Roots Out the Drainage Holes

Jane McGary
Wed, 25 Oct 2006 10:04:35 PDT
Arnold wrote: Could it be that roots are leaving the pot because what they 
are looking
>for in the pot just isn't there?

I don't think this is necessarily true, especially with bulbs. Many bulbs 
form annual "contractile" roots that, as they mature, contract to pull the 
bulb deeper into the soil. When you lift the dormant bulbs, you can see the 
remnants of these thickened, accordion-folded roots, now reduced to a dry 
husk. Roots that come out the drain holes of pots may be of this type. In 
fact, one danger of growing bulbs in pots is that, if not lifted often 
enough, they will be pulled down into the drain hole and plug it up, 
resulting in no drainage, rot, or having to break the pot to free the bulb. 
This last is an argument for using plastic mesh pots instead of solid pots 
in a plunge situation -- though I still rely mostly on terracotta.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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