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Broken Plant Stem: Causes and Easy Fixes

Plants don’t always have the strongest stem. If something breaks their outer part, their insides are vulnerable to exposure, which can, in turn, lead to decay and even death.

A Broken plant stem can be caused by weather changes such as strong winds or heavy rainfall. In addition, accidental collisions can cause a plant stem to bend and break, especially if the plant falls over. Smaller plants with soft branches are more susceptible to damage than larger, more established plants.

There are times when a small bump can easily snap one of your plants’ stems. Despite the difficulty in repairing broken plant stems, there are a number of methods that can be utilized to solve this issue. 

In this article, you will find out what other factors can cause a plant stem to break and how you can fix the broken plant stem using different methods.

What Can Cause a Plant Stem To Sever?

Repairing a broken plant stem

Stems are delicate parts of plants and can easily break due to extreme weather conditions, insect infestation, and improper care. 

Insects Eating The Stem:

Pests are the biggest obstacle to the healthy growth of plants. They feed off the plant and damage its roots, stem, flowers, and leaves. 

So, if you are noticing that the stems of some of your plants are breaking off, insect infestation might be the cause of it. 

These insects may have eaten parts of the stem, making it weak. As a result, the stem might not be strong enough to stay straight anymore and break off. 

Accidental Collision:

Another reason for broken stems can be negligence. Stems and branches are weak and vulnerable areas of a plant. They are not hard and can easily tilt or sever due to an accidental collision. 

If you have a garden, you need to pay special attention to not stepping or falling on any plant while moving around the lawn. 

Also, it may be a good idea to educate children on how delicate plants can be to they can be aware and be careful so they don’t break any stems while playing around the yard. 

Strong Winds:

Extreme weather conditions can destroy crops and trees. Garden plants are also affected by them. Strong winds can break the branches and stems of plants. 

So, I recommend keeping your plant in a safe spot where harsh weather conditions do not damage them. 

Playful Pets:

If you have pets in your house, you should keep an eye on them. Pets can run off to your garden and step on your plants. 

They can ruin your lovely garden and result in several broken stems and branches. This site can be dreadful for most gardeners. 

So, I advise keeping pets away from the garden at all times. 

Heavy Rainfall: 

Rainfall can be a good water source for plants, but too much rainfall can destroy outdoor plants. In addition, the pressure from the rain can smash the trunk or stem of your plants. 

Therefore, it is better not to use rainfall as a water source for your outdoor plants. Instead, we recommend placing your plants at a spot where rain can not reach them and watering them regularly to fulfill their water requirements. 

Also, see our detailed post on how to repair bent or broken plant leaves

Can a Bent or Broken Stem Heal Itself?

Like animals, plants have the extraordinary power to heal their broken parts. Most parts of a plant, like roots, leaves, and flowers, regenerate after being destroyed. 

Plants can recover entirely only if the damage is minimal. In this case, the plant will replace or repair the damaged tissue, and the stem will be as good as new with a bit of help.  

Furthermore, if the stem is badly crushed or detached from the plant, it might sometimes repair itself if provided with proper care. 

In other cases, the loss might be irreversible. The stem might not be able to repair itself. Hence, it would be better to cut the damaged part from the rest of the plant to give way to new growth. 

Ways To Straighten a Bent Stem:

Repairing a broken stem

Here are a few ways to straighten a bent stem: 

Binding the Stem With a Tape: 

Using tape to straighten a bent stem is the first choice for most people. If the stem is lightweight and doesn’t require heavy support to straighten it, you can wrap it with scotch tape, florist tape, or any other form of tape. 

Cut a piece of tape on the basis of the width of the stem and continue to wrap it around the stem until it is entirely straight. The branch should not limp or be slightly bent. It should be like a cast on a broken leg.

Create a Splint:

The most effective method to correct a tilted branch or stem is the splint method. We highly recommend this method for thicker stems and plant stems with more significant bends. You can use pencils, skewers, or other stems to help the bent stem.

To create a splint, take a few equally sized skewers. The size of the skewers should match the size of the stem. Place them along the bent stem to straighten it. Wrap them together with a rope, or you could also use plastic ties.

