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Avoid Flopping Plants

Every year my husband and I add to the garden, but seem to pick the plants that "flop" over. Do you have suggestions for improving our luck with other plants?

Matching the plant to the preferred growing conditions is the first step. Full sun and well-drained soils encourage sturdy growth in most plants. Avoid overfertilization, especially with nitrogen, that can also cause floppy stems. Encourage stiffer growth and reduce or eliminate the need to stake perennials with early season pruning. Prune back summer and fall blooming plants early in the season to encourage more compact growth. Pruning usually reduces the plant's height and can delay bloom by a week or two. Frequent digging and dividing can encourage stiffer more compact growth on some plants, such as asters. For more details on pruning and training perennials see Tracy DiSabato-Aust's book The Well-Tended Perennial Garden, Planting and Pruning Techniques.


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