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I have some narrow, deep planters on my balcony. I’ve planted some tall decorative grasses in them for some privacy, and they’re great. But now that they’re bigger, they’re falling over and getting in the way. I’ve resorted to just feeding them through the top of the balcony railing, but I don’t love the look.

What’s the most natural way to support or tie them off so they’ll stay mostly vertical and out of the way? I suspect they’ll keep growing taller, and I wouldn’t mind the tops spilling over once they’re not directly in my face. My balcony railing has several metal rods running along it that I could maybe use, but can these grasses be made to stand more upright without looking so obviously tied off?

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  • What a lovely balcony!
    – MackM
    Jun 26, 2023 at 19:24
  • Thank you! It’s been a lot of work.
    – CIFilter
    Jun 26, 2023 at 20:27
  • If you know the species/variety of grass, it may be helpful to mention it, because you may have chosen a grass species which is just naturally floppy. (And conversely, if it's not a naturally floppy species, there may be some species-specific reason why they're floppy.)
    – R.M.
    Jun 27, 2023 at 20:02

3 Answers 3

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Someone has to say it. You have planted a fountain and wanted soldiers.

  • As for peony hoops and other stakes, all are visible in some way. Another way to go is to stake or hoop using bright colors, incorporating the color directly into your design.

  • Smaller grasses, Siberian Iris, or other naturally vertical plants will give you the soldiers you crave:

Siberian Iris Bluestem Grass

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    Thanks! I may switch them out eventually, but I only got them a couple of months ago. I think I can maybe tie then back and trim them if they get too wild. But yes, going forward, I probably want a more rigid grass that won't spill over so much.
    – CIFilter
    Jun 27, 2023 at 18:21
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Support, or a different species that's more upright/less floppy are the options as I see them for small pots of grass-type plants. So if you want to stick with the grass you have, figure out a less-obtrusive support you can live with.

Potted bamboo (or at least Phyllostachys Aureosulcata) stands up fairly well for me. Potted gingers also do generally well.

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    I have seen people put stakes in their grasses and then loosely tie the grass bunches to the stakes. I think the railing would work very well as a support point with a few horseshoe-shaped pieces of green twine. An example of tied grass: thefabulousgarden.com/blog/2018/09/30/…
    – MackM
    Jun 26, 2023 at 19:23
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As noted by others, you need to either support those grasses or switch them out. For support, I prefer either cross-hatched rings that the grass can grow through or small tomato cages that surround most of the blades while letting the outer blades hide the cage (paint these the same green as the grass and you won't see it).

As for different grass varieties, Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis acutiflora) is known to be a very erect, columnar grass for full sun (Calamagrostis brachytricha, sometimes known as Korean Forest Grass, is less columnar but works better in part shade).

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