Moss poles are great options for supporting climbing plants such as the monstera, but there are a lot of moss pole alternatives that can do the same job.
These include wooden stakes, tree slabs, bamboo and many more. It all depends on the type of aesthetic that you’re after.
In this guide, we’ll break down 11 of these alternatives and what benefits they offer.
- What is a Moss Pole
- Why Choose An Alternative?
- 11 Moss Pole Alternatives
- Using Moss Pole Alternatives
- Summing It Up
What is a Moss Pole
A moss pole is technically a support pole that is covered in moss. They typically serve two purposes. The first is to provide support for the plant. This is why they are used for climbing plants.
The other advantage of a moss pole is that the moss can retain water. Plants that require a high humidity level, or have aerial roots (like the pothos), can benefit from this.
To keep the moss pole moist, it should be watered once every week or two. One way to do this is to mist the pole. Another option is to simply pour water down the top of the pole, and allow gravidity to do the work.
Plants That Can Benefit From a Moss Pole
There are many plants that can benefit from a moss pole. Vines and other climbing plants do well with a moss pole. Plants that have aerial roots are well adapted to a moss pole, because they naturally climb up other plants, usually trees, in their natural habitat.
Why Choose An Alternative?
There are several reasons people choose moss pole alternatives. Some don’t like the look of a moss pole. They find the moss pole takes away from the beauty of the plant, or overshadows it.
Some discover that their plant has a difficult time climbing the pole, resulting in a lot of work training the plant. If you are in this camp, you’ll be surprised and relieved to learn there are alternatives that allow your plant to climb and thrive easily.
Lastly, some people worry about moss poles developing mold. This can make your plant sick, particularly if you don’t notice it in time. This is even more of a concern for plants that are outdoors.
11 Moss Pole Alternatives
Here are 11 alternative options for a moss pole.
1. Wooden Stake or Board
If you are looking for a minimalist no fuss alternative to a moss pole, a wooden stake or board is as easy as it gets. Just find a wooden stake or board, and place it in the pot.
It’s best to use rot-resistant wood, like cedar or mahogany. Sand it down if needed for a more streamlined look.
You can then tie the plant with cable ties or twine. The best option is green plant ties, which are made from nylon.
Wood does run a risk of pests, particularly if the pole will be outside. You may find that this type of alternative isn’t the most attractive, either. However, if you want a pole that will allow your plant to climb, it will do the job.
2. Tree Slab
One of my favorite moss pole alternatives is a tree slab with bark. Climbing plants typically climb on trees in their natural habitat. Why not recreate this in your home?
Tree slabs are ideal for some situations. If you have a large plant, a pole may no longer be enough to support it. If you are going for a natural look, a tree slab is also a great idea.
The easiest way to find a tree slab is to get out into nature. Of course, you can also purchase them from several places. Carpenters and woodworkers typically remove the outer slab of wood, making them a great source for tree slabs. You can find them at your local craft store or online as well.
To install a tree slab, be sure that the end it rests on is even, and that there’s enough soil to provide stability. Give it a quick wash in cool water to remove excess dirt and debris.
Install small hooks to the slab. Then, you can use wire or twine to attach the plant to the slab.
3. Bamboo Pole
Another minimalistic design is a bamboo pole. It offers a few advantages over other types. It is stronger than most moss poles, so it’s a good option if you have a large or top-heavy plant.
It’s naturally rot and pest resistant, so you don’t have to worry about it poorly affecting your plant’s health.
It’s also very simple to use. Plants will grab onto the small knots in the bamboo. If needed, you can attach the plant with twine, but in most cases, it will take to it easily.
4. Bamboo Trellis
If you love the idea of bamboo but want more than a simple pole, a bamboo trellis is for you. They come in a wide variety of designs (you can also design your own) and are large enough to provide your plant with plenty to hold onto.
Bamboo is strong and light, which makes it a great option for trellises. If your plant needs more than a single pole to support it, consider a bamboo trellis.
5. Metal Pipe
A metal pipe isn’t the most attractive type of pole to use for your plant. However, it does provide plenty of strength. If your plant is outdoors and subject to high winds, you may want to consider a metal pole.
You can use aluminum, copper, or stainless steel pipes for your plants. Just be sure that they are free from paint and oil. You can then attach the plant to the pole with twine or plastic ties, preferably ties designed for plants.
One of the benefits of this type of pole is that it can be stackable. As your plant grows, you can easily add length to it.
