Sometimes just getting your plant out of the pot can be a challenge. This is particularly common when a plant has filled the pot with roots (become ‘pot-bound’) and there is pressure from the tightly packed root system. Often when you buy plants there is no way to know how long they have been growing in their containers. A pot-bound plant can tangle and grow until the roots expand inside the pot making it hard to remove.
If you pick up a pot that has rested on soil and it is hard to budge, it is likely the roots have escaped the container and grown down into the soil below. Any pot that needs to be yanked free of the ground is likely to be so full of roots that it will be hard to remove for planting. In a case like this you need to decide if you really want the plant since, even though it may look health, it will be stressed after being confined in too small a root space. It will go through heavy transplant shock and might have difficulty growing even after being released. In a situation like this, trim all the roots that extend from the container. Try to remove the plant as instructed in the video below. (You may have to cut the pot away if things are too jammed together inside.) Then try to untangle the roots as best as you can by hand. If many of the roots are small and fibrous, you may need to cut them into sections with a tool to loosen up chunks of the root system. When planting, try to spread the roots out into a roomy hole with pre-moistened soil and make sure the plant is neither flooded nor dries out for the next few weeks. A little extra temporary shade may help with transplant shock, too.
Most plants are not likely to be this much of a problem. But many can still prove stubborn to remove. Here is a simple tip on the best way to release your plant.
You can call in another person to help release plants stuck in large pots.
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