Why Do Plants Flop Over? ( Top 9 Reasons )

Spread the love

Plants flopping over is relatively common, especially in new gardens, but it tends to happen to established flower gardens as well. There are some plants that tend to flop over relatively easily, usually, these are tall plants. On the other hand, plants that should not flop over tend to flop if there are specific circumstances that occur. There is nothing more disappointing than having a beautiful flower bed one day and the next day all the plants have flopped over.

There are several reasons why plants flop over, the most common ones are not planting them deep enough, not enough sunlight, poor soil, and not enough water. In addition to this, there are some plants that need to be staked like dahlias, without staking they will simply flop over. Plants that produce large flowers are extremely prone to flopping over, especially after rain, as the plant is already top-heavy the added weight of the rain can make it flop over.

To avoid plants flopping over due to wind, or weight, my personal recommendation is to use plant stakes that are made out of metal Click here to check it out on Amazon.com

Usually, the quick fix for plants that tend to flop over is to stake them, and there are some plants that do need staking or else they will flop over no matter what. Most cultivars focus on developing plants that have large flowers, oftentimes this can be a major problem for the plant, like for the Annabelle Hydrangeas for example. They produce extremely large flowers and the stem of the plant can not always support them.

If you notice that some of your plants are flopping over then make sure to know what kind of plants these are, as some of them tend to flop over in certain conditions. In addition to this when buying a new plant always make some research to know if they need to be staked or not. If your plants also tend to get leggy then check out my recent article Why Plants Get Leggy? ( Top 4 Reasons ).

Why Do Plants Flop Over?

Plants may flop over or become floppy due to various reasons. One common cause is insufficient support for the plant’s stems and branches. When a plant grows tall or produces heavy foliage, its stems may struggle to support the weight, causing them to bend or break. Inadequate structural strength in the plant’s stems can also contribute to floppiness. Factors such as improper pruning, nutrient deficiencies, or disease can weaken the plant’s structure, making it more prone to bending or drooping.

Additionally, excessive watering or overfertilization can lead to fast, weak growth that is more susceptible to flopping. To prevent plants from flopping over, it’s important to provide adequate support through staking, trellising, or using plant cages. Regular pruning and shaping can also help maintain a more compact and sturdy plant structure.

They Are Not Planted Deep Enough

The main reason why most plants tend to flop over is because they are not planted deep enough. Once the plant starts to grow and flower, it will become top heavy, and if it is not planted deep enough the plant will simply flop over. The taller the plant is, and the bigger its flowers are, the higher the likelihood is that it will flop over. While most people will try to stake the plants that flop over, but this is usually just a temporary solution.

They Don’t Get Enough Sunlight

Plants that are growing in partial or full shade have a tendency to flop over. The plant’s main concern is to reach the full sun areas as fast as possible, thus it will grow tall and leggy. The problem is that the taller the plant gets the weaker its stem will be, thus it will be extremely prone to flopping. If you have a couple of plants that are leggy and have just a few leaves at the top of the stem then odds are that sooner or later it will flop.

The easy fix for plants that are flopping over due to not having enough sunlight is to simply replant them in a full sun area. If you are looking for plants that do not have a problem with flopping over then check out my recent article Anemone Coronaria ( Windflower, Poppy Anemone, Crown Windflower, Spanish Marigold ).

Poor Soil Can Cause Plants To Flop Over

If your plants are growing in poor soil then they will not be able to get the vitamins and nutrients from it that they need to grow strong. In this case, the plants will grow rather slowly and look very weak, oftentimes even a light breeze will be able to flop them over. Ideally, you should test your soil, but we both know you are not going to do it, so to sum it up if you have clay soil then the soil has plenty of nutrients if you have sandy soil then odds are that the soil is lacking in nutrients.

Not Enough Water

Not all plants are drought-tolerant, and given enough time without water most plants will simply flop over and die off. Plants need water in order to grow strong and to supply all of their parts with nutrients. If the plant is rather young and it doesn’t get enough water then it will simply not grow, but if the plant is already established then it will flop over if it is not getting enough water for a long period of time. In certain cases plants can flop over due to damage from slugs and snails, for more information check out my recent article Can Plants Recover From Slug And Snail Damage?.


For the most part, people who are designing their flower gardens or borders do not think a lot about protecting them from the wind. While most plants will not flop over from some wind but in case of a storm, you might find all your plants have flopped over. If you have a lot of plants that flop over, all at once then usually you will see a clear direction from where the wind was blowing and flopping over the plants.

If you have plants that flop over due to wind then either replant them in an area where they are protected by a fence or plant a couple of shrubs that will act as windbreakers.


Light summer rain will not flop over plants, but a heavy rain or prolonged rain will definitely flop them over. For the most part, you won’t even notice rain as being an issue in your garden until the plants start flowering. The bigger the flowers the more water will hold, which tends to make the plant top heavy. If the stem of the plant is not strong enough it will flop over eventually. The simple fix to plants that are flopping over due to excess rain is to simply shake off the water from the plant after a rain, and by watering them at their base and not from the top.

Nursery Plants Tend To Flop Over

Most nurseries make ideal conditions for the plants to grow as fast as possible, the faster they can grow a plant the sooner they can sell, thus more profits. As soon as you plant the nursery plant outside you will notice that with a light wind, they will flop over. Winds tend to stimulate the plants to grow strong roots and strong stems, but most nurseries are closed off to any wind thus making the plant rather fragile.

If you have a couple of new plants that start to flop over then you should cut them back a bit, usually, the nursery will also do this but in most cases, they will cut only the top off. Once you have cut the plant back and it starts to regrow it will become a lot stronger as it gets used to the local winds.

Too Much Sun

Too much sun can make plants flop over, you will definitely notice as your plants start to flop more and more every day. This can also happen to plants that require full sun, but usually established plants will be able to withstand the full sun for long periods of time. The first thing that people do when they see their plants wilting away is to water them, but by doing this they only stress out the plant even more.

If you see your plants wilting away due to the constant sun then simply water them in the evening, it will take a couple of weeks before they bounce back.

Stressed-Out Plants Are Prone To Flop Over

The more stressed out a plant is the higher its chances are to flop over, in some cases this stress can simply kill the entire plant. There are numerous reasons why plants can get stressed out, like repotting, too much sun, too little sun, too much water, too little water, and so on. To fix this problem you have to figure out why your plants are stressed out and treat them accordingly.

Big Flowers

The bigger the flowers of a plant are the higher the chances are that it will flop over. Think of plants like hydrangeas, dahlias, and even lilies, these have massive flowers relative to the size of the plant. In some cases, these flowers are soo big that they will act like a sail and once the wind picks up they will inevitably flop over. If you have plants that have large flowers then it is extremely important to stake them, the sooner you stake them the better, if you stake them once they have already flopped then it is too late.

Key Takeaways

  • Plants flop over because they do not get enough sunlight, poor soil, not enough water, and because they have not been planted deep enough.
  • As you can see there are a couple of reasons why your plants might flop over, my personal recommendation is to take each of these reasons from the above list and slowly eliminate the ones that are not valid in your case, this way you will find the real cause why you plants are flopping over.