Accidentally Ripped Plant Roots: Learn to transplant If Plant Roots Broken

Accidentally ripping off a plant’s roots can be a major concern, especially for plant enthusiasts who pour their hearts and souls into their plants. Whether it’s a young plant or an already established one, root damage can seemingly interrupt the growth of a plant and even put its life at risk.

There are a few steps you can take to ensure your plant recovers from such an injury and continues to grow healthily.

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What should you do if you accidentally rip plant roots?

Accidentally Ripped Plant Roots

Assess the Damage

The first step is to assess the level of damage caused to the roots. Take the plant out of the soil carefully and examine the root ball. Identify whether just a few roots are broken, or the entire fibrous root system is damaged. 

If the main root system of the plant is intact, it might survive, with the right care and attention.

Take Immediate Action

Once you’ve figured out the extent of the root damage, take immediate action. If there are any clean cuts, let it be, because the plant can still recover from it.

For any jagged edges, trim the plant roots to prevent any further damage to the plant. Make sure to use sharp disinfected scissors to prevent further injury.

Replant the Plant

The third step is to replant the plant back into the soil. Remember to use soft soil since it allows the plant to grow new roots. 

Fill the pot with soil so that the plant is not exposed to any air pockets that might hamper the growth of the new roots.

Make sure to water the plant thoroughly but avoid overwatering since the soil needs adequate air and water circulation to help the plant to breathe and grow its roots back.

Can a plant survive with ripped roots?

Depends on the Extent of Damage

The extent of root damage is pivotal to determine whether the plant will survive or not. Some plants are hardier and can survive with damaged roots, while others may not be so lucky.

If the majority of the roots are still present and intact, the plant can bounce back with proper care and attention.

Proper Care is Key

Once you’ve planted the damaged plant back into soft soil and watered it thoroughly, the next step is critical to ensure the plant’s revival. For the first several weeks, make sure to give the plant constant attention and avoid moving it frequently.

Place the pot in a location with adequate sunlight and avoid watering the plant daily. Instead, wait for the potting soil to dry out a bit in between watering.

Plants can Regrow their Roots

Many plants have the ability to regrow their roots under normal conditions. Plants have smaller white cuticles of roots called secondary roots that provide support to the plant and help it recover from root damage.

With proper care, new roots can grow back in as little as a few weeks.

How long does it take for plants to grow back their roots?

Depends on the Type of Plant

The growth of the roots back to their initial length depends entirely on the type of plant. While some plants can regrow their roots in a few weeks, others might take several months.

As such, it’s crucial to identify the specific plant to know how long it might take for it to recover.

Condition of the Plant

The current condition of the plant, in terms of its overall health, is another crucial factor that determines the length of time needed for the plant to regrow its roots.

If the plant is healthy, the time it takes to recover might be shorter, but if it’s already fragile and weak, it might take longer for the plant to bounce back.

How to help a plant with damaged roots?

Transplant in Soft Soil

Transplanting the plant in soft soil is crucial to encouraging the growth of new roots. Soft soil is essential since it has excellent water retention, and its texture enables plant roots to develop quickly.

Take Good Care of the Plant

The second step is to provide necessary care to the plant. Give it constant attention, and avoid sudden movement to allow the plant to recover from the root damage.

Ensure that it has the right amount of sunlight necessary for its growth, and water it adequately.

Wait for New Roots to Grow

For the first few weeks, avoid overwatering the plant and instead wait for the new roots to develop.

As soon as the plant has established its new roots, you can resume your usual watering schedule or as recommended for that specific plant.

What happens if roots are cut off from a plant?

Plant May not Survive

If a plant’s root system is entirely cut off, the plant might not survive the injury. The roots play a pivotal role in a plant’s survival by providing sufficient nutrients and water that the plant needs to survive.

Without roots, a plant stands very little chance of surviving.

Plant Will Survive with Proper Care

However, a plant can still survive if the root damage is only partial and with the right care and attention provided to it.

