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Beginner Gardening Questions: Trimming roots protruding from drainage holes?

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Forum: Beginner Gardening QuestionsReplies: 5, Views: 49
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Lady's Island, SC
(Zone 8b)

November 19, 2013
4:54 AM

Post #9712240

So, I had to dig up my Colocasia Diamond Head yesterday because earlier in the summer I planted it too close to our fence. Of course I didn't realize it until it was 5 feet tall and absolutely gorgeous. Thus, I decided to wait until fall to dig it up and move it further away from the fence. However, instead of replanting it, I potted up the 9 offsets it gave me and the original plant and will plant them back in the garden in spring.

I potted the offsets in 8" tall by 6" wide growers pots. I know at some point prior to spring, their roots will be poking out of the drainage holes. If this happens several weeks before I can plant them outside, should I re-pot them in a larger growers pot or just trim off any roots that poke out of the bottom of the pot?

Recently, I saw one of the ladies at our local nursery cutting off the roots protruding through the bottom of some of their more root-bound plants. When I asked her about it, she promised it doesn't hurt them and the roots will continue to grow just fine. Therefore, I was wondering if anyone else does this if a plant's roots grow out of the drainage holes.


Rolesville, NC
(Zone 7b)

November 19, 2013
9:12 AM

Post #9712385

I say the more roots the merrier so when I have that problem I try to keep the wayward roots intact as I gently remove (or cut away) the pot.
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

November 19, 2013
12:51 PM

Post #9712509

When any plant that has it's roots growing out through the drainage holes, regardless of pot size, OR, type of plant, this is a definite sign the plant should be re-potted ASAP, what can happen IF not re-potted, the plant will choke the hole up and the water wont be able to freely drain away therefore causing the plant to become too wet due to lack of drainage,
The good news for you at the moment is, over winter, most plants go into a slow down or hibernation over their resting period late winter till early spring so, I would leave the plants alone and concentrate on caring for them by giving enough light and moisture to JUST keep them alive, NOT heavy watering as before, no feeding and just enough moisture to prevent complete drying out.
Come end of winter / early spring, is the time to do any pruning of plants that need this treatment, re-pot, change compost, trim roots, add a half strength feed or plant out in the garden where you have already prepared the soil where you want to dig in the plants.
Hope this helps you out and you can enjoy your plants next summer and many more there after.
Best Regards.
Opp, AL
(Zone 8b)

November 19, 2013
7:53 PM

Post #9712756

I would put them back in the ground now. They can't do much over winter but get spider mites or possibly rot. Waiting until spring is another adjustment to make instead of just 1.
Lady's Island, SC
(Zone 8b)

November 20, 2013
4:41 AM

Post #9712855


I was afraid that it might be too late in the season to plant them in the ground seeing cold temps are just around the corner. While we're predicted to have the next few days in 60's and 70's, and night temps in the low 50's, but on Saturday it is supposed to be 73 during the day and get down to 40 at night. Then on Sunday it is supposed to be 50 during the day and 30 at night. Then next week, we are predicted to have 2 days of night temps in the 30's and one in the 40's. If I planted them in the ground now, will the root system continue to establish itself despite the foliage dying back & dropping temps? We're experiencing unusually cool weather for this time of year & had 2 days last week when we had freeze warnings! Another question for you, if I did plant some back in the ground now, after the initial watering, how often should I water them, or should I not water further except when I plant them?

WeeNel, last winter, I overwintered my EEs in the house and kept them growing. I think I overwhelmed my family a little bit LOL And while I kept them growing, I never let them have more than 4 leaves, in order to keep them from outgrowing their space.Currently, the ones already potted up, I am leaving on our covered front porch, which is protected on 3 sides, and will only bring them in if the temp drops below 45. When I do have to bring them inside, I have a nice area set up in the garage with overhead grow lights where temps remain in the low to mid 50's during winter. They always get a good dose of Neem Oil sprayed on them prior to entering the house, too. I also use a soil-less potting mix so the soil doesn't stay excessively wet during colder temperatures.
Opp, AL
(Zone 8b)

November 21, 2013
11:48 AM

Post #9713736

This is the time of year I like to move stuff around, it's cooler, finally no mosquitoes. I haven't had any problems with moving these around at any time, except when it's too hot and the existing leaves dehydrate. New ones grow soon though. I've been waiting for frost to finish off the foliage on the ones here because I want to move a really big one that's blocking the view out the kitchen window. DH could probably pick it up with its' giant heavy leaves on it, but it's easier to just wait - and won't spoil the show. I wouldn't water anything while it's dormant, cold, especially a bulb of significant size. Part of what a bulb does is store water.

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