University of Maryland Extension

Falls Over - Annuals, Bulbs, Groundcovers, Perennials, and Vines

tall plants falling over

  Back to Common Problems - Annuals, Bulbs, Groundcovers, Perennials, and Vines

Some plants require staking because of their habit of growth. A plant that naturally grows taller than wide may need to be staked. Other plants, such as yarrow, baby's breath, balloon flower, asters or bachelor's button, have many shorter stems that are weak or floppy. Plants with long flower spikes or large, heavy flower heads require staking while they are in bloom. Crocosmia, delphinium, gladiolus, foxglove, lilies, and dahlias are plants that benefit from staking. In addition, plants that are grown in rich soil, with high levels of fertilizer and moisture, will produce more lush vegetative growth with weaker stems. Plant grown under these environmental conditions may require staking, while the same plant species grown under different conditions may not. Staking plants early in the season can help direct plant growth, encourage better flower display and prevent damage during storms or windy conditions.

Staking Guidelines:

· Stakes can be made from wood, bamboo or reeds large enough to hold the plants upright but not large enough to be conspicuous. Stakes should be about 6 inches shorter than the mature plant so that their presence will not interfere with the beauty of the bloom.
· Begin staking when plants are about one-third their mature size by placing stakes close to the plant, taking care to minimize damage to the root system. Secure the stems of plants to stakes in several places with paper-covered wire or other materials that will not cut into the stem.
· Plants with delicate stems (like cosmos) can be supported by a framework of stakes and strings in crisscrossing patterns.
· Tie the plant by making a double loop of the wire with one loop around the plant and the other around the stake. Never loop the tie around both stake and plant. The plant will hang to one side and the wire may girdle the stem. Add ties as the stem lengthens.

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