- Moss poles allow plants to grow upward rather than downward or outward.
- Moss poles imitate the natural habitat for many vining plants, supporting them to grow upward.
- Moss poles are also aesthetically pleasing, as they help plants develop larger leaves and grow vertically rather than trailing horizontally.
- Aerial roots will grow out of the plant and attach to the moss pole; this is how the plant anchors itself.
- The most common material in moss poles is sphagnum moss; alternatives include coconut coir (coco coir) and bamboo stakes.
- Coco coir poles, made from coconut fibers, are an environmentally friendly option. They offer similar, if not better, features as compared to sphagnum moss poles.
- Bamboo stakes are simplistic and affordable for supporting climbing plants.
- Popular climbing plant species that thrive with the use of moss poles include Monstera, Philodendron, and Pothos.
- You can make your own DIY moss pole using a sturdy stake like PVC, wooden stakes, or metal poles wrapped with sphagnum moss (or coco coir), and tied with twine, wire, or cable ties.
*If you don't want to make your own DIY moss pole, look at the one we use for our houseplants. Click here for more information.
Table of Contents
- 1 Key Takeaways
- 2 What is a Moss Pole?
- 3 Types of Moss Poles
- 4 Benefits of Using Moss Poles
- 5 How to Install a Moss Pole to Vining Plants
- 6 Building DIY Moss Poles
- 7 What Moss Pole Do We Use?
- 8 Troubleshooting Moss Pole Issues
- 9 Houseplants That Benefit from Moss Poles
- 10 FAQ
- 11 References
Moss poles are a popular and versatile way to support houseplants, especially climbing plants like philodendrons, monsteras, and pothos.
By providing a sturdy structure made of a pole covered in sphagnum moss or coconut coir, these plants can mimic their natural growth habits and climb vertically, giving them a chance to thrive indoors.
Indoor plants benefit from moss poles in several ways. Not only do they enable plants to grow upward, helping to save space, but the moss pole’s moist environment also aids in maintaining humidity levels around the plant.
This is especially important for houseplants that need more humidity to grow at their best.
What is a Moss Pole?
A moss pole is a vertical support structure made of live moss or other moisture-retaining materials, designed to support climbing plants and help them grow upwards.
These poles have the texture of wet, mossy bark and give plants a place to grow aerial roots and climb up, just like Philodendron, Monstera, and Pothos would do in their natural environment.
Moss poles are helpful because they let the climbing plants’ aerial roots attach to the support.
This gives the plants more stability and lets them get nutrients and water from the pole.
Types of Moss Poles
Sphagnum Moss Poles
Sphagnum moss poles are a popular choice for supporting climbing indoor plants. They are made by wrapping a layer of sphagnum moss around a durable core, usually made of PVC or metal.
The moss helps retain moisture, allowing the plant’s aerial roots to easily attach themselves to the pole.
Sphagnum moss poles are generally low-maintenance; however, it is crucial to keep the moss moist to encourage healthy plant growth and avoid brittleness.
Coco Coir Poles
Coconut coir poles, also known as coco coir moss poles, are made from coconut fibers that are wrapped around a cylindrical base, usually PVC or metal. Coco coir is highly water-retentive, and its natural, fibrous texture encourages plant roots to latch onto the pole, providing sturdy support for climbing plants.
Coco coir poles are an environmentally friendly option as their main component, coconut fiber, is a renewable resource. They offer similar support to sphagnum moss poles and are an excellent choice for a variety of climbing plants.
Some advantages of coco coir poles include:
- High water retention
- Environmentally friendly and sustainable
- Available in various lengths, they provide versatility for different plant sizes
Bamboo stakes are a more traditional method for supporting climbing plants. Made from natural bamboo material, these stakes are strong, lightweight, and can be easily inserted into the soil to provide support for plants.
Bamboo stakes are suitable for plants that require less vertical space to climb and are often used in combination with twine to keep plants upright.
While bamboo stakes may not provide the moisture retention found in moss poles, they offer a simple and affordable option for supporting climbing plants. It’s essential to choose the appropriate stake size and stake the plant carefully to ensure it remains upright and well-supported.
Benefits of Using Moss Poles
Creates a Natural Environment for Plants
One of the key benefits of using moss poles for your houseplants is that they create a more natural environment for your plants to grow in.
Climbing and epiphytic plants, like those you might find in tropical environments, are accustomed to growing on tree trunks or branches.
Moss poles imitate these natural growth patterns so that your plants can grow well, make aerial roots, and take in water and nutrients from their environment.
Upward Growth of Plants
One key benefit of using a moss pole is the support it offers climbing plants.
It encourages vining plants to grow upward, providing a stable foundation and ensuring they maintain a visually appealing structure.
