Plant Fell Over? Methods to ensure it survives


Share this article

It can be a stressful situation when a plant falls over. This situation may be different when the plant is grounded to when it’s suspended or on a shelf and knowing what to do is critical to the plant’s survival.

When a plant falls over there are a number of things which you can do to ensure that it survives. This may include repotting with a nutrient-rich potting mix and watering lightly. The key is to minimize the trauma caused to the plant. Fall prevention will include supporting the plant with stakes, moss poles, and cages.

In this article you will find:

  • What happens if the plant fell from a height 
  • What happens if a floor plant falls over
  • What you can do in both situations to save the plants life

I use this Miracle-Gro Potting Mix from amazon, which ensures my plants stay healthy long after repotting. You can find it by clicking here.

Plants on Height Falling Over with Solutions

plant fell over

Now whenever a plant on a height falls there are a number of things that can happen to the plant. 

The survival of the plant can depend on:

  • Height at which plant is situated
  • Position in which the plant fell
  • Soil type the plant is in
  • The size of plant that fell
The SituationThe Impact
The height the plant was sitting at Greater height greater the impact
The position on which it fell Either the plant or the pot can get damaged
The quality of soil in the pot Looser soil will come out of the pot easily
The size of plant that fell Larger plants have a greater chance of survival

The Plant Came out of the Pot

In this scenario, the dryness of the soil is the main reason for the entire plant and soil structure leaving the pot.

The plant can easily come out of the pot if the soil in the pot is too loose. Looser soil will have greater drainage and aeration. This is very typical for Succulents, which require loose well-draining soil. 

Loose soil can also be a sign of underwatering or soil compaction where the soil shrinks and pulls away from the sides of the pot. The overall mass of the soil is not held by the pot making it easy to be removed.

Learn more about soil compaction in our detailed article on why soil pulls away from the pot.

The Solution: The plant Should be repotted using new or amended potting soil.

The Pot was Broken with the Plant

Most plant pots may not be able to survive a fall from any height. Ceramic, glass and terracotta pots are the most vulnerable when it comes to falling from heights.

The height at which the pot fell can also reduce the amount of damage the pot may sustain. Additionally, the type of floor beneath can also be a factor. Porcelain or tiled floors can cause most pots to break apart upon impact.

If the plant is in a plastic pot the chance of the pot surviving the fall greatly increases. 

The Plant was Damaged from the Fall

The plant can be damaged from a fall depending on the height as well as the position at which it fell. If the plant itself cushions the full impact of the fall then there is a great chance that it would have sustained some sort of damage.

In such cause, you should, 

  • Place the plant upright in the pot
  • Remove any broken leaves (if any)
  • Water lightly and allow to rest

This would allow the plant to overcome any stress sustained from the fall. You just have to play the waiting game and provide the necessary care for the plant as it recovers.

If the stem was broken due to the fall I suggest you have a read of my article on How to fix a bent plant leaf and stem as well as the article what you can do if the leaf is torn.

What Can Cause a Standing Plant To Fall Over?

Wind, sunlight, and water from the tap can cause your plant to fall over.

1. Lack of Sufficient Sunlight:

After a seed germinates and you start seeing it poke out of the soil, it needs to get its leaves facing the sun. 

Some plant species require bright direct sunlight for their proper growth and health. The stem of the plants will point the leaves towards the sun so they are able to catch as much sunlight as possible.

However, if you are growing your plants under artificial lights which are not bright enough, the plants will grow sideways, resulting in falling to one side completely. 

If you are growing plants in a pot make sure that they get enough sunlight, if sunlight is not enough, your plants may fall over. Plants will always lean toward the light. 

Plants in pots sprout just below the soil and do not have strong enough roots yet to hold the plants upright. With adequate light, it is easy for plants in the pot to grow strong, compact seedlings.

Make sure that you use fluorescent bulbs. You can use artificial light for plants, for example, T5 lighting. 

It works best for seedlings but it is not necessary to invest that kind of money for a few plants. You can place artificial lights near plants as they don’t give off heat.

2. Watering From Top:

Watering can also cause the plants to fall over. The plants that have tiny roots are mostly affected by water from the top of the plant. Always water tiny plants from the bottom. 

Putting extra soil around the roots occasionally when plants fall over in your greenhouse can help to solve this problem. 

If that doesn’t help in solving the problem then give them something to bend against. You can use a popsicle stick as a small support plant. 

You can try the bottom watering method which works well and prevents overwatering.

3. The Plant has Become Leggy:

Plants that become leggy or floppy tend to fall over, produce fewer flowers and create an untidy spindly appearance.

A leggy plant will also tend to have elongated stems such that the plant itself cannot support its own weight as it grows. As a result, the plant tips and falls over.

Plants known for being leggy are tomato plants and monsteras. Much of the legginess in these plants are caused by improper lighting conditions where the plant has to grow in search for the light or there is too much light for the plants to grow.

Tomato plants in the garden are often affected by legginess and fall over because of lengthy lighting periods caused by porch and street lights. Read our detailed articles on how porch lights and street lights affect plants.

