Bent Plant Leaf : Causes and Easy Fixes


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Leaves can be bent because of either environmental or physical causes. They can be unsightly and in many cases can be repaired with the right methods.

To repair a bent leaf, it must be supported so that the midrib can continue to transport water and nutrients to the leaf. The midrib contains the xylem and the phloem and runs from the base to the apex of the leaf. Support of the leaf can be done using a simple skewer which holds the weight of the leaf while it heals.

When a leaf becomes bent it can eventually die from the lack of nutrient and water transport unless you intervene.

In this article, we have outlined the different scenarios in which a leaf can be bent and the method to repair the leaf in each event. 

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purvied for stronger leaves

Repairing Bent Plant Leaves

Anatomy of a leaf

Leaves can bend because of one of these two factors

  1. Environmental Causes
  2. Physical Trauma

Repairing a bent plant leaf will depend on whether the leaf was bent because of environmental conditions that the plant is subjected to or if it’s subjected to some type of trauma like a fall or a pet playing rough around it.

Leaf Bending because of Environment causes

Bent leaves on your plants can be a sign of overwatering, underwatering, or too much exposure to sunlight. Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to repair the damage and get back to thriving!

Let’s take one of our favorite plants, for example, the famous peace lily.

Have you ever seen an under-watered peace lily? Whenever it is not watered properly its leaves begin to bend and droop and the plant does this in response to a lack of water. Once watered, the plant returns back to its normal self.

Fixing A Bent Leaf Caused by Underwatering

This is the first step in fixing a bent leaf. Just add water. 

You can also try the bottom watering method. We would recommend this type of watering for plants since it allows for water to evenly be absorbed and distributed throughout the soil in the plant pot without overwatering.

See our detailed article here on how to bottom water.

Secondly, if you notice that your plant’s leaves are beginning to bend you should take a look at where it is situated. 

The plant is probably just getting way too much sunlight than it should. Not all plants require direct sunlight and if a plant that is not adapted to receiving such sunlight is subject to the hot sun for long then it will go into defense mode.

The leaves will begin to bed and curl in order to save valuable moisture to prolong its life.

Fixing A Bent Leaf Caused by Low Light

All you have to do is just place the plant in an area of indirect sunlight for some time and allow it to destress and voila, the plant is back to normal again.

Providing balanced lighting is crucial, and we have found an effective and durable artificial grow light on amazon that provides the right spectrum of light to get the job done. You can find it by clicking here.

grow light

Leaf Bending because of Physical Trauma

Repairing a broken leaf

If a leaf is bent or broken because it was done deliberately or bent by a playful pet or a fall, there is still a chance that the leaf will recover.

Here’s why- 

The midrib of the leaf supports the veins and the other parts that make up the leaf. It acts as the spine of the leaf and it houses the xylem and the phloem which are responsible for the transport of water and nutrients to and from the leaf.

A leaf is considered bent or broken when the midrib is distorted. This will give the leaf a characteristic bent shape.

The leaf, however, can be repaired if the midrib of the leaf is not completely severed. If this happens then the rest of the leaf will not be able to get the nutrients it needs and it will start to yellow and die.

With an unsevered midrib, a simple repair can be done similar to healing a broken bone in a human.

Fixing A Bent Leaf Caused by Trauma

Here is a simple method you can use to help save the leaf

  1. Cut a skewer or a stick similar in size
  2. Align the skewer with the midrib
  3. Stick a few pieces of tape perpendicular to the skewer to hold it in place
  4. Allow the leaf to rest
  5. Water the plant and just give it some time to heal.

A word of Caution –

This will work on plants with larger leaves like a snake plant, monstera deliciosa, and fiddle leaf fig.

With plants with smaller and densely populated leaves like a spider plant, it will be more feasible to just remove the bent or broken leaf.

It may seem harsh, but we recommend this for a reason. The leaves that are not helping to create food for the plant will end up just using beneficial nutrients that could have been supplied to the healthier leaves.

How to Fix Bent Aloe Vera Leaves 

Aloe vera leaves are different from a normal plant leaf. Aloe vera leaves bending is a very common problem you may face if you are growing it indoors

Each leaf is composed of three layers: 

An inner clear gel that contains 99% water and rest is made of glucomannans, amino acids, lipids, sterols, and vitamins.

The middle layer of latex is the bitter yellow sap and contains anthraquinones and glycosides. 

The outer thick layer of 15–20 cells is called a rind which has a protective function and synthesizes carbohydrates and proteins. 

Aloe Vera plant leaves bending due to low light, fungal diseases, and low temperature. 

However, the most common cause for an aloe vera leaf to bend is low light which we will explore further.

If the aloe vera plant is accustomed to indoor conditions do not place it in full sunlight in an attempt to rectify the problem. The plant will get burnt or scorched.

Instead, place the plant outside in indirect sunlight and allow it to recover. After that, some direct sunlight for a short period will do fine until it recovers fully.

Another reason why your aloe vera will bend is because parts of the plant are not seeing sunlight. Indoor lighting from the sun and from artificial lights will only provide light to only part of the plant since the source is often fixed.

A simple fix is to rotate the plant periodically to prevent leaves from bending and leaning.

See our detailed article on Rotating houseplants and its Benefits.

I will share with you “Pot Shots” which is the fertilizer I also use on my plants that allows them to grow healthy and strong leaves. You can find it by clicking here!

How to fix a bent plant steam

To fix a broken stem we have a straw method that works like a charm. 

Method 1:

Repairing a broken stem
  1. Using a straw that is about the same thickness as the plant stem, cut the straw to about 2 inches in length.
  2. Split the straw down the middle
  3. Wrap the straw around the stem so that it supports the stem and the weight of the leaves.
  4. If the straw is bending with the weight you can wrap the straw and the stem with a piece of tape.

Method 2:

This method is similar to fixing a bent plant leaf which also involves supporting the bent stem

  1. Cut a skewer or a stick similar in size
  1. Align the skewer with the midrib
  1. Stick a few pieces of tape perpendicular to the skewer to hold it in place
  1. Allow the leaf to rest
  1. Water the plant and just give it some time to heal.

Remember:

The primary purpose is to support the stem like you would with a broken arm.

What plants are susceptible to having bent leaves

There are many plants that are subjected to such an unfortunate condition. However, it is more pronounced in plants with larger leaves or longer blade shape leaves.

Plants that are more susceptible are:

  1. Monstera Deliciosa
  2. Fiddle Leaf fig
  3. Snake Plant
  4. Spider plant
  5. Aloe Vera
  6. Bromeliads
  7. Dracaena
  8. Alocasia cucullata
  9. Peace lily 

The Takeaway

Having a bent leaf can be unsightly and can hurt to see the plant you care for under such trauma. 

Plant leaves can be bent due to environmental factors such as under or overwatering or even too much sunlight. Apart from this, a plant leaf can bend if the plant is hit by a playful pet or if it fell from a height.

Repairing the leaf is simple and requires the leaf to be supported in some way to give it enough time to heal itself. This is more feasible with larger leaves.

With smaller leaves like those on a spider plant, where the leaf density is high, you should just remove the leaf which will be more beneficial to the plant.

JayLea

JayLea has a passion for plants and has been gardening since 2015. He has valuable knowledge about gardening and houseplant care and can answer everyday practical questions that every plant owner has.

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