How to Make a Moss Pole for Houseplants (Step-by-Step)
A moss pole can be used for climbing houseplants to grow up, similarly to how they would grow up trees in their native rainforest environment. With regular mistings, they help hold moisture and provide a substance for the plant's aerial roots to grow into. This can be of great benefit to the plant:
- Moss poles can encourage climbing aroids (philodendron, epipremnum, monstera) to grow mature leaves, which are often much larger and have fenestrations (perforations);
- The moss allows aerial roots to grow, which is helpful for propagating your houseplants;
- Moss poles provide a strong structure for the plant to grow up, encouraging healthy, sturdy growth and a fuller appearance.
What plants can I use a moss pole for?
We use moss poles to grow a variety of plants:
- Anthurium, mostly "foliage" species, such as the 'King' Anthurium (Veitchii), Crystallinum, Clarinervium, and Warocqueanum.
- Epipremnum, including Aureum (Pothos), Pinnatum, and Cebu Blue;
- Monstera, like the Adansonii, Deliciosa, Peru, and Siltepecana;
- Philodendron, particularly climbing varieties, such as Burle Marx, Red Emerald, Dark Lord, and Painted Lady;
- Raphidophora Tetrasperma, also known as the "Mini Monstera";
- Scindapsus, especially Pictus (Satin Pothos) and Treubii.
Suitable plants tend to be of tropical origin and use aerial roots to climb, as opposed to tendrils like on a pea plant or squash.
Step-by-Step Guide to Create a Moss Pole for Houseplants:
- Twine (any thin, natural material works; we're using jute and sisal);
- Option 1: Bamboo pole (or anything similar); ours is 3', but make it as long as you'd like;
- Option 2: A wooden bird ladder, which you can find at most pet supply stores in multiple lengths (ours is 4');
- Sphagnum Moss, soaked in hot water for 10+ minutes. Ours took a few good handfuls, but the amount needed should be adjusted based off the length of the pole you are using.
After soaking the sphagnum moss for 10 minutes, drain the water. If it is still hot, mix some cold water in before draining.
Once drained, squeeze all of the excess moisture out of the sphagnum moss. It can be helpful to place a screen in the drain.
Gather your materials, and place on a large surface. We're using the lid from a plastic bin to make cleaning up easier. Now, we're ready to wrap!
1. First, make a slip knot by creating a loop about 4" from the end of the twine.
2. Pull a second loop through the first one, using the "working end" (the string connected to the ball as opposed to the 4" end).
3. Then, pull tight.
4. Secure the knot around the bamboo, roughly 6" from the end. This will be the end of the pole that you stick in the soil.
5. Place a small handful of your damp sphagnum moss on top of the twine.
6. Wrap the twine up and over the sphagnum moss to the other side of the bamboo.
7. Pass the twine back under the bamboo and pull tightly, and continue to wrap it over again. When you run out of moss, add another handful just like in step 5.
8. Continue wrapping until you reach the end of the bamboo.
9. Place your finger under the last wrap you made, and make one more pass around the pole.
10. Trim the twine and tie a knot.
11. Then, make another slip knot and repeat the process, this time moving in the opposite direction, top to bottom. Use the opportunity to fill in any spots that are sparse. When you reach the bottom, tie it off and trim.
12. Trim off any long pieces of moss that hang off with the scissors.
Now, stick the bamboo into the soil about 1-2" from the plant. Tie the plant to the pole using loose ties. It can be helpful to wrap the twine around twice before tying a double knot to protect the plant from the twine. You just want to make sure some of the root nodes are making contact with the moss.
We have found that using a bird ladder from the local pet supply store makes a great support for a moss pole. They come in multiple lengths, and are essentially made of wood dowels with smaller wood dowels as rungs. We're using a 4' ladder for our pole.
1. Start with the same slip knot and secure it to one side of the bottom of the ladder.
2. Place the sphagnum moss between the sides of the ladder and wrap with the twine.
3. Continue all the way to the other end of the ladder and tie a knot around the other end. Then, flip the ladder over and repeat the process on the other side, filling in with more moss.
4. When you reach the other end, tie the twine off and cut the end.
Optionally, tie one more string lengthwise in the center of the ladder and tie it around the bottom rung. This string can help you pass the growing tip of the climbing plant through as it grows, but you can also secure it by tying it loosely all the way around the ladder.
Securing the ladder can be a bit difficult, however using bamboo skewers and burying it a couple inches into the soil helps!
Here is one of our Albo Variegated Burle Marx Philodendrons growing up the bamboo moss pole we just made. What a happy plant!
Hopefully this tutorial makes creating your own moss pole a fun and easy project. Your plants will thank you, and you'll love their healthy growth!
Most Importantly, remember to mist the moss pole regularly to keep it moist. You can even water it using a watering can from the top, and let the water slowly drip down and absorb. We have to mist ours daily in our dry climate. If the pole dries out too much, it can be more difficult to re-wet it, so it's best to avoid that. Happy planting!