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Want to learn how to easily make a DIY moss pole for your monstera, philodendron, pothos, or any vining houseplant for that matter? You’ll find out how in this post.
If you aren’t using a moss pole, you’re losing out on huge growth potential for your aroids. Moss Poles are one of the secrets to attaining those beautiful, massive leaves you see on social media or your favorite seller’s plant store. Don’t waste your money on the inferior quality, overpriced moss poles you commonly find online. The DIY moss pole we show you how to make is durable, sturdy and most importantly, extendable – allowing for future growth. Best of all they are cheap, easy to make, and will benefit your plants immensely.
Why Do Moss Poles Work?
Moss poles work because they help mimic the environment an aroid would naturally grow in. For the most part, aroids are epiphytic plants. Epiphytic plants are plants that grow on the surface of other plants primarily for physical support; however, aroids are not parasitic. They do not harm or steal nutrients from the plant they attach to, rather they get their moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, and runoff from the plants they are attached to. Once the plant is firmly attached, it can focus all of its energy and nutrients into growing larger rather than holding itself upright. Not only does the moss pole add support for your plant, but in addition, it increases the growing medium that provides nourishment to the plant via attached aerial roots! With that said, aroids with established aerial roots attached to moss poles can thrive even if cut from the main stem!
How Do Aroids Attach to a Moss Pole?
In the beginning, you will have to physically attach your plant to the moss pole. Eventually, it will naturally attach. When you attach your plant to a moss pole, it begins shooting out roots along the length of the stem called aerial roots. These aerial roots anchor the plant to their supporting structure, in this case, your moss pole. As your plant continues to grow, these aerial roots dig deep into the moss pole, thus providing stability, and increasing the absorption of water and nutrients. This is the secret to growing big leaves.
How to make a DIY Moss Pole
Making a DIY moss pole is a simple and fun project. There are different styles of moss poles you can use; however, we’re going to show you one that we use often that our plants love. This moss pole is quick and easy to make. It requires minimal tools or technical skills. Firstly, lets go over the materials needed.
- Vinyl Coated Garden Mesh. This is used mainly as chicken fencing or to keep critters away from your vegetable garden; however, works amazingly for moss poles. You can easily find this in the garden section at your local hardware store or online. Make sure the mesh is vinyl coated, or it will rust. We use Fencer Wire, 19 Gauge, 1/2″ mesh in 24″ x 96″ size. 24″ is a versatile size, but 36″ would also work well.
- Zip-Ties (super easy and saves time) or Plastic Coated Plant Twist Ties. Make sure to purchase one with a built-in cutter, you won’t regret it.
- Hook and Loop Nylon/Polyester Plant Ties to attach your plant to the moss pole (optional)
- Sphagnum Moss. Use a quality product. DO NOT SKIMP on the quality. We use Besgrow Spagmoss for our moss poles.
- Plastic Coated Garden Stake (optional if needing more support, or extending your moss pole)
Tools You’ll Need:
- Wire cutting pliers
- Bucket or bin to soak your sphagnum moss
- Repotting Mat to work on for quick and easy clean up (optional)
Building Your Moss Pole:
Step 1: Firstly, soak your sphagnum moss in water. Fill your bucket or bin 3/4ths of the way up with water. There is no precise measurement on how much moss you will need. Depending on the size of the moss pole you are going to make, estimate how much sphagnum moss you will need to fill in the pole. It is better to soak less than more so you don’t waste your sphagnum moss. In the event that you need more, it is easy and quick to soak more.
Step 2: While your moss is soaking, start measuring out your vinyl coated mesh. The average sized pole uses approximately 8″ of mesh; however, feel free to make the diameter smaller or larger as it suits your needs. Personally, we use 15 squares of mesh, or approximately 7.5″ in width.
Step 3: Cut your mesh to size with your wire cutters. Try and cut as closely to the edge as possible to avoid any large jagged edges.
Step 4: Form your cut mesh into an open cylinder. Leave enough room to add your soaked sphagnum moss.
It’s time to fill your moss pole!
Step 5: Start filling the pole with your soaked sphagnum moss. Make sure to squeeze out excess water before placing moss in the pole. Make sure there’s enough moss to make it snug when closed, but not too compact. Compact moss increases the chances of mold growth.
When you are happy with the amount of moss in your pole, it’s time to close it up. First, cut a few twist ties to approximately 8″ in length. Starting from one end of the moss pole, use a twist tie to tie a couple knots to join the edges together.
Having 8″ of twist tie allows enough length for leverage when tightening your knots, and enough length to secure a stake in the future if you need added support for your plant or moss pole extension. You can also choose not to cut the tie until you have fully tightened it so you have the right amount of length.
