Last Updated on December 23, 2021 by Grow with Bovees
Tropical climbing houseplants can — with proper care and the use of a moss pole — also be grown in the comfort of your own home. The question is ‘how to use a moss pole for plants’.
Basically — as there are no nearby trees to climb up — you need to provide them with a bit of support or a simple climbing structure in order for them to thrive and flourish.
This is where the fibrous structure of a moss pole comes in.
You know how, in the wild, vining plants with aerial roots grow upwards, climbing along nearby trees and other larger, sturdy plants?
Well, the texture of tree bark being so rough, makes for the perfect surface for epiphytic plants to get a proper grip to attach themselves and continue to climb vertically.
The texture, however, is not the only thing that a vining plant enjoys.
As these tropical plants attach and cling on, the bark starts to naturally break down, providing the plants roots with extra nutrients, giving them a lovely growth spurt and fueling their natural growing pattern, along with boosting aerial root growth.
What Is A Moss Pole & How Does It Work?
A sphagnum moss pole is a pole-like structure covered in moss. It is often placed into the plant pot of climbing, indoor plants to support plants and help them climb.
These solid structures work in exactly the same way as a tree trunk in the forest. It provides support for chaotic plants such as climbing greens and once the moss starts to break down, the roots of your plant are able to soak up its vital nutrients.
To follow in this plant care guide are tips on how you can use a moss pole for taking care of your houseplants, why you should make use of it and which plants benefit from it.
How To Use A Moss Pole For Climbing Plants
Using a sphagnum moss pole is a brilliant way to shape, guide or teach your tropical vines to shoot for the roof rather than their foliage dangling or growing horizontally.
The way you help or shape your plant will depend on the type of plant you have. Some are more sensitive than others.
Plants with thin and delicate vines need to be handled with a little bit of care, for example. You would in some ways have to fasten the vines of your plant to the moss pole carefully.
Heavier plants that have naturally thick stems are — in most cases — a bit easier to guide. Just make sure that the stem of the plant is as close to the moss pole as possible. Keep it there by tying it using gardening yarn, for example.
Materials To Use
When growing your plants with a moss pole, there are a few items that you need to have. These are:
- A moss pole (obviously)
- Gardening tubes/gardening yarn/Velcro strips/synthetic string/monofilament fishing string
- A vine or climbing shrub
The Goal When You Use A Moss Pole
The general goal when adding a moss pole to your plants’ pot, is to ensure that the plant is touching the pole, otherwise it won’t attach itself.
Using a material such as Velcro strips is an efficient and easy way to support and tie your plant up against the moss pole. It is easily adjustable and harmless to your houseplant.
Advantage Of Moss Poles
A moss pole is great to use if you want your house plants to grow in a specific way — most commonly upwards. Helping your potted plant to grow towards the roof rather than letting it grow out or down, is great for several reasons. Namely:
- You have more freedom when trying to find a good spot in your house.
- They are space efficient, taking up vertical space rather than the surrounding space.
- You have the flexibility of shaping your plant as your plant grows
- Vertical plants are, quite simply, beautiful.
Moss poles also promote the growth of healthier plants and larger leaves as well as stronger leaves and stronger fenestration.
Which Climbing Plant?
Now that you know the why and the how of wanting to use a moss pole, let us provide you with some tips on which houseplant would benefit from being planted with a moss pole.
Climbing plants, hanging plants or plants with vines are the best plant types to grow alongside a moss pole.
You might think that letting these plants grow freely is the right choice, but seeing as they have been taken out of their natural habitat, and need some time to adjust, they might need a bit of help.
Tropical rainforests or jungles are the natural environment where hanging or climbing plants grow. Their aerial roots rely on nearby solid structures, such as trees with heavy stems or heavy plants with larger stems, to give them a stable place to grow.
So, providing your houseplant with a supporting structure such as a moss pole, you are, as a matter of fact, promoting its growth, by making the plant comfortable and giving it a stable environment that resembles the plants natural one.
Types Of Houseplants Best For Moss Poles
The best types of plants that would benefit from being grown next to a moss pole are exotic houseplants. They are often hanging plants or climbing plants such as:
Store Bought Moss Poles vs DIY Moss Poles
Moss poles are quite a popular plant accessory to have. The question is, do you opt to buy one at a store or rather choose to make one yourself.
Either way is good, it’s just a matter of preference.
