How to bring struggling potted plants back to life

By Cindi Sullivan
WAVE 3 Garden Expert

LOUISVILLE (WAVE) -- If your favorite potted plant is struggling to live, it may not be a lack of sunshine or water. WAVE 3 garden expert Cindi Sullivan says it could be that it just needs a new place to call home.

If your houseplants are looking a little puny, you might need to do some investigating to get to the root of the problem. You just might find that the problem is in fact with the root system.

Take the plant out of its pot to get a good look at the root system. If there is hardly any potting mix left in the pot to support the root system, it is time to repot in order to get some fresh soil on the roots.

Roots that wrap around the inside of the pot can really cause problems with your plants, we call these girdling roots, and in larger plants they can lead to the death of a plant by strangulation.

These sanseverias are so root bound, I'm simply going to cut them into two plants

Choose a pot that is only slightly larger than the rootball. Putting the plant into a too large pot will result in too much transplant shock and root rot. The rule of thumb is to choose a pot that is no more than two inches larger than the original root system.

Once you get the plant in the new pot with fresh soil, water thoroughly with a water-soluble fertilizer to stimulate new root growth and to perk the plant up a bit. Your plant might go through an adjustment period while the roots settle in to the new pot, just keep it in bright light and keep it well watered and it will recover in no time.

If you have a gardening question for Cindi, you can e-mail her by clicking on her name below. You can also find many helpful garden tips from Cindi by clicking on the highlighted link: Garden Talk.

Online Reporter:  Cindi Sullivan

Online Producer: Charles Gazaway