6. Wire Trellis
A more attractive use of metal is a wire trellis. You can purchase this ready-made from Amazon or gardening stores. You can also create your own.
Plastic-coated or white-painted trellises can be more attractive than gray metal. A coating will also protect the plant from the metal heating up in hot weather, which can cause burns.
7. Plastic Trellis
Trellis netting made from PVC pipe is another alternative. It’s not typically as attractive as other types of trellis, but it is inexpensive and effective. It also eliminates worrying about weather damage, rot, and pests.
You can also choose a molded plastic trellis. This is more attractive, and easier to work with since it’s already structured.
8. Metal Mesh
Metal mesh is another option. If you choose this option, remesh is best. It’s a finer gauge than other types. You can create a cylinder shape by attaching the two ends of the mesh. This gives the plant a place to climb.
This looks better with a bushy plant, which can help hide the mesh.
9. PVC Pipe
It’s not a particularly attractive option, but you can use PVC pipe. Simply cut the pipe to the desired length, and place it in the soil. It has the advantage of being weather and pest resistant, making it a good choice for outdoor plants.
You can make it more attractive and beneficial by adding moss to the outside of the pipe. Place sphagnum moss onto the wire or plastic mesh. Drill holes in the PVC pipe.
Then use the holes and cable ties to secure the mesh and moss to the pipe. This gives your plant a way to climb and can provide more moisture, just like a standard moss pole.
10. Jute Pole
A jute pole is another option. It’s simple and stylish. To begin, you’ll need a pole. A bamboo pole works well. You can use a metal or pvc pipe, but you may need glue to secure the jute to the pipe.
Jute provides a great surface for the plant to fasten onto. It can also provide a bit of extra moisture if you soak the rope.
11. Coir Poles
Coir poles are similar to moss poles. The advantage of coir poles is that coir is resistant to fungus. Coir is made from coconut fiber. It’s naturally absorbent, which means it can allow your plant to pull moisture from the pole as well.
To create a coir pole, you’ll need a pole. You can use bamboo, PVC, or a metal pole. A wooden stake can also work well. Soak the coir in water. Then begin wrapping it around the pole.
You can use thread to secure the coir to the pole. Leave 6 inches of the pole bare. This portion will go into the ground.
Using Moss Pole Alternatives
If you choose to use a moss pole or one of its alternatives, there are some basic rules you’ll need to follow.
Inserting the Pole
It’s best to place the pole when the plant is young. If the plant is mature, you run the risk of injuring the roots when inserting the pole into the soil. After all, the goal is to get the pole as close to the plant as possible.
One way to avoid this is to insert the pole when repotting. This way, you’ll be able to insert the pole right next to the root ball of the plant, without damaging it.
When Not to Remove a Pole
Some plants, like Monsteras, have aerial roots. They don’t just grow around the pole. The roots can actually grow into the material used for the pole, in many cases.
These plants can be severely damaged if you remove the pole. You are essentially tearing away tiny roots that are important for the plant’s growth.
To avoid this, choose your moss pole carefully. Some types will last for a very long time. Others, like natural wood, can be subject to rot or decay.
If you are using wood, you can choose to seal it before using it. Just allow it to dry completely before attaching your plant.
Another consideration is length. If your plant outgrows your pole, you can’t just remove the pole and replace it with a longer one. If you know your plant will outgrow its pole eventually, it’s best to have a plan for stacking another pole on top of the existing one before you get started.
Attaching the Plant to the Pole
Another consideration is how to attach the plant to the pole. Some plants, like Monstera, have thick hearty stems. Others, like climbing vines, require a fragile approach.
Some surfaces are easier for your plant to climb on than others. If the surface is completely smooth, the plant has nothing to hold onto. If you are just starting the plant with a pole, it will require training to attach itself to it.
There are a few ways to do this. String, floral wire, and Velcro are all valid ways to attach your plant to the pole. Plastic cable ties designed for gardening can also work well.
Keep in mind that you’ll want to be gentle enough not to harm the plant while bringing it into contact with the pole.
Summing It Up
Moss poles serve an important purpose for plants. They provide support, so the plant can grow upwards, as it’s meant to. However, a moss pole isn’t the only way to meet your plant’s need to reach for the sky.
There are a wide range of alternatives, from a simple bamboo pole to a metal trellis. Which one is best for you will depend on your plant, your budget, and your personal tastes.
Now that you know moss poles aren’t the only option out there, you have the freedom to create the look you want while still supporting your plant.