Gardening 101- Root bound Plants

“I don’t have a green thumb, I can’t even keep my coriander alive!”

This is a sentence I hear a lot. When I then start to ask questions about when and where they planted their coriander seed or seedlings, they say “Oh no, it’s the plant you get from the supermarket”.

Well that folks, is a whole other story. A very important story in the world of planting.

Root bound

That little coriander plant from the supermarket has spent nearly his whole life in that little pot. Growing and growing until it is so squished in there it becomes root bound. Root bound means those roots have no room to expand and not enough soil to get nutrients. Therefore it’s not surprising that after a few weeks of watering this plant on the windowsill, it dies.

Root bound

There is no point in fixing a supermarket bought coriander plant though, those are not grown to replanted. But this doesn’t just happen to the herbs at the supermarket. The plants you buy from the garden center that have been sitting there for weeks will most probably be root bound too. It is very important to fix this problem when you buy plants that you do want to replant.

To fix a root bound plant, you need to be a little rough but that’s okay. You can use your hands and tear away the very compacted roots at the bottom, or use a knife or secateurs to cut the deeply entangled roots away. Yes some of these roots will break but it will give the others room to spread and grow when you replant your plant. If you are re potting the plant, not putting it in the garden, it’s important that it goes into a larger pot then it came in.


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