Why Are My Plants Growing So Slow? A Must-Read for Gardeners

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Growth issues are one of the most prevalent plant crises. Numerous factors are at play; even a minute oversight would tip off your balance. If you keep wondering, Why are my plants growing so slow?, this article will put your mind at ease.

Most importantly, do not beat yourself for making mistakes when you are now supported by gardening101.net. Even seasoned gardeners encounter similar dilemmas at times, after all.

Why Are My Plants Growing So Slow?

Why plants grow slowly
Why do they stop growing?

No beating around the bush, we will address your urgent question, “Why are my plants growing so slowly?” right away. Keep in mind the possible indicators listed below:

Lack of Light

Lighting is the most critical factor. Without sufficient light, no photosynthesis can operate and hence, no plant growth. Try to test the water with different sunlight angles or lower some bulbs closer to the plant. 

And what if my garden center is densely packed, you ask? Defoliation also allows more lights to enter your shrubs and reach those hard-to-get areas.

Intense Light

Similarly, excessive lighting might strike quite a blow. If there are yellow and curling leaves around the light source, it means trouble. Lift the lights or lower your plants to provide more space in between. 

Incorrect Light Spectrum

Different bulbs produce different light ranges. Metal halide (MH) bulbs, for instance, emit more blue light than HPS (high-pressure sodium) lights, which generate a yellow and reddish glow.

On the other hand, vegetable plants often prefer blue light (about 400 to 500 nm), while blooming buds are more suited to red light (a 620 to 780 nm range).

Another crucial variable is the wavelengths. If some of your plants suffer from sluggish growth rates while others prosper, it is time to purchase new lamps with a wider spectrum. 

Excessive Watering

Why is my plant growing slow

Sometimes, over-irrigation is the root cause. It is a common situation – particularly for younger gardeners when cultivating their plants. Excess water spews a bunch of fatal issues, including nutritional deficits and fungal diseases. 

If it is a pot plant, pick up your pots to determine if you might have gone too far with the watering. Do these planters feel heavy? Then you should allow some drying time for your plant

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It is not as prevalent as overfeeding but still a very likely possibility. The issue mainly occurs during hydroponic gardening. In rarer cases, such common mistakes are found in soil cultivation, too.

Most commercial potting mix packages contain just three or four weeks’ worth of nutrients. Hence, you need to supply your shrubs with an extra nitrogen source. More fertilizers are a must if the plant has reached a growth plateau after one or two months.

Calcium Deficiencies

Brown or yellow leaves are the telltale signals of calcium deficiency. As with malnutrition, hydroponic gardens are particularly prone to this issue. Supply your plants with extra nutrition right away. 

Calcium is the key to cell wall maintenance and a robust root system. Experts suggest a CalMag (calcium-magnesium) augment or marl lime to incorporate the necessary calcium in your plant medium. 

pH Problems

Why are my plants growing so slowly
Field kits to test pH levels

Without proper pH equilibrium in the soil, your plant is incapable of absorbing essential nutrients. These imbalances often poke up via indications of nutritional deficiency. So if you fertilize your gardens days and nights but still observe no signs of flourishment, adjust your pH immediately.

Maintain a pH level of 6.5 to 7.0 for soil gardens (and 5.6 to 5.8 for hydro gardens) whenever you feed your shrubs.

Thermodynamic Issues

Some tropical plants cannot thrive outside a particular temperature range, so check the air temp to tackle the growth issues. We suggest retaining a temp scope of 25 to 30 degrees Celsius (77 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit). That ensures the metabolic functions always operate at their peak.

Wrong Pots

At times, the answer to your question, “Why is my plant growing slow?” tucks itself in the most unlikely place: the pot sizes. Sufficient development space is a must, or your plant would suffer.

The plant height correlates directly with container dimensions. For instance, those 30 cm tall (about a foot) must reside in a pot that can accommodate 7 to 11 liters (two or three gallons) in volume. 


Most of you must have been taken aback by this, but yes. Plants absorb dust more than anything else (probably except glass shelving). 

The main issue with dust is that they impair all capacities to transpire (by obstructing the plant stomata). These loose particles also block off your light sources, rendering the photosynthesis procedure completely useless.

Ask yourself how often you dust your plant. Feel guilty already? Then pick up a dust cleaner and spring to your job right away.

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How To Make Them Grow Faster?

Why is my plant growing slow
How to fix the issue?

The reasons why plants grow slowly have been explained in detail. Now the most decisive inquiry arises: how to fix those issues? Aside from temperature and light adjustments, we could say plant fertilizers are the most efficient and powerful method thus far.

NPK nutrients in a typical fertilizer may vary. But all in all, nitrogen promotes healthy growth, while phosphorus fosters the development of strong roots and blooms. At the same time, potassium secures a robust cell formation. 

The NPK ratio helps you determine the most appropriate fertilizer application for your plants. Potting soil samples or visible deficits also play a part. Once you have established the optimum ratio, our next step is to mull over some critical decisions for the ideal formula:

Should I Opt For Natural or Inorganic Fertilizers?

The choice is not easy, calling for assessments of multiple environmental factors. Chemical fertilizers offer faster deliveries, while organic variants opt for a more natural and slow process. 

Granular or Liquid?

Granular fertilizers are intended to function for months at a time. They come in either powder or pellet forms, delivering nutrients gradually with each water feeding. On the other hand, liquid fertilizers settle much more quickly with better versatility. Their effects are also more immediate.


Now that you already have answers to the question “Why are my plants growing so slow?,” we think you will know what to do next. The reason behind might lie in unexpected elements, so keep an eye on every environmental condition. Keep our gardening guides in mind and write to us for more info if necessary.

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