Why Are My Plants So Short?

Are your plants so short, and you don’t know what is causing the problem? This article will highlight the main reasons for stunted growth in plants. These reasons apply to all plants that aren’t growing well. 

For a plant to grow to its potential, it requires proper care and certain conditions. The lack of these conditions reduces the growth rate of plants, and as a result, your plant has stunted growth. 

But, you need to understand that some of these problems are manageable, and with proper care, you can prevent stunted growth in plants.   

What makes plants so short?

First, before you start checking the reason for stunted growth in plants, you have to know the type of plant you have and its height under normal growing conditions. This will help you identify the point at which the plant stopped growing and if you can reverse the damage. 

Stunted growth in plants is a sign that your plant is not healthy, and it requires attention. It works just like when leaves turn yellow or brown, it shows itself when the plant can’t heal and is in survival mode. 

You have to diagnose and determine the problem to find why you have plants so short. Here are the reasons that can cause your plant to have stunted growth. 

Environmental conditions

Each plant is meant to grow under certain environmental conditions such as sunlight, soil type, pH level, and water needs. If your plant doesn’t grow in an area that receives the required conditions, it is prone to problems.

Stunted growth in plants occurs when the plant is placed in a place with unfavorable conditions. For instance, if you have a plant outdoors during winter, it will stop growing because of the growth. If the temperature doesn’t change, it will adapt to the conditions and send energy to keep the plant alive instead of growing. 

Calcium deficiency

Calcium is a nutrient responsible for the growth of plants’ stems and leaves. It also ensures it has strong stems and leaves. A plant that lacks calcium will stop growing because it doesn’t have enough nutrients to help the stem and leaves. 

Besides the plant’s stunted growth, you will notice yellow leaves or plant death when it lacks calcium. 

So, to help your plant, add calcium fertilizer into the soil. This will ensure the soil is rich in nutrients and your plants continue to grow. 

Lack of nutrients 

The lack of nutrients can make your plants so short. We have talked about calcium deficiency, but that’s not all when it comes to nutrient shortage. 

When a plant grows, it gets nutrients from the soil to the stem and leaves. These nutrients are turned into energy to help the plant grow. Some of the nutrients include nitrogen, magnesium, and phosphorous. 

If the soil lacks even one of these nutrients, it will stop growing properly and, in the end, result in stunted growth in plants. Fortunately, it is easy to address this problem—mix soil with a fertilizer containing an equal amount of NPK. 

On the other hand, you can test the soil to determine the missing nutrients and then add them to the soil to improve its quality. 


Overwatering is a common problem in plant growth. It can make your plant have slow growth, but it will eventually die because of root rot. 

During overwatering, what happens is that the soil becomes soaked, which results in closed pores. Closed pores reduce air circulation, resulting in the growth of fungi around the roots after some time. The fungi attack the roots, causing root rot. Eventually, the plant stops growing and dies. 

To avoid overwatering, check the soil moisture using a meter or finger test before watering. Ensure the soil is moist and not dry or wet. Also, have drainage holes in a pot to remove excess water. 

Fungal infections

The rise in fungal infections can result in stunted growth in plants. Once the fungi grow, they start producing toxins affecting plant cells. The affected cells cause the plant to stop growing, reduce leaf size, and the leaves start to turn yellow. 

Start treatment the moment you notice your plant has been affected by fungi. Use a fungicide or an antibiotic to kill the fungi in the affected parts. 

Lack enough light.

As you know, light is important in the growth of a plant. If you place it in an area that receives less light, it won’t be able to make chlorophyll, and the plants can’t make their food. 

As the plant lacks food, the immune system weakens and stops growing because of a lack of energy. You will notice this problem when the leaves start to turn yellow. 

Depending on your plant, place it in an area where it can receive enough sunlight, like 6 to 8 hours a day. This will help in its growth. 

Incorrect light spectrum

Incorrect light spectrum affects those gardeners who use grow light for indoor plants. When the spectrum is wrong, the plant won’t grow properly, and you will have stunted growth in plants. 

Light spectrum can be light brightness or light color. Plants want a certain amount of brightness from light. So, too bright or not bright enough can affect plant growth. So, ensure that you choose the correct light color and brightness for your plants. 

Root health

Since the root is deep within the soil, most people don’t consider it a problem. However, it won’t work as intended when a root has stress. 

Root stress is often caused when it lacks enough oxygen. It happens when the soil pores are closed by water or you have poor soil quality. So, when this happens, the roots lack oxygen,  and they stop working efficiently. It eventually leads to root rot. 

When this happens, remove the plant from the pot to check the root health. Cut rotten roots and repot them in fresh soil. 

Pests and diseases

An attack by pests and diseases can result in stunted growth in plants due to low immunity. It happens to most plants, but you can prevent it early on when the pests start to appear. 

That works when you have a keen eye and always care for your plants. Pests make plants so short by reducing their ability to retain water and transpire. That happens because the plant is using all its energy to fight the pests and diseases attacking it. 


You can have a problem with stunted growth in plants, however, that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the plant. Worst case scenario, it dies due to neglect. Otherwise, start finding the problems when you notice you have plants so short than normal.