Staking certain plants is an essential gardening task that can prevent the frustrations of seeing your beautiful flowers and enormous vegetable plants flop over with broken stems and trampled blooms. Here are some great tips to help you keep your larger plants upright so you can enjoy them all season long.
- tomato cage
- string, twine or hook-and-loop tape
- metal plant ring (optional)
Plants To Stake
Many flowering perennials that grow taller than 2 feet will grow better when staked. Their tall stems are vulnerable to heavy rains and high winds, and once the stems are bent or broken, it’s difficult to get them upright again. Tall flowering perennials to consider staking are heliopsis, delphiniums, sweet peas, lilies, peonies and dahlias.
Certain vegetables absolutely must be staked in order to produce well. Pole beans, peas, tomatoes and peppers produce the biggest harvests when they are staked or caged.
Single Plant Stakes
Single plants like zinnias or tomatoes can be staked plant-by-plant. Appropriate plant stake choices include bamboo, slender rebar or lightweight plastic stakes. Tomato cages also work well for all vegetables – not just tomatoes. Place the cages in the ground when you plant tomatoes so that you don’t have to wrestle the brittle tomato plant stems through the cage later. Using tomato cages for pole beans is an easy way to support these plants. Stick cages in the ground when you plant bean seeds so that the support is there when they sprout.
To stake using single plant stakes, push a stake into the ground beside the plant, making sure the stake is not taller than the plant itself. Tie the plant to the stake about two-thirds of the way up the stem using string, twine or hook-and-loop tape made especially for staking. The single-plant stakes or props that consist of a slim metal stake with a loop at the top are also useful. Simply guide the plant to grow through the loop for support as it grows.
Multiple Plant Stakes
Multiple plant stakes is the most efficient method for staking many plants at once or plants that produce multiple tall stems. Choose a collapsible large metal plant ring that has several openings in the ring and “feet” to push into the ground. The plants will grow up through the ring and be supported within the openings. While it’s certainly possible to individually stake and tie large clumps of plants, it’s quite time-consuming and tedious. Peonies are an example of plants that do well with this type of support.
Large climbing plants like pole beans, cucumbers and squash or gourds grow well when provided a larger cage to climb up. Make your own with heavy-duty metal stakes and bales of powder coated wire fencing.
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