Why Plant Stems Lean Over and How to Fix it

Hey Judy!

This is my darling Obsidian. I rescued Obsidian almost a year and a half ago, but have never known exactly what kind of plant she is. This past summer she really started flourishing! I gave her some fresh soil, and shortly thereafter these two new sprouts popped up. A little before repotting the soil she started leaning, while the repotting helped temporarily, you can see that she’s leaning again. Can you advise me if repotting in a larger pot might solve the issue of leaning? At the time that I added new soil, her root system wasn’t very extensive, so I didn’t think a larger pot was necessary. I’ve also seen recommendations of adding a support system (a stick to fasten her to), but would like to get to the bottom of why it’s happening in the first place.Also, do you happen to know what kind of plant she is? She seems similar to a dracaena, but the leaves differ greatly.

Cheers,
Serena

 

Hi Serena,

Obsidian is a Chinese Evergreen “Silver Queen.” Usually, when plants start to lean in that way, it indicates that they are growing towards the light. Since I don’t know what the room looks like, could that be happening with your plant? If you think that’s the case, just turn the plant 90°, so the leaning stem is facing away from the window or light source. It will gradually straighten itself as it reaches for the light. Once the stem is straight, give Obsidian a 1/4 turn once a week to keep it upright.

Another option is to cut off the top 2/3’s of the stem and root it in water. Once it is well rooted, you can plant it back into the original pot, or start a new plant. The stem you cut will become full and bushy, and the two baby plants will grow a lot more quickly.

Learn why the stems of plants lean over and how to fix the problem at houseplant411.com

Keep a Chinese Evergreen plant in a small pot so the soil can dry out quickly and the roots are not constantly wet. This helps prevent root rot. Move the plant to the next size pot once the roots have filled the existing pot.

You can read all my care tips for a Chinese Evergreen plant in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.

https://www.houseplant411.com/houseplant/chinese-evergreen-how-to-grow-care-tips

These plants are poisonousPlants are a great addition to homes and offices, but it’s important to know whether your plants are dangerous to children, pets, or even adults. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing. Touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations. The weight and age of the human or pet involved, and the part and amount of plant eaten determine how severe the reaction to the toxins will be. Although plants may be listed as non-toxic, they can still cause individual allergic reactions. If there is any question after a houseplant has been ingested or touched, immediately call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222.  More poisonous houseplant information and pictures of common plants that are dangerous to children and pets can be found in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants so please keep them away from small children and pets.