14 Reasons Why Your Garden Plants Are Not Growing

Why Your Garden Plants Are Not Growing

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When you have plants indoors or outside in the garden, one of the first signs that something is wrong is when they aren’t growing. There are several common problems that can be the cause, so it is important to understand what your plants need to grow and thrive. If you have annuals or vegetables planted, you should see a good amount of growth every week during the summer. 

What to Do If Plants Are Not Growing

If your plants aren’t growing, you need to investigate what is causing it. There are a number of different factors, and once you fix the problem, your plant should start growing again. It may be something simple such as adding fertilizer to the soil, or it could be a more complicated issue, such as a pest infestation. If you notice your garden plants not growing, take a look at the following 14 possible reasons why they aren’t growing so you can fix the problem. 

Lack of Nutrients

One of the most common issues that lead to your plants not growing is that they aren’t getting the nutrients they need. The soil where plants grow is an entire ecosystem that is full of organisms that all have a role in the health of the plants that grow there. 

If your soil is lacking nutrients, you need to start by clearing the space of any weeds and adding mulch. You can sprinkle cow manure or chicken manure over it because it is full of nutrients that encourage microbes. Water it every six weeks, and the soil should be moist. You can also add an organic fertilizer to make sure that the plants are getting the nutrition they need. 

The nutrients in healthy soil include nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. In small amounts, there are micronutrients, such as iron, chlorine, copper, sodium, and cobalt. 

The soil needs to have nutrients replenished periodically because they runoff. Also, if you have weeds, they will compete with your plants for nutrients and take what your plants need. 

Too Much or Too Little Water

Water is another issue that can interfere with a plant’s ability to grow. You have to make sure that plants are getting the right amount of water, and too much or too little will cause them not to grow. When plants are newly planted, they need more water than once they are established. 

Then, when plants grow fruit, they need more water again because it feeds the fruit. Water allows nutrients to get to the plant, and it is important for photosynthesis. If a plant has too much water, the roots can rot. The soil gets compacted, and the space between soil particles is filled with water instead of air. This prevents plants from absorbing the oxygen they need. 

It can get worse because when the roots are drenched consistently, they can rot. This causes them to turn dark and smell bad. Eventually, the root will die and break off, leaving little option for transporting nutrients and oxygen to the plant. Plants can’t grow under these circumstances. 

If the plant doesn’t get enough water, it won’t be able to transport the nutrients through the plant. This will prevent the plant from growing. 

You can check the moisture content of the soil by placing your finger in the soil up to your knuckle. Check to see if the soil is too dry or too wet. This will help you determine whether it needs more or less water. 

Soil Too Hot

There are times when the soil might overheat. This happens when the soil has poor water retention, and it can cause the plant to be stressed. The energy of the plant goes into staying alive, not growing. 

In addition, earthworms and other microorganisms that live in the soil go deeper into the soil to get away from the heat, and they take their nutrients with them. These organisms are critical for keeping contaminants out of the soil and providing plants with the nutrition they need. 

Soil can overheat for several different reasons. Sometimes people overuse herbicides, which kill off the biosphere. It can happen when people turn the soil over too often. The best way to prevent or correct this problem is by keeping the soil moisture constant with appropriate watering and by placing mulch on top to protect it from the sun. 

Too Much Fertilizer

Fertilizer is important for making sure that the soil is replenished with nutrients such as nitrogen when it runs low. However, people often add too much fertilizer, which can burn the plant. Watch your plants when they are growing to learn how much fertilizer is the right amount. Plants that flower a lot need more nutrients, such as potassium and magnesium. 

Fruit trees require fertilizer after they bear fruit because they use a lot of energy to produce the fruit. You need to understand the types of plants you have and learn when they need fertilizer. 

If you give the plants too much fertilizer, it can be too hot for some root systems. This is true when you use nitrogen which leads to rapid greening, as it can cause excessive growth, followed by burnout. 

In general, organic fertilizers are safer and have good nutrients for plants. However, you still need to understand the plant and its nutritional needs and check your soil before you fertilize so that you don’t overdo it. 

Transplant Shock

Whenever you transplant a plant, it goes through an adjustment period. When you first move a plant into a new pot or in the ground, it can go through shock from the move. This stress uses up energy, so the plant recovers instead of growing. 

