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Re: Your input please? rootbound.

  • Subject: Re: Your input please? rootbound.
  • From: Theodore Held <oppenhauser2001@gmail.com>
  • Date: Tue, 7 Sep 2010 10:36:26 -0400

Friends of plants,

Related to this topic, and hinted at by a couple of responses, is
whether or not a given species is averse to wet substrate conditions
or not. One thing I don't know is what types (if any) of aroids can
develop what is called aerenchyma tissue in roots. Aerenchyma consists
of hollow tubes in root tissue that serve to conduct air down to
waterlogged roots so they can breath. Plants that can do this (and I
think it can be something that is induced when necessary rather than
produced in all root tissue) have an obvious advantage.

We might place one set of plants in the category of Susceptible to
Root Rot and another into the category Not Bothered by Root Rot. Are
the ones in the root rot category unable to produce aerenchema?
Whether in the wild or in a greenhouse, sometimes the ground is wet
and sometimes it is dry. For those species that are prone to root rot
one wonders how they deal with a couple of days of rain. If a plant is
prone to root rot, why not suggest to the horticulturist to simply
shift to a looser medium? No real need for a small pot there. And
using a porous pot in place of an impervious plastic one (or a
vitrified clay pot with a beautiful glaze) would seem in order. But we
do seem to see advice toward small pots and not so much toward porous
ones. A mystery.

Aside from aerenchema, there is also the issue of plant nutrition.
Much of this stuff (perhaps the large majority) is absorbed through
the roots. Roots can only extract what's present. In a root-bound
condition, one suspects that available nutrients are depleted sooner
or later - unless fertilizer is added by the grower.

Another factor is space available. For commercial growers smaller pots
mean denser plant growing and more efficient use of the same nursery.
Little pots might be good as long as any adverse results don't show up
- unless maybe after the things are sold.

I like the flowering story, but wonder if there's any scientific
evidence to support it.

Please add comments to these off-hand speculations.

Ted Held.

On Sun, Sep 5, 2010 at 6:22 AM, Johannes Moonen
<emeraldjunglevillage@wanadoo.fr> wrote:
> Dear Alison,
> thanks for your advice !
> my philodendron seedlings do good.
> i don't replace them, so they all grow in one direction, the light.
> is it worth turing them every or few weeks, so you have more symmetric
> plants ?
> thanks for your advice,  Joep Moonen
> On Sep 4, 2010, at 5:33 PM, STARSELL@aol.com wrote:
> Hi Steve, and All,
> One reason for small pots when starting most young
> plants is to keep them from getting root rot in an overly moist
> environment (small root system, people water -thus wet soil) and
> it does not dry uniformly, staying very wet in the bottom.
> With re-potting, some plants will perform best only when they
> are rootbound to some degree, and will cease to perform well when
> they are very rootbound.  Again, too large a pot can mean root rot
> due to too wet soil.  It takes some seasoning to gauge 'soil' mix for
> plants, each one with it's own needs.  One inch is the usual recommendation
> for sizing up.
> One plant that I put into the largest pot I have, making sure that it is
> always moist, sitting in some water are my treeferns.  They are one plant
> that will grow as large as possible in the smallest amount of time if
> treated this way.
> There are some plants that I put in the largest pots immediately, without
> intermediate potting up and they will perform similarly, but of course
> without all the water.  I think people just need to know what they have.
> There is little that I keep 'always potbound' though.
> Let us know.
> Alison
> In a message dated 9/4/2010 3:19:49 P.M. Central Daylight Time,
> Steve@ExoticRainforest.com writes:
> Some of you  know that I love to chase down the sources of horticultural
> beliefs.  If you have ever spent time on any plant forum you know the common
> advice is to keep your plants root bound, or at least when you repot give
> the roots only an "extra fingers width" on each side the pot.  My question
> is where do that advice originate?  Why do we believe it?  Is this really
> good growing advice or just an old wives tale?  Are plants in the rain
> forest root bound?
> I understand that nursery men prefer to start their plants in small pots and
> allow the roots to fill it before stepping the seedling up to a larger pot.
> My understanding is they do this in order to encourage a hearty root system
> first.  But it appears some growers may have taken this advice to excess and
> always keep their plant's root bound.  Should we always keep our aroids in
> pots so small their roots are for ever crowded, or give them space to grow?
> We always have new growers looking for good growing advice.  If you have
> adopted a small pot policy please tell us why.  If you are an experienced
> grower and prefer a tight pot method I would enjoy knowing the reasoning.
> Many of you don't know that I have written for years for a variety of
> magazines and I have another train of thought in this area.  I am now
> working on a new article to explain about aroid growth, a plant's need for
> oxygen around its roots as well as how to keep their root systems healthy.
> This discussion will help me to formulate my article.
>  If you are new to growing, please chime in.
> Thanks!
> Steve
> www,ExoticRainforest.com
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