If you notice your houseplants are leaning in one direction, they may be suffering from uneven light distribution. Rotating your houseplants is a common form of maintenance that can help your plant grow fuller and stronger. Here are the basics of why it’s essential to turn your houseplants regularly and how you can integrate it into your routine to ensure your plant has a long, healthy life.
Outdoor Plants Have an Advantage with the Sun
When a plant is outside, it naturally gets sun from all angles throughout the day. A plant facing north will get sun from the right side of its body in the morning and from the left during the evening. It’ll also get more sun in front of it during the winter and behind it during the summer, resulting in a full 360 degrees of sunlight.
Why You Should Rotate Your Indoor Houseplants
Indoor plants, however, often have limited access to sunlight. If a plant is near a window, it may only have one strong light source. Outside of the window light, a houseplant may get weaker forms of energy from artificial light, which can cause it to grow in an unbalanced way.
Plants naturally grow towards sunlight in a process called phototropism. Phototropism is the same process that forces sunflowers to angle their blooms towards the sun and causes houseplants to grow towards windows. However, plants don’t have muscles, so how do they grow in certain directions?
Angles and Auxin
The structures responsible for plants orienting themselves are called auxins. These cells will grow shorter in bright light and longer in low light, forcing the plant’s stem to curve towards the sun. Over time, this curving can become quite dramatic, causing houseplants to look unbalanced. It can also generate new growth to appear on only one side of the plant.
Seeing evidence of unbalanced growth and resolving the underlying issue is what helps fix plants. Auxins will also grow large if there’s no light at all, making the plant look long and stringy. If auxins grow unchecked, they can make a plant too long, causing it to fall over or even snap under its weight.
Can You Use a Florescent Light?
If you don’t have a good light source in your home, you can replace sunlight with fluorescent light. Many indoor growers use this kind of light to replace the strength and benefits of natural light. Look into a double-bulb light fixture that can hold two 40 watt bulbs. This light fixture can be pretty big, so make sure you have enough space to place this fixture in your home with your plants.
How to Make Rotating Houseplants Easier
Some plants that need plenty of intense light need rotation less often. For example, succulents should be in direct sunlight and possibly won’t need rotation as often as a plant that requires less light. Plants that thrive in indirect light will need rotation more often. You should turn a pothos, a low light plant, at least once a week, if not more frequently, to make sure it’s growing evenly.
A good time to turn your potted plants is when you water them. Make sure to see the needs of your specific kind of plant to ensure you’re not overwatering it. Watering your plant is an excellent opportunity to check all the leaves for any damage and see whether it’s getting the right amount of light. You can also take this opportunity to see if your plant needs any other support, like more fertilizer or repotting.
If you’re not sure how much light your plant needs, a good rule of thumb is to rotate it about once every week. It’s essential to rotate houseplants regularly, and doing it too often won’t cause any stress or damage.
While houseplant care isn’t always complicated, you must get it right for the health of your plants. Having the right light and the correct amount is as essential as giving your indoor plants enough water. Many people don’t have dedicated greenhouses or grow lamps to provide their plants with enough sunlight, so you have to rotate your plants regularly.
If you want to build a regular rotating routine, you can set a reminder to spin your plant a quarter turn in regular intervals. If you rotate a plant with big leaves like a ficus or monstera, you should wipe the leaves clean off any dust when you rotate it. Dust collected on the leaf surface can affect photosynthesis, limiting how much energy your plant can produce.