Many people grow pothos plants as dangling vines or trail them across bookcases or along high cupboards. However, pothos are actually vining plants that can grow even healthier and prettier if they have a structure on which to climb. In particular, you should consider growing your pothos on a moss pole and have a lovely vertical houseplant.
You may have even seen pothos grown at a botanical garden or in a floral store on a moss pole. These conical, moss-covered poles look like tall fuzzy columns in a potted plant.
However, they are more than just a new fad or innovative plant sculpture. As you’ll see, they actually are good for pothos plants, leading to healthier plants and revitalized growth.
Are moss poles good for pothos?
Yes, moss poles are good for pothos. In fact, they mimic the natural habitat of the pothos plant, which grows upward in tropical jungles, anchoring itself to other trees, plants, and branches as it reaches for sunshine.
Pothos plants in this natural environment grow massively, with leaves that are even as big as the size of a human hand.
As the plants grow taller, their leaves get much larger. These plants have greater root mass since the vines develop rootlets that actually grow into the support system. Greater root mass means more structures to gather water and nutrients and a healthier plant overall.
You can use a trellis system for your pothos, but it is not as good as a moss pole. The moss pole allows the roots to invade the support structure and take in more nutrients than if you used a solid support like a trellis. Additionally, the moss pole increases the humidity in the air around the plant, something that benefits the tropical pothos which loves humidity.
Do I need to put my pothos on a moss pole?
You don’t have to grow your pothos on a moss pole because it can grow fairly well as a trailing plant. The plant probably won’t get as large if you don’t grow it on a vertical structure. If you don’t have the space for a large plant, growing it as a trailing plant will help control its size.
However, when you grow a pothos as a trailing plant you should keep an eye out for fungal diseases. The advantage of growing pothos as a climbing plant is that you can give your plant more ventilation as it climbs, which prevents fungus from developing. When your pothos climbs a moss pole, you will have a healthy, lovely houseplant for your home.
What’s a moss pole alternative for pothos?
Other vertical supports in addition to moss poles can be good for a pothos plant, as any vertical structure will help the plant climb. Some people simply use bamboo sticks inserted into the pot to give their pothos the ability to climb.
Structures like trellises are another thing that can allow a pothos plant to grow vertically. You can choose a trellis made from a variety of materials. Whether it is wooden, metal, or pvc, these trellis materials can allow your pothos to climb vertically in your home.
However, if you use a solid support for your pothos, the plant may not be able to cling to these materials with rootlets. Moss poles allow the plant to grow into the support. Using other solid materials may mean that you have to help the plant stay intertwined on the trellis.
How do you train a pothos to be on a moss pole?
Because pothos are naturally trailing, vining plants, they look great and grow healthier on a vertical support. To train a pothos on a moss pole, you simply need to obtain a moss pole, install it in your pot, and start attaching the plant to the pole.
The pothos will do the rest, given enough time. Just follow the instructions below to train your pothos to climb so you have a tall, proud plant in no time at all!
1. Create or buy the moss pole
You can buy a commercially made moss pole and quickly convert your pothos plant to a climbing vine.
However, you can follow the instructions further down in this article to make your own pothos moss pole. If you like DIY projects, creating a moss pole is a fairly straightforward one to tackle.
2. Soak the moss pole
First, you should soak your moss pole to make it nice and wet for your plant. Your pothos prefers this as it mimics the moist trees it climbs in its jungle home.
3. Install the moss pole in your pothos pot
If your pothos is small, just poke the supports for the moss pole in the dirt, doing your best to not injure the roots of the plants
However, if your pothos plant is quite large, installing the moss pole might take a bit more time. Pay attention to where the moss pole is inserted. If you have a hard time finding an empty space to insert the moss pole, you may need to repot your plant and arrange it so the pole fits well into the pot with the plant without injury to the plant or its roots.
4. Tie your pothos to the moss pole
After the moss pole is inserted into the pot, you will have to help your plant attach itself to the moss pole. Eventually, the pothos’ aerial roots will help it cling to the moss pole, but until then, you’ll need to support it to get it started. You can use garden twine, velcro strips, or floral pins to attach the plant to the moss pole.
Wrap the longest vine around the pole, supporting it with twine or another support. Continue with the next largest and so on until the whole plant is wrapped around the moss pole. If you have some vines that are too short to use, just leave them hanging out of the pot and eventually they will grow upwards.
5. Keep the moss pole damp
You should keep the moss pole damp by spraying the whole thing, both the plant and the moss pole, with a spray bottle of water every few days. The spray will keep the moss pole damp. This will encourage the rootlets to develop and attach to the moss pole.
6. Monitor how your climbing pothos is going
You may need to adjust your pothos as it climbs its moss pole, especially given that pothos grows fast, in general. New growth may need to be tied on to the pole or existing ties may need to be adjusted as the plant gets bigger and starts to attach itself to the moss pole without extra help.
Can you make your own moss pole?
Of course, you can purchase your moss pole from an online garden center or a local department store. However, if you like to make things on your own, you can create your own moss pole for your pothos plant. This is a very simple DIY project that takes only a few simple to find materials.
Materials to make a moss pole for your pothos
You can get most of these supplies from your local hardware store or building supply center. You may be able to order them online.
- A wooden dowel or stake, or a PVC pipe; this should be taller than the plant and very sturdy
- Sphagnum peat moss or coco fiber sheets
- Waterproof glue
How to make a pothos climbing pole with DIY
Making your own DIY moss pole for pothos really isn’t hard at all. Once you have the right materials, your pothos climbing pole will come together in no time at all with the following instructions:
- Glue the first layer of your sheet of moss or coconut fiber to the wooden dowel.
- Wrap the sheets layer by layer around the pole until it is at least an inch thick.
- Wrap the twine around the moss pole in a spiral pattern to help secure it to the pole.
- Be sure that you leave enough of the dowel protruding from the base of the moss pole so that you can drive it into the dirt in the pot.
How do I water my pothos’ moss pole?
Watering a pothos that is on a moss pole is a bit different than watering a traditionally grown pothos. Traditionally, you water the dirt in the pot of your pothos plant. However, to water a pothos that climbs a moss pole, you will water the moss pole itself.
The idea of a moss pole is that the planting fibers on the pole should stay moist. This nourishes the plant as it grows into the moss pole. To water your moss pole, just use a watering can to pour water slowly on the top of the moss pole.
As the water flows down the moss pole it will be absorbed by the moss on the pole. The rootlets of the pothos vine that are attached to the moss pole will be nourished. The excess water will trickle down into the potting soil, where it will nourish the base roots of the pothos plant.