Want big, beautiful leaves and steady growth on your ivy or Monstera but don’t fancy the look (or mess) of a traditional moss pole? You’re not alone.
There are many other support poles to choose from with different aesthetics and greater versatility.
We’ve found 11 styles for you to try. We’ve also included an attaching guide so you can put your new support to use right away!
1. Coir Pole
Coir poles are made by wrapping stakes or pipes in a layer of coco coir (the natural fiber from coconut husks).
Cut a length of coir material to wrap fully around your chosen stake, moisten the coir with water, and wrap it tightly around the stake, leaving 6 inches exposed at the base. Secure with string as you go, and tie t off to finish.
Using piping/interlocking stakes allows you to stack coir poles to accommodate plant growth, and you can use jute or clear acrylic ties to blend into the coir better than unsightly white string.
You can also pick up premade packs like these on Amazon.
2. Bamboo Trellis
Bamboo trellises come in pretty pre-made designs like this one or can be constructed into conical frames or fencing by attaching individual bamboo stakes.
Cut bamboo canes to length according to your trellis design, and secure them in place with lashing cord.
Carefully weave vines around wall/fence trellises or allow teepee/cage shapes to act as webs guiding vegetables and tall plants upward.
The lightweight, inexpensive material lets you customize the shape, height, and length so you can replicate extravagant garden center designs on a budget!
3. Wire Trellis
Metal or wire trellises can be tall V-shaped designs supported by a wall or come in minimalist stand-alone shapes (I love this one) for smaller pot plants.
You can make a basic wire support by taking a length of 9mm aluminum wire and bending it into an arch shape with a C-shaped bend at the tip as Dan from The Enduring Gardener demonstrates below.
As with bamboo canes, several wire pieces can be manipulated and overlapped to create A-shaped cages, fences, or barrel-shaped trellises.
Opt for plastic-coated or painted white pieces for a more attractive finish.
4. Plastic Trellis
Plastic trellises are often made from vinyl that won’t need repainting and won’t overheat flowers and vining plants during hot spells in the way metal trellises will.
These trellises can be mounted to walls or come in stand-alone shapes that can be staked directly into the ground.
The cheapest, most versatile form is plastic trellis netting made from heavy-duty, UV-resistant material to hold up heavier, bushier crops and provide more sunlight/air exposure.
Trellis netting can look more agreeable in white than bottle green or when attached to bamboo stakes.
5. Metal Pipe
Non-corrosive pipes made from aluminum, copper, or stainless/galvanized steel can be used as bare plant supports or provide the base for wrapping in more attractive coir, jute, or other natural-looking fibrous material.
The heavy-duty nature and stackable quality make metal pipes a great option for training tall, top-heavy plants and vegetables like pole beans, cucumbers, and peas.
Ensure that the pipe is not covered in paint or oil as this could damage the plants when it reacts with moisture.
6. Metal Mesh
Metal mesh supports are made using sheep wire or “remesh” (concrete reinforcement mesh) and are used widely as tomato cages but make ideal cylindrical poles for many tall, bushy flowering plants.
The pliable mesh sheets can be easily curled into the required cylinder width and secured together using cable ties to connect each end with the help of another person to hold it steady.
Tip: Remesh has a finer gauge than most other metal mesh options and will look more subtle against your plants, especially bushier varieties.
7. Tree Slab With Bark
Sometimes the best support stake is one taken from nature – scrap wood.
You can often source free lumber from local construction sites and other areas, or you can find the ideal piece while on a nature hike.
You’ll need to saw the end of the scrap slab so it stands level with your floor to prevent leaning/toppling. Run the slab under a cool shower to remove debris, and brush off excess with a coarse bristle brush.
Tree slabs are perfect for towering tropical plants that have outgrown poles. Anchor the slab by threading wire/twine through wall hooks and around the slab. Use thinner floral wire for minimal visibility.
