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Giving Plants Their Props

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019 - 7:00am

Many landscape plants need your support, here are a few ways to go vertical today on Southern Gardening. 

Whether your garden has flowers or vegetables, providing plant support using stakes, trellises or cages can help you be successful. 

The simplest method of providing support is to use stakes.  Placed in the ground next to your gladiolus or phlox, you can easily tie off the slender stems.  Almost any material can be used as a stake.  Bamboo, wood, plastic, and fiberglass are obtainable in a variety of colors, as well as fancy twisted and coiled stakes are available commercially.  For a more natural and rustic look use branches collected from pruning trees.  Twist ties, yarn, fabric strips or those new reusable Velcro straps are effective in providing support and will not slice into the plants stems. 

Trellises are used for climbing and viney plants that tend to sprawl over the ground.  Materials can consist of hardware cloth or plastic mesh that gives the plants a surface to scramble on.  The mesh can be hung between two stakes for a simple design.  Or trellises can also be made from thin strips of wood secured in a vertical/horizontal criss cross pattern. 

Cages are thought of primarily for use in the vegetable garden.  They are perfect for holding and containing those tomato plants laden with ripening fruit, but are also useful for flower heavy ornamentals such as hydrangea.  Some cages have green coatings to help blend in the foliage. 

Whichever method you use for your plants to lean on, going vertical saves garden space, improves air circulation, and gives an ordered look to the garden. 

I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

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