Monsteras are lovely lush climbers that instantly add layers of a tropical vibe to any living space. The mind-blowing beauty of these plants lies in their massive waxy leaves, some of which also have fenestrations. But a moss stick is necessary if you wish to grow these plants with huge leaves.
Monstera plants are epiphytes belonging to tropical rainforests that climb by attaching to other plants. So, if you want your indoor Monstera to grow big and mimic its natural growth, give it a moss pole for support. Moss poles also provide humidity and nutrients to the aerial root of the plant.
Keep reading the article to find out the importance and role of the moss pole in the flourishing growth of Monstera and how you can train your plant to grow properly with the help of this stick.
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What is a moss pole?
Moss poles are sturdy poles or sticks rolled in moss, most commonly sphagnum moss, as the aerial roots can easily penetrate through them and support the plant’s huge branches, encouraging them to grow upwards.
Monstera plants grown with a moss pole will have bigger, more vibrantly colored leaves with huge slits or holes than those grown without moss poles.
The moisture that the aerial roots receive from the easy-to-penetrate surface of the moss poles encourages them to grow vigorously at full capacity.
Benefits of using moss poles
Here are some benefits of using moss poles:
- Provides support: The most obvious benefit of using moss poles is the support it provides to climbing plants that need support to grow upright, like Monstera or pothos.
- Stimulates bigger leaves: When the aerial roots get support to cling, it absorbs the nutrients and moisture from them, and, as a result, they grow with bigger and stronger leaves and better variegations and fenestrations.
- Mimics natural environment: Helping climbers with moss poles helps to mimic their natural environment. The aerial roots of the plants get support to cling to themselves and grow as it does in the wild.
- Looks attractive: Moss poles add to the aesthetic appeal of the plants. The vines grow upright and towards the sun instead of drooping and cascading down. It also looks neat and takes lesser space.
- Supplies moisture: Tropical plants like monsteras need constant moisture to thrive. A moist moss pole provides the needed moisture and humidity to the leaves to make them flourish.
Why do some plants like Monstera need moss poles?
Plants like Monsteras are epiphytic, which means they grow on a surface of a bigger tree and get their nutrients, moisture, and strength by accumulating around the support tree and penetrating its aerial roots in them.
While growing them indoors, moss poles do the job of the bigger tree where the aerial roots can attach to derive its food and water.
If there is no support, this plant can fall over due to the weight of the leaves.
You must give them this support to mimic their natural growing conditions when growing them indoors.
Though your climbers can grow without a moss pole, too, you will compromise their growth.
If the Monstera does not get a stick to attach it, the leaves of the plant will not mature and will stay stagnant.
Smaller immature plants have small leaves, and the leaves that get support get massive in size and sometimes develop stunning variegations and fenestrations too.
Due to these reasons, climbers like Monsteras are given support to reach their full maturity and grow in all their capacity by striking holes, splits, and colors with the help of most poles.
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What is the best moss pole for my Monstera?
Many types of moss poles are available, all of which have one thing in common: they provide a surface filled with sphagnum moss where the aerial roots of the plant can attach themselves.
It is best to start with a medium size moss pole and then upgrade to larger sizes when the plant needs one larger one.
If your Monstera is over 12 inches tall, it is advisable to invest in a moss pole.
There are many options for moss poles that are available for your plant.
- Wood slab covered with moss: You can get a wooden slab 3-4 inches wide and cover it with moss to make this.
- The stake covered with moss is secured with a wire or fish line. You can use a garden stake or tree branch for this.
- Moss-covered moss pole gives ample surface for the aerial roots to attach as some of the moss protrudes through the surface.
How to add a moss pole?
You can either make a moss pole yourself or buy them from local nurseries.
To add the moss pole in the Monstera, you need to push the pole deep down into the soil at the base of the plant’s stem.
You have to push it deep down because, remember, the entire weight of the plant will fall on the pole, so it needs to be sturdy enough.
Then using zip ties, twigs, wires, etc., secure the stem of the Monstera with the pole so that the aerial roots of the stem remain in contact with the pole.
As the roots or nodes begin to grow, they will attach and penetrate the moss pole soak the moisture from it, and grow.
How to train a Monstera to climb the moss pole?
