This jade plant (Crassula ovata) is leaning towards its only source of light.

Indoor plants get their lightly mostly from a sideways direction, whereas outdoor plants catch most of their rays from above. No wonder many houseplants tend to lean sideways — they’re leaning toward the light. A plant that continually leans in one direction eventually winds up flat on its side with its potting mix spread across your carpet. Not a good thing!

A skylight will let in light from above… but at what price?

One solution to the leaning-plant problem is to install a skylight in your ceiling. Plants that receive light from above are naturally more symmetrical than plants that receive their light from conventional windows. But a skylight will cost you an arm and a leg! And isn’t even possible if you live in a apartment or a condo.20170110B.jpgA cheaper solution is to simply give your plants a quarter turn, always in the same direction, every time you water them. This technique is simple, cheap and effective – and the plant grows evenly in all directions just as effectively as if you had punched a $2,000 hole in the roof!

For attractive indoor plants, therefore, make giving a quarter turn a habit!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

3 comments on “Take Your Houseplants for a Spin

  1. I left all my houseplants bunched up next to one window while we are gone. (I had to pull drapes against the cold.) I’m guessing I’ll probably be tossing most of them when I return.

  2. Pingback: What to Do With a Wimpy Dracaena? – Laidback Gardener

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