Garden News Blog

Roots Growing Through the Pot?

Help. I bought some potted herbs with the intention of planting them in my window box. I temporarily set the pots in the box thinking I’d plant them later, but then I never got around to it. Now, two weeks later, the roots have grown through the holes in the bottom of the starter pots and anchored themselves into the soil below. Should I yank them up or just let them continue to grow this way for the rest of the summer?

Get your herbs out of those dinky starter pots and into a more spacious container as soon as possible, says BBG curator Cayleb Long. “At this time of year, it’s really worth it. If you leave them as they are, the roots really won’t be in contact with enough soil to absorb nutrients well, so they won’t really perform as well as they should,” says Long. Yanking is not advised, though. Instead, use scissors trim the roots if a gentle pull doesn’t set them free. Then go ahead and transplant as you’d originally planned.

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Potted Herbs
Plants can't thrive in their starter pots forever. Plant them in a larger container or in the ground shortly after you buy them. Photo by Sarah Schmidt