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How to Fix a Leaning Potted Plant? | 12 Amazing Tips!

Potted plants are fantastic for bringing greenery into your home but keeping them healthy and standing upright can be tricky, especially if you don’t have the greenest thumbs.

Sometimes the lean is so bad that keeping the plant upright can be almost impossible.

But there is no need to worry, and you don’t have to throw your plant away! Because this article entails how to fix a leaning potted plant.

All potted plants lean at some point for several reasons.

There are ways to fix a leaning potted plant and give it a new lease on life. If your plant has started to lean, we have 12 easy tips to correct that.

Let’s learn how to fix a leaning potted plant and get your plant back in its upright position.

How to fix a leaning potted plant
How to fix a leaning potted plant? – Image credit: iStock

Why Are Your Potted Plants Leaning?

Leaning potted plants can be caused by several issues.

A few of them are listed as follows:

  • One reason is that the plant is not getting enough sunlight. If a plant is not getting enough sunlight, it will grow toward the light in an attempt to get more light. It can cause the plant to grow lopsidedly.
  • Potted plants will lean if they are on an incline. You may notice that the foliage is getting heavier for the stem to handle, which causes the plant to lean.
  • Plants may lean in one direction if they do not get enough soil nutrients. If a plant is not getting enough nutrients, it will again grow toward the light in an attempt to increase the rate of photosynthesis.
  • Soil erosion is another factor that causes the plant to grow sideways. As a result of high-speed wind, harsh rains, or other such factors, plants gradually lose their topsoil along with macronutrients and micronutrients. That can also result in wilting.

However, the primary reason for a leaning potted plant is phototropism.

What Is Phototropism?

Plants can’t move and cannot tell you about their comfortable position.

However, their growth patterns give a gardener clues about how a plant feels.

Placing the plant where it receives sunlight only on one side triggers a phototropic response.

So, what is a phototropic response?

The phototropic response is a response of plants to light. The plants are phototropic, which means they depend on light for their survival and turn their leaves or branches towards the light source.

Plants do this in an attempt to find more light when they feel they are not getting enough of it.

As a result, they lean toward the light source.

This phenomenon is called phototropism in plants.

Now that you know what’s causing your potted plants to lean, let’s look at how to fix a leaning potted plant.

How to Fix a Leaning Potted Plant?

Below are the twelve tips to fix a leaning potted plant and give it new life again.

1. Fix Soil Erosion

Soil erosion is the main factor behind a leaning potted plant.

One thing you should do before attempting to fix a leaning potted plant is check for damage in the potting soil.

Plants living in a poor-quality potting mix will have a weaker root system and might droop over.

While selecting the potting mix for your plants, ensure it has a good amount of drainage, neither too wet nor too dry.

If the soil is too damp, there is not enough gap for air, and the roots will rot, which can lead to the potted plant falling over. If the soil is too dry, it will be unable to retain water and nutrients, causing the plant to droop.

2. Add a Layer of Mulch

A layer of mulch on the soil can help prevent soil erosion and, ultimately, lopsided plant growth. Cover the topsoil with organic mulch, i.e., dried leaves, dead branches, wood chips, etc. Go for a mulch type you find suitable for your plant growth and fits your potted plant’s surroundings.

3. Place the Plant in Light Surrounded Area

Finding the right light source for your potted plant is crucial to its health and growth, so if you’re unsure where to put it, you can use a plant light meter to help you get the correct position.

If you cannot turn the plant around because it’s located in a spot that’s difficult to reach, you can use a reflector to help the plant get the sunlight.

Whether it is natural sunlight or LED light, ensure that it reaches your potted plants.

When you place your potted plants in an area where they can get light in all directions, they will grow thicker and straight.

4. Rotate Your Plant to Find the Sunlight

If you have a potted plant leaning towards one side, it means it is not getting even sunlight.

The outdoor plants are surrounded by 360 degrees of sunlight, so they grow straight. In the case of indoor or potted plants, sunlight is not available from all sides.

Usually, potted plants are placed near a window to receive sunlight, but as the light reaches one side of the plant, its phototrophic response activates and starts growing in the same direction.

But the point is, what’s its solution? The simple solution is to rotate your pot regularly.

It would be best to pair up the rotating with the watering schedule so you will not forget to rotate your plant a little every time you water.

It will help the sunlight evenly reach all sides of the plant resulting in normal upside growth.

How to Fix a Leaning Potted Plant
Rotate your potted plants regularly so that they absorb equal light from all sides—Image via Gaelle Marcel.

5. Give Proper Fertilizers

Are you growing your plants in a good potting mix, and are they getting enough light?

If yes, then good nutrition is also essential for a healthy plant.

