Why Do Some Potted House Plants Have Thin Skinny Leaves?

If you are a millennial or a young adult, chances are you already know a couple of people who love buying and caring for potted house plant species. Perhaps, you are already one of them.

According to a recent study, almost 66% of American households have at least one potted house plant and their homes, and one-third of this percentage is populated by millennials and generation Z individuals.

Just like choosing from different dog breeds when buying a pet, you are also presented with a vast choice when it comes to buying potted house plants.

You can go for small succulents to fit right on top of your narrow coffee table, or you can buy a tall bamboo palm plant to enhance and fill an empty corner of your house.

Similarly, you can go for a potted house plant with wide-open and lush green leaves or choose one with long, thin, and skinny leaves.

Although you may think your choice needs to be based only on your preference, this is inaccurate. Instead, the potted house plant species you choose should be selected according to your average routine and the regional conditions of where you live.

At times, no matter how hard you try to keep your potted house plant alive, the wrong external and regional conditions may eventually cause premature death.

Hence, it is incredibly important to pay attention to the potted house plant species you choose if you wish to keep it alive for a long time.

Moreover, this is especially important if you plan on going for a potted house plant with skinny and thin leaves, as they are much needier than other plants.

Continue reading below to learn why the leaf of a potted house plant is so important and what it means if your potted house plant has long, thin, and skinny leaves.

Moreover, the article also sheds light on tips you can follow when caring for a potted house plant with long and thin leaves to keep it healthy and alive for a long time.

Let’s get started!

Why Are the Leaves of a Potted House Plant So Important?

Just like a human body relies on different parts and organs to stay alive and moving, a potted house plant’s health and life are also dependent on its leaves, stem, flower, roots, etc.

To a person who does not understand how plants grow and make their food, the leaves may seem less important than the plant’s stem and roots; however, this is not the case at all.

As a matter of fact, a potted house plant is completely dependent on the health and condition of its leaves in order to stay alive.

The moment the leaves lose their shape, color, and texture, the potted house plant’s death becomes almost inevitable if the caretaker does not intervene on time.

However, what makes the leaves so important?

There is a reason why most of the potted house plant leaves have fully exposed surfaces and wide-open shapes.

This wide-open shape maximizes a house plant’s sunlight exposure and allows transpiration of water molecules to carry out easily. Let us explain in detail.

Like all plant species, potted house plants also depend on photosynthesis to make the plant food that helps them carry out their activities. Photosynthesis will be possible if the leaf’s surface is exposed to the sun.

Moreover, the holes present on the surface of a wide-open leaf allow the easy expulsion of water molecules, which is important for the following reasons:

  • As the water molecules transpire out of a leaf, a vacuum is created in the leaf’s cells.
    • This creates a suction force across the plant’s body, which allows the water to be sucked up the plant’s roots and stem like a straw.
  • Moreover, every time the plant’s internal temperature goes up due to hot external conditions, the transpired-out water will evaporate off the surface of the leaves, leaving a cooling effect.
    • This will help bring down the plant’s temperature and will prevent it from dying.

Hence, any time the potted house plant’s leaves are not in their proper shape or health, a sufficient amount of transpiration will not be possible. If this continues for too long, the potted house plant will die.

Since the condition of a potted house plant’s leaves is a direct indicator of the plant’s overall help, this helps caretakers intervene at an appropriate time in order to save the plant from premature death.

Hence, no matter whether the leaves of a potted house plant are large, small, thin, or long, their good condition and proper care are incredibly important for the plant’s health.

Now that you understand what the leaf of a plant is designed to do, keep reading to learn why your potted house plant has thin leaves.

Read Best Houseplants for East-Facing Window

Why do Some Potted House Plants Have Long, Thin, and Skinny Leaves?

If you ever visit a local plant market, you will come across dozens of indoor plant species that you have never seen or even heard of.

Not only do these species have completely different appearances, but they also have very different and unique needs and requirements.

As a matter of fact, what most new potted house plant parents do not know is that the shape of a plant’s leaves and its overall appearance is a clear indicator of the plant’s needs and special requirements.

For instance, if you come across a potted house plant with very few leaves and more thorns, it means that the plant is adapted to storing water and has no or few leaves to minimize the water loss through transpiration.

Just like that, if you happen to buy a potted house plant with long and skinny leaves, it is important that you understand that the shape of the leaves is not random and is instead relevant to how the plant is adapted to grow.

In general, there can be two reasons why your potted house plant’s leaves are thin and long. Either this is a natural occurrence, and this unique shape helps the plant stay alive, or the leaf has become too thin due to improper care.

Keep reading to learn in greater detail about both conditions.

