What is Etiolation in Plants: Causes & How to Stop it

When it comes to gardening and plants, there is a term called “etiolation”. Many may not know what this means, why it’s a problem, and how to find a solution to etiolation.

All these questions will be answered in this post.

What Is Etiolation In Plants?

Etiolation is a process in flowering plants grown in partial or a complete absence of light. Long or/and weak stem is a common symptom of etiolation. This is due to a weakening of the cell walls in the stem. Smaller leaves and the plants having an overall yellowish colour rather than healthy green are other issues. The reason for the pale colour is a lack of chlorophyll and vital nutrients that come from an adequate light source.

Etiolation increases a plant’s chances of reaching a light source but comes with unwanted symptoms.

What Causes Etiolation?

A distinct lack of light is the cause of etiolation in flowering plants. It could be the case that a plant gets only partial light throughout the day, or practically no light at all.

Every plant needs light to grow, remain healthy, and simply survive. A lack of life-giving light will not only lead to a less than a healthy plant, but sometimes disease and death of the plant.

How To Stop Etiolation?

Plants suffering from etiolation need to be repositioned in an area where they receive more sunlight. Alternatively, for plants growing indoors, on balconies, or on patios where direct sunlight isn’t possible, then growing lamps can be used to provide those flowering plants with the light they need to stave off etiolation.

Affected plants can be improved by cutting the top rosette from the stem, removing the lower leaves, and positioning the plants in areas of natural light.

What Is De-Etiolation?

De-etiolation is a process that is informally known as “greening”. It involves a series of biochemical and physiological changes a plant shoot undergoes in response to exposure to sunlight. This happens when the plants emerge from the ground after long periods of insufficient exposure to sunlight. Changes that occur in the plant, once exposed to light, prepare it for photosynthesis.


To further understand etiolation, remedies, and how to grow a healthy garden & other services related to garden maintenance in North Shore, either indoors or outside, talk to the team at Hort Culture. We are your local gardening and lawn care experts, so get in touch today and we’ll answer any questions you may have.

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