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.
At some point, your houseplant friends need a little support–and like friends, some need more support than others. Many indoor plants grow well without any staking, but there are those that require something to cling to in order to grow upright or in a certain direction.
Reasons to support your houseplants vary. The most common are to keep plants upright, so they don’t fall over and uproot, and to make them grow in a certain direction—for instance straight up or along a wall. How much support a houseplant requires often depends on how that plant grows in its natural habitat. For instance, vines will often require more support and training than plants that naturally grow upright in the wild.
Keep these tips in mind when staking your houseplants.
To stake a plant so that it stays upright, insert the stake in the soil within an inch or two from the base of the plant. Secure the stake to the stem with green garden tape, which stretches and allows for growth.
To secure a plant that trails or climbs, use a trellis or wind the plant up the stake and secure with green garden tape. Or encourage a vine to climb across a wall by installing strategically placed nails or hooks onto which you secure the plant. Plants that do well with such training include pothos, hoya, English ivy and arrowhead plant.
Certain plants, such as orchids and split-leaf philodendron, have what are known as aerial roots. These are roots that grow from the base of the plant and in the wild absorb moisture and nutrients. In the home environment, it’s best to train these aerial roots to grow up a moss-covered pole, which you can make or buy at the nursery or home and garden center. When using a moss-covered pole, keep it moist by misting the pole daily with water.
(Julie Bawden-Davis )
A wide variety of stakes and trellises exist. You’ll find them made from various materials, including bamboo, wood, metal, wire and plastic, and they come in many styles, colors, shapes and sizes. You can even make your own stakes from branches and twigs from the garden. If you wish to shape them, do so when they are still green.
Minimize root damage when installing stakes and supports by inserting them carefully into the soil. Avoid poking around in the root zone. Try to choose the best location initially. When you insert the stake, immediately secure the plant to the stake with green garden tape. Tie the stake to the plant in two to three locations to minimize breakage. Keep in mind that the stake will have to be repositioned as the plant grows.
Julie Bawden-Davis is a garden writer and master gardener, who since 1985 has written for publications such as Organic Gardening, Wildflower, Better Homes and Gardens and The Los Angeles Times. She is the author of seven books, including Reader’s Digest Flower Gardening, Fairy Gardening, The Strawberry Story, and Indoor Gardening the Organic Way, and is the founder of HealthyHouseplants.com.
There certain plants in your garden which naturally grow to a larger size. These plants will need extra support to keep their stems from breaking and the produce off the ground.
Plants which grow to two feet or taller are also automatically a good candidate for being staked. It will protect the plants from being beaten down by high winds and heavy rains.
Knowing this, it’s important to put a support in the ground for the plant when planting. A support will give the plant assistance to grow up against while it’s reaching maturity.
There are a few specifications to consider depending on what you’re staking.
- Staking Options
- Plants Which Should be Staked
- The Guidelines for Staking Your Plants
- Stake Selections
- For best appearances, stake large, heavy flowers
- Bowing out
- Annuals can be grown in containers with an ornamental supportor bundle of twigs. Photo credit: Rebecca Finneran, Michigan State University Extension
- Individual stems or heavy blossoms can also be supported with a single stake or twig and jute twine. Photo credits: Rebecca Finneran, Michigan State University Extension
- Lean on me
- Making a plan to support my peonies
- Garden Plant Support – Grow Through Plant Supports-Round & Rectangle
- About Grow Through Plant Supports
- Grow Through Plant Supports Is Unobtrusively for Top-Heavy Flowers
- Plant Supports
- What are our plant supports for?
- Do I need our plant supports for my garden?
- What plants are our obelisks used for?
- Why some obelisks can be supplied with our bird feeder design?
- Which plant support should I buy?
- How should I setup my plant support stakes?
When you realize you are planting a more substantial plant in your garden, you’ll need to choose which type of stake you’d like to use for their support. Here are your stake options:
1. Single Stake
If you are growing a small garden or a container garden, you may not need a large number of stakes in your garden.
Instead, you may only need to offer support to a couple of plants. If this is the case, you can choose to stake each plant individually.
When you do this, you should place a single support next to or around the plants. You could use items like:
- Tobacco sticks
- Plastic Stakes
- Tomato Cages
- Chicken fencing
- Nylon Netting
Any of these items should give your plant support as it works on producing its fruit.