If you want to make life easier for yourself, head down to your local nursery or garden center to search for and purchase the perfect moss pole.
It is hassle-free, and they should be able to provide you with a selection of moss poles coming in different sizes with a variety of decorative qualities to display your specific plants creatively.
Make Your Own Moss Poles
If you have come this far in our article, we assume that you have decided to go the crafty route. Great choice, in our opinion.
Let us now guide you through some steps on how to craft your own moss pole in the comfort of your own home.
Time To DIY
When making your own moss pole, start off by getting some supplies at the store.
You would need some gardeners’ twine or fishing line, a tall wooden stake, pole or piece of wood of sorts and some Bella moss, dried sphagnum moss or coco coir.
Keep in mind that the moss pole needs to be inserted about 7 inches deep into the pot for it to be stable enough. So, be sure to get a long enough stake.
If you wish to have a moss pole that is a bit wider, a PVC pipe — which you can get at the hardware store — would work great.
If you opt for a pipe, be sure to get some sort of smaller attachment to fasten to the bottom of the pipe. You do not want to damage your plant’s roots with the thick pipe when sticking it into the pot.
The next step is to measure about 7 inches from the end of the moss pole which you will be sticking into the ground, and make a little mark with a marker or sharpie to give you an indication of where the moss should end.
Now you can continue by wrapping the moss around the exterior of your pole or pipe starting at the top. You can use a moss sheet or some loose moss that has been matted down.
Now tightly secure the moss to your stake using the string or fishing line you purchased. Wire mesh can also be used for this. Do this bit by bit in order to make sure that the moss does not fall apart. Continue wrapping and securing the moss until you have reached the sharpie line that you made earlier.
Lastly, trim away any loose and out of place edged and voilà, you have now got yourself a homemade moss pole. It is now ready to be inserted into your plant pot.
Another tip, when adding the moss pole to an already potted plant, stick the pole into the soil closer to the edge of the pot rather than in the center. This is to avoid the pole from tearing through and damaging the plant’s roots.
Due to the water retentive material, a moss pole is able to store its moisture content. Spray your moss pole with a source of moisture such as water in order to create and uphold consistent moisture and humidity. Keeping your moss pole damp will make for a happier plant.
What Is Coco Coir — Coconut Fiber?
Coco coir is a strong fibrous material which is brown. This fibrous material — aka coconut fiber — is found between the outer coating and the shell of a coconut seed.
This block of fibers is easily woven into different forms and is therefore great to use when making homemade moss poles or tree fern fiber poles.
Sphagnum Moss Poles vs Peat Moss
Sphagnum moss and sphagnum peat moss are two growing materials often confused to be the same.
Peat moss is commonly used by gardening professionals to create growing media. It is also often mixed into the soil of landscapes or gardens as it is a great soil conditioner.
Much like sphagnum moss, however, peat moss can also be used around poles for plants to hold onto while they are growing.
Seeing as moss poles can be stacked, the weight can vary. But the average weight of one individual moss pole is approximately 8 ounces.
Depending on how many moss poles you stack, the weight of a moss pole can be anything from about 12 inches and higher.
Let Us Get To Re Potting & Tying Your Vine
You should now be set with a moss pole — may it be homemade or store bought — a plant pot of your choice and a beautiful houseplant. Go ahead and plant your moss pole together with your plant.
Make sure that the plant roots are nice and loose in order for the moss pole to be placed into the center of the pot. If the roots are loose, they should not be damaged by the insertion of the moss pole, but rather be cradled around the moss pole.
Continue by adding a good amount of soil to the pot. Proper amounts of soil are crucial for the plant and the pole to be able to stand firmly upright inside the pot.
It is now time to start tying up your plant’s stem. Tying the stems with the string of your choice is important because the plant’s aerial roots do not immediately attach themselves to the moss pole. This takes some time to happen and tying the stems will help the plant stay upright until its aerial roots start sticking to the pole.
Once the aerial roots of your climbing houseplants start developing, they will attach to the moss pole. Your plant is now comfortable and able to continue growing independently. This is the final result, and it is safe to remove the rope.
You have now reached the end of our moss pole adventure. Time to take plant care into your own hands. Use a moss pole for extra support and help your plant grow upwards by helping them attach to said pole. Whether you use a mini monstera or a variegated philodendron billietiae, we are sure you’ll do just fine at keeping your plant happy.
Happy crafting and planting!