Since Monsteras are natural climbers, once they find the support, it will not be difficult to train them, but you need to help them to find the way initially.
- Place the moss stick behind the stem, so it lies between the plant and the rim of the pot. Push the stick deep inside the soil to reach the pot’s bottom. This is because the entire weight lies on the plant, so it needs to be stable to prevent it from toppling over the pot.
- Separate the individual vines of the plant very carefully so that you do not tug too hard and disturb the plant roots. Position them in a way that the roots face the moss stick.
- Secure the vines to the pole with the help of twigs, wires, etc. it should be tight enough to hold the roots to the pole but careful so that it does not hurt the vines.
- Put the plant ties 4-6 inches away from one another so that the aerial roots stay in place. However, you can remove most of them once the roots start attaching to the pole.
Should I soak my moss pole?
The aerial roots soak moisture and nutrients from the moss poles, which benefits and improves their overall growth.
So you need to soak the moss poles to make them effective for the plant.
A dry pole will support the plant to grow upright, but if you moisten the poles, they will stay moist, which will help them to provide humidity to the leaves, as a result of which their size and luster improve.
How to keep the moss pole moist?
There are several ways to keep the moss pole moist to maximize its benefits.
Let us discuss the ways:
- Mist the moss pole: Use filtered or rainwater to mist the pole by using a spray bottle. If you use tap water, let it sit overnight, so the minerals fall at the bottom. Remember, the pole should be moist and not soggy.
- Pour water on the pole from the top: Slowly pour water on the pole from the top to avoid messy spills.
- Take the plant to the sink to moisten the pole to avoid any mess.
- Check that the excess water from the pole does not saturate the pot. Monstera plants are sensitive to overwatering, so all the excess water should flow out and not saturate the soil. If you see it waterlogged, you must empty the saucer or cache at the bottom.
When should I add the moss pole?
Adding the moss pole while planting your Monstera after bringing it home from the nursery is best.
This will help the plant find support from the beginning, and its growth will improve.
However, if you have not done that, then the right time to add the moss pole is when you notice the trailing vines of the plant are beginning to droop, and it needs support to grow upright.
Alternatives to a moss pole
If you cannot find moss sticks around, there are a few alternatives you can opt for.
You can use natural wood sticks as the plant grows attached to the wooden tree trunks in the natural habitat.
You can also use metal or bamboo trellis, but they will not provide sufficient moisture to the plant, so its result will not be the same.
Some people also use coco coir as an excellent alternative to moss poles.
Though they are visually appealing, it loses moisture quickly and cannot retain it like moss.
DIY moss pole
Making a moss-covered pole at home is no rocket science but quite easy.
Let me quickly guide you through the process:
- Choose a stake or a PVC pipe around ten-twelve inches taller than your Monstera. Remember to dig the pole at the bottom of the pot so that it remains steady.
- Soak the moss in water until thoroughly wet.
- Make a thick layer of sphagnum moss about one inch and cover the stick.
- Tie the moss with the stake with the help of wire, and twigs, to secure it tightly around.
DIY moss-filled tube
- Cut a section of mesh wire or garden mesh to make a moss-filled cylinder about 12 inches tall.
- Tie the mesh together with twig wires etc.
- Fill them with sphagnum moss and water them thoroughly.
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Maintaining the moss pole
- Spritz your moss pole every few days to keep it constantly moist. A dry moss ole will provide support but no extra nutrients or food.
- Once the aerial roots of the Monstera begin to bind it, you can gradually remove the twigs.
- When the plant has outgrown the size of the moss pole, you can replace the existing moss pole with a new taller pole in the same process.
- If the plant outgrows the pot, repot it in a new pot with the moss stick.
- While changing the moss pole or pot, be very careful to avoid damaging the plant’s roots.
While many Monsteras grow well without support, their growth will always improve if they get moss sticks. Some variants of Monstera, like Adansonii, grow well in hanging pots and may not need moss poles.
However, the leaves will be smaller without moss poles, and the variegated varieties will not show their color. Also, the variants with holes and slits will not develop if they do not find moss poles to find support.
Using a moss pole is highly recommended as they are effective, improve the health and aesthetics of the plant, and provide benefits to the plant.
Sources: Leaf morphogenesis in Monstera, Monstera overview, Common insect pests and diseases.
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