Do You Need A Moss Pole For Plants? Exploring Benefits, Drawbacks, And Alternatives

small swiss cheese plant with moss pole for plant in it

It seems in the last few years, moss poles have become a really popular ‘must’ for plant owners. But do you need a moss pole for plants?

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Moss poles are great for plants that like to climb, as they provide a natural support system for them. With a moss pole, you won’t have to worry about delicate vines and stems becoming damaged or tangled up in each other.

However, it’s important to remember that not every plant needs a moss pole. And even the ones who may benefit from a moss pole do NOT necessarily have to have one!

With all of that in mind, let’s look at how to use a moss pole, the benefits, drawbacks, and alternatives.

Benefits of Moss Poles

Moss poles provide excellent support for climbing plants, resembling the trunks or large plants they would naturally cling to in the wild. They encourage upward growth in plants like Philodendrons or Monsteras, maintaining their natural, beautiful form.

The type of plants that benefit the most from moss poles are epiphyte plants. These plants naturally grow up trees in rainforests to seek out more light and water.

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One fascinating thing about climbing plants is their aerial roots. These roots will seek out a surface to latch onto, and the moss pole provides an ideal option. The roots can attach themselves to the moss pole, enhancing the plant’s stability and offering extra surface area for the plant to absorb water and nutrients.

Another reason they are so popular is that they are made of natural fibers. Most moss poles are coated in sphagnum moss or coconut fibers. This moss not only offers a rough surface for roots to grip onto, but it also retains moisture, helping to maintain the humidity levels that many climbing plants love.

The use of natural fibers ensures that moss poles are eco-friendly, sustainable, and safe for your plants.

How To Use a Moss Pole For Plants

So how do you use a moss pole to support your plants? First, you’ll want to soak the moss pole thoroughly before placing it in with your plant.

Once it’s soaked, you’ll place the moss pole into your pot before adding soil. Make sure to pat down the soil around the plant and its roots, so that they will stay firmly in place.

Gently tie or use velcro strips to bring the stem of the plant as close as you can to the pole, so the roots can grow into the moss pole. Regularly dampen or soak the moss pole to continue adding support to those roots.

Keep reading: 7 indoor vine plants

Drawbacks of Moss Poles

While moss poles can seem like a great idea for your plant, there are definitely drawbacks. The first one is just the cost of them – compared to many other supports, they are much more expensive.

Not all plants need moss poles to grow up either, even climbing plants. Many are happy to wind their way around anything they are given.

Moss poles also have to be kept moist for the roots to attach. This can be difficult with them being vertical.

Also, the base of the pole that’s stuck in the soil can rot over time since it’s wood in consistently damp soil. So it may not last as long as you need it to.

You may be interested in: How to repot a monstera

Alternative Supports To Moss Poles For Plants

There are so many alternative supports to choose from if you aren’t excited about a moss pole. From any plant shop or hardware store, you can easily purchase a wooden pole or metal pole that will give support to the plant (just the roots can’t grow into it).

Trellises are also beautiful for plants to climb and grow on.

If you want something unique for your plant to be supported with, you can always search out a local driftwood piece or tree branch that’s sturdy. Or make your own. My Monstera used to have a moss pole but currently has a PVC pipe that I glued macrame cord onto as it’s support structure.

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In Summary: Do You Need A Moss Pole?

No, you don’t need a moss pole for a plant to be happy! Moss poles can be beneficial for some plants, like monsteras or philodendrons if you want to have one.

However, if you want to save the money and still have something that supports your plant, there are many great alternatives. Experiment with different materials like a wooden pole, trellis, driftwood piece or even PVC piping and macrame cord to find the perfect solution for your climbing plants! Good luck and happy planting!

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Looking for information specific to Colorado? Check out Naturalist Perspective!

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