What is root-bound?
Root-bound is where the roots of your plant outgrow the container they are contained in.
The following symptoms may be observed if you allow your plants to become root-bound:
- Stunted Growth.
- Smaller and slower bud production.
- Needs watering too often.
- Easy to burn with low % nutrient solution mixtures.
Here are two ways to remove your plant:
Before you start, always run a transplanting trowel or a long, flexible knife (dedicated for gardening only) between the old pot and your plant's root-ball.
For a root-bound plant with a strong, woody stem: hold the stem firmly and lift up so the pot is off the ground. Tap down around the pot rim with a rubber hammer or piece of wood until the pot lets go.
Another way is to turn the plant and pot upside down, holding the plant so it won't crash on the ground when it comes free of the pot. Make sure there's enough clearance to the ground, or you'll smash your plant. (One way to do this: cut a cardboard disk the size of the pot opening, cut a slit to accommodate the plant stem and slip the disk over the top of the pot before turning the pot upside down). Have your friend or family member pull upward on the pot. If you're working alone, tap the rim down on the edge of a table or bench. You may have to do this all around the rim before the roots let go of the pot. (The plant may come free from the pot all at once, so hold on!)
Once you've freed the plant from its old pot, inspect its roots, if the roots run in a tight circle around the outside of the root ball, you got there just in time. Dig your fingers into the outside 1/2" of these circular roots, loosen the ends up and pull them gently outward. If the roots are very tight, cut two or three 1/2" incisions from top to bottom on the outside of the root-ball. (Space the cuts around the root-ball.) This process may seem cruel, but it gives the roots an opportunity to stop their circular growth habit and begin to grow outward.
If the roots are extremely tight, slice a thin layer off the outside of the entire root-ball. Set the root-ball into its new pot, hold the foliage out of the way and add soil. Do not forcefully pack this new soil as you want the soil to be settled (with no air pockets) but loose enough to allow root penetration. One way to achieve this is to water the new soil in layers as you add it and this is also a great time to add SUPERTHRIVE.
Do not cover the top of the root-ball with a thick layer of new soil; IMO the surface of the old root-ball should also be the surface in the new pot. Once your plant is settled into its new pot, clean the foliage as dust keeps light from reaching the leaves and makes the plant more susceptible to mites and other pests. Make sure all H.I.D lights are switched off and give your indoor plant a shower in lukewarm water or dust the leaves with a soft, damp cloth.
Outdoor plants can be sprayed with a garden hose or spray bottle. If the potting soil you used doesn't contain fertilizer and you didn't add a root stimulator/fertilizer solution, give the plant a light feeding of diluted fertilizer. It is important that your newly re-potted plant receives the right level of light, newly re-potted plants will suffer if placed directly under your H.I.D lights or in direct sunlight. It may take a up to 2 weeks for your plant to become accustomed to its new accommodations so until you begin to see signs of new growth use reduced levels of light.