Why are my garden plants not growing?


If you feel your plants are taking longer than usual to grow there could be many factors that are preventing them from reaching their true potential. Always  allow cuttings and seeds time to develop roots before they grow. This can take anywhere between 6 weeks to a year depending on the plant.

Time of year?

Most plants go into a dormant period during Autumn and winter and usually get going again in spring and summer. Unless it is specifically a winter plant. If you find by summer there is still no signs of growth maybe consider other options.

Right soil conditions, nutrients + water?

Some plants are especially fussy when it comes to soil and need to be in the best growing conditions to flourish. It's always worth doing research on your plants individually to check what is their best growing conditions.  For more information on improving the quality of your soil check our online guide 'What can I use to feed my plants'

Is the plant sick or diseased?

In some cases plant diseases can stunt growth. To check if your plant is diseased check for these common symptoms....

Disease Symptoms 


Grey Mould / Botrytis A fuzzy grey fungal growth appearing on the flowers in patches. Later spreads to stems  Remove effected parts and spray on home made fungicide. 
Viruses Flowers are small with distorted pattern or streaking colour

Remove any effected parts and burn. If re-using pots of infected plants wash thoroughly with soap.


White flecks appear on petals and loss of pigmentation can be survere. Heavy attacks prevent buds opening.

 Water plants regularly. Plants kept in a green house will need to be in a cool humid atmosphere as this thrives in warm conditions. 

Tulip Fire Bleached spots on flowers. Some buds may remain closed and be covered in dense grey fungal growth

Remove and burn effected flower heads. Replace bulbs in fresh soil for the following year. 

Mycoplasmas Flowers are green

 Discard of effected plants.

Rhododendron  bud blast Buds do not ope. They turn brown and dry. Sometimes developing a silver- grey sheen and become covered in black fungal bristles

Remove and burn effected buds and protect plant against leafhoppers. 

Potassium deficiency Fruit plants will not produce fruit and growth may be reduced Improve soil quality. Check above details.
Drought Droopy dry leaves and flowers or fruit will not develop. Water regularly, add mulch to retain water. 
Proliferation The flower  stem grows through the centre of an existing flower. May be virus- infected. Plants should be destroyed.
Fasciation Flowers and stems appear flattened Fasciation does not effect the plant and can be left.

Climate? Wind? shade?

Plants will not grow to their full potential if the climate isn't suitable. All of our plants contain details of best growing positions. It’s always advisable to check the best growing conditions for your plants when you are planning your garden. 

Is the wildlife eating it?

Sings of wildlife eating your plants will usually be quite obvious with holes in the leaves or fruit ect. However in some cases insects and wild animals can eat parts of your plant before they even have chance to grow, which make it seam as though they are just ar not growing. Always take a close look to spot sings of infestation or other damage. Also keep an eye out for your home pets as they will also eat some garden plants. 

Is there space for the roots to grow?

Plants that are in contained spaces that don’t allow they’re roots to grow fully will stunt plant growth. In some cases this can be done on purpose to keep plants that usually grow large smaller.

Plants in small pots can be transferred to larger pots or if plants are in a confined spaces such as a narrow flower bed or border consider adding more soil to the area. Also if multiple plants are growing in a confined space they may all be fighting for root space. Consider allowing more space in between larger plants.