If using a zip-tie, simply zip to secure the edges together. You can secure the support stake to your moss pole with with twist ties later if needed.
Step 6: Continue closing up your moss pole. Fill the pole with moss, making sure to moderately pack the moss as you work your way up. You want to make sure the pole is firm enough to provide strength and sturdiness, but not be so compact that you have no airflow. This helps the durability of your moss pole, as sphagnum moss will slowly degrade and decompose over time. Use a twist tie or zip-tie to secure the edges together every 4-5″. Do this until your moss pole is complete.
Your moss pole is done! Time to repot.
Step 7: Lastly, it’s time to repot your lucky plant. Secure the plant with plant ties or plant wire where you want it placed on the pole. We like to use Hook and Loop Nylon/Polyester Plant Ties to attach all of our plants as they’re soft and have less chance of damaging the plant. Center your moss pole at the bottom of your pot. Next, fill the pot with your favorite potting mix or aroid soil mix. You’re almost done. Lastly, cut additional plant ties as needed to attach the rest of your plant’s stem up the length of your moss pole. Secure your stems to the pole by hooking a tie under a mesh square and twisting around the stem.
Tip: Take special note of existing aerial roots, and nodes where aerial roots grow from. These are the spots you most want touching your moss pole!
Adding Support For Your Moss Pole
Sometimes your plant may be too heavy that your moss pole may need some additional support to strengthen your pole. Another situation where you may need additional support is when you extend the height of your moss pole. Luckily, this is easy to achieve. Remember when we asked you to leave extra length for your ties? This is where it comes in handy. All you have to do is attach your plastic coated garden stake using the plant ties you initially used to assemble your moss pole. If you initially used zip-ties, you can secure the support pole using plant ties attached to the moss pole.
Extending Your Moss Pole
Did your plant finally reach the top of your moss pole and you’re just not ready to give it a trim? Well, it’s time to extend your moss pole. The good thing is the steps are almost exactly the same as making a regular moss pole, except we’ll be making adjustments on fitting one onto the top of an existing moss pole.
Step 1: Measure the circumference of the existing moss pole.
Step 2: Cut a length of mesh exactly to the size that you measured. Use your wire cutters to cut and clean edges.
Step 3: Form the cut piece of mesh into a loose open cylinder. You want to be able to maintain the general shape while being able to fit it over the existing moss pole.
Attaching and filling the moss pole extension
Step 4: Overlap the formed mesh approximately 2″ (3-4 squares) over the existing pole. Attach both of them together using your plastic coated twist ties or zip ties. Use multiple ties around the circumference to create a strong attachment.
Step 5: Start filling your extension with moss. Fill it in with enough moss to make it snug when closed, but not too compact to allow for proper air flow. Pay extra attention to packing the moss at the base of the moss pole extension and the old moss pole meet.
Step 6: Continue working your way up, packing the pole with moss and tying the edges together every 4-5″ with a plastic twist tie or zip-tie. Don’t forget to leave extra length on the twist ties.
Step 7: Once you’ve filled it to the top, recheck that the connection of the base of your new extension and the existing moss pole is sturdy. Attach more plastic plant ties to strengthen the attachment if needed.
Step 8: Attach another plastic coated garden stake to to the new extension if more support is needed to secure your plant.
Step 9: Lastly, attach your plant stems to the new extension using your plant ties.
Plants You Can Attach To Your DIY Moss Pole
As mentioned earlier, there are a good amount of epiphytic aroids you can attach to your moss pole to achieve large mature leaves. This is a limited list; however, the aroids we’ve seen have large success on moss poles are:
- Monsteras (Monstera deliciosa, Monstera adansonii)
- Philodendrons, except for the “crawling” varieties
- Pothos varieties
- Epipremnum Pinnatum
- Rhaphidophora tetrasperma
Moss Pole Maintenance Tips
- Never let your moss pole dry out. Try and keep your moss pole as moist as possible. Spray it with water or pour water down the center of your moss pole whenever you’re watering your plants. This helps encourage the aerial roots to attach, provides moisture to already attached roots, and also provides additional humidity for the plant.
- As your plants firmly attach to the moss pole, you can remove the ties. Add more ties for the new growth if needed.
- Once your plant has outgrown its pot, replant it with the same moss pole in the larger pot.
- Keep an eye on your moss pole for decomposition. You will usually see the density of the moss decreasing. This means you will eventually have to replace your moss pole. When that time comes, avoid damaging aerial roots when removing your plant from the moss pole. Build a new DIY moss pole and attach the plant in the same place where the moss pole was originally attached.
- Look for mold build up on your moss pole. If you see this, your plant is not receiving enough ventilation.
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