Newly Registered
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Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2010 6:18 pm
Location: Rochester, NY

Question about potting up

Hello everybody,

Brand new forum member here, and I have a question that I can't find an answer to anywhere else about potting up. I've started a bunch of seedlings: brandywine red, roma, cherry sweeties, and sweet peppers, and recently transplanted the seedlings into 3" x 3" square fiber pots. All of the seedlings are looking healthy, but some of the larger ones (only about 3.5" inches in height with 4-5 true leaves) are sending roots through the sides and bottoms of the fiber pots already. They're not terribly long roots (yet), but I'm wondering if this is something I should worry about? Do I need to consider potting them up already?

Can anyone help?

Much thanks.

BTW: I'm in zone 5 and still have a few weeks yet before I should be planting transplants outside.

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2178
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:06 pm
Location: North Texas

I, and I think most gardeners who germinate seed; don't like the fiber pots. They seem to delay the growth of the roots, but in your case; they seem to be growing through the fiber easily. If the roots hadn't penetrated the containers, I would say get rid of the fiber containers. In your case, I think I would plant the containers and hope for the best. I believe you will do more damage to the roots by removing the pots than if you plant them in the pots. If the roots are penetrating the pot, go ahead and up pot them. They will probably do fine.

I simply enjoy gardening!

Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2010 6:18 pm
Location: Rochester, NY

Thanks for your response, Ted. Yes, I've been reading a lot about problems with fiber/peat pots . . . I've only ever used the small circular fiber pots to start things like moonflower and basil seedlings, but have never actually transplanted seedlings into them. Figured I'd try them once since I have so many seedlings this year and not nearly enough plastic containers to use for the initial transplants.

The seedlings that are sending out roots have been in the fiber pots for roughly 2 weeks, so perhaps I'll look around and see if I can find something else to put the rest of them in before they start shooting out roots, too.

Again, thanks kindly for your response.

Senior Member
Posts: 244
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:59 am

Just remember to soak the heck out of those pots just before you bury them in the ground, and make sure no part of it is left exposed or it will wick water from the roots.

have you considered rolling your own paper cup for seedlings?

Full Member
Posts: 46
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:25 am
Location: Netherlands

I used the peat pots last year. I have to say that's not my piece of cake. At first my seedslings grew fast and good, but quick they stopped growing. (while using the same amount of light, warmth, and water)

This year I planted my seedlings (like I normal do) direct in a smaller containers, aproximately 6 inches in diameter. These pots are big enough to protect the roots of the plant when planting over to larger containers.
Save dragons, defeat spoiled princesses, kiss from time to time a frog and harvests sweet raspberries.

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5889
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

FYI If you need pots maybe you could go to a local nursery and with a big smile on your face ask the if they have any extra pots they don't need. I did this myself this year and now have enough to start my own nursery almost. I actually collected pots from the 2 nursery's I asked. So maybe I was lucky but it may be worth a shot.

I came home with pots from 3 inch to 10 gallon.

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2097
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 11:27 pm
Location: Mid Ohio

Roots growing out of fiber pots is nothing to wory about. Roots grow in a straight line until they hit something they don't like, and then they either turn or stop growing. When your roots hit air they will stop and cause root branching behind that point, helping to fill up the rest of the pot with roots.

The big problem with fiber pots is water loss, and if they are not planted deeply enough in the garden they will wick water up and away from the roots. Roots also do not like changes in soil type so it is best to tear open the fiber pots and peat pellets to let the roots out into the native soil.

Once people get over their fear of mussing up roots by unpotting plants from plastic pots they rarely go back.

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