2. Multiple Stake
If you are planting a larger garden, you could have numerous plants which are heavier. If you tried to stake each plant individually, you would have more time and materials invested in your garden.
This wouldn’t be budget-friendly or efficient. Therefore, you should go with a multiple stake idea.
You should place a stake at either end of the row of heavier plants. You’ll run a piece of twine at the top between two posts and another piece of twine at the bottom between the two posts.
From there, you’ll run a zig-zag pattern between the two pieces of twine from one post to the other. What this does is creates a woven design for the heavier plants to be able to grab onto and grow upwards.
Though it’s much more efficient for a large number of larger crops, you’ll need to plan your garden. This way, you’ll have all the heavy varieties placed together in the garden, which will make supporting them as a group much more manageable.
Let’s say you want to plant a group of green beans in one area of your garden. Unless you grow bush beans, they’ll most likely climb.
This could be a mess if you don’t have a place for the beans to climb on to. In this case, it’s a good idea to use a tripod.
When I used my tripod for growing green beans, I found three large sticks and tied them together like a tripod or tee-pee design.
You will set the tripod in place and plant the green beans around the base of the tripod. As they grow, you should train them to climb the tripod. This will keep your harvest off the ground, organized, and make picking your green beans much easier.
Plants Which Should be Staked
We’ve discussed what staking a plant is and what options you have for staking your plants, but what plants should you intend on staking in your garden?
Well, there are quite a few:
- Pole beans
Melons and pumpkins, you’ll have to grow a smaller variety to stake them. The larger types will break most stakes, no matter how sturdy.
But if you grow the smaller varieties, they should stake nicely and make picking much more accessible. As well as keeping the harvest off the ground, and safe from rot.
The Guidelines for Staking Your Plants
There are certain things you should take into consideration when staking your plants. If you don’t match the right stake with the right plant, your plant could either not climb the stake well or break it.
Which is why it’s essential to have a plan before you begin throwing stakes up in your garden. Here is what you need to consider:
1. Sturdy is Your Friend
When you are choosing a stake to hold up your heavier garden plants, you’ll want something sturdy.
If not, your plants could still end up on the ground. Be sure to pick durable materials which won’t bend under pressure.
Keep in mind, when placing the stakes by your bigger plants, you’ll need to consider how large the plant is going to get.
Ask yourself if the stake will hold the plant at full maturity. If the answer is yes, you chose a good stake. If you’re questioning it, you should look for something different.
2. Stake When Planting
It’s important to stake your plants when planting them. If you try to stake your tomatoes after they’ve reached full size, you’ll have a problem.
Imagine trying to wrestle a large tomato plant into a tomato cage. It’s going to be difficult to do.
However, if you apply the tomato cage when you plant the seedling, it should slide right over, and the tomato will learn to grow upward with support.
3. Each Plant Variety Needs Different Support
I’m going to get a little personal here, but I want you to imagine staking your plant like this: look at your plants like women.
You have some women who are tall and slender. You have some women who are more full-figured. Regardless of their shape, every woman still has to pick undergarments for support.
Realize, you aren’t going to fit a full-figured woman into an A-cup undergarment. Likewise, most tall and slender women aren’t going to need a DD-cup.
Well, your plants are the same. Some plants are going to be slenderer (like a pole bean) and will want to wrap around a slender pole as they grow.
Other crops, like a tomato, are full-figured and need more substantial support like a cage or tobacco stick. Consider what you’re planting and the preference which will best suit the crop.
Also, consider if the plant will grow up the stake on its own or if it’ll need to be tied. All of these things matter when choosing the proper stake for each plant which requires staking in your garden.
4. Be Careful When You Stake the Plant
Be careful when you are staking your plant. Be sure to choose soft materials to tie the plant to the stake to not damage the plant itself.
It’s a good idea to choose twine or string to tie a plant. If you select something rougher, you could sever the stem of the plant and ruin the plant altogether.
Reflect on what you’re using to secure the plant to avoid any damage.
5. Specifications of the Stake
If you are choosing to stake a plant individually, it’s important to consider the plant in a mature state. Be sure the stake you’re choosing won’t end up being taller than the plant itself.
The stake should run out at 2/3 of the way up a mature plant. You will tie the plant to the stake at this point.
This is a good basic rule to keep in mind when choosing the stake for your full-figured plants, such as tomatoes or peppers.
6. What’s Your Limit?
Finally, you need to consider what your physical limitations are. You could choose to run green beans around an arbor.
