Seedlings can be fragile, and it is very easy to accidentally break the stem. It happens; it’s okay everyone does it. Handling plants is tricky, and it takes very delicate and careful moves. It may not have even been your fault; wind, animals, and other things can be the masterminds behind a broken plant stem. The good news is that if the break isn’t terrible, it is fixable, and your plant can go on living a happy, healthy life.
Even if there is a terrible break, like the stem completely ripped in half, there is no harm in trying to fix it. With a bit of tape, glue, and a splint, there are ways to try and repair the damage done so your plant doesn’t have to lose a limb or die.
If you would like to know details on how to fix a broken stem and how we can prevent it from ever happening, continue reading this page.
Steps to Fixing a Broken Plant Stem
I will be sharing my favorite method and the most effective method for repairing broken stems and branches. This is for the plant’s stems and branches that have been completely broken off.
Find the Break
- First and foremost, find where the branch broke off or find where the stem has been broken.
Prepare the Tape
- Prepare a few pieces of tape big enough to wrap around the stem and a splint a few times. You can use electrical tape or just plain tape.
Glue if Necessary
- In bigger, worse breaks, sometimes it’s good to put a little glue down where the break was to ensure that the branch sticks back on. You can use gorilla glue. However, I recommend using tree wound glue. Just put a small dab on where the break was; you do not need a lot.
Use a Splint
- Next, make a splint. You can use really anything straight and sturdy that will keep the plant or branch in place. I usually use bamboo stakes, but you can also use sticks, small pieces of wood, or even pencils. It is helpful that the splint is longer than the branch so that you can leave it there for a little while, and the plant can grow along with the splint. Carefully put the splint and the break and use the prepared tape pieces to hold it in place.
- After that, you should be good to go. Of course, check up on your plant often and make sure the splint is holding and everything looks good. If it was a branch that broke, and it is starting to look like it’s dying after you tried to repair it, the repair didn’t work.
- At this point, it’s better for the plant to take off the broken branch. After a while, it’s up to you to decide where to go. Some people take the tape and the splint off after a few weeks; some leave it on for the rest of the plant’s life. It depends on if the splint is getting in the way of fruit growing or buds from popping out of the branches or stems. Inspect your plant and decide if you should take the splint off or not.
Repairs for Bent Stems
A repair for a bent stem would look almost the same. Of course, you wouldn’t need glue to find the break or anything, but making a splint to hold the branch up will work just fine.
Bent stems and branches usually aren’t that bad, and they may even fix on their own. However, if you just let them be and the branch mends itself in a weird position (bent or hanging), the product that grows on that branch may grow in weird shapes.
Reasons Plant Stem May Have Broken
As I mentioned, plants tend to be very fragile, and many things may have been the cause of their broken stem or branch. Here are some things that could be the culprits.
- Of course, this is one of the more common reasons. We as humans may not realize our own strength when it comes to handling something so delicate. It’s very easy to accidentally knock over a plant or hit it with the hose or shovel etc.
- Personally, this is the most common answer for me. Especially with dogs, and it can be hard to keep them away from precious plants. Besides that, deer, raccoons, squirrels, and other animals are always something to look out for.
- Strong winds will break plant stems.
- This is probably happening further along in your plant’s life, not so much with seedlings. You will commonly see this is in tomatoes. As their fruit grows bigger and heavier, their stems and branches often will break under pressure and weight.
How to Avoid Broken Plant Stems
Luckily, broken stems and broken branches are usually avoidable.
Use A Trellis
- Putting up good support systems ahead of time can be vital to the life of your plants. Having something your plant can rely on to hold itself up if it gets too heavy or if there are heavy winds is so essential. It can be something simple like plastic trellis netting over your plant or putting in bamboo stakes, or you can use something more elaborate like an a-frame trellis system.
- If you live in an area populated with deer or other animals, having a good fencing system can be necessary to keep these pests out.
- And something to always keep in mind, be careful! Plants are so fragile, and it’s always good practice to be very gentle when handling them.
Will The Plant Grow Properly After Fixing Its Broken Stem?
A plant gets all its nutrients from its roots. Its stems are mainlines to the roots for everything to flow and for growth to happen. If you fix the break quickly enough, there won’t be any problems later in life. You should expect the same yield, and the plant should remain happy and healthy.
If you do not repair the break in time, a couple of things could happen. If it was a branch that broke, that branch might die. If the plant stem broke, the whole plant may die if not repaired in time. Timing is key in this instance; it only takes a few hours for a plant to die after being broken off from its life support.
Plants stems or branches will break all the time, and although we may have protection set up, it could happen anyway! Whether it be deer, strong winds, our crazy dogs, or just people being people. It is good to know the steps to safely repair the break and make sure your plant continues to grow happy and healthy. Happy gardening!Nothing can stop you now!Go back to All Suggestions
Hi there, my name is Allie and welcome to my blog; GareningWithAllie!
Much of what you see written here is just our personal experiences with gardening. Along with the content I write here, there is also a unique collection of gardening topics covered by some of our close friends. I hope you find everything you read here to be helpful, informative, and something that can make your gardening journey the most lovely experience ever! With that said, Happy Gardening!