Moss poles make the best support structures for climbing plants. Besides physical support, they provide valuable nutrients via the sphagnum moss cover.
Above all, moss poles provide an invaluable rooting medium for aerial roots.
But what if you can’t readily find a moss pole? How else can you support your climbers? Below we explore the best 13 moss pole alternatives to consider.
Moss Pole Alternative
- Coir Poles
- Bamboo Poles
- Bean Poles
- Wire Trellis
- Plastic Trellis
- Plastic Pipe
- Metal Pipe
- Tree Slab
- Metal Mesh
- Wooden Poles
- Wooden Boards
- Support Pole Wrapped in Jute
- DIY Moss Pole
Why Do We Support Climbing Plants?
We support indoor climbers for many reasons. First, some plants are natural climbers, like birds fly and fish swim.
So, denying them a climbing mechanism deprives them of a critical element of their natural life.
In addition, climbing plants are the healthiest and most vigorous with a support system. They are fuller, with stronger roots and thriving vines. Otherwise, they lose their vigor, becoming tiny and weak.
Finally, supporting climbing plants brings out their true beauty and increases indoor appeal thanks to lusher, taller plants.
Common Indoor Climbers
Common climbing indoor plants that need a support mechanism to grow strong and healthy include;
- Strong of hearts
- Golden pothos
- Swiss cheese
- Spider plant
- Strong or Pearls
- Grape and English Ivy
Advantages of Moss Poles
Many houseplant owners prefer moss pole support systems, and for a good reason.
The following are five reasons you, too, should prioritize moss poles over other structures for houseplant support;
- Closely mimic the natural environment: Moss poles are the closest alternatives to host plants outside the wild forests. For instance, they provide a support structure and rooting medium for aerial roots.
- Moss poles store water: Sphagnum moss is a unique, spongy plant that stores water for a long time. Your plants will benefit massively from the water-storage capacity.
- Provide plant nutrients: Moss poles contain multiple nutrients to benefit your plants. Specifically, it contains peat, partially decomposed organic matter, to replenish climbers via aerial roots.
- Offer better contact: You’ll note that climbers need exceptional support to remain attached to the host plant. Otherwise, they slide down the support pole. Fortunately, climbers attach more firmly to moss plants because the roots grow into the sphagnum moss. Also, the vines easily grab onto the loose hairs.
Top 13 Moss Pole Alternatives for Vining Plants
Unfortunately, you may have no immediate access to moss poles. Alternatively, you may want a stronger, more durable structure. In that case, consider the following 13 alternatives.
1. Coir Poles
Coir poles are the best alternatives to moss poles. Like moss poles, they provide physical support and plant nutrients. Also, they provide a rooting medium for aerial roots.
What’s a coir pole?
Also known as coco coir, coir poles comprise a regular pole and specially treated coconut fibers.
The fibers are rolled over the pole, providing a medium to support vines, shrubs, and other plants.
Most poles are wooden, making them 100% environmentally friendly and biodegradable.
However, a few manufacturers use plastic and other materials for heavier plants or to make longer-lasting coir poles.
Nevertheless, the poles have a valuable natural appearance. Also, most units are mold and rot-resistant.
Finally, we love that coir poles absorb and retain water. Therefore, your plants can draw water directly from the coir pole.
Also, you can water or hydrate the pole without watering the potting soil to starve soil-borne pests and diseases.
How to install a coir pole
Installing a coco coir pole is similar to moss poles. Begin by selecting the right pole. For instance, consider stronger poles for heavier plants and longer ones for tall plants.
Fortunately, most poles are extendable in about one-foot increments. You can also find bendable coir poles.
The exact installation steps depend on whether your poles are ready out of the box.
Otherwise, you must swap the coir material around the poles yourself. We’ll assume the latter.
- Slice the coir material into manageable pieces.
- Wrap the coir pieces around the poles, leaving six inches of exposed stock at the base.
- Use strings to secure the coir to the stock.
- Gently drive the coir pole into the potting soil. Alternatively, install it when repotting.
- Wrap the climbing plant around the coir pole, ensuring the vines circle the pole and the aerial roots contact the coir material.
- More durable than a moss pole
- High water retention capacity
- Ideal for indoor and outdoor use
- May leech chemicals into the soil
2. Bamboo Poles
Bamboo needs no introduction. It’s a popular hardwood that grows abundantly in tropical and subtropical regions.
Bamboo poles and sticks have many applications, from building and construction to furniture.
But did you know it’s an excellent material for staking garden and house plants? Its strength and durability make it a great choice for climbers.
Moreover, bamboo poles and trellises are highly resistant to rot and moisture.
What are bamboo trellises?
Bamboo poles are the easiest to use. You can derive a bamboo pole from tender or mature bamboo plants depending on your needs.
