I have more than 10 plants on my balcony, and almost every one of them has long stems with no branches. We water them every morning, and the sunlight is good. They are like this throughout the year.

I have made a figure to illustrate this. The green colour represents leaves.

enter image description here

The main stem is tall, but there are no branches developing from it, except around the top. It's the case with every plant. All are different types of plants, but it's the same case with every one of them.

A healthy plant should look like this:

enter image description here

What's wrong with them?


One of them is Araucaria heterophylla, also called Norfolk Island pine.


Difficult to notice the details, as there are many plants nearby :D

enter image description here

  • 1
    There is too many causes. With photos (or plant names, or how you irrigate, cultivate, etc.) we could help. Commented Mar 5, 2016 at 10:28
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    most likely is not enough light but we can't say for sure without a photo and more information
    – kevinskio
    Commented Mar 5, 2016 at 11:48
  • Need to know precisely what each plant is, preferably with photos, to give a proper answer
    – Bamboo
    Commented Mar 5, 2016 at 13:05
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    Welcome! I've seen you around the network, and am so glad you joined us. Hope you stay and have fun! I added a link to info about the one you identified, so people can see what it should look like. Please take it out if it's not helpful. Are they out all year? What's the average temperature? What kind of soil are they in? Since they're different types and none are healthy, details about care are especially important. Thanks! Commented Mar 5, 2016 at 19:06
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    Have you seen this question? It has some good information about caring for a Norfolk Island pine. It may not answer your whole question, but it's possible it may help you. Commented Mar 5, 2016 at 19:29

1 Answer 1


If one of them is Araucaria heterophylla, and the other potted plants are also large (eventually) plants, and you say the light is good, then the problem is likely to be the size of the pot. The Araucaria wants to become a large tree, so if it doesn't have enough root room, you are likely to get a long stem with some growth on the top over time. Photographs showing the plants and their pots would have been useful to decide whether what I'm saying is genuinely a problem, but Araucaria also actually prefers mostly shade, with some early or late sun.


You've provided a photograph - first, yes, the Araucaria is in a pot that's too small for it. Given the height of the main stem, it would appear it's been in that pot for some time, even allowing for poor light levels, because this is a slow growing plant. On the other hand, since this plant wants to spread out as much as it grows up, I would say you haven't sufficient room on your balcony for such a plant anyway - in the ground they get up to 20 feet wide, particularly at the base, and whilst a well grown potted one would be less wide, it still will make 4-6 feet. Second, although you said light levels on your balcony were good, they appear to be anything but - there is, as you pointed out, a bunch of plants growing the other side of your balcony which are blocking light. Given that's the case, unless you choose shade lovers, I'm sorry to say most plants will do poorly in such conditions.

  • 1
    In my experience, plant growth extension is less when root constrained in a small pot - the opposite of what you've stated.
    – user13580
    Commented Mar 5, 2016 at 17:30
  • True of smaller plants, but with ones that will eventually be large, this isn't uncommon, depending on how long they've been in the pot and its size - photographs would be really helpful...
    – Bamboo
    Commented Mar 5, 2016 at 17:33
  • I have three Araucaria heterophylla. I have provided a pic of one of them. All three are like this.
    – 4-K
    Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 8:03
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    @Mrstupid how many hours of sunshine are striking the plants? Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 18:28
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    That is the issue. You have insufficient light. Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 13:52

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