Therefore, you should also consider the amount of fertilizer that goes into the pot.

Too much fertilizer can burn your plants, so it’s essential to stick with the instructions on the packaging. If your plants lean toward the ground, it could be because they’re getting too much fertilizer, so cut back on how much you’re applying.

They might be top-heavy if you’re regularly feeding your potted plants, and they’re still leaning.

6. Add Weight to Pot’s Bottom

Your potted plant may lean because its root system is weak.

You can help it stay upright by adding weight to the bottom of the pot.

It could be gravel, rocks, or pebbles to add aesthetic appeal to the pot. Make sure whatever you use is clean and won’t contaminate the soil.

If you’re growing your plant in a decorative pot that is too light, such as ceramic, then there is a risk of the pot falling with the leaning plant.

It would be best in such a scenario to add some pebbles to the bottom to prevent it from falling over.

7. Install a Stake and Hook

Another reason that your potted plant is leaning is that it’s top-heavy.

As a solution, you can help it to stand upright by installing a stake and hook at the back of the pot. It will help to keep the plant from falling over.

Choose a decorative stake and hook to blend in with the pot.

You can also take this a step further and install a rod that goes straight through the pot and keeps it upright without the risk of tipping over.

8. Use Moss Pole

Moss poles are synthetic sticks that you can place in the soil of your potted plants to help them stand upright. They work the same way as a stake and hook, except they are softer, more flexible, and can be used on a wide variety of plants.

It will quickly fall over when you have a potted plant, such as a fern, in a pot without anything to support it.

The plant will droop over even if you’ve placed the pot on a table or a stand.

Like the trees, the plant’s roots are looking for something to cling onto.

When you place a moss pole in the soil of a fern, the roots will wrap around the pole, and the plant will stand upright.

Using a moss pole to support your plants can help them to stand upright
Using a moss pole to support your plants can help them to stand upright—Image via Brina Blum.

9. Cages

Hooks stakes or moss poles are not best suited to support multi-stemmed plants.

So, what to do if your multi-stemmed potted plants are leaning? We recommend you invest in wire cages that secure the plant from all sides and help it grow upright. You can buy a wire cage for plants from an online or local gardening store.

If you want to be creative, then a homemade cage does the job well.

It’s easily made by inserting wires in the soil around the plant, making a cage.

10. Prune the Potted Plant

Even after you have tried all the methods and your potted plant is still leaning, and you are stuck asking how to fix a leaning potted plant, don’t worry; we are not running out of solutions yet.

If your potted plant is leaning because it’s top-heavy, you can help it stand upright by gently pruning the top leaves.

Cut away all the leggy and sideway growth of the potted plants. The best time to do this is late autumn.

Pruning the heavy foliage reduces the branches’ weight and keeps the plant standing upright.

It also enhances the plant’s growth; new shoots will grow next spring.

11. Repot in Bigger Container

If your houseplants are leaning to one side, probably it’s because the container is too small, or soil erosion has ceased the root depth.

A growing plant can get rootbound, making it lean as the roots cannot hold it firmly.

That could mean it’s time to repot or give the plant a bigger container because something must be out of whack with its roots.

Remember the following things when you opt to repot your plant:

  • Choose a pot with plenty of drainage holes at the bottom to prevent waterlogging.
  • Bury the stem deeper as it ensures upright plant growth by helping it stand winds and stress.

For our final tip…

12. Keep an Eye on Pests

Potted plants are often susceptible to pests and diseases.

Even if you regularly feed and water your plant, it might still have trouble standing upright.

If your plant is leaning and you’ve checked to ensure the soil is moist and has enough light, it could be that pests or diseases are attacking it.

Spider mites, aphids, and mealy bugs are common pests that can be difficult to spot. If the leaves of your potted plant are wilted and limp, this could signify aphids.

Identifying these pests and diseases early on can save your plant from dying, so check your potted plants regularly for signs of damage.

Here’s a related video for you as well:

How to Keep Plants Straight I Corn, Yucca, Dracaena 📐🌱 – YouTube

That’s all!


Potted plants are a great decorative feature for any home, but they can be tricky to keep upright.

If your plant is leaning, it could be a sign that it is showing a phototropic response. Other reasons may be that the pot is too small, that the soil doesn’t have enough drainage, or that there’s too much fertilizer.

You can help your plant to stand upright again by rotating it to face the sun, pruning the top leaves, installing a stake and hook, or repotting the plant.

Keeping your potted plants upright is crucial to their health and beauty.

So, keep an eye on your potted plants to prevent them from falling over.

Ask away any questions in the comment section below and do let us know which tips work best for you.

Happy gardening!