Stakes and supports for garden plants.

How to Use Stakes and Supports

In the wild, climbing plants rely on each other for support. However, indoors — where they are often grown as individual specimens — a sup­port of some description must be provided. Stakes and supports should enhance the appearance of the plant, which often means choosing ones that are as unobtrusive as possible.

Using a frame to support a climbing plant not only allows t to be trained to grow in a certain direction, but it takes the strain off the stems, reduces stress, and allows it to concentrate its ener­gies on growing and flowering. It holds the plant firmly in place, reduces the chance of it falling over, and can be used to increase the air-flow between the stems, thereby lowering the chance of an attack by fungal disease.

Types of support

The type of support used should be chosen to suit both the plant and its situation. Supports are avail­able in a wide variety of materials, including bamboo, plastic, metal, and wood, or as raffia or moss-filled poles. In an ornamental situation, the support can be of an ornate design, or it can be painted to complement the surroundings. In a tem­porary or purely functional situation, however, plain bamboo canes may be all that are needed.

Using the support

Whichever means of support you choose, make sure it is firmly anchored in the container so that there is no possibility of the plant pulling it down! as it grows. This means that wall supports must be fixed securely to the wall with several heavy-duty screws or nails, and pot-held frames must be pushed down well into the soil. In a pot, the overall] height of the support must also be taken into con­sideration, since a growing plant could make it top- heavy, causing it to fall over.