What Keeps a Plant from Breaking or Falling

An important question we hear often is what keeps plants from breaking or falling?

You are all aware that plants not only improve the appearance of a room, but they also provide several other advantages.

We’ve all experienced how relaxing a stroll around the park can be when you need to clear your mind.

Time we spend outside surrounded by natural vegetation helps us relax, improve the clarity of our thoughts and reduce our mental fatigue.

As a result, humans have a natural attraction for plants that dates back to our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

We aim to have some plant life in our contemporary city homes in all ways possible.

Some people grow new plants in their backyards, while others keep flower gardens or even grow a vegetable gardens.

The majority of individuals keep some type of indoor plant to brighten up their homes.

There are occasions when houseplants will break or tumble over. This is a common problem so you’ll be relieved to learn that you’ve come to the right place.

Keeping plants from breaking or falling is a concern people may have in their homes, office, or school. Below are some ideas and tips to keep your plants standing tall and sturdy.

What Happens When Plants Break Down?

If it weren’t for plants, the sun’s energy would be practically worthless for animal existence.

Plants photosynthesize to provide vital nutrients that all non-plant life relies on as autotrophs (organisms that manufacture their nutrition).

When a plant dies, the nutrients it contains are stored up in its cell walls.

So, how does it become available? Animals, fungi, and microbes are the answers! Insects, worms, and millipedes are among the invertebrates that consume the decaying plant matter.

These critters, known as detritivores, help break up big pieces of a plant into tiny bits, allowing fungus and bacteria to complete the decomposition process.

When a limb falls from a tree and lands on the ground, a swarm of beetles, termites, and other creatures descend on the dead plant matter.

As the detritivores eat the dead plant and excrete what they can’t consume, the waste (known as frass) provides the perfect food for aerobic bacteria, which may then work their magic and liberate even more nutrients.

Detritivores are rewarded for their hard effort of converting large dead things into smaller dead things by being eaten by other animals.

As a result, most of the nutrients locked up in the dead plant are released back into the food chain.

Invertebrates, in particular, play an important role in converting plant materials (living or dead) into protein, which keeps creatures higher up the food chain alive, from birds to humans.

Naturally, we can’t discuss dead plants and decay without mentioning fungus! Fungi, the ultimate decomposers, are essential to the recycling of nutrients back into the environment. Saprotrophs are fungi that devour dead matter.

Fungi, like mammals, are heterotrophic, which means they can’t make their food and must eat other things to exist.

Saprotrophic fungus achieves this by dissolving the cell walls in plant material using enzymes and then absorbing the nutrients released.

Fungi are highly good at breaking down lignin, the stiff substance that builds up plant cell walls.

When a tree died 400 million years ago, it would fall where it stood and scarcely break down.

Trees began to disintegrate some 300 million years ago, and researchers discovered that this was around the time “white-rot fungus” developed the capacity to break down lignin.

Interestingly, in the same period, coal formation was considerably decreased!

Aerobic bacteria, which require oxygen to live, conduct the fine job of finishing the breakdown process.

They devour the carbon and nitrogen that remains after detritivores and fungi have broken things down; thus, like every other living creature, they produce trash!

Bacterial excrement, it turns out, contains crucial plant nutrients like magnesium and phosphate.

Anaerobic bacteria take over the decomposition process in an environment with little oxygen, such as a landfill where rubbish is compacted, and produce waste products like methane gas that aren’t as helpful (and can even be poisonous) to plants and other animals.

Find a dying wood and gently flip it over the next time you’re outside.

Plenty of creatures, fungi, and bacteria dwell beneath the soil surface, consuming the organic matter and going about their business — and assisting everyone else!

What Causes Plants to Fall?

Have you ever wondered why certain plants seem to fall over during their growth process? If so, we will look at how and why it happens.

Heavy Fruit Loads

Heavy loads of fruits on crops like tomato plants, for example, might reach the point of unsupported branches tearing off.

By the end of the season, heavy loads can cause pepper and eggplant branches to become brittle and easily snap.

When selecting pepper and eggplant fruit off the vines, it’s essential to avoid merely pulling the fruit. When picking these fruits, make careful to use pruners or a knife to avoid breaking.

Hail Damage

Corn, eggplant, pepper, squash, and tomato plants are more susceptible to damage from strong wind and torrential rain.

Corn plants that have been impacted and become bent will not grow straight again. Hail may rip and even shatter plant leaves and stems.

