How To Keep Moss Pole Moist: Our Garden Gurus Explain
Do you have some indoor favorites that are slowly creeping into your personal space with their sprawling leaves and abundant foliage? Despite how much we love them…they just take up too much room. In walks the moss pole – the perfect solution, and so simple!
So you’ve just arrived home after buying your first moss pole, and you’re saying ‘What a beautiful plant, but how do I take care of it?’ Our article today will give you all the top tips for caring for your plant and, importantly, how to keep your moss pole moist.
Grab a coffee, put your feet up and read on – we love talking about moss poles!
What Is A Moss Pole?
A good place to start our chat today is to ask, “What is a moss pole?”
Moss poles allow garden enthusiasts to mimic the natural environment of tropical climbing plants. In the jungle, these plants love the humid conditions and thrive in tree soil. They send out aerial roots which attach to surrounding trees, as they grow upwards seeking sunlight and moisture.
Simply, a moss pole is an upright pole covered in sphagnum moss, which is staked alongside your plant in a pot. The pole provides stability and encourages upwards growth while the roots are fed with moisture from the moss.
This is the ideal solution to growing these indoor plants within a limited area. They fit into any home decor, with dramatic, beautiful leaves.
Ideal House Plants To Grow On A Moss Pole
Monstera and Philodendron are perfect candidates for moss poles.
A moss pole will guide the usually expansive Monstera (or Swiss cheese plant, as commonly known) into a climbing houseplant that grows up, instead of out. With the wonderful appeal of its vivid green leaves, this one is top in our books!
Why Is It Important To Keep A Moss Pole Moist?
The benefit of keeping the moss pole moist is that aerial roots are encouraged to attach and cling to the pole. This mimics the behavior of their native habitat. As the plant finds a source of water and nutrients, from the moss pole, its roots become established in the moss.
The additional supply of moisture will allow your climbing plant to develop faster and produce more mature, larger leaves. How often water is required, depends on your indoor conditions.
How To Keep The Moss Pole Moist
It is crucial to control the environment, with light moisture and humidity. Optimum conditions will ensure your moss pole will thrive! Dry air causes the moss pole to dry out quicker, which can become problematic as the aerial roots seek out moisture for continued growth.
Higher humidity allows the pole to retain moisture over longer periods of time, requiring less watering on your part. Using an indoor humidifier or DIY humidifier can be useful for avoiding humidity fluctuations and increasing moisture levels indoors.
The moss pole needs to be kept moist and the plant soil, water-drained. Here at the Garden Bench Top, we suggest a good watering twice a week. However, if you live in a drier climate, more frequent watering may be needed. Make sure the water gets to the roots. A regular mist spray to the moss (a few times throughout the week) is also beneficial. If possible, use filtered water instead of tap water, as tap water contains high chlorine and will brown your moss.
We are big lovers of the self – watering moss poles, or wicking system. This is a great method for providing an ongoing supply of moisture for the roots, to absorb when needed.
We will provide a step-by-step guide on how to set up your wicking system at home – so stick with us!
How To Make Self Watering Moss Poles DIY
At Garden Bench Top, we love the look of moss poles, and even more so, we love setting up a self watering system. It’s ideal for your sustainable, self-sufficient indoor nursery!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- PVC pipe (2cm diameter) – length determined by the depth of your pot and the height you want your plant to grow
- PVC cap – to attach to the bottom of the pipe
- Rope or macrame cord – enough to wrap around the pole and for a surplus tail to feed down into the pole (around 15cm surplus works well). We just love this cord for a natural, earthy look!
- PVC coated mesh – width: around 10cm in width on average, but for larger, heavier climbing houseplants increase this to 15cm, length: same as your pipe. We found that Gutterguard is an ideal choice of material here!
- Sphagnum Moss – one bag is usually enough. You can grab this at your local nursery store
PUTTING A MOSS POLE TOGETHER:
- Soak the moss – before you get started, soak the moss in water for 15-20 minutes.
- Macrame cord – place your PVC pipe into your pot and measure just above where the soil line will be; this is your starting point to attach the cord.
- Tie the rope around the bottom end of the pipe, then wrap around the pipe all the way to the top. Tie off the rope at the top and tuck surplus down into the pipe.
- Attach the PVC cap to the bottom of the pipe. This will seal off the pipe and provide a water reservoir.
- Lay the mesh on the ground and cover it with a generous layer of wet moss. Ensure the moss has excess water squeezed out. Place the pipe in the middle of the mesh and tightly roll the mesh vertically (like rolling a salad wrap).
- Secure the mesh with cable ties every few cm. Cut off excess ties and mesh, until neat and compact.
- Place the pole in your pot next to your plant and fill pot with soil. Gently press soil around the base. Attach the stems of the plant to the pole with the cord (this gives a great natural look).
- Fill the pipe with water and water the plant soil.
- You’re ready to go!
Check out this quick tutorial by Elis who made his own wicking moss pole in a very similar method to our tutorial described above.
How To Keep Moss Pole Upright
As the moss pole supports the plant, the growing plant attaches itself and stabilizes the pole. Typically you want to secure the plant stems to the pole, every 2-3 cm. This can be done with soft plant ties, twine, or a fine rope (macrame cord works fabulously and looks SO natural). Velcro garden ties are also another option. Some gardeners love using these as the green color blends well, and they can be cut to size, removed, and reused.
If your plant is heavy, bamboo stakes can also be used to reinforce the pole in the pot, and provide additional anchorage. If your choice is not bamboo, there are also plastic-coated stakes. Stakes can be added at potting or later. Over time the pole will stabilize, as the aerial roots grow in and around it.
Reinforcing the moss pole with a stake is also helpful if you are extending your pole. If your plant has reached the top of the pole and you choose to allow continued growth over pruning, a stake is useful to allow the new pole addition to be attached.
Do You Have To Soak A Moss Pole?
The moss pole needs to be kept moist without being soaking wet. During potting, the sphagnum moss is soaked for 15-20 minutes, squeezed out, then placed inside the pole mesh. This soaking gets it wet for the first time. Following this, regular watering is necessary. Your room environment will also determine the frequency of watering needed.
The important point to remember is to give the moss pole a good watering whenever you water the plant! The moss behaves like a sponge, absorbing water and then distributing evenly throughout the pole.
We highly recommend setting up the self – watering system, if you’re up for the challenge!
Moss Pole Problems & Questions
Can A Moss Pole Die?
Moss poles don’t die but are capable of decaying. Because many materials used are natural, these slowly degrade because of constant moisture and plants absorbing nutrients. If you want to extend the life of your moss pole, try using plastic stakes and cable ties.
Will Mold Grow On Moss Pole?
This may occasionally happen. At the Garden Bench Top, we recommend a simple, quick spray of hydrogen peroxide on the mold, which works!
Is Extra Maintenance Needed?
We can’t have all the love and pleasure of these fantastic creations, without some TLC. They do require that extra bit of maintenance to keep them healthy and clean. Keep their moisture levels monitored and ensure a regular watering pattern to keep poles moist.
Can I Use Wooden Stakes?
These can prove problematic as they age and break down and the timber rots. Many of our readers have shared that their wooden dowels broke up after a few weeks, and began to rot over time. If you are really keen on the natural look of timber, we recommend bamboo stakes instead, as these have a longer life.
We hope this article has provided you with some great tips and info on taking care of your moss pole, and importantly, ways to keep it moist. Having the opportunity to mimic the natural environment of these amazing climbers, and bring them into whatever you call home – is a winner in our eyes.
Hope you’ve loved this topic today and chat again soon!