plants falling over

utzybuzzy(z7MD)July 16, 2013

A lot of my perennials are falling over. I've seen single stem holders, but these plants are larger and need something more sturdy. For example, my milkweeds are falling over. Whats the best way to keep this from happening?

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

tie them together to form a whole

and dont overfertilize ....


    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 12:31PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Are they new-ish plants? Tomato cage would work well on milkweed.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 4:44PM
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In addition to peony or tomato cages, there's also green Velcro tape available in many places that you can put around the stems to keep them in an upright clump. It works well and can be used over the course of many seasons.

I just let my milkweed plants do their own thing. They don't grow in clumps and have been thriving here for 40+ years without any help from the human inhabitants so I figure they know what they're doing. Them flopping in years past didn't stop the monarch caterpillars from feeding on the foliage so what purpose would be served if I stepped in and gave them support to remain upright?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 10:12PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Very Zen, Gardenweed. Smiles!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 8:57AM
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Make sure the plant is in the right location. Some of mine get really tall because they are in too much shade - doesn't stop them from flowering though.

For shorter perennials like gasplant and sedum, I use inverted tomato cages, just cut the pointy ends off and use them to anchor the cage into the ground.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 11:30AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Yes, that's part of why I asked if they were new plants. If not already a few years old, might just need to be acclimated. Older plants can have too much shade develop around them.

Inverted, that's brilliant!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 11:36AM
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purpleinopp - Thanks!!! So happy to be of ZEN help! It's beyond my comprehension why any rational gardener would think or believe they need to interfere with the natural order. Call me naïve but I'm guessing Ma Nature has been doing quite a nice job of decorating the planet for the past few million years without our help.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 11:47PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

That's the approach I try to take, helping newly-installed plants as little as possible, like children. They need to learn how to make it on their own... and if they can't, they will be replaced with something that does grow well. I don't own any 'cides but I do manually deal with pests like canna leaf rollers that have no redeeming qualities that I can tell. I put the plants out there, then see what nature does with them.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 9:00AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

gardenweed, I love what Ma Nature does. It is SO much better than any cultivated garden I've ever seen. But...on a 1/4 acre lot where Ma Nature was overruled and grass and shrubs and perennials that weren't necessarily meant to grow there, were planted, it's a whole different story. The need to 'manage' plants is exactly because Ma Nature's plan is no longer there and what is, is not as good a design and staking things is just trying to correct the mistakes.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 3:47AM
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Nevermore44 - 6a

You can also keep you eye out after any election for the sturdy wire frames that are used in all the yard signs. The work nice since you can bend them any way you need to hold fairly large plants up... Or you can use a series of them to wall off plants from leaning over a path.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 7:02AM
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Thanks for all the responses! Yes, they are new pants and all natives. It's just that in one area they got so big and flopped over and some branches died. Also you really can't enjoy them because either they're laying on the ground or laying on top of each other so much you can't distinguish one plant from another. Others flopped over onto plants that need sun and now they're dying. Matter of fact while I was trying to prop them up I got stung by a Saddleback caterpillar. Won't go near them now!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 6:47PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Are you having a ton of rain there? Floppy plants are an epidemic in this summer of way too much rain in a lot of places. Sorry about your sting!

Those election signs are another great idea!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 9:20AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Overly rich soil, lots of rain, and excess nitrogen fertilizer can produce floppy plants. Also, they can flop if they aren't getting enough sun, and they reach sideways towards the sun.

I use the green-coated wire stakes that are straight with a little loop on the top for individual stalks. I've got 4 sizes, ranging from about 1 foot up to 4 feet. I also use peony rings and encircle the occasional floppy plants.

Another tip is to trim some of your perennials by half or so in June, and they will grow shorter and bushier, and less likely to flop.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 1:17PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Oh another thought- Utzy if your plants are all new nursery plants, they will need some time to settle in to your garden. Their growth pattern in a container will not be the same as when they're established themselves in your garden soil. Plus the nursery may have been over-fertlizing them. Next year they will no doubt have a better appearance!

Re: milkweed, well I manage mine closely! Ma nature knows what she's doing, but her beautiful order has been terribly disrupted by mankind, so the Monarchs need all the help they can get. I patrol them milkweed plants regularly for insects, many of which are predators of the Monarch larvae, or degrade the quality of the foliage.

I also regularly pinch and sometimes cut back the Common milkweed by half or so, because this prompts them to send up tender fresh new shoots, which are much more palatable for small Monarch caterpillars (they have a hard time chewing through the tough big leaves).

Now I just need some Monarch mamas to come through!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 1:25PM
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Pea sticks look more natural than wire, plastic, velcro etc and are hidden as the plants grow. They need to be put in before the plants get too tall.

Here is a link that might be useful: Supporting perennials

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 4:16PM
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