Large and tall plants equally require assistance to avoid storm damage.

Plants with a large load of fruits or ears are twice as likely to be damaged by hail. Stakes or cages should be used as plant supports for pepper, tomato, and eggplant plants.

Corn plants may be supported by spacing fence posts around them and running parallel lines of strong twine from post to post.

This keeps the outer plants sturdy which helps them shield the inner plants.


When potato plants fall over you might panic and think it is the end for your plant.

But you would be happy to hear that there are several possible reasons for this phenomenon.

Why would your potatoes be falling over? Potato plants falling over is a sign they are ripe and now ready to be harvested.

They also fall over if they get tall due to too much fertilizer like nitrogen.

Natural causes such as watering, heat, and pests can result in them falling over. Sometimes this can happen without any potatoes being produced.

To find out if the potatoes are reaching maturity, you just have to dig to see if there are tubers under your plants yet.

If they are already mature then there is no need to worry when they fall over. On the other hand, if they aren’t mature yet, you have to look into the reason they’re falling over.


When large trees fall it’s always a surprise to homeowners. Since they’re so big and sturdy we think it would only take a tornado or tsunami to uproot them.

But this couldn’t be further from the truth since a variety of external factors can cause them to break or even fall.

Just like other life on the planet, trees can contract a disease and go through aging and decay as well. As the years go by they also become weak, they’re not immortal after all!

Although some trees can live for up to 200-300 years they also go through an aging process like all other living organisms.

There are many reasons trees could fall over. These include improper planting conditions, poor quality soils, insect infestations, flooding, and others.

Check out the article by American Arborists for more information.

Plants Falling from a Height

Some people store their houseplants on shelves or tabletops. Perhaps you ran out of room or believe that’s the right place for it.

Whatever the reason, there is always the possibility that the plant will fall to the ground.

It may be anything as simple as children playing in the house and accidentally toppling it over.

What matters is how you keep your plant alive, regardless of how it falls. Ultimately its survival depends on a variety of factors which include:

  1. The height at which your plant was placed (fall impact).
  2. The position in which your plant fell (extent of damage).
  3. What kind of soil did you use? (soil quality e.g. sandy soil or clay soil).
  4. Your plant’s size (plant robustness).

The Plant Came out of the Pot

In two cases, the plant comes out from its jar. The first is when the soil has become too dry and the plant, along with the soil structure, falls out.

The other case is when the soil is very loose. Looser soil allows for improved drainage and ventilation.

This is typical for succulents (i.e. cactus plants) that require loose soil to allow for better drainage. In both circumstances, repotting the plants with new potting soil is the next best option.

The Pot was Broken with the Plant

If your plant container survives a fall from any height, you should count yourself lucky. Ceramics, clay, and glass are the materials that break the most when they fall.

The height at which the plant container dropped might sometimes mitigate the harm. The type of flooring might also have a role.

Soft carpets may lessen the force of a fall, however, tiled flooring is a common reason the majority of pots shatter.

Choosing a material for your new pot, such as plastic, increases its chances of surviving a fall.

The Plant was Damaged by the Fall

After a fall, the plant itself may be damaged. This is dependent on how high it was and where it landed.

Occasionally, the plant will absorb part of the impact of the fall. The odds of it being destroyed in some manner are higher here.

To help the plant survive try these:

  • Place the plant in the container upright.
  • Remove any broken leaves (if any).
  • Water moderately and let it rest.

This will allow your plant to recuperate from any stress it may have suffered during the fall. You just have to be patient while it recovers and provides it with the necessary care.

How Do I Re-Pot a Plant?

​​When it’s time to give your plant a new container, or a fresh batch of soil, here’s what you need to know.

You’ll need a plastic pot (make sure it has drainage holes in the bottom), the correct type of soil mix for your plant, some drainage material, and clean scissors and gloves.

This stops air from reaching them and impedes drainage, which can cause the roots to rot.

If your plant is too big to be held in your hands you might need to get it out of its pot. Tap the sides of the pot to loosen the roots and shuffle the pot backward.

If there’s only one hole in the bottom of your pot you can skip this step.

Gently place the plant on top of this soil and fill in the space around your plant with extra compost.

Check out this article to go through the re-potting procedure in greater depth.

How Long Can a Plant Remain on its Side?

In reaction to phototropism, the plant stem will curve as it develops in a perpendicular direction.

