Moss Pole for Plants (Sphagnum moss poles) is a tool that provides extra support for your indoor climbing plants and helps them to grow upright.
For this reason, many gardeners choose to purchase or make their own moss poles. Besides, a plant takes up less space if you grow it on a moss pole and you thus mimic the conditions it has in its natural habitat. However, not all plants can be grown on a moss pole.
Continue reading to learn:
- why do you need a moss pole
- how to make a DIY moss pole
- how to use moss poles
- what are good climbing for a moss pole.
Why Do You Need a Moss Pole?
To begin with, moss poles support plants and help them to grow upwards. This is especially true of tropicals – epiphytic plants and vining plants like monstera plants and pothos plants that attach themselves onto trees in their natural habitat in the wild.
These plants derive nutrients from the bark once it breaks down. That’s why they require a moss pole to stand upright in the house conditions and achieve the same results. Without a pole, climbing plants don’t reach their full potential, which means their growth is not as full or lush.
Next, since moss poles contain sphagnum moss in household conditions, they provide an additional source of moisture and humidity around the plant.
Having a moss pole allows you to have more flexibility regarding where you can position your plant. Simultaneously, it will take in a lot less space than it normally would, so you can have room for more indoor houseplants – two flies with one stone.
Having a plant growing on a moss pole makes it easier to shape it and track its growth. You will be able to spot a yellowing leaf in the blink of an eye and recognize if your plant has different needs such as more light or less water. Also, you can spot insects, pests, or diseases more easily.
Finally, you can control your plant’s growth. You can twist the stems around it as you like and get it to grow in the direction you want. In a nutshell, you have a lot more control.
How to Make a Moss Pole for Plants?
Making a moss pole is a fun and easy project that can save you some cash. Another reason for making your own moss pole instead of purchasing one is playing an architect. You get to design it completely, including the size, height, and width so that each of your plants has precisely what it needs. If you choose to buy one instead, here are some of them that got you covered.
Here is a fun fact, a moss pole can last for up to 5 years, so it is extremely durable and worth the while. It is advisable to change the moss after that time. Make sure you keep your cats out of the way, though, because they can loosen the moss.
DIY Moss Pole
- moist sphagnum sheet moss or coco coir
- string, fishing line or gardener’s twine
- a tall stake, wooden stake, pole or a PVC pipe
- bucket of water
Instead of sphagnum moss pole, you can use other materials such as coco coir, coconut fiber, tree fern fiber – any fibrous and water-retentive material will work.
Make sure your pole is higher than your plants. Make this DIY moss pole for climbing plants outside so as to spare yourself the unnecessary mess. Consider the pole’s weight, height, thickness, and color when choosing it.
Follow this simple procedure to make your own DIY moss pole.
Step 1: Soak up the Moss
Soak up the dried sphagnum moss in a bucket of room temperature water for about fifteen minutes. It should be wet when you take it out, not dripping everywhere on the floor.
Step 2: Mark the Pole
You want to measure around six inches from the bottom of the pole and mark it. In this way, you know which part you will insert into the soil so you know where you will stop adding moss.
Step 3: Attach the Moss to the Pole
Do this step in sections. Start from the top of the pole and work your way down. Attach one section of the moss to the pole and take some string to tie around it and a strong knot. Make sure you attach the string tightly so it does not fall apart. Continue adding moss and tying it around with string until you have come to the spot you have marked.
Step 4: Trim the Moss
Make sure you have covered the pole with moss completely so that there is no unwrapped section apart from the segment you have marked. Trim the loose edges and shorter pieces of your moss pole and twine if needed to keep it in shape.
Step 5: Make a Hole in the Pot
If you haven’t done it yet, make a hole in the pot for the moss pole. Be careful where you make a hole and it is best to make it near the edges of the pot so as not to damage the already established roots.
Step 6: Insert the Moss Pole
Now it is time to gently insert your moss pole into the selected plant pots. Don’t insert the pole in the center of the pot because you risk damaging the roots. Rather, position the moss pole near the edge of the pot and push the moss pole down.
Insert only the part that doesn’t have moss on it. You may need to add more potting mix to firm it around the moss pole.
Step 7: Wrap the Plant around the Pole
Finally, wrap your vining and climbing tropicals gently around the moss pole, making sure they are as close to the stems and aerial roots as possible without damaging them. Plant nodes should also be in contact with the pole because that’s the place where new aerial roots will emerge.
TIP: In case you are just potting your houseplants, insert the moss pole first. Then add soil and plants. In most cases, you will need someone to hold the moss pole for you while you are adding the soil and the plants. So, it is always a lot easier to add moss poles when you are potting or repotting.
How to Use a Moss Pole?
Here is a quick checklist:
- don’t attach plants to the moss pole too tightly
- continue binding the plant to the moss pole as it grows
- place the plant in the position where it receives sunlight from above
- maintain warm room temperatures
- mist the plant and moss regularly to increase humidity and promote aerial root growth
Some things you should keep in mind:
- keep your cats away from the pole
- moss poles are a nice hiding place for bugs because of the high humidity
- moss poles can bend if the plant gets too heavy
- moss poles can damage plants’ roots
- keep the moss pole moist
- expose the top of the pole to light
Make sure you cater to all the potential disadvantages so your plants can fully enjoy the benefits of growing up the moss pole.
What Plants Can Grow on a Moss Pole?
Plants that have a vining, hanging, or climbing habit are great candidates for a moss pole. Also, you will train plants that have aerial roots a lot more easily than other plants.
If you are not sure if your plants would like to grow on a pole, ask yourself the following questions – Is my plant native to tropical areas, jungles, and forests? Does my plant grow against trees, rocks, or other solid structures in its natural habitat? If the answer is yes, a moss pole is just what your plant needs, and it will feel comfortable growing on it, so you should help and guide it.
Be careful, however. Some plants like Philodendron have thin stems, so make sure not to damage or cut them in the process. You won’t have to worry about Monsteras as much because they have somewhat thicker stems, even mini monstera climbing plant grows quite well on a pole. In both cases, you want to make sure that stems and foliage are as close to the moss pole as they possibly can.
These specific plants benefit from growing on moss poles:
These tropical plants will learn how to climb up moss poles with time. Pothos and Philodendron are quick learners that will set out plant roots that will attach themselves onto the moss pole within weeks. Monstera, however, takes a little more time and patience as it is a slow grower. It can be a little bit problematic in the case of larger leaves. Make sure not to damage them when tying the string.
How to Take Care of Plants Growing up a Moss Pole?
Mist the sphagnum moss and the foliage regularly. As the sphagnum moss breaks down, the plant will start absorbing nutrients contained in it. At the same time, your vines will get moisture and increased humidity which is essential for them to grow into healthy plants.
My Plant Has Outgrown the Pole, Now What?
Moss poles are usually adaptable, but you can always add some extra height. You can simply add another pole on top of the existing one, making sure it is thinner in diameter. This will add some extra length to the pole. The final result will be as effective as the previous pole and your vines will climb easily. Or, you can propagate the plant or trim it to keep it in shape.
Moss poles are becoming increasingly popular not only because of the visual aspect but also because of their practicality and usefulness. If you use a moss pole, your plants will grow upwards, which is essential for certain vines and plants that climb on trees in their natural habitat. You can use coco coir or moss and you will also need other tools we’ve already mentioned.
Tropical vining and climbing houseplants like mini monstera and philodendron need moss poles for stronger and more vigorous growth since that’s how they grow in their native habitats. Follow this guide to make your own DIY moss pole or purchase one from a store – your vines will love them either way.