Are you looking to make a moss pole for indoor plants? While you can purchase them from a garden center or online, they are straightforward (and much cheaper) to make at home.
Many plants will thrive on a moss pole, and creating one is a practical, straightforward task.
So, let’s jump in and find out how you can make and use your very own moss poles for plants!
Table of Contents
What is a Moss Pole?
Moss poles are also known as moss totems, plant poles, and moss sticks. You’re missing out if you’ve never used a moss pole before!
A moss pole is a pole or stick covered in a layer of moss (it’s essentially an artificial tree to which you can attach plants to grow upright while giving them stability). This prevents them from growing sideways or downwards and enables the correct shaping of your plants much easier.
As an added benefit, moss poles for plants also supply water and nutrients to the plant.
You can make a moss pole using PVC, bamboo, wood, and numerous other materials.
Practical Uses for Moss Poles
A moss pole is an easy, simple way to grow upright indoor plants. They’re a good idea if you’d like neat, easy-to-manage, and healthier plants, and they provide great support material for indoor plants that can even be used outdoors for a more formal garden.
A sphagnum moss pole for plants provides support and allows you to shape or train the plant according to your taste and style requirements. It will also prevent them from spreading and growing sideways. The result is an attractive, neat look that is ideal for many plants.
Other advantages are that they allow you to make plants more compact and increase the options of where they can be placed. They can allow you to control and improve a plant’s growth habits without sacrificing its health and vigor.
Types of Moss Poles
There are many ways to use a moss pole and even more moss pole alternatives.
These are two of the most popular choices:
Coco Coir Poles
Natural coco coir fiber is a suitable medium for most plants and is more effective for those plants that don’t require daily watering. They are also particularly helpful if your time is limited and you cannot care for your house plants daily or water them as regularly as you’d like.
A coco coir pole is a standard option and equally effective, but the drawback to coco fibers is they do not retain water as effectively as sphagnum moss. However, provided you water your plant regularly, a coconut coir pole and a traditional moss pole will work equally well.
Sphagnum Moss Pole
This is the most common option for using moss poles for plants. Sphagnum moss poles not only give extra support, but they look great and help your plants thrive.
Other alternatives include coconut fiber, husks of coconuts, sheet moss, and orchid moss, and while many people have their preferred method, most types of vertical moss poles will last a long time and look good for a long time to come.
Choosing the Best Moss Pole for Your Plants
What should you look for or consider?
The first thing to think about when using a moss pole is the type of plant you intend to use with it. What is the size of the plant and particularly the size of the leaves?
This will determine the size and strength of the moss pole you need. A tall climbing plant will need a tall moss pole, while a thick PVC pipe might work better with broader and heavier plants than a wooden moss stick would.
For example, the larger Monstera plants tend to have large leaves and will need extra support, which will also apply to any other heavier plant.
A thin, fragile moss pole can work for some more delicate plants but certainly will not be suitable for larger house plants with larger leaves.
If you have a smaller pole, consider one of the Monstera adansonii varieties – they are a bit lighter with more fenestrations.
Why use a Moss Pole?
The moss pole will not only provide structure and support for mature plants or juvenile plants but will offer additional benefits such as physical support, which many plants need for optimal growth and health.
This is especially important for plants with larger foliage, as big mature leaves need additional support, and a simple wooden dowel is often not enough to keep them happy.
Moss poles allow for root attachment, which strengthens the plant and makes for a more attractive growth habit.
As the moss is absorbent, keeping your moss pole moist will provide long vines and other plants with a water source when fully attached to the support.
They also have good water retention, which makes the plants easier to maintain. One of the best ways to keep a moss pole moist is to spray with a spray bottle regularly and pour water directly down the pole.
Moss poles are far more attractive and offer many benefits than simple plant or bamboo plant stakes, although making a trellis for your potted plants can be equally beneficial.
The Best Plants to Grow on Moss Poles
Moss poles for plants are generally used for indoor climbing plants or vining plants. Plants rely on trees, rocks, and other surfaces for support in their natural habitat. In your house, plants will need extra help, particularly if you want them to stay neat and upright.
The Swiss cheese plant (as it’s more commonly known) or split-leaf philodendron is a favorite plant for homes and offices and is often one of the first plants people think of when they picture moss poles.
This highly ornate plant is easy to grow and thrives in indoor conditions.
Large monsteras, due to their high level of light requirements, are particularly well-suited for PVC poles, as the PVC material is strong enough for a lifetime of support.
If you have a large plant like a Monstera deliciosa, or even a slow grower like the Thai Constellation, you can’t go wrong with a moss pole.
The Adanson’s monstera is a slightly more delicate variety of the above, with fascinating leaves gaining the nickname ‘five holes plant.’ It flourishes in indoor conditions and benefits superbly from a moss pole.
In the wild, the adansonii grows along the forest floor and near the trunks of trees for support, so they will benefit particularly well from a simulated environment. Using a moss pole in place of a tree is the next best thing to its natural habitat.
