What Is Etiolation?
Etiolation is a term used to describe the process of removing excess water from plant tissues. It refers to the removal of water through evaporation or transpiration. This process removes excess moisture from plants and helps them grow faster and healthier. If left unchecked, excessive watering will cause leaves to wilt, stems to rot, flowers to die and fruit production will suffer.
The process of evaporation or transpiration is how plants remove heat from their surroundings. When temperatures are too high, plants will lose water through these processes.
Plants need to maintain a certain temperature range in order to survive and thrive. Too much or too little water can lead to death for plants if they aren’t kept within the right temperature range.
How Does Etiolation Work?
Evaporation occurs when air contains more than enough oxygen to support photosynthesis. Air containing less than the minimum amount of oxygen will not allow plants to continue growing. The process of evaporation happens very quickly and is a slow process. When it comes to evaporation, there are two types: Condensation and Evaporative (or Transpirational) Absorption.
Condensation is the change of a gas (such as water vapor) into a liquid due to a reduction in pressure. When air moves from a area of high pressure to low pressure, the air will usually expand or get bigger.
This is called Expansion. When air expands, it takes up more space. When this happens over the surface of water, you can get condensation.
When air contains more water than the plant can use, water is absorbed through the leaves. This happens when air passes over the ends of leaves.
Air flowing over the surface of leaves takes up energy. When air takes up energy, it cools. When the air cools enough, water will condense from the gas phase to the liquid phase.
Etiolation – Plant Problems: Causes and Symptoms
There are many reasons why plants become etiolated. The most common are:
Insufficient Light: Lack of light is a leading cause of etiolation. If plants don’t get enough light, they are unable to carry out the process of photosynthesis and they begin to grow more towards what little light is available to them.
They also grow taller in order to reach the light and prevent unwanted shade from other plants around them. This is why many indoor plants stretch to their limits and grow very tall and leggy. In some cases, they stop growing altogether and remain short and “leggy.”
Overly Wet Soil: Some plants need moist soil to grow well while other plants require dryer conditions. The type of plant you’re growing will determine whether or not it requires excessive watering or not.
If you provide enough water for a plant that doesn’t need it, the soil will remain excessively wet. This can lead to root rot and eventually death of the plant.
Insects: Some insects like the Tropical Walking Stick will completely drain the nutrients from a plant. It does this by chewing holes in the stem of a plants and drinking out its sap.
This could lead to death of the plant if it goes on for long enough.
Growing Problems: If you grow marijuana outdoors, there is a chance that you may experience problems with growing marijuana indoors or even outside where you are growing. A common problem for outdoor growers is marijuana pests.
Inexperienced growers may also make the mistake of planting their seeds too close together, resulting in a less than average yield.
Overwatering: It is very important that you don’t over water your plants. Over watering can cause root rot, which ultimately leads to the death of the plant.
If you’re unsure if you’re over watering your plants, feel free to wait until you see some signs of wilting (this does not mean a little droop at the tip, it means major drooping) before you provide additional water.
Seeds: Some seeds just don’t germinate. This isn’t common and most varieties of marijuana will germinate within a period of 5-7 days.
If you’re growing your plants from seeds, you may have gotten fake seeds (this happens a lot online so be very careful where you buy from), or the seed itself just wasn’t viable. This isn’t common but it does happen from time to time.
Seedlings: If you start your plants from seeds, they will be in their most vulnerable state until they reach the flowering stage (usually week 6-8). During this time you need to make sure that you are giving the seedlings as much love and care as possible.
This means you should provide them with ample (but not excessive) water, and plenty of nutrients.
Space: If you are growing indoors, it is very important to make sure that your plants aren’t too cramped. Marijuana plants like having a little bit of personal space.
If they are cramped or touching one another, they may not grow as large as they could or even worse, they may become infested with pests such as spider mites.
Twisting: If you’re growing outdoor plants, you need to remember that the plants will get very tall (this is especially true if you’re growing in a warm/hot area where the plants naturally grow much larger). Because of this, the stems (which are quite weak) can snap under the weight of the plant.
To prevent this from happening you need to stake the plant and/or tie it to a piece of string that is used to provide support as it grows.
Sources & references used in this article:
Etiolation and the rooting of cuttings. by EF Frolich – Etiolation and the rooting of cuttings., 1961 – cabdirect.org
Effect of boron on the leaf etiolation and fruit drop of Newhall Navel orange in southern Jiangxi. by CC Jiang, YH Wang, GD Liu, Y Xia, S Peng… – Plant Nutrition and …, 2009 – cabdirect.org
In vitro propagation of Cyclamen by the use of etiolated petioles by T Ando, K Murasaki – Tech. Bull. Fac. Hort. Chiba Univ, 1983 – core.ac.uk