Why do not indoor plants grow?
Sooner or later, any grower is faced with the problem of slow growth of indoor plants. If a pause in development during the resting phase or after transplantation, then this is a natural process. But any signs of dwarfism or slow growth in “normal” times are signs of problems with caring for the plant or its health. Improper irrigation, lack of nutrients and even individual trace elements can lead to serious growth problems. And the sooner it is possible to diagnose the cause and take appropriate measures, the more likely it is that your plant will soon return to normal.
Causes of stunting and dwarfism
Natural or problem-indicating growth retardation is always striking. It is usually noticeable in spring and summer, when any normal plant produces at least a couple of leaves, or even a dozen, young shoots develop and their visible change in development occurs. But if natural causes do not require any measures, they just correspond to the stage of development or adaptation, then all other possible causes of an unexpected and atypical growth stop require much more serious actions.
To understand why there is a developmental delay in indoor crops, we should first of all analyze all possible natural causes and factors. They include:
- acclimatization to new conditions;
- rest period;
- root growth and substrate development (many cultures in the early years of life develop slowly until they have a sufficient mass of roots);
- natural features of a species or variety - a very slow, almost imperceptible development;
- the first month after transplantation (for shrubs and trees - up to 3 months);
- separation or other vegetative propagation methods that require a very long adaptation.
Only by eliminating all of the possible causes of a natural nature, it is worth starting to worry. In addition to natural factors, growth retardation and dwarfism can also be factors that require active measures from you. The main problems that cause stunting or growth retardation include:
- Too tight capacity, complete development of the substrate by the roots.
- Poor soil nutrition or abnormal, inadequate top dressing and the resulting lack of nutrients (slight or severe).
- Incorrect watering with complete drying of the substrate.
- Lack of calcium in the soil.
- Salinity of the substrate.
- Substance contamination with toxins and heavy metals.
- Leaf spotting.
- Infectious dwarfism due to infection of the substrate with nematodes.
Indoor plants have various problems, manifested in slow growth, most often associated with care. But there are also specific diseases or pests, which are not so easy to deal with than to compensate for the lack of certain substances. Depending on what exactly caused the growth to halt, methods of control are also used. If the wrong approach to watering or top dressing, which can be compensated quickly enough, then the fight against serious lesions requires some patience and endurance.
It should always be remembered that improper care increases the likelihood of problems with the growth and development of the plant. Thus, the use of improperly selected fertilizers without a systematic approach threatens leaf spotting and dwarfism, and overflows or the use of random earth mixtures - nematodes. If you comply with all the requirements of the plants and carefully study their features, then the risk that your plant will suffer from growth delays will be minimal.
Nutritional deficiencies or transplant requirements
Usually, the simplest of all growth retardation symptoms are associated with inadequate top dressing or depleted soil, improperly selected fertilizers, and tight capacity. Such a slowdown manifests itself on its own, without accompanying signs and problems: there is no leaf damage, no loss of decorativeness, no drying out, but normal growth simply slows down or stops. Solving these problems is very simple:
- If the roots come out of the drainage holes - this clearly means that the entire substrate has been mastered, and it has not changed for a long time. It is necessary to transplant a plant.
- If there is enough free soil in the tanks, you need to fertilize with complex fertilizers, check your fertilizing schedule with the recommendations for this plant, and if necessary, change fertilizers to a more suitable mixture, carefully studying the plant description.
In plants, one can often observe signs of a lack of a specific macro- or microelement. But most of them are manifested in a change in the color of the leaves, and not in a stunted growth. With one exception: a lack of calcium (including) can also occur in dwarfism, stunting, a clear discrepancy in the size of the bushes declared for this type of indoor plants. The symptoms of calcium deficiency can be recognized only by the problems associated with dwarfism - the death of the upper buds on the shoots, thickening, shortening of the roots, and the appearance of mucus on them.
Problems with irrigation and water quality
If slow growth or stunting is associated with improper watering, then identifying the problem is also quite simple. In plants that suffer from drying out of the substrate, insufficient, irregular watering and lack of moisture, in addition to growth retardation, the leaves also wilt, they begin to turn yellow, their tips dry, wrinkled and dry individual leaves, most often from the bottom of the crown or the oldest leaves. Flowering also stops, flowers and buds fall.
The growth retardation caused by the drying up of the soil must be combated comprehensively. Before returning the plant to an optimal watering schedule, the soil is saturated with water in several ways:
- Immerse the container with the roots in water for irrigation, saturating with an earthen lump of water, and after air bubbles cease to appear, carefully take it out and allow all excess water to drain. This option is not suitable for plants that are sensitive to waterlogging, prone to rot, succulents, with juicy stems, tubers and bulbs.
- Slow bottom watering of the soil with moisture, when water is poured in small portions, at intervals, into the pan for uniform and gradual moistening of the earth coma from below.
- Dividing the usual amount of water for irrigation into several irrigations with an interval of 4-5 hours is a series of light but frequent irrigation, which gradually resumes comfortable moisture to the plant.
After any water-loading irrigation, the substrate is allowed to dry only in the upper layer - 2-3 cm - of the substrate. After that, the schedule of procedures is selected again, which will maintain the soil moisture that is necessary for a particular plant.
If you use ordinary tap water to irrigate plants, do not defend it, or even use well-maintained but not soft water for those plants that are afraid of alkalization, then quite quickly the soil will grease and change the soil reaction, the accumulation of trace elements that will cause development problems plants. Salinity is determined by white deposits on the walls of the tank and the surface of the substrate. In this case, there is only one thing to help: transplantation into a fresh substrate and correction of care.
Only if you notice signs of alkalization in the initial stages, you can acidify the water for irrigation and in time to start using soft water. But such measures do not save the situation and are temporary, help reduce harm before transplanting and changing the ground.
Diseases, pests and poisoning of the substrate
Leaf spotting is a disease that is always associated with stunting or severe stunting. Of course, they determine it by completely different signs: spots of brown, gray, black colors that appear on the surface, as well as yellowing and dying foliage, loss of decorativeness. But stunting is a satellite without which spotting never appears.
To save the plant, you will have to use fungicides. You can use both copper-containing drugs and systemic pesticides. But if the disease was noticed in the early stages and growth did not slow down critically, then you can try to cope with the problem of infusions of marigolds, ash, and a decoction of horsetail.
Infectious dwarfism in indoor plants is diagnosed only by the exclusion of any other possible causes. Most often, it is associated with infection of the soil with nematodes, but sometimes it also manifests itself. It is impossible to fight it, the plant must be isolated, care must be taken, and systemic treatments with fungicides and insecticides should be carried out. But the chance of success is low. If dwarfism is the result of the activity of nematodes, then they are fought not only by emergency transplantation, but also by special insecticides from soil pests, lowering the substrate moisture level, and correction of care. When transplanting, the roots are additionally disinfected, like fresh soil and containers.
Heavy metal and toxin contamination of the substrate is not uncommon. If there are no other possible reasons, and the ecological situation is far from optimal, the apartment or house is located near highways and large industrial enterprises, plants are taken out for the summer in the open air, where toxins can get into the soil, or untreated water with a high content of heavy metals is used, that growth lag may well be toxic in nature. Usually drainage from expanded clay and vermiculite helps to combat the inevitable partial accumulation of toxins, but it is better to take measures to protect plants from polluted air and water, including using special filters, refusing to remove them to fresh air and restricting ventilation.