Transferring Potted Plants

by April Reinhardt
(last updated February 5, 2016)

There are times when a plant can become so enmeshed within its pot that the roots become root bound. When this happens the roots coil into a ball, tangling within each other. When trying to extract a root-bound plant from its pot, it's quite easy to break the roots, causing parts of the plant to wither and die. The trick is to transfer your potted plants before they become root bound. Most plants that you find in a home improvement store or at the local nursery are root bound when you first buy them. You may need to divide them into several plants as well as transfer them to new pots. Here are some tips for transferring potted plants:

  • Type of planter. If you purchase plants that come with a flimsy plastic pot, you will need to transfer them to a permanent pot as soon as possible. Purchase terracotta pots that have a hole in the bottom for drainage. Or, select heavy duty plastic, ceramic, or glass pots that contain holes for water drainage.
  • Work space. Find a large, flat surface to use for transferring your plants. You'll need to have a space large enough to hold your existing plants, your new pots, potting soil, fertilizer, and hand tools. A good workspace might be your kitchen table, your garage floor, a large table on your back deck, or your driveway. Whatever space you choose to use for transferring your plants, it would be a good idea to cover it with a tarp or a disposable plastic tablecloth for easy cleanup later.
  • Prepare. Place a layer of small gravel on the bottom of your new pot, and then fill the pot halfway with moist potting soil. Do not completely cover the drainage hole or else your plant will drown when you water it.
  • Cradle and shake. While cradling the bottom of the plant in your hand, turn it over gently and allow the plant to slide from its existing pot. If it doesn't come out of the pot easily, gently shake the pot to loosen the plant and then remove.
  • Untangle. Untangle the roots that are just along the outside edge of the plant. Doing so will encourage them to grow into the new soil. If you find that the plant is just too large to place into the new pot, divide the plant in two, or separate it into several smaller plants.

Place the plant into the new pot, with the top of the root system about one inch from the top of the new pot. Layer more potting soil around the plant and pack it in until it can stand on its own. Place the plant into its potting dish and then water thoroughly.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

MORE FROM APRIL

Cleaning Your Lawn Mower

If you're going to spend a few hundred dollars to purchase a lawn mower, it stands to reason that you should clean it and ...

Discover More

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

When trying to reduce your carbon footprint, avoid making overwhelming life changes and, instead, incorporate a few simple ...

Discover More

What is the Japanese Lady Beetle

Japanese lady beetles are sometimes known as the Halloween lady beetle because of their propensity to congregate in large ...

Discover More
More Gardening Tips

Properly Caring for your Houseplants

Gardens don't have to belong only outside. With some water and a little care, houseplants can beautify any spot in your home. ...

Discover More

Low Maintenance Houseplants

Are you having trouble keeping your houseplants alive? If so, maybe you have simply chosen the wrong kind of plant to keep ...

Discover More

Taking Care of Ferns

Perhaps one of the most common and beloved of all houseplants is the fern. Just because they are among the most common and ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured gardening tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 8Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is eight more than 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured gardening tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)