The plant will take on the form of a Z. The root will begin to develop downwards while the stem of the plant grows higher. Both movements are examples of development.

The lower side of the shoot develops quicker, whereas the top side of the root grows faster.

This can cause the stem to spin if your plant is not extremely thick, woody, or old, as cell growth happens below the tip as well.

This new growth is mediated by the plant hormone auxin, which is greater on the bottom side of the shoot.

Because it possesses little heavy granules called statoliths inside the tip cells, the root tip recognizes the direction of gravity.

Ways to Support Plants


Certain plants that grow in a specific way require staking to keep them from falling over.

Tomatoes are an excellent example. Without staking their fruit loads, they will naturally grow sideways and fall to the ground.

Other plants with a lot of small stems that tend to be weak or floppy include balloon flowers, baby’s breath, and yarrow.

When in bloom, plants with big flower heads or lengthy flower spikes should be staked.

Plants cultivated in rich soil with plenty of fertilizer and water create abundant vegetative growth with shakier stems.

Growing under such conditions may necessitate staking, although the same species growing under different conditions may not.

The best time to stake plants is in their early development stage. When plants are staked ahead of time it can help direct their growth.

This also promotes a more vibrant floral show and protects the flowers from harm during storms or windy weather.

Plant Staking Guidelines

Bamboo, wood, and even correctly sized reeds are common materials for stakes.

Stakes should be approximately 6 inches shorter than the mature plant to avoid interfering with the beauty of the flower.

When the plants are a third of the way through their development, begin staking them by inserting stakes near to the plants and being cautious not to harm the root structure.

Plant stems should be tied to stakes in numerous locations with rope, rubber band, or other non-cutting materials.

For increased stability, young plants with delicate stems can be supported by a framework of strings and wooden stakes.

To secure the stem, knot the plant with a double loop, the first loop looping around the plant and the other around the stake.

Never use the same loop for both. This results in the wire girdling the stem and the plant hanging to one side.

As the stem becomes longer, add more ties as necessary.

Moss Poles

For your houseplants, moss poles offer a hip alternative to staking. Epiphytes include a wide range of houseplants.

Epiphytes are creepers or vines that rely on other plants or trees to reach the sunlight at the top.

Moss poles have a bark-like texture and provide support for your plants’ aerial roots as they grow higher.

They also allow you to train plants that grow broadly into an upright, narrow shape that fits nicely in small places.

Without a moss pole, your plant would grow whichever way. Nothing wrong with that but it would limit your choices of where you can place it.

Moss plants provide benefits such as:

  • Your plant takes up less room (it grows vertically rather than spreading to the sides).
  • You have more options for where you may put it.
  • You have control over the plant’s form.
  • You might like the fresh look of your plant.


Cages can also be used to keep plants from toppling over. You may safeguard the plants by removing the cages from the plants.

Cages can also shield your plants from animals and the damage they can cause. They serve as an effective barrier for young, newly established plants.

These cages are suitable for both outdoor and indoor use.

Tomato cages support the weight of the crop and allow tomato plants to climb upwards as they mature.

Your tomato crop can be extended if you use your cages wisely.

Tomato cages enable the upward growth of the plant.

The heavy fruiting branches require support, and if tomatoes are overgrown, drooping, or forming on the ground, rot or disease can damage a plentiful harvest.

The plant can collapse over or fully shatter under its weight if it is not contained.

After you’ve planted your tomato plants, surround them with a tomato cage. The tomato roots will be able to develop unhindered if the cage is set up early.

When the plant is mature, placing the cage in the soil might cause harm to the tomatoes, roots, and vines.

Tips to Keep Your Plants Happy

Plants make you feel good and improve your general wellness, according to studies.

They have been shown to lower stress, promote productivity, and even improve creativity and emotions.

Plants are living things that need to be taken care of to grow and flourish. Here are some great dos and don’ts to keep your plants healthy:

Use high-quality potting soil

It is always wise to invest in high-quality potting soil. If you use standard garden soil for pots, you run the danger of transferring existing illnesses to your houseplants.

Because they provide a combination of optimum aeration, nutrients, and soil moisture retention capabilities, the ideal potting soil encourages healthy roots.

Check your local nurseries and garden centers for a good range of bagged potting soils, or hunt for a trustworthy provider online.

Indoor plants have varying light requirements

If you’re hoping to add some greenery to your home but aren’t sure where to start, take a look at the light conditions in your space and choose a plant that will thrive there.

