Pot bound plant
Updated: March 13, 2023

Symptoms of pot-bound plants

Plants that are pot-bound will often show symptoms of desiccation or lack of water because of a mass of impenetrable roots. Leaves and stems will show tip dieback or marginal necrosis (browning) as a result of the lack of water.

  • Plants that have been grown for a long period of time in the same pot with roots encircling the pot perimeter are often referred to as pot-bound.

  • Pot-bound plants have tight masses of roots that often fill the pot and sometimes come out of the pot over the edge.

  • Often when watering a pot-bound plant the water passes through the pot too quickly and isn't absorbed adequately so that the center of the root ball remains dry.


Pot-bound plants should be repotted into larger pots and the tight root mass should be loosened by hand or cut away to allow the roots to spread as they grow.