Moss poles are increasingly popular in indoor plant care. A moss pole is a natural support structure that helps climbing plants like philodendrons, pothos, and monsteras grow upwards. While moss poles can be purchased, making your own can be easy, affordable, and allows you to customize it to your plants’ needs. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to make your own moss pole at home.
Why Should You Use a Moss Pole?
Using a moss pole provides the following benefits for climbing houseplants:
- Support for growth: Moss poles give climbing plants a structure to attach aerial roots to and grow upwards on. This prevents flopping and encourages vertical growth.
- Healthier growth: Attaching to a moss pole stimulates faster, stronger growth. The plant focuses energy upwards rather than just trailing.
- Fuller appearance: With a moss pole, leaves and stems grow densely upwards, creating a bushier, more dramatic look.
- Productive growth: Well-supported plants invest resources in new leaves and vines rather than just root growth for support. This results in more new growth for your plants.
Choosing the Right Moss
The mosses used for DIY moss poles should have the following qualities:
Absorbent: The moss must hold moisture well to keep the pole hydrated between waterings. Spongy sphagnum mosses are ideal.
Green and lively: Bright green mosses that are not dried out indicate the moss is still alive and able to photosynthesize. This keeps the pole actively growing.
Plentiful: Look for mosses that are densely packed with multiple layers and shoots rather than sparse patches. More moss coverage means more moisture retention.
Good options are sphagnum moss, sheet moss, Spanish moss, and reindeer moss. Avoid dried, brown mosses. Harvest moss in eco-friendly ways from living trees, rocks, and logs.
Selecting a Pole
For the pole or stake itself, you want a material that is:
Sturdy – Choose a hardwood like bamboo, oak, or cedar that can support the plant’s weight without cracking. Softwoods like pine tend to be too weak.
Biodegradable – Opt for untreated, chemical-free wooden poles. These can go straight into the compost when finished.
Thick – Go for poles that are 2-3 inches wide to provide more surface area for roots to cling to. Narrow sticks won’t work as well.
Tall – Size the pole to be a few inches taller than your ceiling height so the plant has room to grow upwards. 5-6 feet is ideal for home use.
Bamboo and rattan garden stakes make excellent moss poles. Just avoid treated or painted wood.
Follow these steps to make your own custom moss pole:
Prepare the pole
Cut your wooden stake to the desired height using a hand saw. Sand off any rough areas. Then soak the pole in a tub of water overnight before assembly to prevent the wood from absorbing moisture away from the moss.
Wrap the moss
Drain any excess water from the pole. Then take sheets of moist green moss and start wrapping them around the pole from top to bottom. Wrap in overlapping layers, packing moss densely.
Aim for 1-3 inches of moss coverage on all sides. Try to eliminate any visible gaps for optimal moisture retention.
Secure the moss
Use natural twine, jute, or raffia to tie the moss firmly to the pole every few inches down. This holds the moss tightly in place. You can try to crisscross the ties diagonally down the pole like ribbons for best support.
Let it grow
Then wrap plastic cling wrap around the finished moss pole a few times. Keep the moss pole wrapped in plastic in a bright spot for 1-2 weeks. Lightly mist it with water every few days. This encourages the moss to attach firmly to the pole before use.
After a few weeks, the pole is ready for your climbing plants!
Using Your Moss Pole
Once completed, use your homemade moss pole by following these tips:
- Slowly acclimate the plant to the pole over 2-4 weeks, gently affixing new vines using plant ties or pins. Don’t force all vines on immediately.
- Keep it consistently moist by watering alongside your plant 2-3 times a week. The moss drying out can damage aerial roots.
- Mist the moss often for extra hydration. You can also run the pole under water occasionally.
- As the plant grows, prune excess vines and reposition them on higher areas of the pole to encourage upward growth.
- Add snippets of fresh moss as needed to fill in sparse patches. This keeps an active layer of moss growth.
- Replace the pole after 6-12 months once it’s covered in roots and the moss expires. The plant can then be transferred to a new pole.
Tips For Your Moss Growth
- Add fertilizer: Mix a little slow-release organic fertilizer into the moss layers for nutrients. Worm castings work great Promote humidity: Soak sheets of peat moss alongside the green moss to increase moisture-holding capacity.
- Boost aeration: Incorporate chunks of New Zealand sphagnum moss into the layers to allow air circulation to the roots.
- Prevent mold: Mix in a tablespoon of horticultural charcoal to absorb excess moisture and prevent fungal growth.
- Discourage pests: Add a dusting of diatomaceous earth into the moss to deter ants and other insects on the pole.
With a homemade moss pole and some creativity, you can craft the ideal support structure to allow your climbing plants to thrive!
Use your homemade moss pole to provide essential support for climbing indoor plants like pothos and philodendron. A moss pole encourages faster growth upwards and a bushier appearance over time. With a simple homemade moss pole, you can easily maximize growth for any climbing houseplant!