What to do if your plant is becoming spindly

What to do if your plant is becoming spindly

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How to treat a spindly plant

Spindly or leggy growth can be an indication of improper growing conditions. It's most commonly caused by a plant not getting enough light. The low light levels result in elongated stems that stretch toward the light and may be tipped by uncharacteristically small or mis-shapen leaves. Frequent overwatering can sometimes produce this result as well.


  • An excessively long, thin stem

  • Pale new leaves

  • Longer distance between leaves than usual

  • The stem may break under the weight of the foliage

Opuntia etiolated

What to do now

  • Ensure that your plant is getting sufficient light

  • Add grow lights if necessary during the winter months when light gets more weak and days shorter

  • Be careful not to overwater or fertilize too much, as this can also promote a leggy growth

  • If your plant seems to be in ideal conditions but still has leggy growth in the months following bringing it home, it may be a factor out of your control. Some growers treat plants with a retarding agent to keep plants compact. As this wears off, you may see spindly growth. This can often be seen on Hibiscus and Poinsettia.