Well, are you going to be able to reach to pick them? If you are choosing to cage your tomatoes, are the holes big enough for your arms to fit through to pick them?
You want your plants to be supported, but it must be functional too. If the plants have support, but you can’t get to your harvest, you’ve done this in vain. Keep your physical limitations in mind when choosing a stake.
There are many different stakes to choose from. I wanted to cover the basic varieties with you, to help you make an informed decision about what would work best in your garden. Here are the typical choices for a trellis:
When planting a more substantial plant, you could choose to put a wooden trellis behind the plant during planting. This trellis will give you a sturdy place to tie the plant to and offer a good bit of support as the plant reaches maturity.
I love growing my half-runner green beans on an arbor. Not only is it pretty, but it makes picking them a ton easier. If you have plants which will climb, it’s important to give them a functional place to climb to because this will keep them from sprawling all over the ground.
via The Horticult
I discussed building a tripod with you earlier. It’s a great, compact idea to grow green beans or small melon varieties. Tripods are durable and can handle a decent amount of weight.
4. Cattle Panels
Cattle panels are another great idea for supporting plants. We use this in our garden to support larger rows of green beans and tomatoes. They can handle the weight and will last year after year.
5. Tomato Cages
Tomato cages are a great option in a smaller garden with only a handful of tomatoes. It gets expensive to cage them all if you’re growing 50 tomato plants. But for smaller yards, it’s a great and durable option.
6. Single Stakes
Single stakes consist of a robust vertical object planted next to the plant. You should tie the plant to the object for support.
7. Stake by the Row
via youtube.com (Jim Thomas)
We’ve already discussed how to stake your plants by the row above in the multiple stake section. However, if you are planning on staking a whole row of vegetables which are heavy or climb, this is a reliable option.
Well, you now know what staking is, how to go about it, and different options for staking your plants.
However, I want to hear from you. What plants do you stake in your garden and what stakes do you use?
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For best appearances, stake large, heavy flowers
Late summer can be a dazzling time in the flower garden, but as blooms surge in size, their stems may not be able to hold them up. Toppled dahlias, floppy sedum and broken Rudbeckia will end up making the garden look messy and cluttered. This is the time of year to be thinking about saving your fall display by providing some inexpensive supports to shore-up floppy plants.
Perennials with heavy flowers may grow leggy and flop over by
mid-summer. Photo credit: Rebecca Finneran, Michigan State University Extension
According to Michigan State University Extension, when grown in full sun, most annuals and perennials will stand up on their own. Over fertilization or shady conditions can get the best of plants that normally perform better with full sun exposure. Pruned (pinched) perennials seldom need staking because of increased branching, but plants that have heavy foliage such as Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ or large blooms such as the Orienpet lily benefit from having a support for their robust foliage or individual blooms.
In a container, plants can be grown with supporting structures right in the pot. Ornamental obelisks and even clusters of twisted twigs make wonderful supports later on when plants want to bow out of the container, giving it an unkempt appearance.
Annuals can be grown in containers with an ornamental support
or bundle of twigs. Photo credit: Rebecca Finneran, Michigan State University Extension
Plant stakes are available to insert in a garden bed right next to a plant such as a top-heavy dahlia, lily or canna. Secure the plant using green jute twine or old pantyhose which will not bind plant stems. Be sure to secure the tie close to the top heavy bloom or the plant will topple over at the point of attachment and lower on the stem for stability. These supports can be temporary and removed after bloom, or stay in until frost.
Individual stems or heavy blossoms can also be supported with a single stake or twig and jute twine. Photo credits: Rebecca Finneran, Michigan State University Extension
Lean on me
Cannas and Dahlias may need supplemental support during the season, especially if they have been sited in windy areas. When a whole plant topples over, it often breaks, which can be disappointing. Plant these beauties in-between other substantial perennials or woody shrubs to allow them to “lean on” one another. Commercial wire cages or stakes may be necessary and are easiest to put on when the plants are small.
A more organic approach to staking is to harvest dormant, well-branched twigs from shrubs or small trees and insert them into the soil at the base of the perennial plants. As the plant’s foliage expands, the “twig supports” will be covered up, but allow for some “leaning” such as on a cane.
An easy approach for floppy plants is to employ garden fencing with 2-inch by 3-inch grid. You can make a cage that encircles the plant to keep it upright or you can simply form an arc over the top of the plants, allowing them to grow up through the mesh. The idea with any support is that when the plants are fully grown, the support will not be seen.
