Young Plant Problems for New Growers

Simple net trellis systems add excellent support to a home garden.
Hello, Nico!
I have an odd question… My plant is doing really well, but it’s lying over on its side. The stem isn’t strong enough to hold up the leaves near the tips. It’s quit a long stem, too. Do I need to replant it with more of the stem under dirt to give it a better rooting system? — Christy E. via the mailbag.

Hi Christy, thanks for reading HT and sending over your question.

To answer directly, you should not replant your plant. Rather, it needs support and then proper nurturing to become strong enough to support itself.

In terms of support, some sort of trellis structure—perhaps chopsticks for a young baby plant, or bamboo stalks for more mature plants—that you can tie the plant onto for support would be ideal. As the plant grows, you can add to the supports to create a trellis system or latticework with horizontal crossbeams. Use string, plastic ties or metal hooks to attach your plant to the support structure.

Bigger, mature plants can utilize bamboo stalks to tie onto for support.
Bigger, mature plants can utilize bamboo stalks to tie onto for support.

More important here are the reasons why your plant cannot support itself. Once you have your plant vertical and supported by the trellis, it is time to focus on her needs. If you have an elongated (and thin) main stem, your plant has stretched itself too far and now cannot support its own weight. The plant stretches when it has insufficient light and needs to extend itself in search of light nutrition (photon energy). Often times, seedlings or clones left on a window sill for light will have this issue as the sunlight does not shine directly on the plant for enough hours in a day to give it the light energy it requires.

If your plant is older, say a month or more, and has several sets of branches, with thicker stems and is still falling over, you may have a larger problem at hand. Perhaps over-watering, suffocating the roots… or lack of water, which would be evidenced by wilting leaves as well. In general, a healthy and developed plant should have no issues standing itself up. It is only at the end of the flower cycle, when top colas get heavy, that larger healthy cannabis plants begin to naturally lean or fall over.

If your plant was outdoors and sustained damage due to extreme weather, you can attempt to mend the plant using a trellis support system as mentioned above, or you can simply bandage (with a little bit of duct tape) any major breaks and allow the plant to heal itself. Plants are amazingly resilient in nature. They are used to snapped branches or bent stems and will continue to grow and develop with the hand it was dealt from Mother Nature.

Simple net trellis systems add excellent support to a home garden.
Simple net trellis systems add excellent support to a home garden.

But indoors, for young plants, it is important they start out on the right foot. This problem sounds as if there was a lack of light or mineral nutrition for the plant to grow and develop properly. By supporting the plant and fixing the nutritional needs such that it can continue on its developmental path is all that you can do. This might set the plant back a couple of weeks, and you might want to consider that as you set its vegetative and flowering cycle timetables, but otherwise I’d expect your plant to bounce back with the proper support, light and feeding schedule.

Thanks for reading everyone and remember: Grow… And help the world grow, too!

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