Try to Replant the Roots if Possible

In such a situation where the roots are entirely cut off, and the plant is still alive, attempt to replant the roots if possible. It is one of the few ways to save the plant, but the chances of success are slim.

This is why it’s crucial to avoid cutting the roots when repotting or transplanting.

Is it okay to transfer a plant from one pot to another with damaged roots?

Avoid Transferring the Plant Immediately

If the plant roots are recently damaged, it’s not advisable to transfer the plant immediately to another pot. Let the plant heal and recover before you decide to repot or transfer it.

Any additional stress on the plant might do more harm than good.

Wait for the Plant to Recover

When the plant has recovered from the root injury in a few weeks, and the new roots have grown back, you may consider transferring it to a new container.

Be careful to transplant the plant in soft soil instead of hard-packed soil that might hamper its growth.

If Necessary, Transfer the Plant Carefully

If necessary, you can transfer the plant to a whole new container carefully. Remember to water the plant thoroughly after transplanting it to allow it to establish its roots without becoming dehydrated.

What to do if the plant is left without roots?

Propagate a New Plant

Unfortunately, if the plant has been left without any roots, and it’s dried out, there’s little chance of saving it.

In this situation, the best option is to propagate a new plant altogether by taking a stem cutting or leaf cutting from a similar plant or the same plant.

Use a Stem Cutting or Leaf Cutting

Stem cuttings are easy to propagate by dipping them in water or rooting hormone and planting them in a pot.

Leaf cuttings propagate by removing a leaf from the plant and rooting it in the soil. Water propagation is another option for propagating new plants.

Take Care of the New Plant’s Growth

Once you’ve propagated a new plant, it’s essential to take good care of its growth so that it doesn’t suffer from the same fate as its predecessor.

Ensure the plant has the right amount of sunlight and water adequately to stimulate growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What should I do if I accidentally ripped my plant roots?

A: Don’t worry, your plant may still survive. First, check how much of the roots are left intact. If there are still remaining roots, gently clean them from any remaining soil and try to remove any damaged or dead roots.

Q: What causes plant roots to break?

A: Plant roots can break due to several factors, including overwatering, underwatering, physical damage, root rot, soil compaction, and pest infestations.

Q: Can plants with broken roots survive?

A: Yes, it’s possible for plants with broken roots to survive if the remaining roots are enough to take up water and nutrients efficiently.

Q: What happens if the roots are damaged?

A: If a plant’s roots are damaged, it can result in reduced water and nutrient uptake, making the plant more vulnerable to stress, diseases, and insects.

Q: How long do plant roots need to recover after being damaged?

A: It depends on the extent of the damage. Generally, if the plant still has some hair-like roots, it may take several weeks for them to recover, while plants with more extensive root damage may take several months.

Q: Is it safe to repot a plant with broken roots?

A: It’s not advisable to repot a plant with broken roots immediately. Give the plant time to recover and stabilize before repotting it.

Q: Can plants still be alive after their roots have been damaged?

A: Yes, plants can still be alive after their roots have been damaged as long as there are still some remaining roots.

Q: Does it matter if the plant is in a plant pot or planted in the ground with broken roots?

A: It may affect how fast the plant can recover. Plants in plant pots can be easily managed by adjusting their environment, while plants in the ground may take longer to stabilize.

Q: What effects can root loss have on plants?

A: Root loss can cause stress in plants and limit their ability to take up water and nutrients, making them more vulnerable to diseases and environmental stressors.

Q: Can a plant’s damaged root system recover?

A: It’s possible for a plant’s damaged root system to recover if the remaining roots can still efficiently take up water and nutrients. It’s essential to provide it with proper care, such as reducing watering and fertilizing, to promote root growth.


If you accidentally rip your plant’s roots, don’t panic. Follow the outlined steps to nurse your plant back to lush health. With enough patience and care, your plant will regrow its roots and continue to flourish, giving your home or office an awesome dash of natural beauty and life.

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