Ask a Question forum: Flower stalks tip down because??

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Eastern Massachusetts (Zone 5b)
jsf67
May 18, 2017 10:39 AM CST
Thumb of 2017-05-18/jsf67/9b1213

This is Campanula. This is in a group I transplanted a year ago, that except for the problem I'm asking about here are thriving compared to any of the Campanula volunteers elsewhere in my yard and compared to what any of these looked like before or after transplant last year.

The stalks are especially thick compared to others and/or past, and right now the stalks are especially firm. This is NOT a case of a limp stalk bending because of the weight. All the thicker stalks are bending north east or east and doing so while remaining firm, and a few are bending all the way to inverted as this one is.

Recently these thick stalks were seriously limp and flopping over from weight, which is a very different behavior than this. That was at the peak of a period of days of continuous dark clouds and light rain, so I'm pretty sure lack of sun was the cause. I staked them back up then, above the bend points, which were much lower on the plant. This one is still staked but loose in the ring of that stake well below the height of this photo. The stalks firmed up quickly in the sun and bent northeast well after they were firm. Over the course of a day, they get strong sun (more than any volunteer Campanula tolerated) from a range of directions, and the bend is not following the sun.

I watered these all through the drought last summer. I protected them from snow in the winter (so the base leaves that grew last fall had sun all winter and are still present, where those same leaves on all the volunteers died under the snow). Then I fertilized this spring. So these were really pampered for a plant that volunteers aggressively everywhere it is well sheltered by other plants. Maybe fertilizer or other pampering is the problem?

All volunteers elsewhere and last year as well as these same plants last year had much thinner straighter stalks that were stiff enough that the need for staking was to keep the whole stalk from going down straight (under the weight) not to stop it bending. These thick stalks and bigger leaves growing from the stalk all make this one pampered patch look much healthier than others (or these a year ago). But the stalks are not at all straight. They firmed up crooked lower when the weather changed, so each main stalk was vertical but with various lower twists so the vertical wasn't directly above the place the stalk leaves the ground. Then this new bend rapidly developed.

Could it already be too much sun?? Despite two weeks soaked, they already need water?? None of the volunteer Campanula ever grew this exposed to sun.

Will simply using taller stakes fix it? I re-staked just this one, right after taking the photo, so I'll see how it reacts. It was stiff enough I think it would be damaged by bending it all the way up to vertical, so I forced it much more upright but not all the way.

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