How To Prevent a Standing Plant from Falling Over?

Even healthy plants when they grow taller need support. You can use different methods to prevent your potted plants from falling over. 

Let us discuss some of the most effective ways to prevent your favorite plants from falling over.

Moss Poles: 

The very first thing that can firmly support your plants when they grow taller is the moss poles. 

Moss poles will prevent your plants from falling over and add vibrance to your garden as well. 

There are a variety of shapes and sizes in moss poles so it will be easy for you to find one according to your requirements. 

In addition to giving firm support, moss poles can create a humid environment for your plants as well. 

However, You have to keep watering your moss poles so that they can continuously provide humidity to your plants. 

See the helpful article on how to keep a moss pole moist.

Moss poles work best for plants with weak shoots and heavy leaves such as climbing plants. Our moss pole guide will help you learn how to properly use moss poles when supporting your plants.

If you would like a cost-effective moss pole that works well. You can find it by clicking here!

The Blooming Jungle 24 Inch Moss Pole - 2 Coco Coir Poles

Stakes: 

Another option that you can use to prevent your potted plants from falling over is the use of stakes. 

Stakes are made from wood or metal and can be pressed into the soil from a pointed end near the plants. 

Put the stake several inches away from the stem. Push it in the ground about 3 to 6 inches, enough to make it sturdy. 

You can use a piece of wire or cloth to tie the plants with the stakes so that they could have a spot to grow upward without falling over. 

Make sure that you don’t put it on too tight. Keeping it loose is ideal as the stem is still growing and you don’t want to injure the plant. One can easily find stakes in a local garden center.

Here are some painted stakes meant not to take away from the beauty of your plant. You can find it here.

Cages: 

One can also use cages to protect their plants from falling over. And for that, you can put the cages out of the plants to protect them. 

Cages can also protect your plants from the animals and damage caused by them. They work as a great barrier for young new plants that are trying to establish.

I have found these cages that work well both in the garden and indoors. 

How Long Can a Plant Remain on its Side?

The plant stem will curve as it grows in a perpendicular direction in response to phototropism. The plant will suppose a kind of Z shape. 

The shoot will grow upwards and the root will start to grow downwards.

Both movements are growth phenomena. In the shoot, the lower side grows faster, and in the root, the upper side grows faster. 

If your plant is not very thick and woody or old, this can cause the stem to turn as cell expansion occurs also below the tip. 

The plant hormone auxin mediates these growth phenomena, and in the shoot, the auxin levels are higher on the lower side.

The tip of the root knows the direction of gravity because it has small heavy granules called statoliths inside the tip cells.

Both gravity and sunlight play a crucial role in controlling the direction of shoot growth. Furthermore, roots can grow toward moisture even if water is found sideways to gravity.

Consider Repotting in The Larger and Heavier Container:

When you notice your plants falling over, repot them into a new pot. A plant can fall over as well if its root does not get enough space to firmly grow in there. 

Repotting in the new containers will let your plant grow healthier and stronger. 

Before repotting the plant, make sure to have a pot larger than the previous one and new potting soil in your hands. 

Steps to Safely Repot The Plant Into New Container:

Here are the steps to safely repot the plant into the larger and heavier container:

  1. Obtain Potting mix. Keep in mind the type of plant that you are repotting; indoor container plants or outdoor plants.
  2. Remove the plant from its old container and use a spoon or chopstick to knock as much of the old soil off the roots as you can and try not to damage the roots. This is messy so you’ll want to do it outside if possible.
  3. You can spread it out in your garden outside. If there are wrinkled and contracted roots that come off when you pull gently, remove them. These are old rotted roots and you’re better off getting rid of them.
  1. Use a pot that is 2 inches larger than the container the plant was in. If the roots were filling up the old pot, get a new pot that leaves an inch of space all around the root ball. Be sure to use a pot that has an open drain hole at the bottom.
  2. Your plant should sit in the new pot such that the top of the root ball is just below the rim. Hold it over the rim of the empty pot to get a sense of the correct height. As you are holding it there, start adding soil with a spoon.
  3. As the soil starts going over the roots, fill in the areas between the roots and the center of the plant using your spoon.
  4. You want to fill in all the areas so that all the roots are contacting the soil. You can gently tamp down the soil with your spoon to remove air pockets but don’t pack it. The roots will need to breathe in there.
  5. Lightly water the plant. Keep the plant out of the direct sun for a week or so. Don’t water it again until the soil has dried out.

NOTE: Allow the plant to sit for a day or two before moving around to prevent transplant shock.

The Takeaway:

To conclude, to save your falling plant, consider buying a moss pole or stakes to provide support. 

Always restrain watering your young plants from the top as it can put pressure on the shoots and leaves, forcing them to fall over. 

Provide enough bright sunlight to your plants for proper growth and healthy development. 

See related article: Dropped your plant – Here’s what you can do to ensure it survives.

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.

Posts to pique your interest