The Q&A Archives: root bound

Question: are there any popular house plants that will die if they get too root bound? Thanks!

Answer: Any houseplant can die if their roots fill up the entire pot because with all those crowded roots, there will be no room for water to remain and the only drink of water a rootbound plant might get is when you first pour water into the pot. The rest will drain out quickly and leave no reserves for later use. While some houseplants prefer to be root bound, most of them appreciate being repotted from time to time. A root bound houseplant will show its displeasure by wilting, halting growth and drying out very quickly after being watered.

The first step is to figure out which plants need to be repotted. Pick up each one and look at the bottom of the pot. Are there roots poking out of the drainage holes? That is a sure sign the plant is root bound. If not, gently tip the plant out of its pot and take a look. If there are roots wrapped entirely around the soil, or it looks like there are more roots than soil, it's time to repot.

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