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Why Is My Indoor Plant Leaning? (Causes+What To Do)

Both beginners and experienced planters love indoor plants. It lightens and adds value to space as well. But, unfortunately, these houseplants sometimes start leaning due to a weak care regime or ignorance. 

Most indoor plants demand care from the early stage to stay upright, which calls for the proper care routine. But why is your indoor plant leaning? Let’s find out!

Inadequate watering, lack of fertilizers, poor lighting conditions are the primary cause of leaning in houseplants. Some houseplants also lean as they grow taller, so they need support to stay upright. Provide your plants with enough support and care to keep them upright.

Some house plants may grow bushy naturally, but some need proper care from the beginning to keep them bushy and upward. In addition, some need support to stay upright.

By reading below, you will learn why your indoor plant is leaning and how you can fix it. Also, it is crucial to know the proper care process from the beginning to avoid such situations.

leggy rubber plant

If you are looking to buy a lot of houseplants to brighten up your space and that too on a budget, try out Cellardoorplants. They offer a wide variety of plants, delivered right to your doorstep, and that too for every budget. If you haven't checked them yet, Try them now!


My Indoor plant is leaning

If your indoor plant is leaning, then possible reasons are inadequate lighting, inadequate watering, insufficient fertilizer, etc.

Let’s discuss everything in detail to understand what causes these issues and how we can fix the same.

Inadequate Lighting Conditions

When indoor plants are grown outdoors, it gets even sunlight, and its auxin is evenly distributed, which helps them grow upright. However, indoors the plant gets light from one side only, no matter how bright the light is.

The plant grows towards light and becomes weak and dull. This is because they have enough light on one side and lacking light on the other.

You will find the lower leaves are falling due to insufficient light. The exposed part of the plant may be scorched due to too much light or maybe yellowing.

Also read: Can Indoor Plants Get Too Much Light?

Root-bound

Most indoor plants grow a robust root system to support the foliage. Unfortunately, many planters ignore the fact that they need to keep checking the roots when the plants grow huge and repot them according to the growth of the roots and plants. 

The roots may not be getting enough space to grow, due to which the growth of the plant stops, and the plant starts leaning and drooping due to lack of water and nutrients.

Check the bottom of the container to see if the roots are coming out of the drainage holes. If so, then the reason for your learning plant could be root-bound plants.

Also read: How Do I Know If My Plant Needs Repotting? (Signs & How to Do)



Inadequate Fertilization

For any indoor plant to grow healthy and bushy, they need proper nutrition. They may have improper growth due to insufficient nutrients in the soil and roots.

The plant gets stressed due to insufficient nutrients as the soil and roots have the pressure to keep plants healthy and upright.

Since the soil loses its nutrition with time, this may be due to watering. Therefore, these plants need fertilizer to fulfill their nutrient needs. 

If you are not keeping your plant’s food requirements in check, then inadequate fertilizing could be the reason for your learning plant.

Also read: Should I Fertilize My Indoor Plants in The Winter?

Inadequate Watering

Inadequate watering makes the plant vulnerable, and so they tend to lean. So whether you overwater them or underwater them, they will suffer from lack of water and start to lean.

Underwatering leads to dehydration in plants. As a result, plants and stems become weak and start leaning. 

Succulents might not lean at first as their stems and leaves store water, but they will also droop and lean with prolonged deficiency.

This is the case with over-watering too. Overwatering leads to root rot, and they cannot supply water and nutrients to other parts of the plant. Due to a lack of water and nutrients, the plant starts to lean and droop.

Also read: How long can houseplants go without water? (with 25 examples)

How to fix a leaning indoor plant?

To fix a leaning houseplant, we need to make sure the plant gets a well-balanced environment. But what are the steps we need to take to make sure your houseplants don’t lean? Let’s find out!

Fixing the lighting conditions

Indoor plants need proper lighting to grow, and if they are not provided with the right light, they may suffer. Most of the houseplants prefer bright and indirect light.

You need to know what kind of lighting is preferred by the plant you are growing. For example, some succulents and cacti plants can take some direct light, but most tropical houseplants cannot tolerate direct sun.

North facing window- These windows have weak light and perfect for plants that like dim lights. They are good enough for shade-loving plants during the summer months, but they are conducive to the plant in winter. So, make sure you move the plants away during winters.

South-facing window- Southern window has the strongest light and is perfect for those plants that can take the strong and direct sun. Therefore, plants kept near such a window will receive the most light.

East facing window- East facing window gets the morning sun where the sun is moderate. Most indoor plants can survive in the morning sunlight, so they can be placed here.

West facing window- West facing window gets full afternoon sun and evening sun. The intensity is not the same as the southern windows. Plants that love the sun will appreciate this light.

If you want to keep plants that need a moderate near south-facing window, you can use sheer curtains to filter the intense light.

Give your plants enough and even light to produce more energy and evenly distribute the energy to help the plant stay upright.

It would be best if you made sure the plant is getting proper and even light. You can rotate the plant every time you water them. It will provide the plant even lighting, and thus the plant will not lean or droop.

If your home doesn’t get enough light, you can use artificial lighting options to supplement natural lighting. Again, you can control the light according to the need of your plant.

Watering the Plant Right

Houseplants need water to remain healthy and upright. Proper lighting and adequate watering play an essential role in preventing the leaning of the plants. If your plant is lacking water and nutrients, then you need to fix the problem first.

The problem could be overwatering or under-watering. But, first, you need to identify the issue with your plant and why it is leaning.

