Gibberellic Acid in Plant Growth


Gibberellic acid is composed of plant hormones called gibberellins. These gibberellins affect cell division and elongation and cause a wide variety of responses in plants when the hormones are applied.


Gibberellic acid has different effects on plant growth when used in different strengths and/or at different times in a plant's development. Temperature, too, can affect results. The variability can make for some unexpected outcomes.

Negative Effect

Too much gibberellic may harm a plant by causing it to grow too fast too soon. This happens to rice affected by "foolish seedling" disease, which is caused by a fungus secreting gibberellins.

Sustained Tree Growth

Trees periodically treated with gibberellic acid grow throughout the season. The hormone is applied to an area surrounding terminal buds, which are found at the ends of stems.


Fruit size and yield can be increased with use of the hormone, with fruits growing more quickly than normal.

Formation of Roots

Depending on the concentration applied and the amount of light available, gibberellic acid can encourage root growth, discourage it or have no effect at all, experiments in Denmark showed.


Using gibberellic acid, seeds germinate more quickly. Old seeds and difficult seeds germinate more readily with the hormone.


  • Gibberellic Acid for Fruit Set and Seed Germination
  • Summary: Light Dependent Promotion and inhibition of Adventitious Root Formation by Gibberellic Acid
  • Grape Notes, Univ. of Cal. Coop. Ext.; Gibberellin and Flame Seedless; Bill Peacock; Sept./Oct. 1999

Who Can Help

  • Florida State Horticultural Society; Gibberellin: History and Physiology; Howard J. Teas; 1957
  • Plant Hormones
Keywords: gibberellic acid, gibberellins, plant growth and gibberellic acid

About this Author

S. Johnson is a freelance writer and editor of both print and film media who specializes in making the complex clear. A freelancer for over 20 years, Johnson has had the opportunity to cover many topics ranging from construction to music to celebrity interviews, learning a lot and talking to many interesting people.