Of course, a mature bamboo stick is stronger and more durable. Trim the pole to the desired length, stick it in the potting mix, and wrap the climbing plant around it.
However, you can also opt for trellises for vigorously growing climbers. In this case, you need multiple vertical and horizontal bamboo sticks to create a framework to control the plant’s growth while supporting the vines and aerial roots.
Trellises are also great for supporting two or more plants. Above all, a bamboo trellis is stronger than a single pole and infinitely stronger than a moss pole.
However, unlike coir and moss poles, bamboo stakes don’t provide water to aerial shoots. Therefore, you must water the plant more frequently and mist the leaves more regularly.
How to install bamboo trellises
- Source simple bamboo stakes for the trellis. You need several stakes
- Trim them to the desired vertical heights and horizontal lengths
- Use a lashing cord to secure the horizontal stakes to the vertical ones
- Weave the climbers through the trellis
- Water regularly to keep your plants healthy
- Bamboo sticks are easy to find
- Simple and inexpensive
- Strong and durable
- Easy to customize into trellises and cages
- They don’t provide nutrients for your plants
3. Bean Poles
Bean poles are primarily designed to support pole beans, better known as running beans. They increase yield and minimize pests and diseases.
Most units are made from extra-long bamboo canes. The most advanced poles are known as bean plant teepees.
Bean pole teepees comprise three or four 5-6-foot-long bamboo sticks tied together at one end.
The untied ends are driven into the soil around the plant, forming a versatile structure that provides climbing plants with a stable support structure.
DIY-making bean poles
The good news is that you can make bean poles at home. You need 4-6 stakes (wooden or coated), zip ties or twines, and additional twines for plant support.
Coated poles are more expensive but last longer. Meanwhile, you must replace wooden poles every two years.
Proceed as follows once you have the supplies;
- Decide how many poles you need per teepee: You can use as many poles as you wish. However, four or five are often enough. The length is just as important. We recommend the average human height for standard climbers.
- Plant the poles in the ground: Arrange them in the desired shape. Four poles typically form a square or rectangle, while five forms a pentagon. Angle them inward.
- Zip the poles together at the other end: Grab the open ends in one hand and use the other hand to zip them together. You can also tie them using twines.
Pole bean trellises form a stable structure at the base, providing reliable support for top-heavy plants. The stronger the individual poles, the more reliable the trellis.
Unfortunately, pole bean trellises are not gorgeous support structures. They’re exceptional outdoors, especially for climbing beans and vegetables like tomatoes but stick out like a sore thumb indoors.
- Easy to DIY
- Provide reliable support
- They aren’t ideal for indoor decor
4. Wire Trellis
Some houseplants are truly massive. For instance, the umbrella plant grows to ten feet indoors and can span a diameter of one meter or more.
Pilea Peperomioides and fiddle leaf figs are similarly large, with massive leaves. Such massive plants require special support structures.
Moreover, single pole support systems are impractical for non-climbing large plants like the weeping fig. In this case, a wire trellis makes the most sense.
How to install wire trellises
You need pipes, wire ropes, and stainless steel cleats to make wire trellises. Of course, you also require various tools, including a cordless screwdriver, drill bits, and crimpers.
We recommend 3mm and 4.5mm drill bits.
- Cut the supporting timber into the desired sizes. Alternatively, you can have them pre-cut at the store.
- Measure and mark locations for saddle clips. Use a combination square to match the top and bottom holes. We recommend 150 cm spaces between clips.
- Pre-drill the saddle holes using a 3mm drill bit.
- Assemble the wooden frame, ensuring the edges are flush. Then pre-drill holes into the corners using a 4.5mm drill bit.
- Join the frame using 75 mm batten screws. Drive two screws into each corner. Then paint or treat the frame with a water-resistant finish.
- Attach the clips using the drill and screws.
- Thread the wire through the saddle clips, then tighten the wires. You can hand-tighten them or use a turnbuckle.
- Install the wire trellis in the plant pot and wind your plant between the trellises.
- Easy to DIY
- Works for various houseplants
- Excellent for heavy plants
- It may look out of place indoors
5. Plastic Trellis
Plastic trellises are perfect alternatives to wire trellises. Moreover, they’re cheaper and easier to assemble.
The only problem is that you cannot make plastic trellises at home. Instead, you must purchase the kit online.
Consider the type of plastic and maximum length and width of the trellises when shopping.
For instance, polypropylene (PP) plastic is a durable thermoplastic addition polymer constructed from many propylene monomers.
It has high impact stress and is resistant to fatigue, making exceptional trellises. Polyvinylchloride (PVC) plastics are also very good.
What’s the best plastic trellis?
SunKrop’s 5-pack Small Trellis for Potted Plants is one of the best plastic trellises. The tiny, stackable plastic climbing stakes are constructed from durable PP plastic for practical, sturdy vine stakes and supports.
