Give Your Plants Some Support With These Garden Stakes
I am a massive fan of dahlias and grow them every year, but if there’s one plant in my garden that needs extra support, I guarantee it will be one of my dinnerplate varieties.
I’ll also show you how to make your own stakes and supports from steel rods at a fraction of the price – no special tools or superhuman strength is needed, I promise!
1) The Best General-Use Garden Stakes
The best all-round garden stakes are undoubtedly those with a hollow steel centre and a green plastic coating.
You’ve probably seen these used at garden centres and shows and they’re my go-to garden stake for propping up individual plants and wayward stems.
Use these for:
- Light staking.
- General use.
- Propping up stems.
- Any plant that has green foliage.
Don’t use them:
- On dahlias – these usually require more robust garden stakes or ideally frame supports (esp the dinnerplate types).
- As posts that support string, twine or rope as they aren’t sturdy enough.
- On plants with different coloured foliage as they may stand out.
2) The Best Support Stakes For Dahlias and Peonies Etc
I know from past experience that dahlia stems can bend and snap in the slightest breeze, and garden stakes, while effective, are time-consuming and fiddly to get right.
Dahlias produce lots of stems, and the plant can become bushy, meaning lots of stakes and ties are needed.
A far more straightforward approach is to use a sturdy metal frame or support.
I cannot emphasize enough that the sturdiness of the frame is key.
A well-made metal frame will last for decades, while cheap, flimsy rubbish will likely last no more than a season.
Etsy is an online retailer that sells handmade and custom products, including garden support frames, stakes, hanging baskets, etc.
Almost all the products on sale are made locally here in the UK by craftspeople, and the prices vary with products made with lots of welds costing more than those made from metal rods bent into shape.
Below is a selection of my favourite garden stakes, supports and frames from Etsy sellers and beneath each image is a link to the seller’s profile page; I encourage you to support a local craftsperson and there are plenty of them on Etsy.
A super sturdy frame for dahlias and other top-heavy plants, very reasonably priced (Buy from Shrubbsplantssupports)
3) How to Make Your Own Garden Stakes and Supports for a Fraction of the Cost
Making your own metal garden stakes isn’t tricky, no special tools are required, and you don’t need superhuman strength either.
Garden stakes can be made from 6mm steel rods which are widely used in the construction industry and are readily available in several lengths.
The shorter rods can be inserted directly into the ground, and you can tie plants to them via twine or stretchy ties.
The longer rods can be bent into shape to create a curve that provides support for bushy plants.
All you need is:
- 2.5m (or 3m) x 6mm steel rods.
- A tree to create the curved shape.
- Two pieces of flat wood.
In this video, Monty Don from the BBC’s Gardener’s World explains how to create the DIY supports in minutes.
- Find the halfway point of the rod and make a mark.
- Place the marked point up against a tree and bend each end of the rod around the tree trunk.
- Place the curved end of the rod between two solid pieces of wood, stand on the wood and bend the other ends of the rods upwards.
You should now have a curved metal support with two ends that can be inserted into the ground.
Metal rods are relatively cheap as they’re widely used in the construction industry, you’ll find them at builders merchants and online too.
The Metal Store is currently selling 3m x 6mm black metal rods for £3.60 inc VAT with free delivery on orders over £50. For £61, you can get 17 metal garden supports, each big enough for dahlias and other tall plants.
They will rust which may improve their appearance or you can paint them any colour you like.
(All prices shown correct as of 2021)
6mm steel rod (Buy from The Metal Shop)
4) The Post and Twine Method
This method works well on dahlias and other tall plants grown in a border.
Insert sturdy 10mm steel rods into the ground around 2-3 metres apart and tie twine or thin rope between each of the posts to provide support and stop the plants from flopping over.
As the plants grow, extra lengths of twine/rope can be tied to the middle and upper parts of the posts.
The foliage of most plants will hide the twine/rope as well as the posts, and you’ll find this also looks better than having lots of individual stakes and ties all over the place.
This method works best on plants located close together, such those as a dahlia border, as they support each other too. It doesn’t work so well on individual or small groups of plants.