Using air-pruning to improve plant growth

If you’ve ever grown plants in pots you’ve probably dealt with that stage when a plant has become pot-bound and has stopped growing. When we remove the plant from its pot we see roots have grown round and round the inside of the pot. Our normal response is then to simply pot the plant into a larger pot. But apparently dealing with our plants in this way does not help them to develop the most healthy root systems.

Although I’ve been growing plants in containers for years I’d never heard of “air-pruning” them to improve their growth and yield … until I happened to come across this fascinating video a few days ago.

I am so impressed by this method of improving plant growth that I’ve already started a new experiment to see if it will work for me. I’m using the Sweet Peas that I’m preparing for the new crochet jute and willow garden screen project I’ve talked about in a couple of my previous posts. I’ll post more about my Sweet Peas “air pruning” experiment very soon.

Crocheting a willow garden screen for my back yard
Crocheting a willow garden screen – part 2

J Peggy Taylor

11 thoughts on “Using air-pruning to improve plant growth

  1. I am planning on building raised beds about two feet high out of cattle panels. I am then going to line the inside with garden fence and landscape fabric. I know that this will work for air pruning(at least based on what i have read), but i was wondering if I took advantage of the space by planting vertically, by simply transplanting herbs into pieces cut out of the fabric, would this eliminate the effects of air pruning? Thank you.

    1. I’ve not done much vertical gardening myself in the way that you describe, but I don’t see why your idea wouldn’t work. I think for air-pruning, you just need the actual plant container to be fabric rather than a solid-sided container. From my own experiences of air-pruning, I think it is important for the air-pruning container to be fairly large as I found the soil/growing medium dries out quite fast. Your comment reminded me about this interesting post on vertical gardening from another blog I follow –

  2. Wow, this is impressive, makes so much sense and is so simple! I’ll certainly bear this in mind from now on, when I work with plants in containers. Thanks for sharing dear great green fingered friend…Love, H xxx

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