You may notice a newly transplanted plant wilting or losing its leaves. It might drop its flowers or fruit, and it can even die if you don’t address it right away. Not only is the plant in a new location with slightly different soil and conditions, but it may also have different lighting, wind, and more. 

Underground, the roots often take a minute to get rooted in the new location. Even when you expose the roots to the air for a few minutes, the smaller rootlets can dry out and die off. 

When you transplant a plant, you should prune it before moving it. This will reduce the energy it needs so that it has time to focus on taking root in the new location. 

Planted in the Wrong Season

It is important to make sure that you plant your plants in the ideal season. Some plants should be planted in the fall, while others are better being planted in the spring. There is a recommended season for all plants, and you should always follow it. When you plant out of season, it can interfere with the way the plant grows. 

The plant might germinate and then die off because it doesn’t have the right conditions to grow. It may not grow at all because the conditions aren’t right; it could be too cold or too hot, too wet, or too dry. If you plant your plants in the wrong season, they are unlikely to grow. 

Planted in the Wrong Location

When you buy plants, they come with recommendations of where they need to be planted. Plants have recommended climates, and if it is too cold or too hot, you won’t be able to grow them. They also have a label that tells you whether it needs full sun, partial shade, or shade, and this is important to follow. 

Before you plant them in the ground, you might consider leaving them in a pot in the location where you want to plant them before you put them in the ground. You will be able to see how well they tolerate the location so that you can move them if they are getting stressed. 

Look out for areas that are windy, in full sun, in dark areas, or where you have reflective heat. You should also make sure that you don’t grow two incompatible plants next to each other. They might compete for the same nutrients. 

pH Level in Soil Is Off

Different plants grow well in different pH levels. In general, most plants do best in slightly acidic to neutral soil, which is between 6.0 and 7.0 on the pH scale. You should test the soil before you plant, and then make sure that you choose plants that grow well in the soil. You can adjust the pH of the soil before planting if you need to. 

Pest Infestation

Another cause for your plants not to grow is a pest infestation. If insects are bothering your plants, you need to observe and take care of them. There are products you can use, such as neem oil, and it will help you reduce pests on your plants. 

You might notice the leaves yellowing or having little holes in them. Your plant won’t grow when it is infested with pests. Most of the pests that can attack your plants are impossible to see with the naked eye, so you will have to recognize signs that they are present. 


Weeds are invasive plants that grow where you don’t want them. They compete with your plants for nutrients, oxygen, water, and space. They can be fast-growing and crowd your plant’s roots, and they can literally take over the garden. 

The best way to handle weeds is prevention. Mulch can help control them. If you find them, you should pull them out by the root so that they are completely out of the space. Avoid using herbicides as this can overheat the soil and take away nutrients that your plants need. 

Too Much or Too Little Light

All plants need sunlight for photosynthesis. Plants take in water, carbon dioxide, and energy from the sun and convert it into oxygen and glucose for their food. However, some plants need more sun than others. If you have a plant that grows best in partial shade in the full sun, it will be too much, and the plant may not grow. 

You can have the reverse problem if you have a plant that requires direct sunlight and you plant it in the shade. Plants that are partial shade can’t tolerate direct sunlight all day. They won’t survive in this type of condition. Make sure that you pay attention to the needs of your plants if you want them to grow. 

Humidity Issues

Everything in a plant’s environment affects how it grows, and humidity is another factor. Relative humidity is how much water vapor is in the air, and it has an effect on how the plant breathes. When it is hot and dry out, the plant might close its stomata to reduce water loss. However, if it is humid out, the plant can suffocate from taking in too much moisture. 

When there is too much humidity, the plant can develop disease or rot. It is important to make sure that your plant isn’t living in too humid conditions. This can cause your plant not to grow. 

Root Problems

If your plant isn’t growing, it could be a problem with the roots. One possibility is that the roots are compacted, and they might not get nutrients or oxygen to the plant to feed it. They can also develop root rot if the soil is too wet. 

Size of Pot

Finally, your plant may not be growing because of the size of the pot. If the pot is too small, the roots won’t have room to grow. The small pot can stunt the plant’s growth. Make sure that you have plants in containers that are appropriate sizes for them. 

Final Words

If you notice that your plants aren’t growing, it is important to investigate to see what is wrong. You need to act quickly because your plants could die if you don’t fix the problem. 


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