Soils will have their differences depending on their structure with all of them holding onto water at different levels though they all follow the same pattern of drying: from the top down in plastic and in fabric, top and sides....bottom too if its raised
They are not stalled....growth is continuing, we just can't see it. Think of it more as the roots are enjoying their reward and getting stronger. See, whats happening is:
Soil appears dry as a bone though remains fairly damp through the middle and bottom...top growth appears to be stopped while the roots search for a source of water thinning out and elongating. Once they receive water they need, they stop searching and absorb what they can getting fat enjoying their reward then when hydrated again top growth resumes. As the soils moisture goes down, top growth slows and the roots start their search again.....
Fast root growth, slow top growth -> hydrate ->Fast top growth, slow root growth ->low moisture -> fast root growth, slow top growth ->hydrate etc, etc
If the soil stays dry for too long, stems and leaves will droop as roots struggle to find water and start to die off being too thin, unable to supply the top growth with water for transpiration and unable to carry nutrients where its needed so the leaves go soft and limp to help conserve energy as the roots do 1 last growth spurt for a source of water...in a nutrient rich soil, tip burn is often seen as the nutrients are concentrated too much when the roots uptake the water for more growth.
This plant is asking for water and will perk back up once the roots absorb the water they want
This plant is begging for water with the shoot tip going limp and will perk back up once the roots absorb the water they want. Leaf yellowing happens at this stage as water and nutrients are shifted to where the plant can use them more efficiently preparing for the next extended drought period. If too much root death occurs before being watered, the plant will not recover and continue to wilt as the remaining roots cannot sustain the top growth
If the soil stays wet for too long, leaves will droop as the roots struggle to breath and start to die off as they suffocate unable to get rid of the water fast enough so the leaves become rigid and fat like a bunch of speed bumps that then progress to leaf cupping and spindly top growth trying to release the excess water through the leaves (stomata)
These plants roots are suffocating from too much soil moisture and trying to find a balance
This plant has some root death and in root repair mode as the soil releases moisture
This plant's roots completely suffocated and died staying wet for too long unable to give anything to the top growth
Often when we don't have watering down to dry enough to promote root growth and wet enough to promote shoot (top) growth through the plants cycles we see both under and over watering issues making it even harder to identify especially when its over an extended period of time.
Anyhow, the seedlings are looking great reaping their reward as they find their root and shoot growth balance