Why do some growers prefer to keep plants root bound?
Some of you know that I love to chase down the sources of horticultural beliefs. If you have ever spent time on any plant forum you know the common advice is to keep your plants root bound, or at least when you repot give the roots only an "extra fingers width" on each side the pot. My question is where do that advice originate? Why do we believe it? Is this really good growing advice or just an old wives tale? Are plants in the rain forest root bound?
I understand that nursery men prefer to start their plants in small pots and allow the roots to fill it before stepping the seedling up to a larger pot. My understanding is they do this in order to encourage a hearty root system first. But it appears some growers may have taken this advice to excess and always keep their plant's root bound. Should we always keep our plants in pots so small their roots are for ever crowded, or give them space to grow?
We always have new growers looking for good growing advice. If you have adopted a small pot policy please tell us why. If you are an experienced grower and prefer a tight pot method I would enjoy knowing the reasoning. Many of you don't know that I have written for years for a variety of magazines and I have another train of thought in this area. I am now working on a new article to explain about plant growth, a plant's need for oxygen around its roots as well as how to keep their root systems healthy. This discussion will help me to formulate my article.
I am here primarily to listen, not to offer my observations. If I find useful quotes I would like to be able to use them in the article. If you are new to growing, please chime in.
This post is now on 5 forums and I plan to combine the best responses into the final piece.