When adding plants to your space, it’s important to make sure they’re stable. And since many plants are top-heavy in nature, here’s how you can easily stabilize top-heavy plants!
Here’s something you’re probably not thinking about when designing your space: the risks and challenges posed by top-heavy plants.
We know what you’re thinking. This sounds a bit ridiculous. But the truth is the bigger the plants are, the more they can even pose a safety risk to guests in your space, especially if they’re in a high-traffic area or on a patio, rooftop, or terrace. The last thing you want is to have the liability of plants plummeting to the sidewalk below.
So, while this may seem like an odd challenge to deal with, it can be a challenge nonetheless.
With that in mind, here are seven considerations to help you stabilize your top-heavy plants.
Modern Elite Cube Planter at Southcentre Mall in Calgary, AB
1. Choose the Right Container Shape and Size
The first way to secure your top-heavy plants is to think from the ground up—literally. Picking the right planter or container can help avoid having your plant topple as it grows bigger and heavier.
For bigger and taller plants, you’re going to want to make sure you pick a container with a wider base and straight sides. Square planters and rectangular planters will work well, and so will tapered planters that are wider at the base than the top.
While the shape of your container should be your primary consideration, you can also take into account the type of material the planter is made from. Lightweight and durable fiberglass planters will generally do the trick. But, if you really need some weight to anchor your top-heavy plant, then you might want to consider aluminum planters or COR-TEN weathering steel planters for outdoor spaces. One of the big benefits of metal planters is that they can withstand drilled holes and bolts can be added to them.
2. Secure the Container
Once you have your planter or container selected, you can also take some simple steps to secure it.
You can do this by screwing or strapping the planter to a wall, the ground, a fence, or another sturdy structure. You can also consider using modular planters that connect and group together to create added stability through an increased footprint and greater weight. To learn more about modular planters, check out our comprehensive resource: Modular Planters 101 Guide.
3. Prune Carefully
There are also some fundamental maintenance requirements that help keep top-heavy plants from being too tippy, including pruning the plants regularly.
Proper pruning depends on the type of plant. However, as a generality, you’ll want to make sure you cut off dead leaves and branches and, in some cases, pruning away older branches, even if they aren’t dead.
If you’re not sure how to properly prune your plant, tree, or shrub, you might want to check out this guide from The Old Farmer’s Almanac for specific instructions.
Modern Elite Custom Planter at Villa BXV in Bronxville, NY
4. Use Stakes, Arbors, and Trellises
If you’ve got a good planter but you’re still having issues, another option for securing your top-heavy plants is to use stakes or trellises. These can be used both indoors and outdoors—and can also be used to create green walls that are visually striking and act as barriers that create new space.
Generally, you’re going to want to drive your stake or trellis at least three inches into the ground or soil, but to be safe, try to go even deeper for larger plants. You can use things like twist ties, twine, rope, or plant ties to attach your plant to the trellis or stake.
Some planters, like our rectangular planters, can even be fabricated to hold a trellis.
Arbors are another great option, especially for vine plants. Your plant will naturally wrap around the structure--and eventually, hide it from view completely--as it grows.
5. Try a Grow-Through Cage
As an alternative to trellises and stakes, you can consider using grow-through cages or ring-style plant supporters to support and stabilize your top-heavy plants.
These are ideal for multi-stemmed plants that are top-heavy with blooms or foliage but can’t support themselves.
While these aren’t optimal for trees and shrubs, they are great for plants that sprawl as they grow as well as fruits and vegetables that need support as they grow.
6. Use a Moss Pole for Climbers
Have you ever heard of a moss pole? If not, don’t worry. That’s probably because they’re one of the most complicated types of support structures for your top-heavy plants.
Like arbors, stakes, trellises, and grow-through cages, they serve the same purpose of giving plants something to grip onto. But unlike the others, a climbing pole can be made by filling a narrow wire tube with damp sphagnum moss and tying the plant to the pole until it latches on by itself.
While you can DIY moss poles, we recommend checking your local garden center for special climbing poles made from fern bark or moss rather than trying to make your own.
7. Use Single Stem Support
Sometimes, the biggest risk with top-heavy plants is that they’ll damage themselves. This often occurs with flowers in bloom that develop weak stems that flop over or topple in the wind.
For these types of plants, single stem supports are a great solution—and they’re exactly what they sound like.
Single stem supports are generally small stakes that, rather than supporting an entire plant, support single stems and flowers instead.
They can be great for protecting your at-risk plants and can be found at virtually every garden center.
No matter what kind of space you’re designing, adding plants of all sizes offers a ton of functional and aesthetic benefits. But some plants will be more top-heavy than others, in turn requiring you to take steps to stabilize and secure them.
In doing so, you can make sure your plants and planters don’t tip or break and damage themselves or potentially risk falling on your guests.
If you’re curious about picking the perfect planters for your top-heavy plants, contact us to speak with one of our experts today. We’re here to help answer any questions you might have.