I was on a trip for 3 days. My plants were just fine and nearly Mature when I left. But when I logged in after the 3 days there were swarms everywhere and my plants were nearly wilting. This is unfair because I was unable to log on. Your plants should change status only when you are logged on! Who agrees?
Remove the garden gnome and any other items that your plant "likes" before you have to stop playing. This slows down the plant's growth. Also, someone suggested planting stinkweed nearby to further slow it down, because they dislike it.
I have a dandeliion that took a week to mature, because it is sitting all lone in my dorm room.