How to Keep Tall Plants From Falling Over

One of your eldest plants has started leaning precariously to the side…what if you wake up one day to find it toppled over!

You don’t want to risk injuring those limbs and having to start all over. 

So, how do you keep tall plants from falling over? Simply put, provide them with external support such as a stake or wire frame! But the main thing you need to recognise is if a plant actually needs support, or repotting. 

Recognize when a plant needs support

There are a few signs your plant-child will give you when they start needing support. It’ll do you well to research the specific plants you have to find out what their projected growth is.

Will your plant grow vertically, horizontally, or cascade over its pot?

A cascading plant, like common ivy, is not going to be going for height so you won’t need to worry about supporting it vertically.

For vertical growing plants, they might need to have some help as they expand upward to prevent an accidental fall. You don’t want to deal with that cleanup!

Signs that a plant needs support:

  • The branches are growing outward and starting to sage
  • Heavy blooms or foliage are drooping down
  • Rapid growth is leading to top-heavy plants

If you notice any of the above behaviours in your plant, or even if you’re just worried it’s time to help out your growing plant, check out one of the varieties of ways you can support a tall plant further below.

Recognize when a plant needs repotting

Another form of caring for your plants and avoiding a dangerous topple is to provide them with enough pot space to accommodate their height and volume.

It makes sense that tall plants will need a wider base of support to keep their balance.

Signs that a plant needs repotting:

  • The new growth is smaller than normal, or the color is off
  • When you water it, the water immediately drains out the pot bottom (could be root bound from cramped quarters!)
  • The plant looks unhappy, or just too large for its pot!
  • The pot tips easily when you move your plant
  • The plant is very top-heavy and the pot is small
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Proper repotting is crucial for the health and stability of your plant! And keep in mind, even if your plant isn’t in dire need of a repotting, it will probably be happy with the change.

Why support and repotting are important

Providing support and repotting plants is an important aspect of indoor plant care. Neglecting plants is easy, and quite sad, but caring for them takes active work. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t need care, you can try a rock garden instead!

Tending to your plant through support will ultimately yield a stronger specimen and encourage new vertical growth. It improves air circulation around the plant and can boost its exposure to nourishing light. Not to mention, it also looks a lot nicer in your living space than a saggy and unhappy plant.

Repotting is a common plant-care task. Some caretakers tend to forget this chore, as it’s not something you’ll do all that often. However, if you expect your plants to last you a long time, repotting them when they need it is essential. It’s a quick fix that comes with a load of benefits for your little botanical friend.

A fresh pot provides a new soil medium for better water retention and nutrition. It will give the roots ample space to avoid root binding. But make sure it’s free of pests and unwanted guests. A larger pot also ensures that there is enough weight at the base of your plant to decrease the risk of toppling!

Support Ideas

Let’s get to it! Here is a roundup of ideas for different ways you can provide external support to your tall plants.

Stakes: 

A simple straight pole (very cheap and obtainable at hardware stores) is the best choice for plants with main stems, like a fiddle leaf fig or orchid plant. Gently press the stake into the soil at the base of the plant stem.

It should feel sturdy. Tie the plant to the stake with soft fabric pieces or thin wire twists. Don’t tie it too tight! You want to give your plant some room to grow.

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Tip: you can paint the stakes to match your decor or blend in with your plant.

Moss pole:

This is perhaps the coolest looking support. It’ll blend right in with the rest of your greenery. You can find these speciality supports at local garden centres and they will come in various shapes and sizes.

The moss will need regular misting, but this might be a good way to provide your plant with extra humidity. This option is nice for grip climbing plants that will support themselves with little tying.

The downside of this option is that it might take up more room in your pot than a thinner stake. Keep that in mind when planning out your plant’s support type.

Cages:

A small wire cage is a great choice for tall flowers with heavy blooms or voluptuous stem groups that are drooping over. Think thinner stemmed plants with thick foliage or indoor potted vegetables like tomatoes.

A cage is a nice alternative to staking for those plants that have a bit more volume to them and you’re worried about having to tie them to a single pole.

Wire shapes:

This option is for the creepers out there, like jasmine! Purchase a roll of chicken wire and cut it to fit your needs.

Be sure to wear gloves, the cut ends can be sharp.

The nice thing about cheap chicken wire is that if your plant runs out of room on its support, simply cut another piece and continue training!

You can build a wooden frame for your wire shape that sits over the pot or even attaches to it. If you plan on wanting to move the plant around at all, you’ll want something that is easy to pick up.

Now go gather up the supplies you need and get to supporting! A plant will give you signs it’s ready for support, but it won’t tell you when it’s going to take a tumble, so when in doubt: add support.

Simple repotting method

When your plant is ready to move to its new pot home, you can use the below steps. But first, obtain a pot that is at least one size larger than its current one (but don’t get one that’s way too big), and a bag of fresh potting mix. Now you’re ready!

  1. Prepare your new pot: you can add a layer of gravel to the bottom if you’re plant needs extra drainage. Scoop in some potting mix and leave room for your plant.
  2. Remove the plant from its original pot with care. You may need to loosen the sides first.
  3. Brush off some of the old potting soil that’s stuck around the roots. Trim any dead looking roots and loosen them up a bit with your hand.
  4. Nestle your plant into the new pot and begin scooping potting mix around the sides of the root. Continue layering on the soil until it’s even with the base of the plant stems
  5. Gently pack the soil down at the base of the plant and give it a nice drink of water.
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Check to make sure that this pot base feels nice and sturdy for your tall plant. You can add support at this point too! There’s no saying you can’t both repot a plant and offer external support at the same time.

Maintenance and Care

Keep a keen eye on your plants after you add support or complete a repotting.

You want to make sure they remain healthy and avoid any issues, this is where the right water can play a role as well.

For example, check the tie-offs on a staked plant. If the tie is too tight or rubbing the stem raw, something needs to change.

Likewise, for a repotted plant, make sure the leaves continue to have a good color and the new pot isn’t draining too fast.

Continue to mind the needs of your plant and check for stability every week or so, especially for fast-growing plants. Some plants might need more support maintenance than others!

It’s All In The Green

Great work! You’ve done some good caring for your plant babies. They’ll thank you by providing you soothing scenery and clean air to breathe. With plenty of headspaces to grow, they’ll continue to thrive under your nurturing watch.