Above: A perfect impression of the existing container is a good indicator this plant is ready for transplanting!

Transplanting propagated roots and the transition into a newer and larger home can be a hassle for you and a stressful period for your plant. Most containers intended to house living plants are also intended to keep light out of the root zone. As a general rule of thumb – green thumb, that is – roots tend to like to hide from the light, which is why they are designed to live underground! Transparent containers are best suited for the silk plant varieties.

With no way of easily telling whether or not your plant is root bound, knowing when it’s the right time to transplant can be hard to tell. If your are fortunate enough to have smaller plants that are easily maneuvered upside down, you may be able to gently slide off the existing container when the soil is damp but not soggy to see for yourself if roots are beginning to circle around the container. Once roots begin encircling your container, they will continue to grow, which will eventually lead to the constriction of your plant’s root ball. If upon your inspection you see little to no medium and all that is visible are roots, it’s definitely time to transition into a more spacious container. The more space you provide your plants, both indoor and outdoor, to stretch their roots the happier they’ll be. Happy plants usually grow the healthiest and fastest, two great reasons to keep them in appropriately sized pots.

Besides actually laying eyes on your roots, a few other ways to tell your plants are yearning for a new beginning include some of the following:

  • Needing constant watering – Propagating roots occupying more space than soil absorb moisture much faster. Larger plants are usually accompanied with larger root systems: the bigger the plant, the more water it must use to sustain life. Imagine an athlete trying to drink from a sippy cup after a marathon…not the ideal situation.
  • Abundance of roots growing from the drainage holes in your container – Seeing roots attempting to escape is one way your plant is trying to communicate with you that they are running out of room in their current container. When your plant runs out of room in the soil, you will most likely also notice a major stunt in growth. Good thing it’s easy to correct if recognized soon enough!

Stay vigilant and look for signs your plants are in need of a new home:

  • Requires frequent watering
  • Visible roots trying to escape from drainage holes
  • Physically seeing your root mass by removing your current container
  • General overall lack of growth or stunted growth