Do you have any top-heavy outdoor plants in your Utah garden? You may have to give them a little support to keep them healthy and strong.

Some flowers, vegetables and fruiting plants can stand on their own, but others need support to encourage healthy growth. Before you head out to your local garden center to buy plant supports, it’s helpful to understand which types are best for different outdoor plants.

plant support strategies

Single-Stem Support

Perennial flowers in bloom can often benefit from single-stem plant supports. Some varieties, including gladiolus plants, lilies, zinnias and bearded irises, can develop weak stems that flop onto the surrounding foliage. Strong winds can also topple the flowers.

Adding single-stem plant supports to at-risk perennials is an easy solution.

Grow-Through Cage

Cages or ring-style plant supports are ideal for plants that tend to sprawl as they grow, like delphiniums and phlox. Fruits and vegetables that need support, including tomatoes, garden peas and cucumbers, are also best helped by grow-through cages.

Just make sure you get these supports in place before the plants grow too tall.

Simple Garden Stake

For some sprawling plants, simple garden stakes are an ideal solution.

These plant supports are also a good choice for tall varieties like hollyhocks, dahlias and sunflowers, as they’re likely to topple over in heavy summer storms. But, unless you have a plant that’s already drooping, wait until the stem is nearly as tall as it’s going to be before staking – otherwise, you’ll have to retie several times as growth continues.

Arbor or Trellis

For tendril climbers like grapes and other vine-type plants, or brambles like raspberries and blueberries, an arbor or trellis is usually the best option. As they grow, the plants can wrap around the support structure, keeping the foliage and fruit up off the ground.

These plant supports are visible at first but, with continued growth, the plants will hide them from view.

Connecting Outdoor Plants to Supports

In many cases, you will need to tie your outdoor plants to their supporting structures.

Long, green twist ties work well, as they’re virtually invisible. You can also use string, garden wire, zip ties or strips of pantyhose. Regardless of which option you choose, make sure to fasten the plant to the support firmly, but leave a little wiggle room for growth.

If you’re not sure which supports are right for your top-heavy outdoor plants, stop by and ask the friendly and knowledgeable staff at Millcreek Gardens, the leading northern Utah garden center for more than 60 years. Our plant nursery team is always happy to share their expertise.

Millcreek Gardens is stocked with a vast range of plant supports, along with all the other gardening supplies you need. For the best selection of annuals, flowers and outdoor plants, visit our Salt Lake City greenhouse, garden center and plant nursery today.