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Do plants 'know' they're in a pot?

B3B3 Posts: 18,185
Have you noticed how some plants,within days of planting out, make a huge spurt of growth?
I was wondering whether, when some plants' roots encounter the sides of a pot, they restrict their growth even if they aren't potbound. Or maybe the action of winding round the inside of a pot would have the same effect.
In London. Keen but lazy.


  • dappledshadedappledshade Top of the Hill, North London Posts: 861
    I wondered and noticed that too. 
    I think their roots do have proprioceptive cells in them, that would alert them to the fact they’ve encountered a solid barrier.
    Who knows if releasing them from a pot they’ve become potbound in, may also give them a new stimulus to branch outwards.
  • herbaceousherbaceous E. BerksPosts: 2,257
    I'm starting to feel like I am in a pot!  If someone planted me out in a wide open space with a different view I would probably be more than exuberant  :D   Probably too late for any growth spurt though, seem to be going the other way these days  :/ 
    "The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."  Sir Terry Pratchett
  • dappledshadedappledshade Top of the Hill, North London Posts: 861
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 3,634
    Probably, yes. I saw an interesting prog a little while ago, about whether plants can be said to be conscious. The speaker thought that word might be contentious, but pointed out how much more sensitive plants are to soil chemicals than we are and how aware they are of the orientation of their leaves and branches to light and each other, and how growth adjusts to suit prevailing conditions etc, as fulfilling much of the definition of consciousness.
  • B3B3 Posts: 18,185
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 10,913
    Yes they do (or at least that's what the petunias told me, when we spoke earlier!) :D
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • B3B3 Posts: 18,185
    Was it perchance the lonely little petunia in an onion patch?
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286
    It's really noticeable with something that is quick growing naturally, say pumpkins. Plant some out that are not pot bound but the roots are beginning to fill out the pot, compare to others sown at the same time, but left in the pot. The planted out ones can get four times bigger in a week or so.

    It's I guess somewhere between them 'knowing' they are in a pot and usage of available nutrients. Though my gut feeling is that in some way they do know the limitations of being in a pot.
  • dappledshadedappledshade Top of the Hill, North London Posts: 861
    edited June 2020
    B3 said:
    Sorry, it’s the physio in me coming out 😁
  • strelitzia32strelitzia32 Posts: 767
    Considering some plants can hear bees, move locations, and a network of communication and cooperative help between trees in woodland exists, I wouldn't be surprised!
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