Moss poles provide a climbing structure for plants. They enable certain climbing plants to latch onto the pole using aerial roots (roots that grow above-ground) and grow upwards, towards the sunlight. This mimics the plant’s native environment, where it grows on top of larger plants or trees, as it competes with others for precious sunlight.
Using a moss pole is very healthy for climbing plants. These plants grow LARGER and HEALTHIER leaves as a result! When propped against a moss pole, these plants also grow more quickly, as they receive more sunlight and nutrients.
Which plants can climb?
Lots of houseplants benefit from a moss pole. Some typical climbing plants include:
- Monstera Adansonii
- Philodendron Ring of Fire
- Philodendron Giganteum Variegata
- Philodendron Warscewiczii
- Monstera Lechleriana
- Cebu Blue Pothos
- Hoya Elliptica
- Anthurium Veitchii
What happens if you don’t keep your moss pole moist?
This is an example of what happens if you don’t keep your moss pole moist. A messy, overgrown Monstera with aerial roots growing but NOT latching on to the moss pole. Sadly, the plant will not grow upwards. 🙁
In short, you need to keep the moss pole moist in order for aerial roots to latch on and propel the plant upwards.
How do I keep my moss pole moist?
There are different ways to keep the moss pole moist. You will still need to water your moss pole every few weeks, but these strategies help the moss pole stay hydrated in between. Do note that how often your moss pole needs to be watered also depends on the environment you are in. Hot and dry climates mean evaporation occurs quickly, and you need to water your moss pole more frequently, while the reverse is true for cooler and more humid environments.
1. Use a Water Bottle
Place a filled plastic water bottle upside down above the top of the moss pole. Using a needle, poke a couple of small holes at the bottom of the water bottle, allowing a very slow release of water over time.
This helps the moss pole stay damp in between waterings.
2. Using a humidifier
Using a humidifier is a good way to increase the moisture level in the air, and slow the rate of evaporation, thereby keeping your moss pole hydrated for longer. Most houseplants love high humidity environments, so that’s another plus!
3. Choosing the right kind of moss pole
Old-school moss poles are made of coconut coir (like the photo below) held together with twine and a central spine. These, unfortunately, dry out really quickly, so keeping it hydrated can be hard work.
In our experience, you can greatly improve the chances of your moss pole staying damp by choosing a more innovative moss pole design and using the right material.
A good example of this is moss poles from Thiccly (which they call grow poles), which allows the plant to grow within the confines of the pole itself. The greater surface area allows the plant to latch on more easily onto the pole.
The enclosed back of the pole is designed for the plant to retain moisture.
You can also use a mixture of bark and sphagnum moss, material that retains water better than 100% coconut coir.
They are also so easy to water, given the “open” top!
Overall, consider using tips 2+3 in combination if you are open to trying a new type of moss pole, or just tip 1 if you are using a traditional moss pole.
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.