Removing Pot Bound Bamboo


I have been given 2 large pots which have had fine bamboo in them for about 10 years and the pots are full with the roots and no real growth. How do I dissolve these roots as they are so very tough and cannot be cut. Pots are about 3.5 feet high (1 metre). I would like to replace these plants.

q removing pot bound bamboo, The bamboo pot
The bamboo pot

Fine clumping bamboo is pot bound. How to remove?

  9 answers
  • on Jan 17, 2021

    Do you have a really long garden knife, like a machete? You could cut around the outside to loosen it and maybe cut clumps of the bamboo to pull them out.

  • Janice Janice on Jan 17, 2021

    I suggest saturating the plant/pot with water thoroughly. Then place the pot on it's side and begin pulling any bamboo possible out of the pot. This may take some real stsrength! Keep flusing water into the pot with a garden hose and certainly a lot of the plant soil can be removed from around the roots. Eventually you should be able to work the bambo shoots/roots from the pots.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Jan 17, 2021

    Hello. I have the same situation with my pot bound miscanthus. A very long thrift chef knife was my solution by cutting the plant into quarters. Then I was able to scoop the plant out into pieces.

    • See 2 previous
    • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Jan 17, 2021

      Actually if you’re not looking to salvage the plant material would using a drill to break up the roots be an option?

      If you do have tools on there another alternative might be an oscillating tool to cut up the roots.

  • William William on Jan 17, 2021

    You have to cut into the soil and dig out them out in clumps.

  • Robyn Garner Robyn Garner on Jan 17, 2021

    I agree about the soaking/pulling but do be sure no roots have come out of the bottom first. If so, cut through all of them so you aren't just pulling against the plant itself.

  • Unexpected Elegance Unexpected Elegance on Jan 17, 2021

    I would try saturating with boiling water, or perhaps boiling saltwater, then using a small saw.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Jan 18, 2021

    To kill this potted plant, I would use, salt and lots of it, not the boiling water for fear it may crack to the pot. Then add water to loosen the roots, hopefully they have not gone through the bottom of it.

    Vinegar would work too, but is more expensive than salt.

    Keep it wet and then attempt to cut through the roots.

    After you are done, be sure to NOT compost the roots, they may be dormant in areas and not killed in others because they are so dense, they may start growing and invade.

  • Dee Dee on Jan 18, 2021

    I would take a hose and put the nozzle into the dirt and turn on the water slowly at first and when it begins to loosen, as high as you can get it. The plant should pop out in a few minutes. I would put that plant in the trash can. You do not want it to root anywhere because bamboo is very invasive when in the ground and almost impossible to get rid of unless you burn it.

  • Betsy Betsy on Jan 18, 2021

    Hi Marilyn: You might try filling the pot with water until it gets really soggy and you should be able to lift them out. Standing on a ladder may help to give you some height. Have someone standing by to help you. On the other hand, if you can put a sharp shovel (you should always sharpen all of your tools) to put in the centre of the pot and, perhaps cut away at the roots. Good luck