Simple use of garden fencing in this example forces the sedum to
grow up through it, supporting the heavy blooms later in summer.
Photo credit: Rebecca Finneran, Michigan State University Extension
For more information on a wide variety of smart gardening articles, or to find out about smart gardening classes and events, visit www.migarden.msu.edu and Finneran’s blog. You can contact the MSU Master Gardener Lawn and Garden Hotline at 888-678-3464 with your questions.
- Tall PlantsTall, straight perennials can be secured to a thin bamboo stake placed close to the stem. Put the stakes in early in the spring so that you are not damaging roots later in the growing season. Tie the plant loosely to the stake by twisting the twine into a figure eight, so that the stem is not pulled tight up against the stake. Plants with large flowers, that tend to be top heavy, will need to be tied to the stake all the way up to the flower.
- Staking Plants that ClumpYou can support a clump growing plant, like coreopsis or asters, by circling the clump with bamboo stakes and wrapping twine around the perimeter of the stakes, forming a kind of cage. This will support the entire bottom growth of stems while allowing the clump to retain a natural shape on top.
- Staking Plants that SplitSome plants simply need a little side support, like peonies. Peony rings are sold in most all garden centers. They are either an open ring or a ring with a wide spaced grid and three or four legs. Place these about 4 to 6 inches above the plant as it emerges in the spring. You can slowly raise the legs a bit as the plants begin to grow through the ring. Don’t disturb the rings once flowers buds have set.
Around this time every year, when the herbaceous peonies are about a foot off the ground, my outdoor grounds crew puts up stakes, so the peonies are well-supported.
We use these metal stakes I designed – each metal support has two eyes, one at the top and one in the middle for twine.
We use jute twine for many gardening projects around the farm. Twine like this is available in large spools online and in some specialty garden supply shops.
Here, Chhewang inserts a stake every five-feet around the perimeter of each row. My peony garden is planted with 11 double rows of 22 herbaceous peony plants, 44 in each row of the same variety.
Each of the stakes is positioned, so they eye faces the same direction.
Chhiring secures twine from one end of the row to the other to make sure the stakes are lined up properly.
Using twine to guide the stakes saves a lot of time measuring the placement of each upright.
Chhiring makes sure each stake is stable – at least six inches into the ground.
Herbaceous peonies are very hardy perennials and thrive in USDA zones 3 to 8. Look how much they’ve grown already – they will all be blooming in just a matter of weeks.
Here is a closer look at one plant – you can see the bud growing in the center. I planted various peony flower types: single, semi-double, double and anemone-type blossoms.
Once all the stakes are in place, the crew laces twine through the middle stake eyes all the way around the row, and then through the top stake eyes all the way around.
At one end a simple yet secure knot is tied.
The twine is wrapped taut around each row – this will hold those heavy blooms very nicely.
Then jute twine is tied in a zigzag pattern in between the plants.
A row of stakes in the middle of the bed helps to create this zigzag effect.
Here is what it looks like from above the beds – very neat and tidy.
This pattern allows good support from every direction. Herbaceous peonies need an area with fertile, well drained soil and full sun.
Here, it is easy to see how well the peonies grow in this location. Some are two-feet tall already. I staggered plantings to prolong the blooming season: some bloom earlier than others, extending the amount of time the plants are in blossom.
Here, you can see several rows of peonies – some are taller than others.
Peonies are native throughout the northern hemisphere and have been cultivated for centuries both in Europe and Asia.
Look at all the beautiful buds growing from this plant. All of the plants were purchased from a single nursery: Klehm’s Song Sparrow Nursery in Avalon, Wisconsin. http://www.songsparrow.com/
The stakes and twine create such an artistic and geometric pattern.
These herbaceous peonies are all surrounded in the garden within a hedge of rounded boxwood shrubs, making it a focal point on the property and in the overall landscape here at my farm.
In just a few short weeks, this garden will be filled with stunning shades of pink and white. I am so happy to say, this garden is a huge success and joy every year.
Making a plan to support my peonies
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I have a gardening confession to make. I’m a neglectful peony mama. Every spring, I intend to add supports around my peony shoots as they emerge from the ground, but other spring tasks draw my attention away and before I know it, the plants are bushy and full of buds.
