how to stake your annuals

Sarah shares her top tricks on how to stake your annual seedlings effectively.

I want to show you what I’ve been up to this week, which is staking lots of the things that are growing at full tilt, and staking is such an important thing with cut flowers because otherwise you get curvy stems, but more on that later. What I’ve got here is a willow stake, I love using willow rather than bamboo just because it looks more natural, but bamboo’s absolutely fine, and I’ve put jute netting here already, tied horizontally, about 30cm, a foot, maybe a little bit higher, 45cm maybe, and I’m just going to stretch it taut, that’s the point with the netting, it’s got to be taut, so I’m stretching it taut over the plants and lifting it as I go, and so it’s supported, but also it’s really really good and strongly in there. So that’s it, and then the plants grow up through it and they’re supported and you don’t need to individually stake them.

I’m going to show you another example. So now I want to talk to you about what level you put the netting, and it basically completely depends on the plant, and this is a really really good example, these annual phloxes, the drummondiis, this one’s called ‘Crème Brulee’ which is completely lovely, but they’ve got this really annoying very lax habit, and even when they’re very young they just collapse over and then the tip turns up to the light, and you can see that’s what’s happened here, and so it’s hopeless, you know, because I’ve lost twelve inches of stem there, and I don’t want that, which is why you want to grow them up through netting, set very low, and here it’s set literally at six or eight inches high and so then when the plant grows it grows up through the grid in the netting and it’s supported. Sometimes with some plants I’ll add a second layer, but with this because these are quite compact these phlox, you don’t need it, but it works absolutely brilliantly, and it’s not too much of a fiddle to do.

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