Does ZZ Plant Like To Be Root Bound – Signs and When To Repot

Do you have this question in your mind that ZZ plants like to be root bound?

The ZZ plant dislikes being root-bound because it hampers its growth. A plant’s ability to spread its roots is restricted when it is root bound. The plant lacks oxygen, water, and nutrients as a result of the roots displacing the majority of the soil. But identifying a root bound in the ZZ plant can be a little difficult.

So, in this article, I will explain everything in detail about what is root bound, what happens when a ZZ plant gets root bound, signs to identify root bound in your plant, and how to prevent ZZ Plant From root bound, so keep reading!

What Is Root Bound?

When a plant is root bounded, its roots stop developing properly. The main problem with a root-bound plant is growth restriction, though there are other problems as well. 

Root bound results from an increase in root size inside a pot because of this, the roots inside the container can no longer grow and are reduced to merely existing until they perish. Root bound acts as a barrier for the plants, preventing growth and nutrient uptake.

Root bound usually occurs in plants with poor soil quality. The roots tangle up with each other causing root problems. Repotting is very necessary for plants with root-bound conditions to prevent it from happening. You should take care of your plant and pay attention to its nourishment for healthy growth. No plants like root bound especially, ZZ plant as it restricts their natural development. 

The size of the container that the plant is placed in is the primary factor for root bound. Roots won’t be able to grow in a container that is too small. There isn’t enough soil in a container when it’s mostly full of roots for the plant to get what it needs to grow and be healthy eventually leading it to wither away. 

The roots when growing tend to tangle up with each other causing the soil to displace and reduce the absorption of nutrients to a point that the plant starts wilting away. So to avoid such a situation taking care of the plant is important. Moreover, root bounds are very much seen in indoor plants as their growth is limited to the pot they are placed in, unlike outdoor plants.

What Happens When A Plant Gets Root Bound?

When root binding occurs, the roots require a way of exiting the drain holes. As a result, the amount of space inside the container will decrease as the roots create a circle. 

It can result in root death and leaves very little room for soil to store water inside the pot. Underwatering and overwatering both cause problems for the plant.  

A plant must be root bound to die. Some pots shattered or changed shape as a result of root bound in some circumstances. This happens when there is no space for the root to grow, and they tend to create holes or move out of the pot to find space to develop. All plant roots need breathing space to grow healthily. 

Given below are some of the effects of a plant acquiring root bound:

  • The soil becomes dry when it is root bound.
  • When roots expand, they push dirt out of the pot, giving roots more room than soil. 
  • Because the growing roots obstruct the drainage system of holes inside the container, rotting roots occur. 
  • Pests are more likely to attack a root that is in poor condition inside a pot. 

The easiest way to prevent root-bound is to switch out the pots every year or more. It is difficult to rescue plants with bound roots. They constantly attempt to escape from their pot or container.

What are the signs To Identify Root Bound In Your ZZ Plant?

How can you identify the signs or symptoms if root bound happens to your ZZ plant?

Root bound can cause a ZZ plant to become leggy, yellowing, browning, falling of leaves, curling, etc. I will now discuss in detail some of the symptoms that you can notice if root bound occurs in your ZZ plant!

1. Faster Water Drainage

When you water your ZZ plant, you will start to notice that the water drains faster than normal, this is one of the most common signs of identifying a root bound in your plant. If your ZZ plant has a root bound, the water will flow from the drainage holes much more quickly than it did in the past. You will therefore see that the majority of the water has fled whenever you water it. As most of the area is now covered by roots, the absence of water is a blatant indication that the plant is root-bound.

2. Roots Coming Out Of Drainage Holes

One of the most noticeable indications is when its root begins to protrude through the drainage holes. Because there isn’t enough room for it to grow inside the pot, it leaks out of the drainage hole. As the roots start developing, it needs their own breathing space to spread out freely. This problem usually occurs in indoor ZZ plants because they are restricted to the area of the pot they are placed in. To avoid this situation, repotting is necessary for the ZZ plants.

3. Pots Become Harder

When a plant becomes root-bound, its roots begin to spread outward in quest of more room. Because you are feeling the roots and not the soil when you touch the pot from the outside, it seems harder than it did before. So, attempting to detect any unusual hardness in your pot shows that the plant is facing root bound.

4. Leaves Develop Brown Tips

Because of the root-bound state, most of the water leaks out of the container, and the plant receives less water than necessary. As a result, the ZZ plant’s tips begin to become yellowish or brown. Lack of water to the plant causes it to become dry and gradually start turning brownish. If you see the ZZ plant leaves turning their color that means that your plant is not healthy and is not receiving the needed nutrients and water.

5. Roots Go Spiral Along The Pot

If you don’t see any of the above symptoms but still believe your ZZ plant may have been root-bound, you can check your plant with this step. When you take your plant out of the pot, you will notice that it is covered in roots from the top of the pot to the bottom. The roots typically take a spiral form and this indicates that the ZZ plant is facing root bound. 

How Can You Prevent A ZZ Plant From Root Bound?