This support mimics how they would grow in the wild and helps them grow in a healthy way.
Promotes Healthy Plants
Another advantage of using a moss pole is that it promotes healthier growth as it encourages aerial roots to attach themselves to the pole.
This attachment process stimulates the growth of larger leaves, which absorb more light and provide additional photosynthesis benefits to the plant.
For plants with large foliage, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Pothos plants, this process helps increased leaf size.
Improving Surrounding Aeration and Moisture
Because a moss pole is moist, it creates a moist surrounding environment.
The aerial roots of epiphytic plants can receive the chance to get extra moisture. This added moisture is particularly beneficial to tropical plants that thrive in humid conditions, such as Monstera and Philodendron species, helping them adapt more effortlessly to indoor environments.
Also, because moss is porous, it lets more air in, which lowers the risk of root rot and other problems that can happen when water stays in one place or when it’s too wet.
Home Decor and Aesthetic Considerations
Moss poles also serve as a space-efficient solution for indoor gardeners, allowing plants to grow vertically rather than horizontally.
This not only maximizes the available space for other plants but also reduces the overall weight of the plant display.
Vertical growth helps to maintain a cleaner and more organized look, while the added support ensures your plants remain healthy and strong.
The natural-looking structure of the moss pole allows plant owners to create a visually captivating environment that not only serves a practical purpose but also adds a touch of elegance to your home decor.
How to Install a Moss Pole to Vining Plants
To install a moss pole, you’ll need a variety of accessories to ensure that the pole is properly secured and your plant has the stability needed for healthy growth.
This section will discuss some of these accessories and provide guidance on installation.
- Choose the right size pole: Find a moss pole that fits your plant’s size and height requirements. The pole should be at least 1 to 2 feet taller than the plant’s current size.
- Insert the pole: Carefully insert the moss pole into the pot, making sure not to damage the plant’s roots during the process. Make sure that 6 to 12 inches of the pole are buried beneath the soil. This depth will help stabilize the pole and ensure it stays secured within the pot.
- Attach the plant: Cable ties (zip ties), twine, string, velcro straps, and even fishing line can be used to attach your plant to the moss pole. Tie the stems or vines every 6–12 inches to provide even support. These materials are readily available and can easily be tied around the stems or vines, depending on the type of plant. It is important to check the tension periodically and adjust as needed, ensuring the plant is securely fastened to the pole.
Building DIY Moss Poles
Creating a DIY moss pole allows you to customize the size and appearance to suit your specific needs and preference and to top it off is simple and cost-effective.
DIY moss poles can be made by layering sphagnum moss or coconut coir around the chosen support structure, and then securing it with some string or even fishing line.
Choosing the Right Materials for a Moss Pole
Using the right materials plays a critical role in creating a successful DIY moss pole. Consider the following points when choosing materials:
- Stake: Opt for durable and rot-resistant materials like PVC pipes, bamboo, or treated wood. These materials will ensure the longevity and sturdiness of your moss pole.
- Sphagnum Moss: Select high-quality, long-fibered sphagnum moss or a sphagnum moss substitute. This type of moss effectively retains moisture, promoting healthy root growth and providing an excellent surface for the plant to cling to.
Alternatively, you can use coconut coir. Coco coir is a more environmentally sustainable material (peat moss harvesting is not eco-friendly). It also provides a similar texture and structure as compared to peat moss. Lastly, coconut husk retains moisture well, ensuring that your plant’s roots stay hydrated.
- Bindings: Choose a secure and durable binding, such as monofilament string or natural twine. Avoid using materials like metal wire, as it can damage the plant or become a hazard.
Steps to Building a Moss Pole
To start, soak sphagnum moss in water for a minute or two before using. The amount of moss needed depends on the size of your moss pole, so it’s better to be conservative to avoid wasting any.
Next, once the moss is soaked, prepare a stake, ideally at least 1 to 2 feet taller than your plant. Keep in mind that 6 to 12 inches of the moss pole will be beneath the soil to hold it in place.
Then, wrap the wet sphagnum moss around the stake, ensuring it’s wrapped evenly and compactly. To secure the moss, use monofilament string (i.e. fishing line), natural twine, or zip ties.
What Moss Pole Do We Use?
Though you can build your own moss pole, to be honest, we prefer to buy a pre-built one.
There are several popular brands and options of moss poles available, but we use this particular moss pole for our houseplants.
What we like about this moss pole is that you can bend it however you like (most old-style moss poles are straight and unbendable).
Also, it’s made of coconut coir instead of peat moss. Using coco coir has many benefits, like being more eco-friendly and providing a similar texture and structure to peat moss. Lastly, coconut husk retains moisture just as well.
Troubleshooting Moss Pole Issues
When working with moss poles for your plants, particularly climbers, there are a few additional tips to keep in mind for successful growth and maintenance.
