How to Remove a Moss Pole: The Ultimate Guide for Indoor Plant Enthusiasts
We understand removing a healthy plant from a moss pole can seem daunting. After all, your plant is happy, so why rock the boat unnecessarily? We’ll explore some benefits of replacing an old pole with a new moss pole. Plus, the good news is that the process isn’t as scary as you think, especially if you follow our step-by-step process and use our tips.
Why Should You Remove a Moss Pole?
Before we get into the process of removing a moss pole, let’s explore the reasons why replacing a moss pole is the best option. Or whether leaving your moss pole in place may be the best move.
Moss Pole Showing Its Age
If you have had a moss pole planted alongside one of your beautiful vining indoor plants for an extended period, it may be an excellent time to consider removing and replacing it with a fresh new pole.
Signs that a moss pole needs a refresh include:
- parts of the moss pole covered in dirt,
- mold on the moss pole, or
- parts of the moss pole beginning to deteriorate.
If you notice any of these symptoms occurring on your moss pole, refer to our instructions below for How to Remove a Moss Pole.
Plant Disease and Pests
One of the main reasons we see for replacing a moss pole is disease and pests.
This is particularly important for plants showing evidence of rot, root rot, or an infectious disease. A bacterial or fungal infection on a plant can be spread through touch or contact. Even something as innocent as using a garden spade to mix dirt can easily transfer the bacteria from one pot plant to another.
Therefore, anything that may contain or be exposed to the disease must be removed or cleaned. Since a moss pole cannot be cleaned, replacing it with a completely new moss pole is the only option.
Pests like fungus gnats can be treated with the old moss pole still in place (check out our comprehensive article about Getting Rid of Fungus Gnats). However, if they have inhabited the moss pole itself, it may be easier to replace the entire moss pole and allow the infested one to dry and become sterile.
Plant Has Outgrown its Original Moss Pole
We’ll be honest. If having your climbing plant outgrow your moss pole is your biggest problem, then you are doing something right!
And even though it may not be a bad problem, it still needs your attention.
Fortunately, this is the one instance where we would encourage you NOT to replace your moss pole with a taller pole. Instead, we recommend exploring the option of extending your moss pole.
By extending your moss pole, you don’t have to disturb your plant’s aerial roots and potentially damage your vining plant in the changeover process.
How to Remove a Moss Pole – Step-by-Step Instructions
To eliminate any hesitations or uncertainty around removing a moss pole, we’ve laid out each step to give you the confidence to do this at home.
1. Preparation is Key (or Growing Medium)
Preparation may seem like an obvious step for most. However, we find it is always worth repeating for those who may be overwhelmed by removing their first moss pole.
To prepare yourself, we recommend reading through the steps in this guide. Once you have an idea of the steps involved, visualize the moss pole removal process and steps.
Consider the equipment you need at each step, and ensure they are within arm’s reach.
In addition to mentally preparing yourself, we recommend examining your plant and moss pole to get ahead of any potential issues. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are the aerial roots deeply embedded in the moss pole? Can they be easily removed?
- Is there any evidence of rot or other diseases? Do you need to treat your plant before establishing it in its new home?
- Is your plant becoming too big? Is a chop and prop (propagation) required to reduce the leaf load on your plant?
Finally, make sure you have your replacement moss pole ready for installation. You have no idea how often we’ve removed a plant from its pot only to realize the soil or moss pole isn’t prepared!
2. Remove Ties or Attachments
To begin the process, remove any attachments holding your plant against the moss pole. This includes velcro ties, bobby pins, fabric, or soft plant ties.
Doing this will give you wiggle room to safely remove your plant without risking damage.
3. Carefully Extract Aerial and Main Roots from Moss Pole
This is probably the step you have been dreading the most. But we want to reassure you most plants are more resilient than you think.
Roots and leaves will heal and grow back.
Depending on how long your plant has been paired with the original moss pole, this process may be as quick as a 5-minute job. Or it may take you ten times as long.
The key is being patient and methodically working your way from top to bottom. Attentively remove any place your plant is attached to the moss pole until completely separate.
GARDEN BENCH TOP TIP
If your aerial roots are not curled through the netting of the moss pole, you can sometimes cut the moss pole to release the roots’ grip on the sphagnum moss and easily slide the roots away from the pole.
Do your best to maintain the integrity of the root ball. You may find the main root ball has become intertwined with the bottom of the moss pole. If cutting is necessary, try to keep the thicker mature roots intact.
4. Set Your Plant Up for Success
By now, you should have a plant completely separated from its old pole, ready for its new home.
Choose a suitably sized pot with good drainage to allow any excess water to escape. Carefully place your moss pole next to the root ball of your plant.
We like to position the moss pole to the side of the pot with the back and aerial roots of the plant in contact with the moist moss. For tips on installing a new moss pole, check out our article HERE.
Backfill your pot with fresh soil (a good aroid chunky potting soil with orchid bark) and water generously, ensuring to check that the water is draining freely.
Frequently Asked Questions for How to Remove a Moss Pole
Can You Replace a Moss Pole?
If you’ve made it this far down our guide, you should know the answer is yes.
Removing a moss pole is easy with some planning and patience.
There are instances where replacing a moss pole is a necessary step (such as the presence of disease or pests). At the same time, extensions of the original moss pole may be preferable over replacement, like when plants begin to outgrow their moss poles.
Can a Moss Pole Die?
Unfortunately, the answer is YES. Moss poles, like your plants, require care and attention. It is necessary to keep your moss poles moist and in a humid environment to allow them to provide support for your plants. Find out our best tips for how to keep your moss pole moist HERE.