Each piece is 10.2 cm tall and 15.5 cm wide. However, you can stack several panels vertically or horizontally for larger plants.
The structure is very easy to install. Insert it in the potting soil or affix it to a wall. You can adjust the height and width as the plant develops.
It’s perfect for supporting climbing plants to stay upright or helping vine plants off the ground. In addition, you can use it to prop wayward stems and droopy branches.
- Affordable and cost-effective
- Easy to assemble and install
- PP and PVC plastics are strong and durable
- Some plastics are weak
- Unsuited for top-heavy plants
6. Plastic Pipe
A plastic pipe is a good alternative to plastic trellises, especially for single climbers.
Again, PVC pipes are some of the best options, though PP is another incredible choice. Both are strong and durable. Also, they are affordable.
Consider wrapping a sphagnum moss material around the pole to provide a rugged surface for vine attachment. In addition, a moss material provides a rooting medium for aerial roots.
Other important factors are the diameter and length of the pipe. Wider pipes provide a more stable base to support larger, heavier plants.
However, they take up a large portion of the potting soil. Meanwhile, narrower pipes may be too weak for typical climbers.
Find a length that slightly exceeds the height of your plant, ideally a foot taller.
What is the best PVC pipe for houseplants?
Dozens of manufacturers provide plastic pipes for climbing plants. However, LetsFix’s 1 1/2 -inch DIY PVC Pipe for Home and Garden is the best choice.
A package contains 10 pipes and costs about $80. However, you can get four pipes for around $40.
The pure white pipes are infused with UV inhibitors for UV resistance. So they don’t crack, change color, or degrade when exposed to the sun.
Each is 40 inches (3.33 feet). But you can stack several to suit any house plant.
- Affordable and cost-effective
- Easy to assemble
- Strong and durable
- Too weak for large plants
7. Metal Pipe
Consider metal pipes if you love pipe support structures but desire something stronger than PCV pipes.
A metal pipe provides all the advantages of a PVC pipe but is stronger and more durable. The only challenge is protecting the pipe from rust.
Fortunately, you can avoid rust issues by choosing non-ferrous metal pipes such as copper and brass.
Best metal pipe for houseplants
You can find several metal pipe sets for supporting indoor plants on Amazon. However, you’ll quickly notice that most are joinable into trellis structures.
This allows you to support heavier plants. Also, a trellis provides a more stable base.
In that case, we recommend the Garden Trellis for Climbing Plants from CJGQ Store. The heavy-duty, 6-foot rustproof metal pipe is perfect for potted plants.
It’s wrapped in PE plastic for greater weather protection. Moreover, it’s easy to assemble without tools. Use the four longest plastic pipes at the bottom for maximum stability.
- Strong and durable
- Easy to assemble and disassemble
- Perfect indoors and outdoors
- Metal trellises can be expensive
8. Tree Slab
Tree or wood slabs are perfect for supporting larger plants because they mimic real trees. The only difference is they’re dry.
Otherwise, they are trees with natural backs for easy climbing and root support.
You can always check Amazon to find tree slabs with live backs. Alternatively, check Fcebook’s Marketplace.
If that fails too, visit the local carpenter. They have several wood slabs lying around that they don’t need.
How to install wood slabs for vining plants
Once you have the tree slabs, begin by removing the barks. This is critical because the barks may harbor insects and pests.
Moreover, the bark doesn’t live long without rotting, which may attract mold and fungi.
Next, sand the wood slab to smooth the rough and sharp edges. Then stain your slab with a non-toxic wood stain.
This allows you to preserve the slab without hurting the plant. However, you can skip the step if you wish.
You may also seal it with a wood sealer. Polyurethane sealers are perfect for such applications.
Finally, anchor the slab in the potting soil and wrap the vines around the stem. Feel free to use threads to secure the vines to the tree slab.
- Natural and beautiful
- Easy to find
- May harbor bugs and insects
- Rotting wooden slabs attract mold and mildew
9. Metal Mesh
If plain metal doesn’t do, consider wire mesh. Wire meshes are significantly different from moss poles. However, they offer a few unique benefits.
For instance, a metal mesh is stronger than a moss pole. Similarly, wire meshes are more durable.
Unfortunately, wire mesh doesn’t provide a rooting medium. But a good mesh provides sufficient support for aerial roots, making them the perfect alternative to moss poles for climbers like monstera plants.
How to install wire mesh for climbers
Metal mesh support structures are DIY systems. Don’t expect to find one on Amazon. Instead, you must repurpose concrete wire to make the mesh structure.
Your tomato garden is a good place to check, as many gardeners use metal cages to support tomatoes.
Alternatively, extract pliable re-mesh wire from old concrete slabs. You can also purchase the wire from local hardware stores.
Curl the wire into a cylindrical shape, ensuring the diameter spans the plant’s width.
