Unfortunately, it is common to see plants that have bent or appear to be in poor condition with stems or branches that are not straight. On some occasions, certain species or varieties bend naturally, since that is their size, while on others, it can pose a problem that threatens the health and development of the plant.
If you are wondering why plant stems are bent and want to learn how to repair a plant stem, join us in this article.
Lack of light
There are cases in which a stem can be bent due to a lack of light. We tell you what happens depending on whether the plant is young or mature.
Lack of light in young plants or seedlings
When a young plant or a newly germinated seedling is in its early stages of growth, it always seeks sunlight to be able to photosynthesize and generate nutrients. However, if it is in an environment where there is not enough light, the plant will grow abnormally fast, stretching as long as it can in search of access to a greater amount of light.
This phenomenon is popularly known as threading and it is very common to occur, especially in seedlings. Why especially in seedbeds? We normally resort to this method of germination and cultivation when we want to plant species earlier than the climate would commonly allow, growing them indoors under warmer, sheltered or controlled conditions. However, precisely because of this, it is common that the seedbeds do not always receive all the light they need, since in an indoor crop it is easier for there not to be enough light.
Seeds normally contain enough energy for a plant to develop during its early stages, but if the plant is forced to overgrow in search of light, these nutrients will not be enough, and the plant will eventually buckle under its own weight and die.
If you notice that the seedlings in your seedbed or any other young plant grow abnormally elongated, with a stretched and thin stem, weak in appearance, you should immediately change the location of the plant so that it receives sufficient light or, if this is not possible, install a plant bulb.
Lack of light in mature plants
It can also happen that a more mature plant shows deformations due to lack of sun or because it affects it irregularly. When this happens, look at the stem of the plant: if it grows crooked in a certain direction from its base, it is not a problem, but if it twists only from a certain height, it is very likely that it is a lack of light. It can happen even to plants that apparently receive enough light, but if they are always oriented in the same direction, branches and stems in the shade can end up twisting looking for the sun.
Lack of water
If you don’t water your plants enough or the plant has some other problem that prevents the roots from absorbing water properly, such as soil that drains it too quickly or some problem with the roots themselves, the plant will quickly weaken.
A plant without enough water will not have the nutrients to form strong, thick stems. Weakened stems will eventually buckle under the weight they bear. In these cases, the plant will need immersion irrigation to revive it if it is in a pot or an abundant and frequent one outdoors.
If you are still wondering “why is my plant falling to the side?” because you think none of the above causes fit, maybe this one does.
If you sow many seeds close together, the small seedlings will compete to grow first to gain access to light before their competition. This accelerated growth can eventually lead to consequences similar to those of threading, which is why more than 2 or 3 seeds are never sown together and, when these begin to germinate, the smallest are eliminated and only the strong ones are left.
What happens if the stem of a plant bends
When a stem bends, if it was holding fruit, flowers, or a large number of leaves, it will probably fall to the ground. In the soil, in contact with the more humid earth, it is very likely that rotting problems appear, which can end up spreading to the rest of the plant. In the same way, a bent stem can be damaged by the mechanical stress suffered and even break, being necessary to prune it in case of serious damage.
Some species, however, such as tomatoes, aubergines, or peppers, can see their stems bent by the weight of their fruits, but this does not necessarily pose a problem: you can lightly bury the bent stems and they will develop roots.
How to straighten a plant
We give you some tips to lift the stem of a plant that bends:
- If you’re dealing with lack of light straining, the only thing you can do is move your plants to a new location with more light so it can correct itself before it becomes too severe.
- In the case of pots that receive light only on one of their faces, it will be enough to turn them every 3 or 4 days , so that the solar incidence is compensated without problems.
- In the case of climbing plants or with stems bent due to the weight of their fruits, it is best to use a plant tutor . In fact, many species need it. Drive it into the ground at a distance of between 2 and 10 cm depending on how much the planted species is going to grow and help the plant to grow by leaning on it.