Staking Wildflowers – How To Keep Wildflowers Upright In Gardens

Meadow Of Wildflowers
wildflower staking
(Image credit: Kanokwalee Pusitanun)

Wildflowers are exactly what the name suggests, flowers that grow naturally in the wild. The beautiful blooms support bees and other important pollinators from spring until fall, depending on the species. Once established, a wildflower garden or meadow requires very little attention and staking most types of wildflowers generally isn’t necessary.

If you notice your wildflowers falling over, however, you may be giving the plants a little too much tender loving care. Read on for helpful tips and learn how to keep wildflowers upright.

Keeping Wildflowers from Drooping

Wildflowers rarely need fertilizer and too much may be to blame for wildflowers falling over. Withholding fertilizer may help your plants develop stronger, sturdier stems. Keep in mind that if wildflowers are planted near your lawn, they are probably absorbing a bit of lawn fertilizer.

Similarly, be sure the soil isn’t too rich. Many species, such as asters, helianthus, black-eyed Susan, coneflower, and verbena, shine in poor rocky soil but tend to develop weak stalks in rich soil.

Be sure your wildflowers are planted in adequate sunlight. Some species are suitable for partial shade, but many wildflowers will be tall and leggy without full sunlight.

Don’t overwater. Many wildflowers are drought-tolerant plants and they’re happier if the soil is allowed to dry between waterings. Some species, including sage, coreopsis, hyssop, black-eyed Susan, and lupine, thrive with very little water even in hot, dry climates.

Many wildflowers develop sturdier stems if they’re cut back early in the season. Cut the stems back by about one-third to half of their height in late spring to early summer to promote bushy, compact growth. Often, this will eliminate the need for staking.

Staking Wildflowers Falling Over

Wildflowers with extra tall stems may need a little help to keep them from falling over. Staking an entire wildflower meadow or field may not be practical, but staking is easy enough in a small area or flower bed.

Position wildflowers carefully. If you have a lot of flowers, try planting weak-stemmed wildflowers along with prairie grass that will provide support. You can also plant next to sturdy-stemmed perennials, or against hedges and evergreen shrubbery.

Heavy-headed wildflowers may benefit from tomato cages or plastic-coated wire cages. You can also stake droopy wildflowers with bamboo and twine. Install stakes early in the season to prevent damage to the roots. Add string as the plant grows throughout the season.

Mary H. Dyer

A Credentialed Garden Writer, Mary H. Dyer was with Gardening Know How in the very beginning, publishing articles as early as 2007.