The popularity of houseplants has ushered in all kinds of interesting DIY projects that offer an aesthetic boost and promote healthy growth habits of our botanical friends. Plant influencers and individuals all over the web and the ‘gram demonstrate techniques and practices that eventually make their way back into our shop by way of our customers. It is always exciting when a customer asks me if I’ve heard about this or that, which then becomes my new favorite thing! Recently, I’ve had several folks ask if we carry moss poles for their monsteras, pothos, and other climbers. All it took was a quick search to see just how easy it was to DIY so I began recommending moss poles to everyone purchasing these plants. Because we carry the core materials needed to make them – bamboo stakes and moss – it was an easy add-on!
So, just what is a moss pole?
A moss pole is a very simple concept: start with some kind of stake – bamboo, wood scrap, even PVC and wrap it in moss. The plants that prefer this rig are natural epiphytes or aerophytes, meaning they grow on other plants (but only for physical support). The moss provides moisture and therefore mimics the mossy trees found in the tropical forest.
Let’s get started!
Step 1: Gather your materials. You’ll need –
- Stake (bamboo stakes, scrap wood, or PVC)
- Sphagnum moss, sheet moss (or a combination of both) OR coco fiber sheet (not used in this tutorial, but great choice for PVC).
- Monofilament string (fishing line)
- Staple Gun
Depending on how large the plant is that you’re staking will determine what kind of pole you’ll want to use. In other words, a skinny bamboo stake is better for a small plant, but for a large plant, you’ll want to use a 1×2 or piece of scrap wood, or PVC cut to size.
This large split leaf Monstera has never been staked so it is quite sprawl-y. That would be fine if I had all the room, but I don’t, so I’m hoping to train it to grow more vertically so it will fit in a tighter corner.
Step 2: Attach moss to poles. Soak sphagnum moss in water to hydrate it, then grab a handful and squeeze out the excess water. If using something like a 1×2 or scrap wood for a larger plant, I found it really helpful to lay the moss on the wood and staple over the moss into the wood to adhere it. This allows the moss to stay in place when wrapping the fishing line around the pole. If you’re doing a skinny bamboo stake for a small plant, stapling won’t work. In that case, lay moss over a few inches of pole and tightly wrap the fishing line in diagonal fashion (like candy cane stripes). Do about 4-6 winds around before laying a new piece of moss. Be sure to leave the bottom portion of the pole that will go into the soil clear of moss.
Step 3: Put stake in plant and attach plant to pole using garden tie or twine. Be careful not to run the pole into the root system or bend the plant so much that it snaps. Voila!
Other helpful tips:
- Moisten pole with mister or hose nozzle when watering, but it is okay for the moss to dry out between waterings.
- Train plants gradually – just like with braces, be careful not to force too much movement. Use plastic versus metal twist ties to secure plants.
- If staking a very large plant, you can also make a “trunk” out of metal hardware cloth.
Here at Fifth Season, we love an easy DIY project! This one only took a few minutes to make, would be a great one to do with kids, and involved minimal mess! That’s a win!