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How to remove large plants from pots?

United Kingdom

I have a 2 year old black bamboo plant in a large ceramic pot. The root ball is very large.I really do not want to break the expensive pot to remove it.

Thanks in advance

  • 12 Sep, 2009


There are a couple of methods you could try; both have worked for me, although not with bamboo plants.
a) flood the pot, get it really soaking and let it stand for an hour or two. Slide a long-bladed knife all round the inside between pot and plant, then turn the pot upside down. Ideally, the plant should fall out.
b) this is if a) doesn't work. The pent-up frustration vented on this method can be useful. Take pruning saw in hand, place foot firmly on edge of pot, and cut plant into pieces, like a cake. It takes a while, but it gets the darned thing out, and saves your pot. The pieces of plant can then be planted elsewhere.

There speaks the voice of experience! I too have had this trouble - but I have an old bread knife that I use in these situations - its much easier to cut through the rootball with the narrower blade. I've even been known to use the proper breadknife and the carving knife. it cleans up! You could also try the 2 person method - you stick a garden fork at an angle into the pot, hold it up in the air, and someone else gets on the other end and pulls.. works much better if the soil is dry though. Or, make sure its wet enough and then hold it by the canes (all of them gathered together in your hands) grasp, firmly and the other person pulls the pot one way, you pull the other.

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