As lovely as it is, Monstera Deliciosa, or Swiss Cheese Plant as it is more commonly known, is a really fast grower. The leaves are already enormous, and with a new leaf every 4-6 weeks, you may soon notice that your plant needs something to hang on to grow upright.
In nature, tree trunks act as supports as Monstera Deliciosa hang on to them with their aerial roots and grow vertically. You can provide artificial support to your plant and help it look fabulous with the help of a moss pole.
How to Train a Monstera Deliciosa on a Moss Pole?
A moss pole can be prepared by wrapping sphagnum moss around a bamboo stick or PVC pipe. Use a string and twirl it around to hold the material in place. Using a soft plant tie, tie the thickest stem of your Monstera Deliciosa to the pole at several points along the stem. Trim the more horizontally growing stems to stimulate vertical growth. Over time, the aerial roots will stick to the moss pole, and the plant will grow vertically.
Why Does Monstera Deliciosa Need a Moss Pole?
The natural way for a particular plant to grow is the best way for that plant to thrive.
With this growth pattern, the plant in question has evolved over thousands of years through the process of natural selection.
In the wild, M. Deliciosa grows at the base of tree trunks. With aerial roots sticking around the moist bark of tropical trees, Monstera Deliciosa gains moisture as well as the support to grow vertically rather than hang around on the ground.
So, why do Monstera Deliciosa tend to hang on to trees and grow vertically? Because growing vertically with each new leaf on top of the other helps the plant absorb more light in the forest.
A bunch of leaves trailing around on the ground won’t do much good for the tropical plant. Another theory that explains this adaption is that with vertical growth around tree trunks, Monstera Deliciosa is less likely to be trodden upon and damaged by animals or humans.
So much about the wild. Let us now talk about why your Swiss Cheese plant needs a moss pole in your home. It is not that the plant will not be able to grow without a moss pole.
Your Monstera Deliciosa will grow just as well without any support. The difference, however, will be that it will trail around and might grow horizontally on the floor.
So training or not training your plant to a moss pole is majorly a matter of personal preference.
If you’re constantly striking into those beautiful leaves walking around the plant, and you don’t have a lot of living space to offer, you should use a moss pole.
If your plant is not getting sufficient light hanging around the ground, use a moss pole.
If you’re generally inclined towards the aesthetics of a moss pole, use a moss pole. After all, it does give a tropical vibe.
What Exactly Is a Moss Pole?
The name is self-explanatory. However, you might have come across instances of moss poles that don’t exactly look like moss wrapped around a pole. This confuses a lot of people.
Moss poles are one thing, made of long-strand sphagnum moss wrapped around a bamboo cane or PVC pipe. However, there are also coco coir poles that look a lot better but do not offer the same functionality.
Moss wrapped around a pole can hold moisture for a considerable period of time. The moisture and the easy-to-penetrate surface of the moss encourage aerial roots to grow as a Monstera Deliciosa holds on to the support.
A DIY Moss Pole
You can easily make a moss pole at home with a few items.
- Long-strand sphagnum moss
- Bamboo cane or PVC pipe (at least a foot taller than the plant)
- Plastic string
- Soft plant ties
Steps to create a DIY Moss Pole for your Monstera:
- Soak the sphagnum moss in water until thoroughly wet.
- Place the bamboo cane or PVC pipe in the plant pot to mark the point that will stick inside the pot.
- From above the marked position, start stretching the moss over the pole. The moss may be a little difficult to spread.
- Make sure to add a thick enough layer of moss.
- Start wrapping the moss with the string or tie as soon as it covers the circumference of the pole.
Tips for Training Monstera Deliciosa to Moss Pole
Adding a moss pole while repotting is the best time to add one, but only if a repotting is due for your plant.
No need to unsettle the plant, a moss pole can be installed either way. But if you are repotting, be sure to plant your Monstera Deliciosa back in its pot in a slightly different spot than the center. The center of the pot is the ideal place for a moss pole to stand.
The moss pole needs to stick deep into the pot. So that it is not bothered when large leaves are hanging from its top in the future.
You will observe that your Monstera Deliciosa has thick stems with aerial roots appearing from the nodes. You need to fasten the thickest stem to the moss pole first.
A mist or two every week will ensure that the aerial roots continue growing around the moss pole. This might seem like extra maintenance, but it will provide your plant with the extra water it needs to sustain its top foliage.
If you still spot leaves peeking out of the pot and taking up horizontal space, you may have to sacrifice that leaf.
Pruning those beautiful leaves isn’t ideal, but it will make sure that any and all new growth happens in the vertical direction.
Last but not least, the natural way to manage the direction of new growth is light. So don’t forget to use light to your advantage. A Monstera Deliciosa may lean a lot towards one side rather than going upwards.
If you rotate the plant so that it looks to be leaning away from the source of light, you might be able to straighten things out. Because the plant reverses direction and comes towards the center.
Alternatives to a Moss Pole
A coco coir pole is an excellent alternative to a moss pole. The husky brown coco coir contrasts very well with the green leaves.
However, as mentioned above, coco coir poles are much less effective than moss poles. Coco coir cannot retain moisture well and will soon dry out after a misting.
The inability of coco coir poles to retain moisture for long does not mean they don’t work. With frequent misting, you can get the aerial roots to grow around the pole easily.
Frequently Asked Questions About Moss Poles for Monstera Deliciosa
How long does it take for Monstera Deliciosa to attach to a moss pole?
If you have consistently maintained the moss pole moist, the roots should not take more than six weeks to attach during the growing season.
How to check if aerial roots have attached to the moss pole?
Remove a few ties with which you have fastened the plant to the moss pole. If the stems hold in place without the ties, roots have attached to the pole. But do not completely remove the ties too soon. Only do when you are sure that aerial roots are well established in the moss pole.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.