Plant Roots Broken: The Facts and What you should do

broken plant roots

A crucial part of a plant, the root takes in nutrients, water, and oxygen for proper plant growth.

When roots are damaged, the plant may experience reduced absorption of these vital components, resulting in shock or even death.

When exposed to the elements while repotting or transplanting, a plant is readily damaged by broken roots. As damaged roots limit the absorption of nutrients essential for optimal growth, plants may experience shock. Although this shock might only last a short while, the plant might not survive if more than half of its roots are damaged.

If the plant’s roots were damaged, there are a few important things you must do that are simple to complete in order to restore it to health.

As we instruct you on how to maintain a plant alive after its roots have been damaged, continue reading.

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Can a Plant Regrow its Roots?

The state of the plants’ roots and roots in general, I suppose. Plants can regrow their roots under normal circumstances if the injured roots are few, the plant is healthy, and there is energy stored up. However, not all plants have this ability.

Will a Plant Survive if its Roots are Broken?

Typically, there are two outcomes if plant roots are harmed or ripped out:

The Positive: 

There is a 95% likelihood that the plant will survive if only a few roots are damaged. If the plant has lost 50% of its roots, you must take good care of it.

Plants have a danger of falling to the side if their roots are absent or sparse, as roots aid in the anchoring of plants.

If the plant just has a few roots left, it will also make an effort to rebuild the roots that were injured or taken out by whatever means in order to make up for its lack of water and minerals.

Unexpectedly, some plants, like some species of algae, can survive without roots (giant kelps).

Just give your plant a little more care while it establishes new roots if you are particularly concerned about its health.

The Negative:

There are also certain plants in the kingdom Plantae that exhibit negative effects if their roots are harmed or taken away for whatever reason.

These plants eventually lose their shoots and branches. Additionally, the plant deteriorates and, in some situations, is unable to survive.

Lack of nutrients and water causes the plant’s growth to stop, which eventually results in plant death. Additionally, the plant frequently tips over to that side, damaging the roots.

Types of Root Systems:

Two different root systems have been identified from observations of numerous plants:

  • System Taproot
  • haphazard root system (fibrous root system)

Taproot System: 

This kind of root structure is characteristic of dicots, commonly referred to as dicotyledons. This method produces numerous little, hair-like roots by having the primary root extend downward. Such a system has roots that extend far into the soil.

Various plants, including dandelions, carrots, turnips, etc., have the taproot system. It has been noted that the taproot also aids in the function of food storage in turnips and carrots.

Fibrous Root System: 

In monocots, this kind of system is typical. A fibrous root system helps to reduce soil erosion because the roots form a thick network close to the soil surface.

No subsidiary roots develop from the primary root in this root system. Instead, several secondary roots develop from the stem’s base.

For instance:

  • Rice (Oryza sativa)
  • Wheat (Triticum)
  • Barley (Hordeum vulgare)

It’s interesting to note that there are some plants in the kingdom Plantae that have both fibrous and taproot systems.

How Long will a Plant Survive with Damaged Roots?

The amount of damage and root loss will determine how long a plant may survive with damaged roots. When a plant’s root system is injured by more than 50%, it can survive for up to 5 days without additional care.

For plants to receive water and nutrients from the soil, they need roots. The smaller white cuticles of roots (root hairs), which branch off from the main root system, accomplish this.

The root system’s surface area is increased by these white cuticles, enabling optimal nutrition absorption.

Rooting Hormone and How To Use it For Stronger Roots:

Rooting hormones are the hormones that are used to propagate plants. Although there are many other kinds of rooting hormone available, Hormex Vitamin B1 Rooting hormone is the greatest of all of them.

Without a doubt, rooting hormones strengthen roots and are frequently applied during root propagation.

Just after placing the root piece in the soil, add the rooting hormones.

The rooted cutting should be placed in the powdered rooting hormone if you’re using it in place of the liquid, shaken a little, and then placed in the soft soil.

Read the prescription that is ready for use or that still requires some revisions before using the hormone.

It might be concentrated or diluted, for instance, which will affect how much it needs to be weakened before usage.

Root growth is encouraged by the whole spectrum of mineral nutrients included in it.

How to Revive a Plant with Broken Roots?

Anytime the plant’s roots are damaged, it will be under stress, making it much harder for it to adjust to a new environment.

External circumstances that negatively impact a plant’s growth, development, or output are referred to as stress in plants.

Wide-ranging plant responses to stress include changed gene expression, changes in cellular metabolism, and variations in growth rates.

Therefore, extra care must be taken to avoid adding to the plant’s stress in order to aid in its speedy recovery.

