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6 Plants That Like To Be Root Bound

6 Plants That Like To Be Root Bound

Plants are a really important part of our life cycle. Without plants and trees, we are nothing. Different types of plant species have their characteristics.

Not only this, but plants’ characteristics also depend on the way we keep them or the way nature treats them.

Now, some people are genuine towards the fact that the plants provide us with something to live on. To give them back something in return, they start planting trees and take care of them or the pre-existing plants.

Some find their hobby in gardening. Gardening is the best way to repay them or take care of the plants if you love them with all your heart. However, gardening requires good plant knowledge.

How you should keep them, the amount of water or sunlight one requires, and so on. As I mentioned earlier, the characteristics of plants change according to the way you keep them. Something that sort of is related to the term ‘root bound’.

Let us know what is ‘root bound’? Root-bound occurs when the roots of a plant form a tangled and dense cluster, which prevents it from further growth.

The following is an in-depth article on root-bound.

Plants that like to be root bound

As you are by now aware, what is root bound, then let us enlighten ourselves with some more details. Some plants like to be root bound and a few of them are the Spider plant, Peace Lily, asparagus fern, Spider Lily, Jade plant, Christmas cactus, Aloe Vera, African Violets, etc. The first thing which usually gardeners prefer is to cut the roots a bit or place them in a bigger pot. Sometimes, these processes won’t be helpful as some plants like to be root bound.

I am going to explain to you with some more details about the root-bound plants:

1. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera plant is a famous species and known as one to be root bound. It is a strong plant and can grow well in a root-bound state to some extent. In case you want to get rid of the root bound, then you can cut it off. Aloe Vera can thrive with a minimum root system as well. Once the roots of the Aloe Vera plants start growing, repotting is necessary for a bigger pot.

2. Spider plant

These plants can become root-bound within a year. They can continue to reproduce as long as their roots are not blocking the drainage system. Spider plants require a drainage system, which means there has to be a hole in the pot for drainage. If the hole is blocked due to root bound, then reproduction will stop gradually.

3. African Violets

It is said that African Violets bloom when they are root-bound. Repotting is also necessary. Make sure to use the proper soil while repotting it. African violet mix is the best one for it. African Violets flower well when they are placed in small pots.

4. Peace Lily

When the Peace Lily plant is root bound, you don’t need to repot it unless the roots start to block the drainage hole. Peace Lily is said to like to be root bound. Not only the roots, but the plant leaves also give you sign when it requires repotting. If you notice droopy, dense, and deformed leaves after one week of watering, then you should know it is time for the plant to repot.

5. Asparagus Fern

Asparagus Fern-like to be root bound. You can leave your Asparagus Fern plant for up to 2 years without repotting. Before repotting you need to divide the plant leaves along with the roots. Asparagus Ferns are slow spreaders and hence, they can live long in small pots.

Also read:

  1. Pothos n joy vs pearls and jade differences & similarities

6. Spider Lily

Again, Spider Lily is the same as spider plants. They are good with root bound, but it turns into a problem when it blocks the drainage hole in the pot. Drainage is necessary. If the water logs, the plant will rot anytime sooner.

Is it okay for plants to be root bound?

The plants can be unhealthy because of the root-bound. As we have discussed, root-bound is a phenomenon where the roots spread all over the pot and form dense clusters, mostly looking like root balls. It also blocks the drainage hole in the pot and can rot due to the blockage of water within the pot.

The roots will not get adequate space among them and waterlog can be seen in the pot. It will be difficult for the plant to absorb nutrients and minerals. Hence, it will turn into a dead plant quickly.

But, what is the solution to the problem? You should be notified about it. As soon as the roots start to bind together, repotting should be done.

It will help your plant to grow bigger and healthier. The roots will get some more space to grow. It will absorb more nutrients as well. But then, if you don’t want to change your favorite pot or if you don’t want the plant to grow bigger, root pruning is the only way to save your plant.

Well, what is root pruning then? Root pruning is the process of cutting some unwanted roots from the root system. It is usually done to save the plant from root bounds or to stop the plant from its larger, bigger growth.

When your plants will form root bounds or when you don’t want your plant to grow, root pruning can be done. It requires patience and some knowledge to cut it off completely. Moreover, you are doing something good for your plant.

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How to execute the root pruning method?

You should know the steps before performing this procedure. The followings steps will let you know how to do it:

  1. You should examine the root balls first. For this step, you need to pull out the plant along with the root and shoot from the pot itself. Delicately handle it because some plants are very delicate. You might have to run a long knife along the edge of the pot, as it gets stuck after watering for months. After pulling it out, examine the root system.
  2. Now you need to trim the roots. You’ll need a pair of scissors or a sharp knife or pruning shears. Cut the unwanted roots after removing some soil around them. You might think that you are harming your plant, but trust me, it’s for their betterment. Cutting the roots will generate new growth. Alongside harming, you need to know that plant roots can tolerate a great amount of abuse.
  3. It is time to loosen up the root ball. Slowly give pressure on the root balls, the soil will slowly fall off. If this doesn’t work out, then use a stick to your process. The roots will untangle and spread more. This will help the roots to grow more in a straight or wavy way rather than circling up on their own.
  4. If you are placing your plant in a big pot, make sure to put enough soil in the pot. Also, keep 1 inch of a gap from the rim of the pot. Fresh soil will help in better growth as it will get more nutrients.
  5. Place the plant in the setup pot. Add some extra soil on the top. You might need a stick to run it alongside the plant to fill all the voids with the soil.
  6. The last and final step is to water the plant. Watering the plant will help it to set completely. Muddy soil will fill all the voids and gaps which were formed in between the process.

Also read:

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How can you tell if a plant is a root bound?

The top part does not show any symptoms regarding the root bound. But then, the leaves might turn brown or yellow. It can wilt as well. The container can deform in terms of shape because of the high pressure given by the roots. If the pots are of hard clay, then they might crack. To know the exact situation of the root bound, you need to check the roots themselves.

If there is little root wrapped around the root ball, then the density is less. If a mat is formed, then the plant is very much root-bound. The third condition is that if there is only a little amount of soil left, then the plant is severely root-bound.

What should you do if you have a root-bound plant?

There are three ways you can do to save your plant. The first and the easiest step is repotting. Transfer your plant from a small pot to a comparatively larger pot. This will give more space to the root to spread it out. The second way is root pruning. We have discussed it earlier in this article. The third way is to divide the plant and place it in two different pots. This will also do. You’ll get two same types of plants in a larger quantity!


There are advantages and disadvantages to all the things we have in our life. Just like this, our plants also have disadvantages like root bounds. But, there is the solution to all the problems and hence, was the article for you with the solution. Hopefully, this was helpful.