Using Coconut Coir vs Peat Moss
First, consider using a coconut husk as an alternative to sphagnum moss. Not only is coconut husk a sustainable option, but it also provides a similar texture and structure for plant support.
Additionally, the coconut husk retains moisture well, ensuring that your plant’s roots stay hydrated.
Sagging Moss Pole
To prevent sagging and maintain an aesthetically pleasing appearance, make sure to regularly check and adjust the ties around your plant and moss pole.
This will ensure that your plant remains securely attached to the pole and will encourage vertical growth. Proper attachment also allows the plant to gain better access to light, promoting stronger leaves and overall healthier growth.
Keeping Your Moss Pole Damp (Misting)
Keeping the moss pole damp is another key aspect of succeeding with this plant support system. Regularly misting the moss pole helps maintain the moisture levels necessary for optimal growth.
This can be done as part of your usual plant care routine, ensuring that the pole remains moist without becoming overly saturated.
Checking for Mold and Pests
Keeping the environment moist is important, but it can also help mold and bugs grow. Therefore, it’s essential to keep an eye on your moss pole for any signs of mold, mildew, or pests.
If detected, take immediate action to treat the issue. A few steps you can take include:
- Removing affected areas
- Reducing watering frequency
- Using natural or chemical treatments, as appropriate
If you see any issues like the ones we mentioned above, make sure you take care of the problems immediately.
If you don’t, the moss pole will not be as effective in helping your plants thrive.
The moss on your pole may become hard or thin over time. Replace the moss when you see that the moss is getting thin or is starting to lean over and is not supporting your houseplant.
A quick tip when you do replace the moss, make sure to wet the new moss before you attach it to the pole so that it will stick better.
Houseplants will thrive a lot better if you keep your moss pole in good shape. By following these tips, you can enjoy the benefits that moss poles provide to your climbing plants.
Houseplants That Benefit from Moss Poles
Moss poles give many houseplants the support they need and a natural environment, especially those that like to climb or trail.
These are a few common houseplants that do very well when you add a moss pole.
Philodendron plants do very well with these houseplants. When a moss pole holds up its famed houseplant’s large, heart-shaped leaves, they grow even better. Moss poles help the plant climb, encouraging healthier growth and larger leaves.
Monstera plants are mostly known as the Swiss cheese plant. Monstera plants are a spectacular tropical plant that benefits greatly from the use of moss poles. Moss poles support the plant’s natural tendency to climb and help it grow healthier and bigger leaves.
Pothos plants are known for their attractive trailing vines and low-maintenance nature. By using a moss pole, you can encourage the plant to climb vertically, enhancing its natural beauty and promoting new growth.
Hoya plants are charming, slow-growing plants that prefer to climb or trail, and a moss pole can provide the ideal support structure. Hoyas also like slightly more humid places, so the higher humidity around the pole is good for them.
Other Vining plants
Other vining plants, such as syngonium and scindapsus, can also benefit from the support and humidity provided by moss poles. These plants can grow even healthier, with their vines reaching greater heights.
What is a moss pole and why are they used with indoor plants?
A moss pole is a support structure made from moss or other materials that retain moisture. They help indoor climbing plants like Philodendron, Monstera, and Pothos grow upward in a way that mimics their natural environment. They also provide the plant with moisture and nutrients.
What are the different kinds of moss poles?
Moss poles are primarily made of sphagnum moss, coconut coir (coco coir), or bamboo stakes. Each type offers distinct benefits; for instance, sphagnum moss poles retain moisture well, coco coir ones are environmentally friendly, and bamboo poles are a simple, affordable option.
How does a moss pole benefit indoor plants?
Moss poles create a natural growth environment, promoting upward growth and healthier plants. They assist in the development of bigger leaves, which is useful for increasing photosynthesis. Moss poles also improve the surrounding air and moisture levels, helping plants adapt to indoor climates.
How can you install a moss pole for your plant?
To set a moss pole, fit one that matches your plant’s size and height requirements. Insert the pole into the pot while protecting plant roots, and ensure a section is buried in the soil for stability. You can then fasten the plant to the pole using ties every 6–12 inches.
Can Make a DIY moss pole?
Yes, you can create your own moss pole using materials like PVC pipes, metal rods, bamboo stakes, or wooden dowels. Wrap these with sphagnum moss or coconut coir and secure them with twine or fishing line for customized support for your indoor climbing plants.
Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she studied at the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. She continued her gardening education by working on organic farms in both rural and urban settings. She started UrbanOrganicYield.com to share gardening tips and tactics. She’s happy to talk about succulents and houseplants or vegetables and herbs – or just about anything in a backyard garden or hydroponics garden.