By initially removing any dead or discolored leaves from the foliage, a plant with broken roots might be brought back to life. As a result, the plant would need less nutrients and its damaged root system would be under less stress.

The plant should be replanted in nutrient-rich soil with the appropriate number of amendments for proper drainage and aeration because roots are typically severed during the transplanting procedure.

The roots may also be agitated to the point of breaking in several other situations, such as while moving and shipping plants.

Roots can be destroyed during transplantation, especially if the plant has been rootbound. A plant will continue to grow even if some of its roots are injured as long as its main root system is unharmed. These are the plant’s larger, more firmly rooted roots.

The majority of root damage, as mentioned, happens during transplantation and when employing safe transplantation techniques, as we shall describe next.

How To Prevent Root Damage When Repotting

Repotting entails exposing your plant to a whole new habitat by altering the potting soil or mix as well as the plant’s container.

Repotting a plant is a challenging task. Particularly when it comes to the roots, which must be kept whole while being transferred from one pot to another.

The day before you intend to re-pot your plant, don’t forget to water it.

By doing this, you will help to loosen the dirt around the plant’s roots so that it may be removed without damaging the roots.

The ideal procedure that ensures your roots won’t be damaged when being transferred to another pot is as follows.

Things You’ll Need: 

  • watering can or spray
  • Scissors
  • Using newspaper to quickly clean up
  • blend potting
  • ancient or new planter
  • fresh potting soil
  • as well as your plant, for sure

Step one:

Pour the new potting mix (which should be damp) into the fresh plant container you’ll be using to repot your plant.

Step two:

Holding the stems of your plant, carefully remove it by tapping the base of the plant’s container while you do so, and the plant and its compacted roots will follow.

Step three:

If you observe that the roots of your plant are tightly encircled in a circle at the bottom of the container. You can try to unbind them with your hands or gently clip them.

Step four:

As much as one-third of the potting soil should be taken away from the plant roots.

Step five:

To the planter, add the fresh potting soil. After that, place your plant in the plant pot you’ll be using for transportation. Avoid overfilling the planter with potting soil because doing so may suffocate the roots of the plants.

Step six:

You are prepared with even the potting soil in the planter. For improved drainage, check that the pot has drain holes.

Will Damaged Roots Heal and Grow back?

If roots are cut or damaged, they will grow again. Growth is slowed down because the intake of nutrients and water is constrained. The current growth won’t, however, carry on in the same manner as the previous growth.

Instead, like a branch of a tree, new roots will emerge from the portion that was unharmed.

The new roots will continue to experience cell division, but you must give the plant time to adjust and recover.

Can the Removal of Aerial Roots Harm a plant?

Aerial roots are those that develop on a plant’s above-ground components. Woody vines have aerial roots that act as anchors to fasten the plant to walls and other supports, such as rocks.

Similar to deep roots, some varieties of aerial roots can take up nutrients and moisture.

For support as they grow, plants like the monstera deliciosa produce aerial roots in addition to roots in the earth.

Your Monstera Deliciosa won’t be harmed if the aerial roots are broken or removed, and the roots will quickly regrow.

Aerial roots on indoor philodendrons can also be cut off if you find them ugly because they aren’t really necessary.

How Long can Plant Roots be Exposed?

Plants may withstand being out of the soil for one to ten days before showing indications of stress.

The kind of plant in question will also affect how long it will survive.

In contrast to thin, fibrous roots, plants with food storage in their roots can survive longer outside of the soil.

Low water-demanding plants like orchids, air plants, and succulents can last for weeks without food or water.

The Takeaway:

In conclusion, there is a chance that your plant will live and be able to rebuild the damaged roots if a few of its roots are injured.

The plant has a low chance of recovering if more than 50% of its roots are injured, though.

Greater symptoms and a harder time to recover from the shock of having their roots broken will be seen in larger plants.


Can you save a plant with just roots?

It is too late to preserve the plant if the entire root system is already mushy. Replanting the plant in new soil with proper drainage will help restore the plant’s health if it has any healthy, white, firm roots.

Can a plant grow from just the roots?

Plants that naturally produce suckers (new shoots) from their roots are propagated using root cuttings. This method provides the following benefits: The aftercare of root cuttings is not special. From each parent plant, many offspring can be produced.

Can you save a plant with no roots?

This slows the desiccation process to give the plant time to develop roots since without roots, a plant cannot take up water but can still lose it through the leaves. Place the plant in a warm, very dark area away from any direct sunlight, which could cause it to “broil in a bag.”

Can a plant regrow from just roots?

Once established, plants can grow their green or woody parts directly from their fibrous roots, and frequently, the plant stem can also produce new roots. Some plants’ root tubers contain buds that can grow into new plants.