For example, if you have a sunny windowsill, cacti and succulents are great options that can tolerate direct sunlight.

If you’re looking for something to spruce up a dark corner, try an aspidistra or ficus tree.

Also, there are variations in light intensity due to the changing of the seasons.

The intensity in early spring would be different in late spring. A rule of thumb is that south-facing windows provide them lots of light than east-facing windows for the ones that prefer indirect light.

Your plants will let you know if they’re getting too little or too much light.

Even if the plant has sufficient water, too much sunlight may turn the foliage dull green to yellowish, and the leaves may wilt.

Plants that do not receive enough light become leggy and less compact.

Never overwater your plants

Many people drown their plants by watering them more than they need. Water should not be poured down the center of the plant since it has no outlet and will sit there.

Stagnant excess water causes root rot, which can kill the plant.

Root rot has two sources, the most common of which are poorly drained or overwatered soils.

Because of too much water, plant roots are unable to absorb all of the oxygen they require to survive.

Even if the damp conditions have been corrected, the rot from the oxygen-deprived roots can spread to healthy roots as they die and decay.

Your best two options are to water from the pot’s base using a saucer. The water seeps through the drainage hole.

Alternatively, mist your plant with an atomizer regularly to help increase the humidity surrounding it.

Succulents and cacti

These two are sometimes confused, as the majority of cacti are categorized as succulents. The fact is that various succulents aren’t cacti.

The most noticeable distinction is that cacti usually have areoles, which are lumps from which spikes or hair develop, but succulents do not.

Because succulents have thick fleshy leaves or stalks, identifying them is not difficult.

Many varieties have rosette-shaped leaves that are closely bunched to conserve water in their native environment.

Plants such as orchids, succulents, snake plants, and bromeliads emit oxygen at night, making them perfect plants for the bedroom.

As there are so many plants to harvest, you could start with an Echeveria, Sempervivum, or even an Aloe Vera plant.

Increase humidity and avoid drafts

The interior environment might be dry and drafty. Plants should be kept away from heating vents, doors, and drafty windows.

Put plants in trays stacked with tiny stones and filled with enough water to increase humidity.

If there is enough light, you may even put them in naturally humid locations like kitchens or bathrooms.

Misting plants boost humidity for a short time and are ineffective, plus they raise the risk of leaf diseases.

We can’t talk about plants without including trees! Shade from trees reduces energy expenses in our homes and towns.

They prevent pollutants and soil erosion while also increasing property values and providing animal habitat.

Not to mention the relaxing effect they have on our daily life. However, they demand attention to grow.

Here are some important pointers for keeping your trees in good shape:


Under the tree’s canopy, apply 2-3 inches of organic mulch, such as a compost pile or grass clippings.

A layer of mulch aids in soil cooling, moisture retention, soil texture improvement, and weed control. Make sure to replace it regularly.

Pruning should be done correctly

Pruning your trees will improve their structure and strength.

It involves making thin cuts (removing entire branches at their origin) as opposed to heading cuts (cutting along the length of a branch).

An arborist or tree-cutting professional should be consulted for big trees.

Keep the roots safe

Vehicles should not be permitted to drive over tree roots. They compress the soil, reducing the amount of oxygen accessible and killing the roots.

Without contacting a qualified arborist, never remove or add to the soil beneath tree canopies.

Keep the trunk safe

Lawnmowers and other machines that collide with trees harm the bark and trunk.

This can damage the tree’s structural integrity while also attracting insects and illnesses.

Young trees are especially vulnerable, but plastic wraps available at nurseries and garden stores can help protect them.

Maintain a 2-3 foot wide grass-free, mulched ring around the tree to go one step further.


We hope that this post has enlightened you on the different elements that cause plants to wilt and die.

You now know how most plant problems are caused by environmental stress, either directly or indirectly.

But most importantly, we hope you can properly care for your plants and watch them grow.

Please leave a comment below if you have any queries about this post or if you believe something in it does not answer your unique situation.

We’d be delighted to assist!

by Brian Moore

Brian is an enthusiastic and experienced gardener, which in time led him to the world of home improvement. He began by learning all about landscaping. Soon he wanted to maximize outdoor spaces in new, exciting ways; for example, by installing gazebos and fire pits. What began as a hobby soon became a side hustle, and eventually, it became his full-time job!