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Why is my Pilea leaning?

Why is my Pilea leaning?

Leaning Pilea

You got yourself a beautiful Pilea Peperomioides and have done everything you possibly could to provide it proper plant care. But it has started leaning over, and you want to make your plant grow upright. Sounds familiar?


Indoor plants that are tilted sideways are a perfectly common (and normal) phenomenon, and although you cannot control it completely, there are definitely tricks for making a plant grow straight.

Why is my Pilea leaning over?

Even within indoor gardening, there’s fashion, trends, and looks people want to achieve with their own plants. A Pilea tilted sideways is not the look many owners were going for, so when being faced with a plant leaning over, many look for quick fixes that can straighten it out.

A leaning Pilea is nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, it is completely ordinary as mentioned in the beginning.

Have you ever planted a seed and watched it grow? You may have noticed how the seedling was constantly stretching towards the light.

A Pilea is really no different and it will grow in the direction the sun is coming from.

Plants have developed a number of strategies to capture the maximum amount of sunlight through their leaves. […] With the help of highly sensitive light-sensing proteins, they find the shortest route to the sunlight — and are even able to bend in the direction of the light source.


Even mature plants bend toward the strongest light. They do this by elongating the cells of the stem on the side that is farthest from the light. This type of light-oriented growth is called phototropism. – ScienceDaily

As you can see, leaning is a biological strategy within the plant cells to get optimal growing conditions. Pretty smart, no? Since plant biology in this case interferes with the look you may want for your Pilea, there is a practical way of avoiding leaning to some extent.

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How can I make my Pilea plants grow straight?

We have established the fact that all plants lean towards the light, constantly and all through their life cycle. This also means that getting your Pilea to grow upright and straight is a constant ‘battle’.

The easiest way to get your Pilea to grow straight is to turn it.

Simple as that.

Every single day or a couple of times a week, you turn the plant. This way it’s not growing too far in one direction but will appear straight.

It’s simple and it works.

It does however get significantly trickier as the Pilea gets taller, bigger, and if you let baby Pileas grow out as each of them will also reach for the sun.

How to fix a leaning Pilea?

Fixing a plant that is already leaning can be difficult, and the end result will greatly depend on how severely the plant is leaning. Here are a few options:

  • Repot the Pilea and straighten out the stem by placing the plant at an angle that makes the stem appear straight. This will not be possible with all Pileas, but can work in some cases.
  • Make a drastic decision and cut off the stem of your Pilea below the section where it starts to lean. This way, you can sort of “restart” the plant, BUT it also means that the Pilea will become bushier, and not grow taller from the point of the cut.
  • If it’s not an extremely leaning Pilea, you can try to balance it out by simply turning it in the other direction. This may give a bendy stem over time, but it can work.


How do you deal with leaning plants? Do let me know your best tips by leaving a comment below.

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