We’ve all been there. You have a beautiful plant that seems to be thriving in your garden or in your home. It’s growing, it’s beautiful, and it looks generally healthy.
The only problem? It won’t stop leaning.
Typically, plants that have appropriate access to sunlight and healthy roots will grow straight and tall. Plants that tend to lean to one side are a sure sign that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. A leaning plant can be stressful for any beginning gardener - ignore the problem and the plant may topple right over and die. But, how do you figure out what the problem even is and then how do you address it once you know?
There are a few common reasons your plant might be leaning - and, thankfully, most of them have very simple solutions!
HOW TO FIX A LEANING PLANT:
The first (and most likely) reason that your plant might be leaning is due to the plant’s positioning in relation to the sun. Plants will always grow towards the sun, so if you find that an indoor plant seems to be leaning towards the window, that could be your issue. This problem is not only the most common reason for a leaning plant, it also has the fastest fix: simply rotate your plant so that the other side faces the sun. Plan to rotate your plants every day or weeks to ensure the leaning issue doesn’t return, and your plant should be back to normal.
Another possible issue is that the plant is simply not strong enough to stand up yet. Some plants begin to lean or fall over because they are too top-heavy and their trunk system cannot support the weight. If you think a weight imbalance might be your issue, insert a stake in the soil on the opposite side of the lean and a few inches away from your plant. Then, use twine or garden tape to attach the plant to the stake to help support it. You can also remove excess shoots that are contributing to the weight of the plant. Once the plant seems stronger and is able to hold up the weight of the shoots, remove the stake.
The final (and least likely) reason your plant might be leaning is due to erosion in the soil underneath the roots. If the soil underneath your root system begins to erode or there just isn’t enough of it, the entire plant can begin to lean to one side. If you’ve tried both of the other solutions and the plant is still leaning, then dig down a bit to see if the issue is occurring under the soil. If soil erosion is the culprit, you can simply add more soil underneath the root system to support the plant, or you can transplant the entire thing to a new container.
While leaning plants can seem intimidating and difficult to correct, the underlying issue is usually a very quick fix! If you want to prevent it from happening in the first place, a good rule of thumb is to rotate your potted plants by a quarter turn every time your water them. This helps ensure they’re getting even sunlight exposure and should stop and leaning issues before they occur.