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Plants are falling over

Posted by sunnyside_one Sourthern WV (My Page) on
Sat, Aug 26, 06 at 12:34

I have the strangest problem this year. All my plants in a 6 X 10 raised bed are falling over when they reach maturity. They seem to be well anchored in the soil but for some reason they simply want to lay down. It almost appears as though the lower stems/stalks get weak and can't support the plant upright. My hollyhocks have all fallen over; my nice State Fair zinnias have all fallen over and even the dahlias have fallen over. The plants all look extremely healthy and have bloomed beautifully. I'm wondering if I could have a problem with the soil. It's 1/3 compost, 1/3 mushroom manure and 1/3 poor soil. Could the soil simply be too rich? Or possibly although it doesn't appear to be obvious to me, could insect be eating the roots. I'm doubtful that it's insects because the plants have been all falling down uniformly. Or maybe I have some kind of root rot? Can anyone help me with this problem? By the way, I'll be sending a soil sample to the soil lab for testing later this fall. Thanks again for any help.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Plants are falling over

I've also had problems in the past with tall hollyhocks, and tall dahlias falling over. In reading at the dahlia forum, I think most of the taller or bigger varieties need staking.

I've seen other's hollyhocks fall over as well. Possibly they wouldn't if they were in a protected (from wind) area.
I've since given up on hollyhocks for the time being due to their floppiness.


RE: Plants are falling over

Also, in my experience, Dahlias do best if they are pinched early on in their growth like chrysanthemums in order to develop stronger stems. If I don't pinch, they get tall and flop. If I continue to pinch them back, then they don't.

In addition, if things don't get enough sun, they have a tendency to reach for the sun or just to have floppy stems. This can be caused from shade from neighboring plants as well as shade from trees, buildings, fences, etc., or just a northern exposure.

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