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What Is A Moss Pole? And Why Are They Used?

What Is A Moss Pole? Growing plants in your home can be a little tricky, especially if you don’t have any structures that could be used for support. To solve this problem some gardeners use what’s called a moss pole for support.

However, many people are unaware of moss poles or even know what they are used for!

So in this article, we discuss what moss poles are, what they’re made from, why they are used, their benefits, and how long they last.

What is a moss pole?

Moss poles are somewhat self-explanatory. They are sturdy, cylindrical poles or sticks coated with sphagnum moss or coco coir and used to provide climbing plants with textured surfaces that they can use to climb in search of sunlight.

They can reach a height of 89 inches if needed or can be as short as 12 inches. The weight of moss poles depends on the size. However, one section of moss pole can weigh about 8 ounces and can be between 1.5 inches and 2.0 inches thick depending on the materials used.

Moss poles work well because the moss provides the correct texture for climbing plants to attach to when climbing upwards. Moss poles are stuck into the soil in potted climbing plants that need vertical support.

Additionally, they are used to enhance plant aesthetics. Growing plants upwards provides your home, office, or garden with a unique appearance and sets you apart from other gardeners, interior decorators, or landscapers.

Moss poles are designed to provide your plant with much-needed support and at the same time providing them with the elements of their adaptive, natural, tropical environment.

Moss poles encourage plants to grow bigger and have healthier leaves and the plant’s aerial roots attach to the moss poll and use it for support as an anchor. You can train moss poles to attach themselves to the pole using strings or ties.

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What Are moss poles made of?

Moss poles are made of a variety of materials, that include Sphagnum Moss, Coco Coir, and Tree Fern Fiber. Each type of material has its own advantages and disadvantages which we will talk more about below.

Materials Used For Moss Poles:

  • Sphagnum Moss
  • Coco Coir
  • Tree Fern Fiber

Sphagnum Moss Pole

This is the most traditional type of moss pole, and it is made with sphagnum moss tied to the pole with twine or wire. It’s a great support material that’s incredibly water retentive and highly rot-resistant.

It also has a fluffy consistency that’s easy for plants to latch onto.

However, it can be challenging to maintain for some. For example, sphagnum moss is highly absorbent so you need to spray your moss daily and keep it in rooms with a 75% average humidity.

Sphagnum moss is great for plants that don’t root into substrates (epiphytic plants) and plants that require high levels of consistent moisture. So be prepared and make sure you water your plants regularly.

Coco Coir Pole

Coco Coir is made from coconut husks and has similar functionality to sphagnum moss. The fiber is still water-retentive (not to the same degree as sphagnum moss) and resistant to breaking down.

One advantage to using coco coir poles is that the material is available and sustainable compared to sphagnum moss.

It is quickly becoming the defacto material used to make moss poles and is most preferred among gardeners. It’s best used for plants that need climbing support rather than ones with nutrition potential.

Coco coir poles are designed from coco coir fibers placed on a solid wooden stick and wrapped with a mesh held in place with cable ties.

Coco coir lasts longer due to minimum disintegration of its fibrous structure, however, you still have to be careful and protect the structure from pets.

Tree Fern Fiber Pole

The tree fern fiber pole is sold as a totem (another word for a square pole) than a moss pole. However, it does serve a similar purpose and has materials that are less tightly packed than coir or sphagnum.

It is more like a block of condensed fibers. This structure makes it tougher for aerial roots to penetrate; however, they can still attach themselves finely.

This moss pole variety isn’t suited for bigger plants that require their aerial roots to be firmly attached. It’s more effective when planting smaller plants that need a reliable foothold to attach their roots to.

Why are moss poles used?

Moss poles help your climbing plants grow strong, steady, and reach for sunlight. Plant owners with climbing plants use moss poles to train their plants to grow upwards rather than downwards or sideways.

There are several reasons why moss poles are used:

  • They Take Up Less Space
  • They Are More Flexibility
  • They Are Good For Shaping The Plant
  • They Are Appealing To The Eye

Take Up less space

Growing plants on a moss pole allow the plant owner to grow the plant where they see fit. For instance, when left to their own devices, climbers will grow outwards until they find a reliable vertical structure that they can latch on to.

Providing them with a moss pole provides them with an opportunity to grow upwards, which uses less space.

More flexibility

Plants that use less space are more flexible for interior designing or land scaling. For instance, letting climbing plants go wild means that they’ll probably use more space; plus, you won’t be able to move them as conveniently as possible.

Thus, planting them on a pot and moving them allows you to move them to as many places as you’d like.

