For someone who is known to be a little bit of a stickler when it comes to staking my tomatoes, I am quite lax when it comes to staking or providing support for other plants in the garden.
In fact, the only plants other than the tomatoes and the pole beans that I’ve provided support for are the few clematis I have and a variegated climbing honeysuckle. All other plants must be self-supporting!
Sometimes this stance on self-supporting works out and sometimes it doesn’t.
I have several large viburnum including this Viburnum dentatum ‘Synnestvedt’ which is sold as ‘Chicago Lustre®’.
Most of these larger shrubs don’t need any support but this one has a few low branches that start to lean out in late spring and are nearly horizontal by the end of summer. This winter they’ll return to the upright position, so I leave them alone. By the way, I encourage everyone to plant larger shrubs if you have the room. The birds love the berries and the shelter that the large shrubs provide and they help hide fences and compost tumblers and all kinds of unsightly stuff that ends up in a garden.
Out in the perennial border, this tall sedum, Hylotelephium spectabile, variety unknown, is upright, as are the asters behind it.
But just just a few feet away, this tall sedum is all floppy.Gosh that plant looks tired.
To increase the odds that a perennial plant like tall sedum or asters will stay upright without staking or other support, some gardeners cut them back by about half in mid spring, which encourages branching and overall stockier growing. I cut back my asters, but don’t cut back the tall sedum.
I actually don’t mind the floppy plants. They might say “lazy gardener can’t provide some decent support for her plants” to some people. But to me they just say… “floppy time, can’t touch this”!
So the question is, do you try support every plant that flops over in your garden, or do you leave them be?