Plants resist infection and herbivory with innate immune responses that are often associated with reduced growth. Despite the importance of growth-defense tradeoffs in shaping plant productivity in natural and agricultural ecosystems, the molecular mechanisms that link growth and immunity are poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that growth-defense tradeoffs mediated by the hormone jasmonate are uncoupled in an Arabidopsis mutant (jazQ phyB) lacking a quintet of Jasmonate ZIM-domain transcriptional repressors and the photoreceptor phyB. Analysis of epistatic interactions between jazQ and phyB reveal that growth inhibition associated with enhanced anti-insect resistance is likely not caused by diversion of photoassimilates from growth to defense but rather by a conserved transcriptional network that is hardwired to attenuate growth upon activation of jasmonate signalling. The ability to unlock growth-defense tradeoffs through relief of transcription repression provides an approach to assemble functional plant traits in new and potentially useful ways.