Using a moss pole is a great way to support your climbing plants and help them grow tall. Moss poles aren’t just about height — plants supported by these poles grow more rapidly and develop more vibrant foliage. What’s more, they are durable and easy to use. 🙂
In this post, we will answer your questions on:
- the benefits of moss poles;
- how to use them for your indoor plants; and
- which plants are best suited for these climbing structures.
What are Moss Poles, And What Are The Benefits?
Why do vining plants benefit from moss poles? To understand, let’s first talk about how vining plants act in their native environment.
Most vining plants have aerial roots, twining stems or tendrils to support them as they grow taller. In nature, these roots, stems or tendrils help stabilize the plant by attaching itself to trees or other larger plants. This allows the plant to grow higher up the canopy and reach for more sunlight.
More sunlight promotes healthy foliage and quicker growth. At the same time, aerial roots absorb water and dissolved nutrients from rainwater running down trees.
Moss poles act like these trees for your indoor plant, providing climbing support, water, nutrients, and access to sunlight. As a result, you can expect vining plants supported by moss poles to:
- grow bigger, more vibrant colored leaves.
- grow more rapidly
- have less leggy growth.
In short — while you don’t need a moss pole for your prized monstera or climbing philodendron, using one will improve the health and appearance of your plant!
What are the Types of Moss Poles?
Moss poles are typically made from wood and PVC pipe at the core and have an outer layer of sphagnum or peat moss, or coconut coir (this is the fibrous outer part of a coconut’s husk).
- Wood allows the pole to be easily staked into the soil;
- PVC provides a uniform, sturdy structure for the outer layer of moss;
- Moss or coir absorbs water and dissolved nutrients and delivers these to the plant’s aerial roots.
How To Use a Moss Pole
If you’ve decided to give moss poles a go, first determine how tall your moss pole should be. Obviously, it needs to be taller than your plant, but give it some space to grow upwards!
As a rule of thumb, we like an additional 12 inches (30 cm) of height.
After you’ve purchased your moss pole,
- Remove the packaging and submerge the pole in a basin of water for about 30 minutes. This allows the moss pole to absorb water fully.
- If your plant and its roots are densely packed in the middle of the pot, then forcing a pole into its crammed center may damage the roots. In this case, take the opportunity to repot your plant into a pot 2 inches bigger with fresh soil. This allows a wider berth to accommodate the moss pole in its center and more space for your plant to grow.
- If you can comfortably insert a moss pole into the center of the pot without damaging the roots, then gently stake the pole in the soil. Ensure you secure the pole into the soil, with the woody part beneath the surface.
- Use twine or gardening tubes to loosely attach the vines of your plant to the pole to secure your plant against the pole. Be careful not to tie the vines too tightly — the objective is to be near enough for the roots or tendrils to attach. Over time, as your plant attaches itself to the pole, you can remove the twine.
What if I’m growing my plant in LECA?
If you are using LECA as a growing medium, staking a moss pole is not as easy. LECA is lightweight and isn’t as compact as soil, so it is much harder for LECA balls to secure a heavy moss pole in place.
In this case, use a trellis, wall, or a thin bamboo stick instead. They provide the same climbing support as a moss pole without the weight.
Maintaining a Moss Pole
Thankfully, moss poles are easy to maintain.
- Pour water down the pole whenever you water your plant. You don’t need to worry too much about overwatering the pole as your plant will absorb water from the surface only when it is thirsty.
- As your plant reaches the height of the pole, you can buy a new one to attach on top of the original — yes, they are stackable! Alternatively, replace the original with a taller pole. At this point, consider if your plant needs repotting into a bigger container.
Which Plants Can Benefit From a Moss Pole?
All epiphytes (climbing plants) that piggyback on larger trees to grow tall, are good candidates for moss poles. As a rule of thumb, vining plants usually benefit from climbing structures for support.
On the other hand, upright-growing plants don’t need a moss pole, as they naturally support their own weight.
This is not an exhaustive list, but here are some popular climbing plants:
- Philodendron Pink Princess
- Philodendron Micans
- Monstera Deliciosa
- Monstera Dubia
- Monstera Esqueleto
- Monstera Siltepecana
- Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma
- Rhaphidophora Decursiva
- Marble Queen Pothos
- Neon Pothos
- Pothos N’Joy
Where Can I Find a Moss Pole?
Interestingly, moss poles remain a bit of a speciality item. You may not find one at your local gardening centre or nursery. Thankfully you can easily purchase them online.
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.
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