Is it my growing conditions that make my Optimaras like this always?

I have been growing AV-s for soon to be a decade. In the meantime, my gardening interests have expanded to other plants, particularly the outdoors, currently dealing with a bit of a rose obsession. So I don't have a large collection of AV-s. But I always keep a few (2-3 max) as houseplants for my bright light corner. These are always NOID Optimaras because this is what I find conveniently at my local nursery.

If I do everything right and I don't let them dry up - they do well. They bloom and everything seems fine. However, over time, I have noticed that no matter what I do, these plants always end up with a certain look in my conditions, that is different from the way they come at the nursery.

At the nursery, leaves are growing slightly upwards, at an angle, and the stems and leaves are softer, more malleable. Leaf stems are longer.

In my conditions, the plant always becomes much sturdier/thicker, leaves grow parallel to the ground (flat) which is apparently desirable, but they bend slightly downwards.

My main problem is that the leaf stems are always short and the leaves tend to grow thick, hard and tight...almost as if they are made of cardboard.

Sometimes the buds can barely find their way out because the leaves are so thick and hard that they curl. I never understood why at the store the plant is soft and in my conditions it eventually turns to cardboard. Very healthy looking but cardboard nevertheless.

It's certainly not mites or any disease - but rather something related to culture. I just wonder what part of my culture always makes them like this?

I suspect it may be either too much light or too much fertilizer. Or both?

The corner I have them in is an East window that is usually quite bright. Then again, it's been a gloomy winter so it's not like they've been getting the sunshine of their lives.

But in general, I heard Optimaras are bred to not need too much light - so maybe my corner is too much for them?

As for fert, I usually fertilize with most waterings and flush out salts occasionally - but I may not have diluted properly.

I would just want to grow less uptight, more relaxed Optimaras, with longer and softer stems and a bit more flexible leaves.

I can add some pictures, if helpful. Thank you so much for any opinions.

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