I had purchased a home with 12 - 6' cedars that had been planted by the builder in their original plastic pots with holes at the bottom sides. It has been two years and about 4-5 have browned or seem dead. I have removed them from the pots and replanted. Are the plastic pots to blame?
Cedar Bushes in Plastic Pots
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Yes, actually they probably are. Leaving them in the pots would not have allowed the roots to spread out and they would have eventually outgrown the pots with no where to go, and would start to die because of it. Plants should never be planted in the ground on a permanent basis in pots.
I have only heard of planting things in their plastic pots if you wanted to dig them back up and move them in for winter. In some cases I have heard of builders doing this with show homes. That way it is easy for them to pull out the bushes and reuse them at another location if the eventual buyer wants to select other bushes instead of those planted to show the home. Perhaps the builder forgot about using this method with the home you purchased. Usually they will tell you about it when selling you the home. So, yes, the pots are most likely to blame for losing the ones you lost. Some trees at nurseries that have been in the pots too long have root balls that have spiraled around the inside of the pot so tightly, that even when planted outside the pot they never stretch out. Thus the trees either die or are easily blown over in high winds due to no firm root base.