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plant stuck in pot

West Midlands, United Kingdom Gb

I don;'t suppose anyone has any idea how to get a pot bound plant out of a stupidly shaped pot. I bought a few pleasingly shaped pots some time ago without realising that if the top of the pot is smaller than the centre it would be impossible to remove any plants. Any ideas?



eek... you could try carefully removing when the soil is moist like if you were pricking out.

it would be a shame and quite wasteful tut tut Mookins for mentioning it, but as a last resort are they easily broken, or could you break off the bottom at least and take them out that way?

good luck and keep us posted

x x x

23 May, 2009


I assume that the pot is ceramic? and that the plant has been in there for a while?
If the plant has not been in the pot for too long then you could try constantly watering the pot until the compost turns to a wet mud; otherwise the only answere is a hammer!!!!

23 May, 2009


Thanks, but the pot really is a pleasing shape. It would be great for bedding etc, not for bay which is what I foolishly put in it and it's no longer looking happy as it's all root. I could buy a new little bay cheaper than a new pot but it somehow seems like murder doesn't it?

23 May, 2009


Would it be possible to water the plant well and then try to cut the plant away using a sharp knife or scissors maybe...try to keep some roots attached to the plant and see if it will grow for you again...otherwise you'll have to break the pot or destroy the plant and, and no Bornagain its not murder lol...:>)

23 May, 2009


I've removed plants from such pots. I've used very careful, skillful piece-by-piece excavation so as to remove the outer area of compost with improvised scraping and extracting sort of tools. It has resulted in damage to the root system to various extents of course, but the plant can then be repotted and hope for the best with it that it will recover and convalesce. Cutting absolutely vertically with an old bread knife can be a good starter to the process, getting the roots severed. You may find an old tablespoon or suchlike useful, and may need to push with fingers downwards through the drainage holes with the pot upside down, gravity assisting. Better perhaps if it can be done whilst dormant and the roots are asleep anyway. The way to grow plants inside such ceramic pots is to use a plastic pot which fits inside the rim neatly. Then it can just lift in and out easily, no problems. I have several like this in my living room. I hope this helps. Good luck.

24 May, 2009


Great, thanks all for all the help. It now seems likely I can save both and I shall certainly use your tip in future Jonathanhales. I don't know why I never thought of it as I do just that in my chimney pot duh!

24 May, 2009


i have just done exactly the same thing with a very large plant that was in a ali baba type pot, i did as jonathanhales said and cut straight down with my bread knife and it worked a treat, it is now in a much larger and wide brimmed pot, good luck!

24 May, 2009


I learned that lesson the hard way, only plant pots that are wider at the top for me for now on, you can try cutting the roots with a large pair of strong scissors or cutting into them in line with the gap at the top of the pot with a large sharp kitchen knife, one with a serrated edge is best ..I find the best and least frustrating way is to just break the pot and count your losses!!!

9 Feb, 2013



25 Nov, 2013


Thank goodness I found this post! I've been struggling with ideas as to get my pot-bound agapanthas out of some gorgeous pits that I didn't want to ruin. I did consider the bread knife but was worried I might kill my plants but will have a go. Cheers 👍

4 Aug, 2021

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