Several ways are there in which you can prevent root bounds in your ZZ plant. Proper measures and care will greatly help in the process. The ZZ plants need appropriate watering and soil quality to grow freely from any root bounds. I have listed below some of the methods that you must take into consideration to avoid any root bounds in your ZZ plant!

1. Providing Proper Drainage System

A drainage system in the plant is essential to avoid any overwatering of the plants. Proper drainage allows the unwanted water to pass through the holes easily and provides the plant with only the needed amount. The pot should have holes in them for the excess water to pass through. If you have a proper water draining system, then you can avoid the root-bound situation easily.

2. Pot the ZZ plant into a Larger Pot

Choose a pot for your ZZ plant that is at least twice as big as the one it was placed in before. The advantage of going with a large pot is that it will give the plant more room to develop properly. It will provide the roots with the necessary breathing room to expand broadly and grow freely. Additionally, it prevents the roots from intertwining, which can lead to more issues. 

3. Give proper soil mixture

The ZZ plant is secured from the root bound by the soil as well. You must select soil that is appropriate for your plant. Therefore, a 1:1 blend of standard potting soil and cactus soil is the best soil for the ZZ plant. It will keep the drainage balance intact. In brief, the ZZ plant’s roots spread out quickly and typically require a lot of room inside the pot.

However, as the roots grow, the ZZ plants tend to attract pests and fungus that cause the roots to rot. Therefore, you must replace the pot every one to two years to address this issue. ZZ plants require room to expand since they also contain substantial rhizomes that serve as water and mineral storage areas. By using the above-mentioned techniques, you may easily transfer your ZZ plant to keep it from becoming root-bound.


4. Repotting the ZZ Plant

Repotting plants is the best way to prevent any root bound in the plants. Changing the plant’s container every 2 to 3 years is necessary for better and developed growth. Repotting allows a better and more proactive growth in the ZZ plants. 

Due to the additional room the larger pot provides for the ZZ’s roots and rhizomes, it will soon be able to grow taller, and wider, finally growing into a huge plant. A larger area allows the plant roots to develop freely without any restrictions and limitations. You have to choose a good pot and the soil quality while growing a ZZ plant to ensure nourished growth.

The proper drainage system, watering, soil, and pot should be provided to the plant to avoid any root-bound situation. I will now discuss some steps on how to repot the ZZ plants carefully!

Step 1: To avoid the mess, move the plant to a sink or work area. Try to gently remove the plant by turning the pot on its side. Be careful while performing this step to avoid any damage to the plant.    

Step 2: When the plant is removed from the container, dig out any old soil that remains around the root ball. Then, investigate the causes of the browning and damage. 

Step 3: After finding the damaged areas, trim the foliage and harmed roots.  

Step 4: Take a larger pot, and add 1/3 of new dirt to it. Repot the plant and completely enclose it in new soil. Ensure no air pockets are left during planting the soil. 

Step 5: Place the plant in a bright area, but make sure it is protected from direct sunlight. After everything is finished, water the plant.



Q1. Do ZZ plants like big pots?

Ans. Huge pots may not be ideal for ZZ plants since they can hold on to too much water when they are too large. Choose a new container that is only marginally bigger than the old one. An appropriate size of the pot plays a vital role in the ZZ plant’s development.

Q2. How do you know when to repot a ZZ plant? 

Ans. ZZ plants only require repotting every 2 to 3 years because of their moderate growth. Repotting the plant into a fresh, well-drained container that is only 1 to 2 inches larger in diameter is advisable. Repotting should only be done in the spring or early summer when the ZZ plant is actively growing.

Q3. How often should you water a ZZ plant? 

Ans. Water your ZZ Plant every 2 to 3 weeks, letting the soil dry out in between. Wet potting soil or yellowing and mushy leaves indicate overwatering and root rot, while withering, wrinkled leaves and dry potting soil indicate that the plant is thirsty. Water the plants regularly to avoid any damage to the ZZ plant, even though it can sustain drought climates.


One of the best indoor plants is the ZZ plant, which improves and purifies the air in your home. The ZZ plant is pretty and gives you a calm atmosphere around you. Due to its low maintenance requirements and potential for good growth, ZZ plants make ideal indoor plants and office plants.

I hope the above-provided information was helpful to you and cleared all your doubts regarding the ZZ plant’s root bounds. 

I hope you like this article, and if you have any more doubts, please drop us a comment below, and also don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family!

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  • Prachi Parate

    Prachi Parate is an enthusiast writer. She is a native of a science background, where botanical science was one of her favorite subjects. It was always Prachi's dream to combine her passion with a career. Hence, her fascination with plants led to a career as a writer. Also, she believes that taking good care of yourself is key to happiness. Time spent in nature is one of her favorite self-care practices. It is her goal to transform her learning into content that helps readers.

  • Vaishnavi

    Vaishnavi is a student of organic chemistry. She is a knowledgeable and enthusiastic gardener who enjoys sharing plant information and ideas. She also enjoys writing inspirational poems. She portrays her love for plants and nature through her poems.

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