Peony shoots in the spring
I have about eight plants around my yard, all providing various shades of pink flowers in the spring. They don’t all bloom at the same time, so when they’re in season, I get to enjoy freshly cut peonies in vases for a few weeks. However, if I just paid a little more attention in the early spring, I’d also get to enjoy them in the garden for longer. Peony blooms are heavy. Without some type of support system, they’ll open and then all it takes is one heavy spring rain or especially gusty day and they flop over.
Peony rag dolls
There are several different types of supports you can use. There are special peony hoops that pretty much look like tomato cages (that being said, you could also use a tomato cage, depending on the size of the plant). I’ve seen gardeners recommend adding supports in the fall after you cut back the plants. That way they’re already there in the springtime when the plants start to grow in.
Peony’s Envy, a nursery and display garden that ships peonies throughout the U.S., offers some great diagrams showing different ways to support peonies on its website. I think I’ll try the fencing option this spring, being sure to put it in place well before the peonies leaf out and start to produce buds. I also found this cool contraption. I’ll also just try a plain old peony cage, so I can compare which method works the best.
This two-tone beauty is one of my favourites. Who am I kidding, they’re all my favourites for different reasons!
How do you support your peonies?
Garden Plant Support – Grow Through Plant Supports-Round & Rectangle
About Grow Through Plant Supports
Set a round or rectangle shaped grow through plant supports for your top-heavy flowers and tall stem plants before they flop. Slender stems will grow uprightly through the rectangular or semicircle mesh grid and keeping tall yet remained spotless after heavy rain and windy.
Grids are available in rectangular, round, semicircle and other shape you need. The strong frame comes with three reposition-able steel legs, it is flexible and solid to create appropriate combinations to support various plant species. As the flowers flourish, the grids will blend unobtrusively with the surrounding plants.
Grow Through Plant Supports Is Unobtrusively for Top-Heavy Flowers
- Alternative to common shaped plant supports.
- Heavy steel construction for highest strength.
- Anti-rust, resistance to bad weather.
- Easy assembly & reusable.
- Powder or PVC coated is anti-rust & ECO friendly.
- Various sizes & styles are available.
JS-G01- Round grow thru plant support
JS-G02- Square grow thru plant support
JS-G03- Circle grow thru plant support
JS-G04- Ring grow thru plant support
Available sizes of grow thru plant support
Standard square grow thru plant support
Round grow through grid
Rectangle grow through grid
Folded flat round grow through grid
Folded flat rectangle grow through grid
Grow through plant supports are perfect for top-heavy and tall stem plants including medium-height, shrubby flowers and large crowd plants, etc.
It is a ideal design for supporting agapanthus, dahlia, rudbeckia, lupin, larkspur, hollyhock, coneflower, aconite, coreopsis, campanula and veronica, taller zinnias, salvia, young or mature peonies, etc.
Mature peony grow thru round grid support
Grow thru grid support in a row
Round grow thru support for young peony
Round grow thru support for flower leaf
Round grow thru support for peonies bloom
Round grow thru support for red lily
Circle grow thru support for herbaceous
Circle grow thru support for flower leaf
Round grow thru support for red peony
What are our plant supports for?
Our Plants Supports are sturdy metal structures, from simple stakes to larger metal frames, designed for durability and specific heavy duty purposes.
Do I need our plant supports for my garden?
You may find that a lot of Plants Supports on the market are either to flimsy or restrict what you can use them for. We offer some products that you can adapt to some specific groups of plants such as tall herbaceous or shrubs by making your own Plant Support loop.
What plants are our obelisks used for?
Our obelisks are really heavy duty Plant Supports. They are designed to supports woody plants such as Roses, Vines, Wisterias but also softer plants such as Clematis, Honeysuckles, Sweet Peas, Nasturtiums, etc…
Why some obelisks can be supplied with our bird feeder design?
We are bird lovers and we know that birds love to perch well above ground to feed or visit gardens. We want to encourage birds in your garden. If you haven’t got trees, we believe that our obelisks and tall heavy duty Plant Supports can just provide that.
Which plant support should I buy?
If you wish to support a large clump of tall herbaceous of any size, PS1 Plant Supports organized in a network with a string is best.
If you wish to support or stake an individual tall plant or a shrub, PS2 Plant Support fitted with wire is adequate. The holes along the rod allows you to create your own size loop making PS2 an Adaptable Plant Support.
How should I setup my plant support stakes?
We are currently making some short videos to show you how you can do it.