Measure the height too. Then use cable ties to connect the loose ends. After that, install the structure around your plant and secure the vines onto the mesh.
- Easy to DIY
- Affordable and cost-effective
- Mesh wire is easy to find
- Wire mesh sticks out like a sore thumb indoors
10. Wooden Poles
We’ve already seen that you can use wooden slabs for plant support. But what if you can only find poles? Are they just as good?
Fortunately, they are. A wooden pole provides sufficient strength to support medium-weight climbers.
It also looks natural in the planting pot and can last long with good maintenance. Consider smaller wooden sticks for younger plants.
Best wooden poles for climbing plants
Choosing wooden poles for climbers is easy. First, pick rot-resistant wood such as redwood or cedar.
These species remain in contact with the soil for a long time without rotting. They also resist mold and mildew.
Next, consider non-toxic plants that won’t affect you or your pets. Moreover, toxic plants often leech chemicals into the potting soil, affecting the houseplant.
Finally, consider size and aesthetics. For instance, redwood poles are a stunning reddish-brown color that enhances indoor decor. Similarly, cedar is pinkish-red.
To install a pole support structure, drive the wooden stick into the soil a few inches from the climbing plant.
Then wind the vines around the circumference, securing them with cable ties or threads.
- They are natural materials
- They are a great moss pole alternative
- They’re cheap and affordable
- Don’t offer plant nutrients
11. Wooden Boards
A wooden plank is another exceptional alternative to moss poles. The biggest advantage here is availability.
You certainly have a few wooden boards lying around. If not, you can readily order a few pieces via Facebook Marketplace or from your local carpenter.
Besides availability, wooden boards are natural materials that preserve the environment. They also look at home in a houseplant pot.
How to install wooden boards for climbers
The first step is finding the right board, with the size, especially important. Make sure it’s not too big for the pot. Also, ensure it’s not toxic.
It’s best to install wooden board support structures when repotting. First, attach the vertical support to a sizeable flat base using nails or screws.
You can drive a few holes into the base for drainage. Alternatively, ensure it doesn’t cover the entire base of the plating pot.
Once the structure is ready, lay it inside the pot with the vertical support upright. Then guide the climber’s vines and roots (aerial) around the wooden board, securing them with threads.
It provides a highly stable structure that supports most top-heavy plants.
- Easy to DIY
- Provides a highly stable base
- Slabs may look bulky indoors
12. Support Pole Wrapped in Jute
Suppose you have a few PVC pipes or wooden poles but desire a support structure resembling a moss pole. In that case, wrapping the pole in jute (to form a jute pole) is a great idea.
Jute is a long, soft, shiny bast fiber you can spin into threads. It’s obtained from Corchorus flowing plants and mainly spun into fabric. However, you can also use it as a sphagnum moss alternative.
How to install support poles wrapped in jute
To begin the project, you need a pipe or pole, jute rope, glue, scissor, and pipe cutters. You can also paint the pole if you wish.
- Cut the PVC pipe or wooden pole to size
- Glue the end of the jute rope just above the soil line
- Apply glue over the top section
- Wrap the jute rope around the pole, ensuring it adheres
- Add more glue around the loose sections
- Paint the exposed sections (optional)
- It closely resembles a moss pole
- It’s cheaper than a moss pole
- Easy to DIY
- Jute ropes are challenging to find
13. DIY Moss Pole
Finally, if you’re obsessed with moss poles and unwilling to consider alternatives, the best solution is to make one yourself.
Fortunately, it’s not too challenging a task. The biggest hurdle is finding sphagnum moss material.
You can order that on Amazon but may struggle to find it elsewhere. In that case, you may have to visit a specialty store.
How to DIY-make a moss pole
The following is a step-by-step guide to making a moss pole at home once you have sphagnum moss material;
- Gather the tools and materials: You need a moss pole, sphagnum moss, cable ties, rubber gloves, and scissors or wire cutters.
- Soak the moss for 30 minutes: Soaking rehydrates the material, making it more flexible. Squeeze out the excess water when removing the pole from the water.
- Attach the sphagnum moss sheet to the pole: The best approach is to wrap wire mesh around it and fill it with moss material. Use cable ties to secure loose moss fibers to the pole. Leave a small space at the bottom exposed, about half a foot long.
- Install the DIY moss pole: Drive the exposed end into the potting soil and firm the soil around it to stabilize the pole. Then wrap the plant around the pole:
- Easy to DIY at home
- Works like a real moss pole
- Provides a rooting medium for aerial roots
- Sourcing sphagnum moss is a challenge
Moss poles are the best support systems if you are looking for how to support monstera plant. They provide physical support as well as nutrients via the moss-covered stems.
Also, you can hydrate the plants via the moss pole without disturbing the potting soil.
However, there are at least 13 viable alternatives, including bean poles, coco coir poles, wire trellises, and wooden poles if you cannot readily find moss poles.