8. PVC Pipe
PVC pipes make effective support poles when covered in sphagnum moss and can even be made into self-watering poles if holes are drilled into the pipe to allow water pouring in the top to moisten the surrounding moss.
Cut your PVC pipe to size and lay an inch of moistened moss onto a section of plastic wire mesh. Drill holes along the pipe (optional), and wrap the pipe inside the mesh like a Swiss roll, securing with cable ties.
Attach a waste pipe stop in the end so water won’t pool in the soil base. Use brown/tan plastic mesh to blend in better with the sphagnum moss.
9. Wooden Board
A minimalist alternative to tree slab is a simple wooden board/plank to help vining plants attach and wrap around decoratively.
This should be small enough to place into the pot and is best placed in before adding the plant to prevent root disruption.
Find a suitably-sized plank from your local hardware store (I found all these on Amazon) and place it in the bottom of your empty pot before placing a little soil and your plant’s root ball in the center.
Opt for rot-resistant wood such as cedar or mahogany, and sand down any sharp edges for a more finished, attractive display.
10. Support Pole Wrapped in Jute
If you don’t like the mess of certain plant supports, a simple pole wrapped in jute rope is a clean and stylish alternative.
Jute string could be wrapped around bamboo stakes in the ground to form a makeshift cage or A-shaped teepee for vegetables and vines to weave in and out of.
Or thick jute rope could be wound tightly and glued around any stake, rod, plank, or PVC/metal piping for houseplant use, creating a pretty rattan effect.
Spiral a matching shade of jute string to secure the rope further in place and maintain a natural finish.
11. Wood Stakes
The basic wood stake is the simplest and cheapest plant support there is, and they’re so easy to plant straight into soil due to their tapered end – just be sure they exceed 5 millimeters in diameter for sturdy support outdoors.
Wood stakes are ideal for top-heavy single-stalk plants such as sunflowers, canna lilies, and corn plants.
Use twine or cable ties to loosely attach to the plant stems to prevent injury – green nylon plant ties can look softer and less unsightly than shiny plastic cable ties.
How To Attach a Plant to a Moss Pole
- 15-30 inch bamboo pole/wooden stake
- Jute twine
- Dry sphagnum moss
- Rubber gloves
- Newspaper/protective mat
- Twist ties/floral wire
1. Add Your Moss Pole to a Young Plant
To avoid damaging your plant’s root system, it’s best to add moss poles to young plants so they learn to grow alongside one as opposed to plunging support poles next to mature plants.
Repotting is also a great time to add a new moss pole.
2. Add Layers of Moistened Moss to Pole & Secure With Jute
Soak the moss in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes so it expands, and squeeze out the excess.
Next, slowly secure clumps of moss around the pole by tightly winding the jute around, ensuring there are no gaps. Leave the bottom 6 inches exposed for staking in the soil.
3. Insert Pole Into the Soil & Attach Climbing Plant
Carefully place the pole into the bottom of the pot without disturbing the roots, and backfill with potting soil around the base of the moss pole, pressing lightly to secure in place.
For vines, gently wrap the longest vine stem around the pole as it develops, or for larger climbing plants, attach the largest stem to the pole loosely using floral wire or twist ties.
Continue moistening the moss pole 2-3 times a week.
From here on in, the aerial roots that develop on the growing stem’s nodes will be drawn to the moisture and eventually become well-rooted enough to climb the pole naturally – allowing you to remove the training ties/wire.
Plants That Benefit From a Moss Pole
Moisture-loving climbers, tall vegetable varieties, and any fully epiphytic (air plant) that can’t grow in substrate like vine species are ideal candidates for moss poles. These include (but aren’t limited to):
- Climbing rose
- Pole beans
- Arrowhead plants
Many of the above moss pole alternatives are simple and affordable to make, though the best style for you will depend on your plant species and display preferences.
Garden trellises suit unruly vines and bushy crops, while top-heavy, large-leafed beasts like Monsteras and Philodendrons benefit from the moisture and height offered by stackable coir poles, tree slabs, and chunky pipe supports.