Updated: Nov 29, 2022
When working with indoor house plants, you will most definitely run into a plant being what the horticultural world calls "root bound". This is when a plant's roots become the majority of the pot and the soil nutrition is limited because the ratio of soil to roots is lessened. You also will know this is happening when roots are coming out of the pot or you're having to water more often.
Most of your plants will do well with root pruning. Just make sure you are cutting only the thread roots (the ones coming off the larger roots), and not the tap roots (the larger roots). You can tell how delicate you will need to be by the size of your roots, smaller roots will need a bit more careful procedure.
How to Root Prune:
Using clippers to trim the thread roots will make this easier, but don't forget to sanitize your clippers.
1. Remove the Plant from its pot gently
When removing from a plastic pot loosen the plant by
rolling the pot in your hands gently. To remove from a
terracotta pot gently use a shovel to loosen roots and soil
from the sides. It is best to re-pot a day after watering.
2. Loosen root ball if needed
It is up to you if you want to break apart the root ball and tease the roots, but it isn't always necessary since you will be filling the extra space in the pot with high-quality soil.
3. Prune the roots
When pruning it's best to cut no more than a third of the Thread Roots. Leave your tap roots at the length they are. Focus on cutting the bottom and sides of the
root ball. This is also a great time to prune those roots that are dead looking!
4. Return the Plant to the same pot
Add soil to the bottom of the pot. Place the plant in the center gently on the fresh layer of soil, adding more soil along the sides to help the plant stabilize. Once filled gently tap the bottom of the pot to help fill any air pockets. Be careful, not over-pack it will not allow the roots to breathe. Our favorite soil is Fox Farms Ocean Forest we also will sometimes add extra perlite for more drainage.
5. Water the Plant
Give the plant enough water to flow through the drainage holes. This allows the water to properly dissipate any air pockets in the soil and soak up nutrients from the new soil.
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