Can you fix broken plants with tape? - yes you can!

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Fixing plants with tape

A snapped Blueberry plant repaired with electrical tape and twine

I take care of a lot of plants. And when I run out of plants, I take care of my neighbors'. Every once-in-a-while, I learn something that's worth sharing. This is one of those things.

I found out that you CAN save plants by using tape. This winter, someone stepped on the main stem of one of my blueberry bushes and snapped it in half. I noticed it as soon as the snow melted and was devastated. It takes 3 years for a blueberry bush to "be ready" and it was year three. And the main stem was snapped clean off.

So I did what anybody would do in an emergency like this. I hit the garage for whatever tape I could find. My husband had recently taught me that electrical tape sticks to nothing - but itself. And it sticks to itself well.

I grabbed the electrical tape from this tool bench and repaired the blueberry plant. Then I tied twine around the tape. You can see my repair shot in the above picture. So the tape stuck, but did it work? Yes! The plant made buds, and grew blueberries - all on the broken (aka dead) stem. Did it heal completely? I won't know for quite some time. I am going to leave the tape on until it comes off on it's own. I will wrap it for winter just in case, but will check to see if it grafted back together next spring. Here's hoping! **Update - 6 years later - the plant is still growing strong and I have since grafted a whole new arm onto a maple tree using tape that has put on new growth for 2 whole seasons after the break.)**

But wait! Just 2 weeks ago, some clumsy oaf (read: me) stepped on my cucumber plant and broke it completely apart. Frustrated but optimistic from the blueberry experience, I asked my children to run and get me some tape. They returned with packing tape.
Healing and Fixing plants with tape

This is a shot of my repair. It's been two weeks and the plant has neither shriveled nor died. I think the injury (which was a complete severing) has healed! I'll let you know if I get cucumbers from this plant or not. So far the plant has continued growing and there is one itty bitty cucumber growing.

**UPDATE*** Since this posting (6 years ago) - I have successfully repaired many plants with tape. Trees damaged by storms, plant stems broken, squash vines eaten through by squash bugs, and more. It really works!!


Becca said...

OMG That's great...although I'm disappointed you didn't use duct tape! ;)

Karissa@Withourbest said...

I wish I would have read this earlier!! I totally had this same experience and thought about tape, but then decided against it! Now I have one less pepper plant.. and should have just gone with my gut!!

Anonymous said...

Like a broken leg, it will be healed! Now the part about severing it and it coming back is way cool!

Anonymous said...

I have a problem this might work for. I have a blueberry bush and I just hit it in the main stem next to the ground while weed eating. It removed ALL the bark all the way around but did not damage the rest of the plant. I know if you remove the bark from around a tree it will die. Is this a death sentence for my blueberry bush or will the tape idea work? Thanks.

Angela said...

It's worth a shot! Tape will keep out the bugs and diseases and will probably keep the plant protected.

Anonymous said...

I came out my door early this morning to find my scorpion pepper plant split and laying on the ground. I was devistated. I taped it with clothe first aide tape and put a new dowel rod in it and tied off the branches to that. I have babied this plant from day one and I hope it pulls through.

Anonymous said...

Maybe electrical tape works better that duct tape as the tape doesn't stick to the blueberry bark hindering growth & healing but just sticks to the looped tape itself allowing the plant to expand as it normally would (wood)?

Anonymous said...

I just taped my bent rose stem after it fell of it's window sill, but I don't know if it will work with regular tape.

Anonymous said...

My rose just fell of the window sill, so I taped the bent stem and used the first thing I could find as a splint. [It just so happened to be a pipe cleaner.;)] Will regular tape work OK though, as long as the stem doesn't
expand much?

Angela said...

Yes, regular tape would work. the problem with regular tape is the ability to withstand sun/water/stress. You want a nice tight seal - like a bandaid that keeps the tissue moist and alive. If the broken area is completely sealed and tight together, it should be fine.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this, I've just done the same in my new cucumber plant. Finished the emergency medicine, fingers crossed. LG

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Thank you for your comments! I appreciate all your tips, advice, and well wishes!


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