Due to the similarity, the mini monster, or Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma, is commonly mistaken as being from the same genus as the above two plants (they all belong to the same Araceae family of flowering plants).
As the common name suggests, it is a compact plant and doesn’t grow to the size of the two above. It is, however, a spectacular plant that grows well and looks magnificent on a moss pole.
Jasmine is another beautiful, popular climber best known for its incredible fragrance. It’s often grown outdoors on fences or trellises but works very well on a moss pole.
By far one of the easiest plants to care for, the delicate but beautiful Pothos can handle a range of light conditions, does not need pampering, and doesn’t even need much water.
This guy proliferates and requires little to no maintenance. The common name refers to the shape of its leaves, an interesting plant that looks good in any environment. The use of a moss pole will benefit these active climbers very well.
The hoya plant is highly rewarding and a prolific climber. It is typically grown in a hanging basket but looks fantastic on a moss pole. The Hoya flowers are abundant for many months of the year, making them attractive indoor climbing plants.
Vertical poles are also great for epiphytic plants as they support their aerial roots, otherwise known as adventitious roots. This plant attaches itself to tree trunks, other plants, and sometimes even rocks in its natural environment.
Although they are generally tropical plants, they can thrive well in most environments and don’t get nutrients from host plants like other parasitic plants would. Instead, they get nutrients and moisture from rain, air, and debris that falls around the plant.
How to Make the Best DIY Moss Pole
What’s great is that you can make your moss pole at home, which is an easy project that should be a breeze for most people. You don’t have to be a DIY expert to make and use moss poles for plants.
Here, we guide you through the simple steps so that you can keep your climbers happy.
Preparation is vital, so get a decent work area and a mat or a tarp, as it could get a bit messy. You’ll need to have all of your materials ready.
Here is what you’ll need to make your DIY moss pole:
Materials and Tools Needed
- Sharp Scissors
- Rubber Gloves
- PVC Pipe / Bamboo Stake / Wooden Stake / Wooden Poles
- Sphagnum Peat Moss
- Wire Mesh / Fishing Line / String
- Bucket or Bowl of Water
As you can see, there are different options, but they all work well. Some people use hardware mesh, chicken wire, or zip ties to create the support structure.
- Place the sphagnum moss in the water and let it soak for roughly 20 minutes. This is where the gloves come in, as you always want to use gloves when dealing with sphagnum moss.
- You might need to add extra water as it is absorbed and the moss expands; just keep an eye on it.
- Once you have chosen your primary material (such as PVC) for the main support, you need to measure and cut it to size. Remember that up to 12 inches will be buried below the ground to support the pole. Keep the moss pole 1 or 2 feet longer than the plant to allow for the growth of your plants. Larger plants will need extra length and strength.
- Next, squeeze the excess water from the sphagnum moss. While the water helps the root system develop, you do not want too much water when getting things set up.
- You can then attach the moss to whatever support you have chosen. Use the fishing line, string, mesh, or whatever you have chosen to secure it, but keep in mind that the bottom section will be in the soil, so there’s no need to cover that area.
- For the best results, ensure the pole is evenly covered. This will enable a decent look as the plant grows. You can be generous with the sphagnum moss and avoid leaving any gaps.
- Your plant should already be potted. Carefully insert the moss pole into your plant pots. You might need more fishing wire or string to ensure it attaches securely. Over time, the aerial roots will take care of this, but in the beginning, it might need some help for proper support.
- Do this process slowly so that existing roots do not get damaged. Soon, new roots will develop and give the pole more stability. This doesn’t take long if the plant is well cared for.
- Water the plant, including the moss pole. As it’s new, do this slowly and carefully.
- Once complete, clean the pot and check out the care process outlined below. Proper care will ensure a good-looking, happy, and healthy plant.
Training Your Plant on a Moss Pole
It’s easier to work with young plants, although you can train larger plants with a bit of effort – the trick is simply to bind the stems to the moss pole as soon as they are long enough. You want the plant’s aerial roots to be in contact with the moist moss, and any lateral growth that cannot be tucked in or bound can be pruned back.
Vine plants generally attach quickly and require very little training; just trim away any scraggly bits that can’t be tucked in.
For a great way to make a funky design, you can even make a bendable moss pole which is excellent with the right plant but takes a little bit of effort when training your plant.
Maintaining Your Moss Pole
We’ve discussed watering above, which is essential for maintenance.
You want to train the plant to grow up the length of the moss pole, so you may need to tuck bits of the plant in.
Eventually, the roots will attach to the moss pole, keeping it in place, and then you can remove the string, fishing line, or whatever you used to bind it at the start. Do not do this too soon.
If the plant has become too large for the existing pole, you can permanently attach an additional one to the top of the pole.
Alternatively, depending on the house plant, you can let it grow back down from the top. This will give you a thicker, fuller plant.