I love when I know the exact word to describe something, whether that “something” is an emotion, a color, taste, or plant part. To help you feel more confident in the words of the botanical world, I’m starting this Botanical Alphabet series. It may or may not be published in exact alphabetical order.

etiolation: the result of plants being grown in insufficient light; characterized by pale green/yellow color, long week stems.

Sometimes even a bright, sunny, south facing window isn’t enough for your seedlings. In whatever stage they are in, your plants will tell you whether or not they’re getting enough light. And for many plants, the first sign is etiolation: those long, leggy stems.

Incidentally, this is also a good time to talk about phototropism: the ability of the plant to grow towards the light, as it were. If you notice your plants are leaning towards the source of light, just rotate their pot and they’ll straighten back up. Until they start leaning again.