Fix it With a Narrow Wire or Thread:

Another way to straighten a tilted branch is by using a thin wire or thread. This method is economical and requires little to no effort. All you need is a narrow wire or thread. 

Tie it with the bent stem and suspend it. Remember to keep the stem straight. Doing so will assist your bent stem and keep it from bending until it recovers. 

Propping The Stem:

You can try binding the stem with a hard surface. If the bent is minimal, all you need is a wooden stick or toothpick to assist the stem. The bent stem can lean on the pencil or stick to remain straight. This will provide additional aid to the branch until it fully heals.

Larger or taller plants would require a more rigid support structure for keeping them upright. In many cases, taller plants can be supported by moss poles such as monsters and other climbing plants.

But moss poles may not be suitable for every plant and finding a suitable moss pole alternative like a rigid stick may be more cost-effective and efficient.

How To Mend a Severed Stem? 

If the stem is not entirely detached from the plant, there is a chance that it might recover. The tissue surrounding the split stem might be able to repair the stem. 

You can try the splint grafting method to fix the split stem. This method does not guarantee success, but it is worth a try.

Find a suitable splint according to the thickness of your stem. For example, if the broken stem is of a thin, weak plant, you can use a lead pencil, wooden sticks, straws, or toothpicks as a splint. 

If the shattered stem belongs to a thick, big tree, you might need a more solid, hard surface.

  • Once you have decided on the type of material you want to use, proceed with the method. 
  • Pick the damaged branch pieces and hold them together.
  • Next, place the splint along the edge of the split stem and tape them together using any type of tape. 

You can also use nylon strings or thread if you don’t have a tape. You need to give enough space between the dressing and the stem to heal correctly. 

What To Expect:

Reattaching detached branches and stems doesn’t guarantee its recovery. The splint grafting method might work for some plants, and it might not work for others. 

Smaller plants might not be able to make it through this procedure. The splinting material can rot, and it can also give way for microorganisms to further destroy the stem. 

Bigger tree stems might also not repair as some trees can have exposed cambium. This can cut off the transport of water and nutrition to other parts of the plant, leading to the death of the plant.

How Long Does It Take For a Severed Stem To Heal?

After reattaching the split stem, you need to look after it carefully. It can take about three to five weeks for your branch or stem to heal completely. So, it would help if you were patient and consistent. You will see great results. 

Can You Root a Severed Stem?

Yes, you can root a broken stem. If you have been unsuccessful in repairing a severed branch, you can embed it in soil. 

Plants that can grow from Cuttings:

PhilodendronGeraniums
ZZ PlantBegonia
Chinese Money PlantEnglish Ivy
TradescantiaHoya
Umbrella TreeWax Ivy
African VioletsCreeping Fig
Snake PlantMint
Prayer PlantSage

The rooted stem will not go to waste, and it will grow into a new plant just as beautiful as the initial plant. Following are the steps you need to follow to embed a stem: 

  1. Fill a pot with quality soil packed with nutrients. You can also add fertilizer to increase its nutritional value. 
  2. Take the severed branch or stem and cut off all flowers and buds (if any present) from it. Then, snip the leaves in the lower part of the stem, which will be immersed in soil. 
  3. You can also cut the damaged edge of the branch for better growth in soil. Doing so will prevent rotting. 
  4. Dig a hole in the soil with the help of a wooden stick or pen and put the stem a few inches into the hole. 
  5. Then, pat the soil to harden it around the stem. 
  6. Place a plastic bag on the pot to increase humidity. 
  7. Remember to give your rooted stem enough sunlight and water to grow properly. 

Once the rooted stem grows into a regular plant, you can shift to normal growing conditions. The plant will start sprouting leaves. If the leaves keep on growing, your experiment was a success.

The Takeaway:

Stems and branches lean or break off due to extreme weather conditions, improper care, insects, and playful pets. 

You can straighten the bent branches of the plant by using tape, wire, thread, sprints, etc. It might take a little effort, but most of the methods work. 

It is a gamble when it comes to reconnecting broken or severed branches and stems. It might work, or your effort might end in vain. But you have nothing to lose, so there is no harm in trying. 

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