Root Bound Philodendrons: Do They Like It or Not?

Philodendrons are a plant that can prosper both in the wild and in captivity. They are known for their ability to climb trees and their large, heart-shaped leaves. In terms of care, philodendrons are relatively easy to look after. However, one question often arises whether or not these plants like to be root bound.
Root bound is a condition that occurs when a plant’s roots have become tightly compacted within the pot. This can happen if the pot is too small or the plant has been left in the pot for too long. Root bound can impact plants in several ways.
When a plant becomes root bound, the roots may not be able to adequately absorb water and nutrients, which can lead to stunted growth. The plant may also be more susceptible to stress and damage from drought or excessive heat. In severe cases, the roots may die.
In this article, we will see if philodendron plants like to be root bound. We will also give you the exact steps you should follow when your philodendron becomes root bound.

Root Bound Plant

Table of Contents

Do Philodendrons Like to Be Root Bound?

Philodendrons do not like to be rootbound. In fact, If this plant is root-bound, the roots become too large for the pot and start growing in a circle around the edge. This can cause the plant to lose its ability to absorb water and nutrients, which will eventually cause wilting and death.

Root bounded plants are usually very unhealthy. In fact, when a plant is root-bound, it is more susceptible to disease, insects, and pests. Also, the plant is more likely to suffer from nutrient deficiencies and lack oxygen.

Some plants can tolerate root bound in some cases because they can adapt to their environment. If a plant is in an environment where it is constantly being uprooted, it will learn to adapt and become more tolerant of being root-bound.

If you want to learn how to save a root bound philodendron, watch the following tutorial:

How to Save a Root Bound Philodendron

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How Do I Know if My Philodendron Is Rootbound?

Philodendrons become root-bound when the roots are forced to stretch and grow outward until they reach the edges of the pot. Another sign that your philodendron is root bound is when the plant stops growing. In this case, the roots cannot penetrate the soil, and the plant has no way to get the necessary nutrients.

Many other signs can indicate that your philodendron plant is root-bound. Let’s discover each one of them together:

The Pot No Longer Fits the Plant: When a plant is root bound, the pot becomes no longer fits it, which causes the roots to become tightly packed together. This can happen if the pot is not big enough or the plant has not been re-poted for a long time.

Roots Show up On Top of The Soil: When a philodendron is grown in a pot that is too small, or if the roots have become entangled, the roots will start to grow up through the top of the soil in search of more space.

Roots Get a Spiral Shape that You Can See From The Bottom: When a philodendron is root bound, the roots may become so tightly packed that they begin to spiral from the bottom of the pot. This can happen when a plant is left in the same pot for too long or if the pot is too small for the plant.

Pot Starts Expanding or Breaks Due to Pressure: As the roots continue to grow without finding enough space, they put pressure on the sides of the pot and can eventually cause it to break.

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Roots Coming out Of the Drainage Holes: When a philodendron is a root bound, the roots become so entangled that they can no longer adequately absorb water and nutrients from the soil. This can cause the roots to come out of the drainage holes for moisture and nutrients.

Stunted Growth: When a plant is root bound, its growth is often stunted because the roots can’t access the nutrients and water they need.

Yellow or Brown Leaves: Rootbound can cause the leaves to turn yellow or brown as the roots cannot provide the plant with the necessary sustenance.

The top Layers of The Soil Will Dry Fast and Become Flaky: A plant’s roots anchor it in the ground and help it absorb water and nutrients. When a plant is root bound, its roots become so tightly compacted that they can no longer effectively do their job. This causes the soil around the plant to become dry and flaky, as the plant is not able to take up enough moisture to keep the soil healthy.

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What Should I Do if My Philodendron Becomes Root Bound?

If your philodendron is root bound, you have two choices: repot it or divide it. If you want a big plant, repotting is the best choice. However, if you are interested in growing multiple small plants, then dividing the root-bound philodendron is more suitable for you.

Preparing soil for repotting a Root Bound Philodendron

If you are interested in dividing your philodendron, then you can follow the step-by-step guide below:

1. Remove the plant from its pot and gently loosen the roots with your fingers.

2. Cut the root ball in half with a sharp knife.

3. Replant each half of the root ball in its own pot using a fresh potting mix.

4. Water the plants well and place them in a bright, warm spot.

5. Keep an eye on the plants and water them as needed to keep the potting mix moist but not soggy.

Dividing a root-bound philodendron can give it a new lease on life. You can encourage new root growth by dividing the plant and replanting it in fresh soil. This will allow the plant to take up water and nutrients more effectively, leading to healthier growth. Additionally, the roots will be able to spread out and reach new areas, and the plant will be less likely to experience stress.

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How to Repot a Root-Bound Philodendron?

If you are a fan of giant plants, then Re-potting a root-bound philodendron will be more advantageous than dividing it. In fact, repotting a root-bound plant in a bigger pot will allow the roots to spread out and take in more nutrients which will help the leaves to reach a higher level of growth.

Dividing a root-bound plant will only result in two smaller plants. Also, having two plants will take up more space. But you can use the new plant as a gift or sell it online.

If you are interested in re-poting your root-bound philodendron, then you can follow the step-by-step process below:

1. Carefully Remove the Plant from Its Current Pot: To remove your philodendron from a pot without causing any damage, gently tap the pot on all sides to loosen the plant. Next, place one hand on the plant and the other under the pot, and turn the pot upside down. Gently shake the pot until the plant falls out into your hand. If the plant is still stuck, you can use a blunt knife or fork to carefully loosen it.

2. Gently Loosen the Roots with Your Fingers: Loosening the roots before transferring a plant to a new pot allows the roots to spread out and grow more efficiently. The plant will also be able to take up more water and nutrients from the new pot.

3. Place the Plant in A New Pot that Is Slightly Larger than The Old One: The new pot’s size depends on the plant’s size. So, there is no specific rule for choosing the new pot.

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4. Fill the Pot with Fresh Potting Mix: Look for soil that is high in organic matter and well-draining at the same time. This will help ensure that your plant has the nutrients it needs to thrive while preventing it from becoming waterlogged. Some gardeners also recommend adding a small amount of perlite or vermiculite to the mix, which can help to improve drainage.

5. Water the Plant Well: Water your plant thoroughly immediately after transferring it to a new pot, and make sure to water the soil, not the leaves. Allow the water to seep through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.

6. Place the Pot in A Sunny Spot: A south-facing window is ideal, but an east- or west-facing window will also work. If you don’t have a spot with direct sunlight, you can use a grow light.

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Diana Cox

I'm Diana from I love to spend my free time in my garden. It's a place where I can be creative, feel calm and learn new things about life. I started gardening when I was in elementary school and it became a passion of mine. Now I love to share my love of gardening with others by teaching classes and giving advice.

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