Trees and Shrubs forum: Keeping Lavatera thuringiaca from flopping over

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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Aug 7, 2013 6:16 PM CST
I have a few Lavatera thuringiaca shrubs that have grown vigorously, but then flopped over. I'm looking for advice on ways to encourage them to stay upright.

Can someone suggest which of these are necessary or effective, or some other approaches?

They are really lovely in the summer, and draw bees or yellow jackets more strongly than anything else I have. And I like the way the blooms open for warm, sunny days, and close up in cool or drizzle.

1.

Someone told me they can't be watered or fertilized at all, if you want them to stand upright on their own. I had to move 6 in a hurry, so I moved them into existing beds, where they share water and minerals with anything else growing there. That didn't work out - they grew too fast or softly.

I guess I could hack some holes into my clay, shake most of the decent soil off their roots, put the plants into the holes and back-fill with clay so the planting hole won't turn into a mud-bath. (I have near-zero-drainage clay so that I have to use raised beds and/or trench each hole so that water has somewhere to drain out TO. It seems weird to make a raised b4ed and fill it with bad soil, just to keep Lavatera from growing too profusely!


2.

Someone told me that I should cut them down to 12" to 18" early in the winter, then 4-6" in late winter, so they regrow from the ground up. I've been doing this, so the wood is new every year

Should I be leaving the stems several feet long, so they get thicker and woodier? Lately they have been growing to around 6-7 feet.


3.

Should I prune every branch to less than 4 feet before blooming starts, so that the branches are strong enough to support themselves?


I bought them from Hirt's Nursery as tiny plants in pots that were around 1.5 or 2 inches square, hidden under moss, grass and weeds.

I believe they were Lavatera thuringiaca, but Hirt's said they were 'Barnsley' (a "periclinal chimaera" of the cultivar 'Rosea'). By the time I grew them up, they had been in small pots for a long time, and had reverted to 'Rosea', if they ever were 'Barnsley'

Thanks for any suggestions.




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[Last edited by RickCorey - Aug 7, 2013 6:34 PM (+)]
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Aug 9, 2013 12:12 PM CST
I have huge numbers of seed pods, and the blooms are fading out.

Do you think they would bloom again if I chopped the long branches right now? I have a mild summer and frosts won't occur until late October.

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