My plants flop and droop

Garden Problems – What to do if your plants flop and droop

We know, past 40 we all begin to suffer from a little ‘ flop and droop ‘ but you don’t want the garden to follow suit! So why do your plants never seem to grow strongly?

Well it’s all down to 3 things LIGHT, SOIL and BREEDING


OK a bit basic, but plants grow toward the sunlight. If light levels are low, the plant tries to grow really fast to get to as much light as possible quickly – it becomes a leggy skinny teenager of a plant; once it has reached the light, it isn’t strong enough to support itself properly, so it flops – just like a leggy skinny teenager!

If light levels are low then look to raise the branches of overhanging trees and shrubs to allow more sunlight down onto the soil or if light levels are low use more shade tolerant plants.


You try pushing your roots through here!

Your plants will grow really well if they have food and water, so the soil really determines how well everything will grow. A poor soil that lacks nutrition will produce weak straggly plants that flop easily or droop everywhere.  The slightest puff of wind will send you ‘prize specimens’ heading for the floor!

rich soil and grasses
These grasses are actually ‘overweight’ – the soil is too nutritious for them

Spookily and rather contrary to most commonsense, too much rich soil can also produce droopy specimens.

This is because of the way plants ‘think’…too much food and us humans become fat, unfit and a little more lethargic..same with plants. The plant becomes ‘fat and lazy’ which in plant terms means it produces lots of sappy green growth which is wobbly and floppy.

If the plant is in a less rich soil, it starts behaving as though it will probably die. This causes it to think, ‘ooh must reproduce myself quickly before I conk out’. So it starts to flower copiously in order for it to produce seeds, so there is less energy to devote to growing all those succulent green leaves.

So an over rich soil for plants that don’t need much food produces floppy droopy plants too.

See our soil guides for advice on getting the right plant in the right place

Soil can easily be made into a lovely medium for growing lots of gorgeous plants, but you will need to do a bit of preparation



The dahlia on the left is admittedly very showy, but is it more beautiful than the other one?

Plant breeders are constantly striving for bigger and more showy flowers, the trouble is that larger flowerheads weigh more – once it rains, the extra weight of  the water makes everything droop or in some cases collapse. You are left constantly tying plants to stakes or using supports to keep them upright and looking their best. Now if you don’t mind doing that, great.

The alternative is to choose more natural looking flowers that are self supporting, incidentally these tend to be more insect friendly too – so it’s a win win all round then! And we have a handy list of ‘non-floppers for you right here!

We do have a little extra helping hand for you….‘cheat’ and buy one of our lovely ready made border designs instead – that way you know it will all work – hurrah!

visit the shop – all download designs are just £3.99