Leggy Plants: Why Is My Plant Leaning Over?

How can you tell if your leggy plant needs more light? Look to see if it is stretching toward the light or has thin, spindly stems.

leggy plant leaning toward lightKseniia Soloveva/Getty Images
A healthy zamioculcas, or ZZ plant

Are your indoor plants looking leggy and spindly or stretching over toward the window? Light is likely the cause of these problems, or a more precisely, a lack of light. Here’s how to tell if your plants need more sun.

Give your indoor plants a quarter turn every few weeks to promote even growth. Let in more light if plants have thin stems and excessive space between each set of leaves.

If the stems are too weak, they could break. This is a common problem when starting seeds indoors. Make sure your seedlings have enough light to prevent leggy tomato plants.

When you bring home a new indoor plant, read the plant tag before you choose where to place it. Plants that need a lot of light thrive when placed in front of an east- or west-facing window. Low-light plants can be 6 feet back, off to the side of these windows or near a north-facing one. These are the top 10 best houseplants for low light.

Once you provide the right amount of light for your plant, pinch off the growing tips of leggy plants to encourage compact growth. Trimming back and pinching long, leggy plants can do wonders for their health.

Have more indoor plant problems? Learn why your plant has brown tips on the leaves and why the leaves on your indoor plant are yellow.

Melinda Myers
Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books. She hosts the nationally syndicated “Melinda’s Garden Moment” TV and radio segments and is the instructor for The Great Courses How to Grow Anything DVD and Instant Video series. Melinda is a dynamic presenter, appearing at many events throughout the country each year. She has received recognition and numerous awards, including the American Horticultural Society’s B.Y. Morrison Communication Award and was inducted into The Association for Garden Communicators Hall of Fame.