots: Carefully remove the plant from the pot and examine the roots. Prune and open tight roots. Choose a suitable pot, use well-adjusted soil and replant to the same depth as before, being careful not to overdo it.

Read on for the step-by-step process for identifying a rooted plant and successfully repotting it.


Is the root of your plant bound?

A rooted plant is a plant whose roots have passed through the container. It’s normal to have scattered roots visible, but a lot of roots growing out of the topsoil and drainage holes can indicate a problem.

Signs of a root-bound plant can be non-specific. They include yellowing foliage and stunted growth with new leaves, stems, and smaller flowers. The plant may stop growing altogether and older leaves may fall off.

Since these symptoms resemble signs of overwatering or malnutrition, you will need to examine the root system to make a sure diagnosis. The best way to check this is to remove the plant from the pot and inspect the roots. (See tips below if your plant doesn’t come out easily.)

A healthy root ball has a loose root network. They retain their pot shape and contain a generous amount of visible soil.

The root ball of a root-bound plant is tangled in a dense mat. The long roots surround the root ball. In an advanced case, most of the potting soil has disappeared. In extreme situations, the roots can force the plant out of the pot or even burst the container.

Why transplant a plant that has attached roots?

Being too attached to the roots is not healthy for the plants. As the soil is consumed, the plant will stunt. A rooted plant dries out faster after watering and nutrient uptake is reduced. Stressed roots may begin to die. A severe case can essentially strangle the plant.

To correct the condition, rooted plants must be transplanted. This can be in a larger pot or a similar sized container with cut roots and fresh soil.

When should you transplant?

The timing of transplanting depends on the type of plant. Some plants do well when they have a few roots: they grow better, flower better and have fewer pests. For some, like African violets, a cramped pot seems to remind them of rocky crevices at home.

Also, you can’t measure the root system by the size of the plant: some small plants have a large root ball and some large plants have small ones. You need to know your plant.

Remember that transplantation is not a decision to be taken lightly. It’s stressful for the plants and you can expect some downtime as the plant recovers and takes root in the new space. Some plants, like bougainvillea, tend to falter and then languish for months. You don’t want to transplant a diseased plant.

Unless you are using the same mix the plant is already in, new soil is a sensitive variable. A sudden deviation in nutrient content, pH and composition can impact the plant. The new mix may contain eggs and larvae of ground gnats or other pests.

If you’re undecided, a good test of whether your rooted plant needs repotting is to look at how long it takes for a pot to dry out after heavy watering. If the ground is dry again in three days, it’s time to move.

Choose the right jar

choose the right pot for transplanting a rooted plant

The size of the pot is important. If you plan to use a larger container, choose only one larger size: one to two inches larger in diameter. Overpotting is a problem because the roots do not penetrate far enough to absorb water from all the soil, which can lead to chronic overwatering and root rot.

Also consider the material of the container. Terracotta breathes and dries faster than a glazed, plastic or other sealed pot. Match the material to your plant’s preferences.

Also, make sure the pot has adequate drainage. It can be several small holes or one large hole. If you opt for a large hole, you can cover it with a coffee filter. A smaller hole probably won’t need a screen.

How to transplant a plant that has attached roots?

The best time to repot is spring or early summer so the plant has a full growing season to recover. The plant won’t necessarily decay if you choose a different time of year, but it may take time to recover.

Prepare the new floor in advance. If you don’t have the existing plant mix, modify it as best you can. Plants do not appreciate a rapid change of soil.

Water about 24 hours before transplanting. This keeps the roots flexible and less prone to damage, and helps the soil retain its shape. Dry soil tends to crumble away from the root ball; Soggy soil can sink, disrupt root structure and create damage.

remove the plant

Sometimes a rooted plant will come out of the pot easily, but not always. A tight specimen may need a little pushing.

Anyone who has seen concrete crack under the pressure of roots knows that plants have incredible power. They can put a lot of pressure against the walls of their container, and pulling out a rooted plant can take a bit of effort.

Start by hitting the pot from all sides. If it’s a smaller pot, hold it upside down with one hand on the topsoil. Use a downward throwing motion with the pot to lift the plant out of the container. You can roll a heavier pot while gently tapping the plant. Sometimes it helps to push the root ball through the drainage holes with your fingers.

If that doesn’t work, do it. Nopeincrease the pulling force on the plant stem.

If the container is flexible, squeeze it in different directions to loosen the grip of the root system. If it’s a rigid pot, insert a long, serrated knife between the sides of the pot and the ground and slide it along the rim.

If all else fails, you may need to smash or cut the pot. Transplanting is not for the faint of heart.

root survey

Healthy roots are white or yellow-brown in color, flexible and have a sweet earthy smell. Diseased roots are mushy, brown and smelly – symptoms of root rot.

Rotten roots are a serious problem; and no, having an excess of roots does not improve it. Cut off the rot along with any withered or rotting foliage and replant in fresh soil. Also remove any flower or fruit growth. If you must prune a significant portion of the roots, trim the foliage so that the smaller root system can support it.

assess roots before transplanting

take care of the roots

Minor surgery may be needed to fix a root-related condition, but that’s okay. Removing some of the outer roots will not traumatize a healthy plant. The goal is to allow the root system to grow and absorb nutrients from the new soil.

With a sparsely rooted plant, just cut off the circular roots and untangle the rest…a dense root mat may require some heavy pruning.

Adapt these steps to the factory situation:

  • Cut the roots around the system. They can strangle other roots. Make sure the blade is sterilized – a quick dip in isopropyl alcohol will do just fine.
  • Use a sharp knife or pruner to shave off the densely knotted layer of the root ball’s lower roots.
  • Give a strongly rooted plant a chance to grow on its own by making vertical cuts in the bottom third of the remaining root ball…make three to five cuts evenly spaced around the perimeter.
  • If there is a very thick tangle of roots on the sides, shave off the outer layer.
  • To make the roots grow more easily in new soil, use your fingers or a forked tool to gently untangle them along the sides and top of the dirt ball.
  • Trim the foliage in proportion to the amount of root system you removed. Fewer roots means less support for the rest of the plant, and your resources will be needed to regrow the system.

Root pruning to maintain height.

Your plant may already be the size you want…or you may not want a bigger pot. In this case, you can treat a root-related condition by pruning the roots of the plant.

Using a sharp, sterilized knife, cut off up to a third of the root system from the bottom. Cut a half inch around the outside of the root ball. Transplant in the same container or in a container of the same size.

To fill

Put a layer of soil at the bottom of the pot to replace the roots that have been removed. Center the plant in the pot. The ground line should be one inch from the edge. If the plant is too low in the container, remove it and add more soil to the bottom, do not add more soil to the top.

Fill the sides with the fresh mixture. Gently compact the soil to remove air pockets, but don’t press too hard and make it too compact. It should be firm but airy.

Water abundantly. This helps the soil settle around the roots – add potting soil to fill in sunken spots.

How to transplant a root-bound plant?


Give your plant some TLC while it recovers from the transplant. Move your plant to its familiar location, but protect it from the scorching sun for a few days…or weeks. Plants vary in how long it takes to recover, depending on their hardiness and the amount of pruning that needs to be done.

Pay attention to the ground and water carefully. The mixture may take a different time to dry than before; you don’t want to drown out struggling roots or let them dry out. A light mulch can help keep the soil moist.

During recovery, wait with fertilizer. New roots tend to burn and don’t need a shock when acclimating.

Resume normal care as soon as you see new growth.

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