Plants Starting To Look Lopsided? Here's Why You Should Rotate Your Houseplants

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Houseplants add vibrant color to a room, bring the soothing aspects of nature inside, and could even make you feel more positive or productive. Another great thing about plants is that they usually require just a small amount of care. Unless something unfortunate happens, like a pest infestation or deadly disease, most species only need to be potted, watered, placed in sunlight, and occasionally pruned or repotted.

However, even when doing all these and being a perfect plant parent, you may still discover that your foliage looks lopsided. This is typically showcased with indoor plants leaning towards the window. The opposite sometimes happens, and greenery leans away from the window. This occurs when the side turned from the sun grows longer than the other. Either way, this problem can give your plants an unbalanced appearance; luckily, there is an easy fix. All you need to do is rotate your potted plants, which only takes a few seconds.

What is phototropism?

But why do plants start to lean one way or the other? You'll need to employ basic science to answer this question. Unlike most plants that grow outside, which receive sunlight on all sides as the sun moves across the sky, houseplants often only receive sunlight from one window. This can cause phototropism, which is when a plant leans either toward the light source or away from it, per Science Facts. If it starts leaning towards the sun, the roots may grow the other way. On the other hand, if the greenery starts leaning away, this may be because the shaded side is receiving more auxin, a growth hormone, causing it to grow longer but thinner, while the side in the sun grows shorter but sturdier. 

Turning your plant regularly can help it avoid these problems and grow evenly on all sides. This may cause your foliage to grow shorter but stronger since one side won't receive more auxin than the other. Of course, this is ideal, not only because it will make your plants appear more appealing aesthetically but also because it will make them stronger.

How often should plants be rotated?

Fortunately, your plants don't need to be rotated often to avoid phototropism. If you want to turn your plant's home just a quarter rotation around the pot's circumference, complete this task every few days or weeks. You could also turn it every time you water your plant, making this task easier to remember. If you'd rather rotate it less, turning it halfway around every two to three months is also effective.

However, you may still find your greenery growing unevenly, even when rotating it enough. If so, you'll also need to dust off the leaves with a damp cloth, as a layer of dust could cause them to get less sunlight. You could also try pointing artificial light towards the shaded side, which will provide both sides with a light source at the same time. To do this, you'd need a grow light, which you could purchase on Amazon.