Plant Staking

When you visit Wellfield Botanic Gardens, you may notice little to no support for flopping herbaceous plants is utilized. Wellfield stakes very few plants simply because I do not particularly like the look. Staking often does not fit the design goals of many garden spaces. Many of our themed gardens were created to have an informal, relaxed look so them. We are not looking for ramrod straight plants and too much evidence of human presence or influence. I like a plant standing on its own two roots.

There are a number of things to consider when choosing to or not to stake bedding plants, including: aesthetics, design intent, why are plants falling over and best method for your situation.

If the plant is not standing on its own, consider possible causes in order to correct the problem. There are many causes of flopping plants: from heavy flowering/fruiting, to over fertilization and irrigation. Sun loving plants growing in too much shade for their taste might become leggy in an effort to reach the rays they love so much.

Sometimes, a plant just needs a little extra support. If at all possible, choose a method of staking that becomes invisible once installed. Do not encircle the perennial so tightly that a pony-tail is made. Allow a relaxed look, so branch tips are allowed to hide the supports. Choose material that will cause the least damage to stem integrity. For example, do not tie the stem too tightly to the pole-allow some wiggle room for growth.

There are numerous homemade and commercial staking options available. Whatever you choose, protect the plant, consider why it is flopping in the first place, and make the best decision for you.

Josh Steffen
Horticulture Manager


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