Bent Flower Stems: How To Repair Crushed Or Bent Stems On Plants

Flower With A Broken Stem
(Image credit: Jesper Dickell)

If you’ve ever inspected your garden after the kids play there, you may find your favorite plants have been trampled or damaged. Don’t despair. It is possible to repair bent flower stems on plants with a few simple tools. Read on to learn about fixing plant stems and the tools you will need to do this.

Bent Flower Stems

It’s not always the children who damage plants. A dog’s romp through the garden can end badly for your plants – with bent flower stems. Even you, exercising utmost caution, can place a foot in the wrong spot on occasion. Strong winds can bend over plant stems too. The key to helping these plants is to know how to repair crushed or bent stems and to have on hand the tools you need. The quicker you take action, the more likely you will succeed at repairing bent plant stems.

Helping Plants with Bent Stems

Plants look different than people do, of course, but they have some of the same types of internal structures. For example, their circulatory systems transport nutrients, and the pith in their stems hold them upright in the same way your bones keep you upright. When you have plants with bent stems, you need to shore up their stems to keep the nutrients and water circulating from their roots to their foliage. How to repair crushed or bent stems? The best thing you can use is tape.

How to Repair Crushed or Bent Stems

Your first line of defense when you are fixing plant stems is tape. You can use florist tape, electrician’s tape, or just plain Scotch tape. Wrapping the bent flower stem with tape is somewhat like applying a cast to a broken leg. It straightens the stem and aligns the damaged areas, giving the stem the chance to heal. Repairing bent plant stems that are large or carry weight (like tomato plants) might also require a splint. Depending on the area, you’ll need different size splints. You can use toothpicks, pencils, skewers, or even drinking straws. Tape one or more splints to the plant to strengthen the bent area. If you can’t find the tape, attach the splints with plastic ties.

Fixing Plant Stems that Have Been Crushed

Unfortunately, there is often nothing you can do to repair crushed plant stems. If the crushed area is small and the damage is minimal, try the tape and splint method. For badly crushed stems, however, this is not likely to work. You are better off clipping off the stem below the damaged area.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.