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Pot Plants: They Take a Turn for the Better

Updated on November 7, 2014

Every life form needs sunlight as this small plant demonstrates

What can happen if the same side is left facing light source (Google Images)
What can happen if the same side is left facing light source (Google Images)

We're of One Blood, You and I

You know all those little things in life that form a nagging "white noise" in the back of your mind constantly? I could write a long list of them, and I bet you can, too. They are small things you should probably do; little changes you should make to your own life or those who depend on you, one way or another. But they don't get done, often because as fast as they pop into your conciousness, they effortless slip out again as your daily life takes over with things you have to do right away.

One that has popped into this scribe's atrophying grey matter for a couple of years is, wait for it, it's a bit Earth shattering!...

"What can I do about my two large pot plants as they yearn toward the light from the windows and grow all one sided?"

OK, relax and breathe again!

I have thought about moving them - turning the pots so a different part is exposed each day in the hope they may become, well, more rounded and upright individuals, so to speak. But I refrained from doing so, figuring it would be cruel when they so obviously reached out for the sun and freedom denied to them and seemed set in their ways -or so I mused. And I decided it was simply explained: they grew that way because they got a bit more, stronger, light a few inches nearer the source - my usually grubby windows.

I mean, plants can't think, can they? They don't philosophize over their reasons for acting in one way or another; they are simply stimulated by the sun, nearer on that side? Although I am sure they like it when I have a chat with them before bed, unless that's because I am breathing carbon dioxide over them, their stuff of life....and I inhale their healthy perfume laced with oxygen, which is mine.

Well, the good old internet came to my rescue as ever as I finally decided to act this morning when the tiny image of the greenery and their woes popped into my mind again. "STOP" I intoned, "Hold it right there, Thought; we need to finally act here."

Unsurprisingly - hard to catch Google out, isn't it? - there were several articles devoted to plants and also mentioning the dilemna which must have concerned many owners, "To turn or not to turn, that is the question?" Of course, many folk also have gotten a life, too, and don't give a toss!

Much to my surprise, I found this growth anomaly had an interesting chemical/mechanical reason. The cells on the leaves facing the light were formed of shorter molecules; those away from the light source at the back, longer molecules. So, as the plant grew, the longer molecules at the rear over-grew the shorter in front, so the plant leaned in the direction of the strongest light and also produced more and bushier leaves on that side.

"Well, I'll be cornswaddled!" (Taken from a book on gardener-speak from Oaklahoma).

Not only was it a fact the plant's cellular structure was behind this feat of irregular growth, incredibly, the shorter molecules and, ipso facto, the cells at the front facing the light were the stronger and more healthy; those at the rear, on the dark side of the moon, were the less strong and the ones more subject to invasion by pests and disease. Ain't life a miracle? Yours sucks? Sorry to hear that...maybe you should face the sun?

Fascinated, I read on through the available information and found that I SHOULD have been turning my plant regularly so that different leaves and twigs faced the light source every few days. Poor things! They had been yearning for surcease and I had ignored their needs, figuring tipping chlorinated tap water on them when they began to droop, with a bit of the discount garden fertilizer from Tescos every so often, (when I remembered, or had any) was enough. They had struggled on like this, producing quite lush growth for 6 years!

You can also, I found, hang 'grow lights round and near them if your natural light source is inadequate, but it was easier for me to give em a twist, a flick of the wrist, once every coupla of days and we'll see how we go, er, grow!

And evidently they do respond to sound and touch stimulus. I like to give my spider plant a big cuddle as I move him to close the curtain in the bedroom; he seems (she?) to go all soft and mushy around the leaves and I think she likes it: imagination or not it seems the right thing to do and brings us closer...We did fall out a few days ago, as I embraced her, a rather large house spider leaped onto my face and ran off...I started a lecture along the lines of, "You're a Spider Plant, that doesn't mean" ...I realised what I was doing and released her: you can go too far...

Now I'll forget to turn them of course and I'm sure a vine will trip me as I try to enter the Kingdom of Heaven!...but I may be saved from falling by grabbing a Jumping Cholla and my blood sugar will really spike! (Look on Google!).


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    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 2 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Excellent and helpful comment Misty. I had no idea about their nervous systems and will do some more reading on this...your comment could blossom into a hub article. I wondered about being a little late in turning them and will leave them to their original yearning now

      Bob xx

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      Plants have nervous systems, can recognize people and animals from previous encounters and we really have no way of knowing if they can think and philosophize. We like to imagine ourselves superior, and we of course use ourselves as the standard for genius, but maybe beings that are different from us are in fact superior. How does a slow brain determine the capacity of a faster one? Does a slow brain even realize they aren't as fast as they imagine they are?

      You should have started turning your plant a little everyday a long time ago. Will be hard to retrain it now, and cruel. Play them some nice classical music that you can enjoy together.

      Going to share this article too, and encourage more people to enjoy the read. Hope all's well with you . . .

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 3 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Thanks for visit and kind comments prasetio. Good luck to mum with her new family member


    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 3 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Nice tips and I really enjoy reading this hub. I'll show this hub to my mom, she bought a middle pot yesterday. I hope she'll like this hub. Good job and voted up!

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 3 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi, Judy, nice to meet ya...Yeah, but he's a marshmallow really, look at all the sentiment in those stories he writes


    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      Lol, I would have plants all over the house and my husband thinks they should be booted from the house and the yard cemented and painted green.

      His allergies have been bad in our drought, so I think I am going to rebel and buy some more house plants. Thanks for the encouragement.


    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      No chance of that, Bob! We just laugh at each other's foibles!

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 3 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Cheers, Will, and may your botany brouhahas not end in divorce


    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I take care of all outdoor plant life, and my wife tends to the houseplants.

      Or perhaps I should say she buys the house plants, and then forgets to water them, so sun placement is not a big concern around here.

      Voted up and across the board!

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 3 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi Oppie...I bet they are already on the market! Bob

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 3 years ago

      Bob, glad to see you feeling well enough to once again provide us with important research. Thanks to you we will soon be seeing advertisements on TV for automatic potted plant turners. And if we are real lucky they will offer the usual two for the price of one, plus shipping and handling of course. In some cases the shipping and handling costs more than the must-have gadget they are selling.

      It sure is great to see you writing again.