If overwatering is the case, then the soil and roots are already sitting in water. Therefore, it would be best if you let them dry completely and keep them in the bright indirect sun for even complete drying of the soil.

During summer, take extra care and effort to water your plants as per their requirement. 

In winter, slow down the watering process as the soil take more time to dry out. Keep the soil dry and avoid following any watering schedule blindly. This increases the chances of over-watering.

If your plant is under-watered, start with watering them thoroughly to ensure the soil is appropriately drenched. Then, let the excess water seep out from the drainage holes and keep the plant in indirect light.

Now check the soil after a few days by digging a finger or a stick to check the soil’s moistness from within. If the stick or finger has soil stick to it, then the soil is still moist. This will prevent both under-watering and overwatering. With time the plant will also stop leaning anymore.

Some houseplants like their soil dry between watering, whereas some like evenly moist soil. You need to research and examine your plant needs and water accordingly.

Repotting Your Indoor Plants

Repotting indoor plants is essential to help them grow to their heights. In the growing season, they spread their roots and want space to keep growing and stay healthy.

If you want to take advantage of the growing season, you can report your plants during the peak growing period. 

This will fix the leaning plant as well as prevent further leaning of the plant too. 

Tips to consider before repotting

Before repotting your houseplant, you should consider the following points:

  • Water your house plant thoroughly a day before you are planning to re-post. Watering them will keep them hydrated and prevent them from shock.
  • Use a pot one size bigger than the previous one and make sure the pot has a proper drainage system. 
  • Consider using a fresh potting mix suitable for your specific plant. Sterilize the pot and soil before repotting your plant.

Adequate Fertilizer

There might be chances that your houseplant lacks nutrients, due to which they cannot stay upright. Most of the houseplants need food to help them grow strong and healthy.

No houseplant likes to be overfed, so make sure you avoid overfeeding them in any case. Fertilizing houseplants in dormant periods is not required. It may shock them and can kill them too.

For most of the houseplant, fertilizer with a balanced N:P:K ratio is best and always works. Though some houseplants need high nitrogen content, and some might like more potassium content.    

You need to know your plant needs and choices. Feed your plant with its preferred food. After a month or two, feed them again. Feed only from spring through summer to boost your plant’s growth.

How frequently do I fertilize my indoor plants? 

Indoor plants need to be fertilized but should not be over-fed. The frequency of fertilizing your houseplants depends on the plant you have.

When indoor plants need food, it’s hard for planters to recognize. As a result, the plant’s growth slows down and then leads to stunted growth, which is barely noticed most of the time.

It’s better to follow a proper and correct schedule for feeding your houseplants according to their growth cycle.

Each plant has different needs when it comes to its food needs. Without complicating the process, you can start by studying all the houseplant species you are growing. 

Most houseplants have similar fertilizing needs, which can be met by following a singular schedule. But be wise and spend time learning the exact care routine for each one of them. 

Some plants are light feeders, and some are heavy feeders, but with the fertilizer schedule, we will take care of them all. 

It will feed both heavy feeders and light feeders without overfeeding them.

Start by feeding your houseplants as the spring arrives. This is when the days get longer, and the plants are shifting to their active period. They need food to fuel prolific growth as the growing period begins.

For granular fertilizer, use half the amount recommended in the instructions. During summer, use them once a month or two, depending on the plants you are feeding.

For liquid fertilizer, dilute the food to half the strength. During summer, apply weekly or monthly.

Minimize fertilizing the plants as the fall season begins in your region.

When the dormant period starts(In winters), stop fertilizing them altogether. If you keep feeding your houseplant during this time, you could end up killing them.


If you are looking to buy a lot of houseplants to brighten up your space and that too on a budget, try out Cellardoorplants. They offer a wide variety of plants, delivered right to your doorstep, and that too for every budget. If you haven't checked them yet, Try them now!


How do I keep my indoor plants upright?

Some indoor plants grow upright, and some may lean as soon as they grow in height, for which they need assistance to stay upright.

Early summer would be the right time to give your plant a prune. Pruning at this time will help the plant to heal and grow better.

To fix this issue, you can do the following:

  1. Prune the plant from the top. This will promote side growth.
  2. Support the plant using stakes.

1. Prune the plant from the top.

Observe your plant and look at its structure. Check for areas of the possible new extension. Typically that happens where the leaf meets the stem.

Clip the plant judiciously to promote new growth. For example, clip just before the leaf joint or cut adjacent to the principal stem for larger items. 

Know your plants before pruning them. If they grow from the tip, then you can simply cut the top part of the plant.

2. Support the plant using stakes.

Another way to keep your plants upright is by using a single stake. This is the best option for baby plants or those which are not too tall.

You can easily find a wooden stake, bamboo stakes, plastic stakes, etc. Dig a stake up to 6 inches deep into the soil. Tie the stake using a plastic plant tie about one-third of the way up the plant. 

Some plants may need more support to stay upright. A single stake may not do the work. In this case, you can use multiple stakes to support your plant.

A quick few tips to remember and follow to keep your plant even in a better condition

  • Provide your houseplants with sufficient and suitable lighting to promote their growth.
  • Spray your plant with a pest oil or neem oil solution once a month to keep pests at bay.
  • Fertilize your indoor plants in the growing season.
  • You can occasionally clean the leaves with a damp cloth to help them breathe better.
  • Watering your plant right is essential, do not over-water them.

Sources: College of agricultural studiesUniversity of Vermont.