How To – Drooping Plants

by | Sep 2, 2022

Those hydrangea bushes you planted in your garden looked great in the spring, but a heavy rainstorm or two, and maybe strong winds have caused some of the branches to droop or fall over entirely. Don’t despair. There’s an easy fix to prop them up and have them looking great again.

Hydrangea paniculate — commonly known as Limelight — have flower heads that range in length from 6 to 12 inches and can wilt when a soaking rain makes them top-heavy. If the flowers are lying flat on the ground or entangled in other plants, you’ll want to get them up. With just a little effort and some patience, you’ll have the bush taking better shape. All you need for this project are bamboo sticks and twine (or variations that we’ll note below).

Before heading out into the garden, put on rubber gloves and wear jeans or long pants and a long-sleeve shirt. Hydrangeas can cause skin irritation and may leave you with a nasty rash if you’re not protected.

Stand behind the bush with the wilting branches and drive a bamboo stick into the ground, about a foot behind the plant.

Next, grab the largest of the drooping stems and gently pull it toward the bamboo until the branch is angled where you want it to hang, then loosely tie it to the stick. If you tie it too tightly, you’ll run the risk of scratching off the protective layer of the stem.

Grab another stem and repeat the process. Use separate sticks behind other bushes as necessary.

Stand in front of the garden and check to make sure each bush is taking a nice shape. Give them room. When mature, Limelight hydrangeas can grow to as big as eight feet.

Of course, you will enjoy the most pleasing aesthetics when you use the fewest number of bamboo stakes in the ground and the least amount of twine. Look for several stems that naturally group together and pull them back using a single piece of twine.

Variations: it may be easier to use three bamboo sticks in combination as an anchor to wrap around the stems of larger hydrangea bushes and pull them toward each other.

Instead of twine, another option is string. Choose a brown or dark green for best results. Also, stems can be anchored to the bamboo using stretch-fabric tape or even zip ties.

If you have the more compact “Little Lime” bush or macrophylla — commonly known as bigleaf hydrangeas, you may be able to support the smaller branches using circular support stakes or plant rings.

Folding wire fencing can also be used to prop up stems and train them into the shape you want the bush to look.

Your local independent lawn and landscape dealer can give you advice on any specific problems or concerns that you have in your garden or recommend trusted landscapers who can give you expert advice. To find a dealer near you, click here