Shaping the plant

You can use moss poles to shape your plants if you want to create an aesthetically beautiful and interesting space. For instance, you could join two or more moss poles in varying designs to make your space look more interesting.

Using moss poles provides your climbing plant with the correct substrates and conditions to help them grow. Additionally, it allows the plant owner (as mentioned before) to shape their plant’s growth as desired.

Appealing To The Eye

Moss poles are also very appealing to the eye. They have a very natural look and feel to them, and they can add a lot of character to your house.

Benefits of using moss poles

Using moss poles is all about replicating your climbing plant’s natural environment and providing them with physical support to help them climb. Doing this helps the plants grow as they naturally would in the wild.

The support pole helps them find nutrients, water, and sunlight required for photosynthesis. Some of the benefits include:

  • Provides Support
  • Helping Plants Mature
  • Space Efficient
  • Aesthetics

Provides Support

Using moss poles provides support in helping epiphytic plants to grow upwards. Vining species’ aerial roots easily attach fibrous materials like moss or coir poles.

Doing this secures the plants into a support structure that encourages their growth.

In such a scenario, the absence of such a material makes it difficult for your vining plant to grow further and reach for sunlight to help during photosynthesis.

Helping plants mature

Taller plants close to the sunlight in wild rainforest canopies change their anatomical structure by producing bigger leaves, fenestrations, leaves, and more to get more sunlight, nutrients, and CO2.

This helps them produce more energy that helps the plant mature and grow healthier. Helping house plants grow taller and access sunlight helps them mature while following your preferred interior design.

Space efficient

Using moss poles is more space-efficient than letting your veining plants grow sideways. Ensuring your plants grow vertically uses less space, is more manageable, and creates a good design that works with most settings.

Plus, you could wind the plants as tightly to the moss pole as possible. Letting vining plants grow sideways unrestricted can be catastrophic to your interior and landscaping design.

Aesthetics

Using moss poles helps you position your vining plants to make them more aesthetically pleasing. The best thing to do if you have a vining plant with a huge stem and no leaves is to use a moss pole.

Winding the plant’s stem around the moss pole highlights the plant’s foliage and makes them more prominent than the stem making it look more beautiful.

How long do moss poles last?

Moss poles last between four to six years, depending on the materials from which it’s made. Coconut coir moss poles last longer because of their structural integrity. They have a strong fibrous fiber that takes a while to disintegrate.

However, they can be easily broken when there’s external interference. Therefore, you should not damage the moss pole physically when shaping your vines.

It would be best if you also took care not to let your pets come into contact with your moss pole. For instance, cats can climb onto the pole easily using their claws which destroys the fibers and dislodges them from their primary location.

Your moss pole could also be structurally damaged if the supported plant has more weight than it can support. When this happens, the pole tends to twist or bend to the side, making it break if the weight gets out of hand.

Depending on its structural integrity, it would help if you changed your moss pole every three or four years.

How to care for moss poles?

Keep it moist

You should keep your moss pole moist; however, you should not forget to overwater it since it could lead to disastrous consequences. You could use a wicking system or a bottle with a couple of fine holes that provide a slow water drip.

Doing this helps moisturize your plants and prevent the moss from becoming brittle.

Place the moss pole in a cool location

Sunlight is important to plants; however, too much sunlight could cause them to become dehydrated. Too much sunlight can also cause the moss (or other materials) on your pole to become dry and brittle.

This makes them more susceptible to breakage than those that are moist, so you should keep moss poles moist.

Use a humidifier

It’s more efficient to use a humidifier when growing tropical plants indoors. Tropical plants need a certain amount of moisture, and using a humidifier helps keep your plants hydrated.

It also helps keep your moss pole moist with helps secure its structural integrity. Take care not to place your humidifier next to wooden furniture because it could cause them to grow mold and rot.

If you want to know more about moss poles and how to care for them we recommended you watch this video from the youtube channel only plants.

Where Can You Buy A Moss Pole?

There are a few places you can buy a moss pole. The best place to start looking is your local garden center. If they don’t have any in stock, they may be able to order one for you.

You can also find Moss Poles online from a variety of retailers. Amazon.com is a good option, as they have a wide selection and competitive prices.

However, if you still can’t find one, and you’re feeling crafty, you can always make your own Moss Pole out of an old garden stake or piece of doweling.

Just make sure it’s made of natural materials like wood or bamboo, as synthetic materials won’t be very friendly to moss.

With a little patience and effort, you’ll be able to find the perfect Moss Pole for your garden.

Final Thoughts

There is no better feeling than watching your plants thrive and if you’re looking for a way to give your plants a little boost, or add some greenery and life to any indoor space then a moss pole may be the answer.

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