The Potted House Plant’s Leaves Are Naturally Long, Thin, and Skinny

Many potted house plant species have long and thin leaves. Some examples of these species are the bamboo palm, spider plant, snake plant, etc. All have naturally thin and long leaves.

As explained above, the shape of the leaf is directly relevant to how a plant is adapted to grow. For instance, let us look first at the bamboo palm plant.

Bamboo Palm Potted House Plant

These potted house plants grow very long and usually need ample water to remain upright, healthy, and alive.

Since these potted house plants are adapted to grow in thoroughly watered conditions, their thin and skinny leaves help prevent water loss that can be caused due to excessive transpiration.

Moreover, since these potted house plants are usually grown in warmer countries such as China, the thin and long shape of their leaves also helps prevent overheating.

Since the skinny leaf’s overall surface area is small and less exposed to external conditions, transpiration will be minimized. As a result, the plant will not get dehydrated and will be able to use its sucked-up water to grow.

Furthermore, since lesser water molecules will be transpired out, the water can instead be used in carrying out photosynthesis to make the plant sugar. As a result, the bamboo palm is able to remain upright, strong, and grow in a short time.

Another case of thin leaves is seen in potted house plants that are grown in extremely cold conditions. For example, let us look at the Christmas tree.

Modern Tannenbaum

The Modern Tannenbaum or commonly known as the Christmas tree, is an extremely popular indoor plant that remains high in demand due to its festive and religious importance.

These plants look like mini-indoor trees and have thousands of needle-like leaves across their branches. The shape of the leaves helps the Christmas tree plant remain healthy and survive in extreme winter conditions.

Since the thin thorn-like leaves have extremely minimized surface area, they are able to minimize the chances of transpiration and hence will help prevent the potted house plant from dehydrating.

Moreover, due to the low exposed surface area, the potted indoor Christmas tree’s natural heat is also not wasted and instead is retained within the plant’s body.

This helps the indoor tree survive in extremely cold winter conditions and prevents death by freezing.

However, at times even the naturally wide and large leaves of a potted house plant will also turn skinny and thin to indicate problematic conditions. Keep reading to learn why this happens.

The Potted House Plant’s Leave Have Become Thin and Skinny Overtime

If your house plant’s leaves have turned thin and skinny, you are probably doing something wrong.

Usually, when a potted house plant is overwatered, the rate of transpiration goes up to make sure the plant’s water content does not go beyond a certain limit.

In order to do this, the leaves of the plant get thin and skinny as a measure to protect the plant’s health. The thin leaves ensure that more molecules or water are expelled out of the surface of the leaf more easily.

As a result, the potted house plant is able to maintain its proper water weight, and overwatering does not affect the plant’s health.

However, if you continue to overwater the potted house plant, the leaves will not be able to get any thinner to keep up. As a result, the rate of transpiration will not be able to keep up with the overwatering.

Consequently, the potted house plant will stop sucking up any more water from its roots, and the excess water will begin to accumulate inside the plant’s soil.

If the excess water is not dried off or drained, chances of fungal infections increase, and the plant’s premature death becomes more inevitable.

However, if you stop overwatering the potted house plant on time, the leaves may still return to their original wider shape.

Top Tips to Caring for a Potted House Plant with Thin and Skinny Leaves

Some of the most important tips for caring for a potted house plant with thin and skinny leaves are as follows:

  • Before you invest in buying a potted house plant with thin and skinny leaves, make sure you have done your research on the specific house plant species.
    • The research will help you learn about the dos and don’ts of caring for such a potted house plant and will help you understand its unique needs.
    • Eventually, the knowledge will help perfect your plant care and will allow your potted house plant to live a long and healthy life.
  • Refrain from forcing a unique potted house plant species to survive in regions they are not fitted for.
    • For instance, if you force a potted bamboo palm house plant to survive in extremely cold conditions, its leaves will further shrivel up and get thinner.
    • Since the plant is not adapted to growing without proper sunlight, the reduced surface area of the leaves will not allow the plant to get its required sunlight exposure.
    • As a result, photosynthesis will be slowed down and the potted bamboo palm house plant may eventually die a premature death after a stunted growth.
  • Always try to water the thin-leaved potted house plant with a spray bottle instead of a jug or water pipe to prevent overwatering. 
Why Do Some Potted House Plants Have Thin Skinny Leaves
Why Do Some Potted House Plants Have Thin Skinny Leaves

Final Thoughts

Being a good potted house parent is not about collecting the most different kinds of potted indoor plant species at your home. Instead, it is about learning about the unique requirements of your potted house plant to ensure it lives a long and healthy life.

Hence, if you choose to get a potted house plant with thin and long leaves, make sure that you are well-informed regarding the plant’s preferable living conditions to prevent premature plant death.

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