Revive a Pot Bound Plant
Prepared by Maher Jabado Apr 02-2008

Definition of a Pot Root Bound Plant

One of the reasons why a plant might not be doing so well is that it becomes what we call pot root bound.

When the root system forms into a tight ball, it's so thick that water and nutrients absolutely cannot penetrate it. If this plant isn't repotted soon and roots properly released, it will get sick and it will die.

That is very often seen on plants such as Azaleas and Hydrangeas that we ship as prefinnished plants. These are usualy transplanted by growers in the Middle East but big error occurs when the growers simply transplant without taking proper steps to correct the natural pot root bound situation;

Inspect the Roots of the Plant

Plants that are root bounded have generaly a healthy root system BUT must be transplanted properly so that plants keep growing healthy.

You go into the root mass, and use a clear knife to cut vertically the root system in 2-3 opposit sites of the pot WITHOUT generaly damaging the inside root system.
Hint: healthy root system the roots are firm and white. If the plant has been over-watered, which is the most common cause of houseplant demise, the roots will be brown and spongy.

Select Soil to Repot the Pot Bound Plant

The first thing you need to repot a plant, aside from the plant, is some GOOD potting soil. For growers I recomend the usage of Fertilized SAB SUBSTRATE 1. .

The one thing you
never do is use old product that had been already used for other plants . I have been seeing such mistake very often. By doing that, you can bring viruses and critters into your greenhouses. The viruses can go to other plants, and the critters can just be nasty.

Tips for Repotting Plants

The basic rule of thumb when you're transplanting a plant from one pot to another is, you only leave about an inch (2.5 cm) around the circumference.

The most common error when you're re-potting a plant is to try to save time by putting it in a pot that's way too big. Then you will over-water it and literally kill it with kindness.

Put the Pot Bound Plant in the New Pot

You fill the pot up about this far. Then you put the plant in and you then pat the soil in around the edge. As you put the soil in, you pack it down, all the way around. Do it evenly.

When to Fertilize the Plants

Once you've repotted it, water it -- don't fertilize (since the SAB Substrate 1 has already good fertilizer level for initial plants needs)-- and watch for new shoots. When you have new shoots, then you can fertilize. It is best to check the level of fertilizer in the soil by using a lab testing; When that is not available then pls check carefuly the growth of the roots and of the side shoots and the color of the leaves; These will give you good indication of what is missing and what plants are in need for.