Support Accessories for Patio Plants

Supports help you to display plants attractively, protect them from wind damage and make the most use of valuable outdoor space.

Supports for wall plantssupport-ties-for-wall-plants

No matter how small your patio, it’s bound to have walls! By fixing simple supports, you can grow a wide range of climbers, and create a beautiful vertical garden.

Always provide a bamboo cane to lead a young plant from the container to the lowest rung of support. Protect young climbers growing at or near ground level with wire-mesh cylinders.

Trellis

Trellises can be fixed, prefabricated panels of square mesh or extendable panels of diamond mesh. Tall, fan-shaped trellis is also sold, and is ideal for narrow spaces.

indoor trellisWood trellis should be treated with preservative. There are also PVC and plastic-coated wire trellises. Made-to-order trellis is available, and ‘designer’ trellis, with ornate decorations and false perspectives.

Leave a 2.5cm (1 inch) gap between trellis and wall, for air to circulate and so twining plants can get a grip. Nail or screw trellis to light wooden battens or to 2.5cm (1 inch) wood spacing blocks attached to plugs fixed into the wall.

Wall trellis can make a free-standing space divider, provided it is stiffened and cross-braced. If fixing it to a trough or large container, screw, don’t nail, it.

Wire and vine eyes

For cheap, less noticeable support, fix galvanized wire or vine eyes horizontally to the wall, starting at 90cm (3ft) intervals. Use heavy-gauge wire to span a long wall or support heavy plants.

Clematis net

This is made of green, white or brown flexible plastic 5cm (2 inches) square mesh. You can buy special plastic clips to support it clear of the wall, or staple it to wooden battens fixed to the wall.

Wall cleats

These have tough metal spikes with a plastic or lead strap for bending round a plant stem or branch. The spikes are hammered into mortar, wherever needed.

Many beautiful patio plants, such as Clematis, flop or sprawl along the ground if unsupported. Others, such as Hyacinth and Paeony, have top-heavy flowers. Newly planted trees and large shrubs neeIpomoea tricolord support, until their own roots anchor them firmly. Choose a support strong enough to do its job, but not so big that it detracts from the plant. Except for trellis, which can be attractive in its own right, the less obvious the support, the better. Ipomoea tricolor grows well when trained up a trellis. Remember to coat all outside wooden trellises with a preservative.

The right height

Supports for annuals, perennials, bulbs and multi-stemmed shrubs should be two thirds of the plants’ final height. For single-stemmed woody plants, end supports 2.5-5cm (1-2 inches) below the lowest branch. When measuring supports, allow for a quarter to one fifth of their length to be buried, to ensure that there is stability.

Wooden supports

Bamboo canes, 60cm-1.8m (2-6ft) long, are cheap and widely available. Use singly for supporting specimen plants, such as standard Fuchsias. In groups of 3, tied at the top, wigwam style, they’re ideal for Sweet Peas.

A trellis for plants

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  • Form an enclosure for floppy clumps, such as Daffodils, with 3-5 canes, spaced round the edge of a tub, and horizontal bands of twine every 15-23cm (6-9 inches).
  • Smaller, split cane flower sticks, in natural and dark green, are ideal for supporting single flowers such as Hyacinth.
  • Twiggy pea sticks 45-60cm (,18-24 inches) long, are good for multi-stemmed annuals and perennials. Usually made of hazel, their name comes from their original use: supporting garden peas.
  • Set 3-5 in a circle round the edge of a pot, slanting them slightly inwards, so the plants can grow through them. You can snap the upper twigs, being careful not to break them off, and angle them into the centre, as extra support.
  • Wooden stakes are for thicker-stemmed plants, such as standard Roses and dwarf or bush fruit trees. Choose square-sectioned, pointed, knot-free stakes 2.57.5 (1-3 inches) thick, of hardwood, or softwood treated with preservative.

Metal and plastic supports

Vertical mesh cylinders are ideal for tall, floppy plants, such as Phlox. Cut plastic-coated or galvanised 10-15cm (4-6 inches) square mesh to form a cylinder large enough to enclose the plant or plants. Insert canes in the tub or pot for support, then wrap the mesh tightly round and tie it to the canes.

Proprietary ring supports can be flat, wire mesh circles on long legs for inserting in a pot, or round, plastic rings with spokes and a central hole for pushing in a bamboo stake. Ring supports are available in several heights; some are adjustable.

Hoop frames, made of 2 galvanized steel legs connected to a flat, open loop, are useful for toll, floppy plants, such as Gladioli and Carnations. Open the top to slot the stems inside the loop.

Link stakes are stout lengths of galvanized wire, bent at the top to form a hook-andeye joining system. You can form link stakes into any shaped- or sized-support. Small free-standing trellis frames for outdoor pots, are made of plastic-coated wire or steel trellis, in plain or decorative designs, with built-in legs for insertion.

Growing bag frames consist of plastic or metal supports, some with slots for bamboo canes.

Weeping rose frames are like metal umbrella frames, fixed to the top of a standard weeping rose. The branches are tied to the frame, and trained to hide it.

Checklist

DO

  • Stake and tie early. By the time a tall plant needs support, it may be too late to do it well.
  • Use free-standing trellis only in a sheltered spot, or the wind is liable to knock it over.

DON’T

  • Hammer in a wooden stake after planting a tree or shrub, or you may damage the roots; place it in the pot before planting.
  • Use wire to attach a woody stem to a stake, as it’s liable to cut into the bark and stunt growth.

Wire mesh circles on `legs’ can be inserted in a container to provide an attractive support shape for foliage plants.

Lengths of bamboo cane, attached to the top of the wall, have been used to train two lovely specimens of Ivy on this patio area.

A part of the garden has been sectioned off to provide a secluded seating area and a home for a bright display of potted plants.

Here are some suitable plants for growing in this way:

Acaena buchananii, 2.5-5 cm (1-2 in).

Acaena micropbylla, 2.5-5 cm (1-2 in).

On the walkway trellis

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Achillea argentea, 15 cm (6 in).

Antennaria dioica, 5 cm (2 in) upwards.

Armeria caespitosa, 5- cm (2-3 in).

Campanula arvatica, cm (2 in).

Dianthus alpinus, 10 cm (4 in).

Erinus alpinus, 5 cm (2 in).

Erodium chamaedryo ides ‘Roscum’, 2.5-5 cm (1 in).

Hutcbinsia alpina, 5 cm (3 in).

Mentha requienii, 2. cm (1 in).

Saxifraga – both the mossy (Dactyloides) and Kabschia types; heights from about 2.5 cm (1 in).

Sedum spatbulifolium, 5-8 cm (2-3 in).

Sempervivum species, 1.3-2.5 cm (V2-1 in).

A trellis for plants

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Silene acaulis, 5 cm . Thymusserpyllum, cm (2 in).

Veronica prostrata, 8- cm (3-6 in).

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