Look after your roots


DIY and how-to

Potted plants and a packet of root hormone powder on a patio.

It’s easy to neglect the roots of your plants – they aren’t visible like flowers or leaves and we often forget about them, tucked away neatly under the soil. But the truth is that healthy roots are essential for a healthy plant. Roots anchor the plant in the soil and allow it to absorb water and nutrients from the soil. Here are a few ways that you can ensure that your plants have healthy roots – even if you can’t see them.

Keep your soil well aerated – When soil becomes very compacted, there is no pore space around the roots, which means that they will struggle to grow and it is more difficult for water and nutrients to penetrate the soil and get to the roots.

Ensure that your roots receive enough water, but also that the water drains well. Standing pools of water can freeze, which will lead to extensive root damage.

Add plenty of mulch to your soil. Mulch allows air to reach the roots of your plants and it also insulates roots against extreme cold and heat.

When planting in pots, use pots with thick walls as they will insulate the soil (and the roots of the plants in the soil) more effectively.

Avoid the extreme temperature fluctuations which may occur if you place a planting container on a hard surface such as cement or tar. In areas with these types of surfaces, it’s worth placing your pots on wooden feet to shield the plant from extreme cold or heat.