What to do if your plant is becoming spindly

What to do if your plant is becoming spindly

Want to learn more about Treatment - double check fertilizer and light (spindly plant)

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Spindly or leggy growth can be an indication improper growing conditions.


Spindly, leggy growth is 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.

If your plant seems to be in ideal conditions but still has some 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.


  • 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


Ensure that your plant is getting sufficient light. You can double-check your Site’s light level using the Light Meter (you can find this under the site settings) to make sure that it is listed correctly. You can check that these light conditions are suitable for your plant’s needs by going to the ‘Info’ tab on your plant’s page.

During the winter months, in many places the light gets very weak and the days shorter. This means that the plant might have leggy growth for part of the year. A grow light can prevent this as well as potential leaf drop due to low light.

Overwatering and fertilizing too much can also promote a leggy growth. So ensure that you're following the tasks in Planta and that you always check the soil first.