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Why Your Elephant Bush Plant Is Growing Sideways

Updated: June 19, 2022

If you’re a plant parent and have recently noticed that your elephant bush plant is growing sideways, don’t panic – you’re not alone. This is a common issue that many plant parents deal with, and it can be easily fixed with a few simple steps. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why your elephant bush plant is growing sideways and how to fix it.

What Is an Elephant Bush Plant?

Before we dive into the reasons why your elephant bush plant is growing sideways, let’s first understand what an elephant bush plant is. Also known as Portulacaria afra or dwarf jade plant, the elephant bush plant is a succulent native to South Africa. It’s a popular houseplant for its low maintenance and unique appearance, which includes thick stems and small, round leaves that resemble jade.

Why Is Your Elephant Bush Plant Growing Sideways?

There are several reasons why your elephant bush plant might be growing sideways. Here are some of the most common:

Lack of Sunlight

Elephant bush plants require a lot of sunlight to grow straight up. If your plant isn’t getting enough sunlight, it will start to lean towards the light source. To fix this issue, make sure your plant is getting at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.

Improper Watering

Overwatering or underwatering can cause your elephant bush plant to grow sideways. If the soil is too wet, the roots will rot, causing the plant to lean over. On the other hand, if the soil is too dry, the plant won’t have enough support to grow straight up.

Crowded Roots

If your elephant bush plant has been in the same pot for a long time, its roots may have outgrown the pot. This can cause the roots to push against the sides of the pot, making it difficult for the plant to grow straight up.

Temperature Fluctuations

Elephant bush plants prefer warm temperatures between 65°F and 75°F. If the temperature in your home fluctuates too much, it can cause stress on the plant, making it lean over.

How to Fix a Sideways Growing Elephant Bush Plant

Now that you know why your elephant bush plant is growing sideways, let’s look at how to fix it.

Repot Your Plant

If your elephant bush plant has outgrown its current pot, it’s time to repot it. Choose a pot that’s one size larger than the current one and fill it with well-draining soil. Gently remove the plant from its old pot and loosen the roots before placing it in the new pot. Add more soil around the plant and water thoroughly.

Adjust Your Plant’s Sunlight Exposure

If your plant isn’t getting enough sunlight, move it to a brighter location in your home. You can also consider using artificial lights to supplement natural light.

Adjust Your Watering Schedule

Make sure you’re watering your elephant bush plant correctly. It’s best to wait until the soil is completely dry before watering again. Water your plant deeply, making sure the water reaches the roots.

Provide Support

If your elephant bush plant is leaning over, you can provide support by staking it. Use a bamboo stake or something similar and gently tie the plant to the stake using twine or soft ties.


Is it normal for an elephant bush plant to grow sideways?

No, an elephant bush plant should grow straight up if it’s healthy and getting enough sunlight and water.

Can I cut off the leaning stems of my elephant bush plant?

Yes, you can cut off the leaning stems of your elephant bush plant if they’re too long or if you want to propagate them. Make sure to use clean pruning shears and cut just above a leaf node.

How often should I repot my elephant bush plant?

It’s best to repot your elephant bush plant every two to three years. However, if your plant is outgrowing its current pot or showing signs of stress, you may need to repot it sooner.

In conclusion, a sideways growing elephant bush plant can be easily fixed by addressing the underlying issue. By providing adequate sunlight, water, and support, your plant will grow straight up and thrive. Remember to repot your plant every few years and monitor its growth to ensure its health and longevity.