Physiological disorders of plants

Plants throughout their lives can have various problems to grow and develop . A sudden change in temperature, wind or drought can weaken them a lot if they are not adapted to the environment.

For this reason, it is important to know and identify the physiological disorders of plants , since in this way we can act before their health runs the risk of worsening.


  • 1 Shadow
  • 2 sun
  • 3 air currents
  • 4 Cold and frost
  • 5 Plant that has not “hibernated”
  • 6 Lack of nutrients
  • 7 Water acidophilic plants with calcareous water
  • 8 Excess fertilizer
  • 9 Needs A Transplant
  • 10 Pruning poorly done
  • 11 Soil or compact substrate
  • 12 Lack of irrigation
  • 13 Over watering



Orchid growing towards the light.

Although there are many plants that grow in shade or partial shade, most need sun. These, if they are deprived of light, will have these symptoms:

  • The leaves can turn yellow or, conversely, take on a darker green hue as they grow larger to capture more light.
  • The stems are flattened.
  • Absence of flowers.


Those plants that grow in shade (calatea, aspidistra, pothos, etc.) suffer sunburn if they are exposed to direct light. But in addition, if a freshly brought from the nursery that can grow in the sun -such as a Cyca, for example- is suddenly exposed to the sun, it will also have burns.

Air currents

It is a problem that especially affects plants that are in corridors, near windows, etc. The symptoms are:

  • The tips of the leaves turn brown and may even break off.
  • Yellowing and subsequent fall of the leaves.

cold and frost


Cold and frost cause significant damage to tropical or subtropical plants that are living in a climate that is not the most suitable for them. The most frequent symptoms are:

  • Death of flowers and fruits.
  • Brown or black leaves.
  • Stem rot (occurs especially in succulent plants).

Plant that has not “hibernated”

There are many plants that need to go through a rest period in order to continue growing; that is to say, they need to spend some time during which the temperatures remain somewhat cooler, they are little watered and they are not fertilized. In the event that they do not have it, their symptoms will be:

  • Flower buds do not open.
  • Slower growth.
  • Bad buds.

lack of nutrients

chlorotic leaf


The lack of minerals can be lethal to plants. Depending on the nutrient, it will have some symptoms or others, but in general you should know that the leaves tend to turn yellow until they dry up and fall .

Water acidophilic plants with calcareous water.

When some plants, such as Japanese maples, camellias, gardenias or azaleas, are irrigated with calcareous water, what is done is to prevent them from absorbing some essential minerals, such as iron, manganese or zinc. Thus, these symptoms appear:

  • Yellow leaves with green veins.
  • The plants do not grow.
  • Fall of leaves and flowers.
  • Flower abortion.

excess fertilizer

The fertilizer is essential for them to develop correctly, but if the amount is added “by eye”, without reading the manufacturer’s instructions, there is a risk of burns due to overdosing.

need a transplant


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If your plants do not grow, it may be that they need a change of pot since their roots will have occupied the entire pot.

poorly done pruning

There are some plants that do not withstand strong pruning, such as Prunus. In addition, if they are pruned at times that are not the most appropriate, they may not bloom that season, or even die if non-disinfected tools have been used.

Soil or compact substrate

If they are planted in a compact soil or substrate that does not drain water quickly, they will most likely not be able to grow well .

lack of irrigation

All plants need water to live, but the reality is that risk is one of the most difficult things to control. For this reason, it is often said that when in doubt, it is better not to water, but if we make them thirsty, they will end up having these symptoms:

  • Dried leaf tips and edges
  • flower abortion
  • Leaf fall if the situation does not improve

excess watering

Just as bad as watering too little is watering too much. The roots need to be aerated to be able to fulfill their function, which is to absorb water and the nutrients dissolved in it so that the plants can grow. If you water too much, they will have these symptoms:

  • Leaves yellow or with brown spots.
  • Neck rot. In the case of succulents (cacti and succulents), the stems and leaves rot.
  • appearance of fungi.
amaranth leaves

As you have seen, there are several disorders that can affect plants. We hope that now it will be easier for you to identify them.

Physiological disorders of plants

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