Support Your Houseplants in Style with These Budget-Friendly Plant Stakes that Make Great Gifts

published Dec 20, 2022
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If you’re into houseplants like I am, then you have probably seen moss poles popping up across the internet lately. If you haven’t, let me explain a bit.

Moss poles are exactly what they sound like: Poles that are made from sphagnum moss. To create them, usually, a PVC pipe or bamboo stick is covered with moss, which is held in place with plastic netting or fishing line. The purpose of these poles is to provide support for climbing plants like philodendrons, pothos, and monsteras, which allows these plant babies to soar upward. In their natural habitat, these tropical plants grow in the forest understory and use their aerial roots to climb vertically up trees and other large plants toward the light. On top of helping them climb, the aerial roots also absorb moisture and nutrients from the plant matter around them. Moss poles are designed to mimic this natural process indoors. The sphagnum moss is supposed to be kept evenly moist, thus providing water and nutrients to the plants as they climb — similar to what they would experience in nature. 

Sounds great, right? Well, in theory, moss poles are great, if they’re installed and used correctly. However, a couple of problems with moss poles exist. First, moss poles are, quite frankly, a lot of work to maintain because they require a lot of water. Listen, I have a hard enough time remembering to water all of my plants on a regular basis as it is, so keeping a moss pole moist all the time is not realistic for me. Second, they are messy. If you’ve never seen or handled sphagnum moss directly, know that it falls apart easily, especially when it’s dry. Maybe this is TMI, but we’re plant friends so… also, moss poles smell kind of weird; think of the smell of a wet bog or marshland and then imagine it in your home. Lastly, moss poles are, well, sort of ugly. Unless you’re going for a complete indoor jungle vibe (which is totally a look that can be amazing), moss poles often stick out in a home like a sore thumb. 

For all of these reasons, when it comes to providing my plants with supports to climb, I prefer to look for trellises and plant stakes. In general, they’re a bit more stylish and don’t have that wet forest smell that’s just not for me. My favorite alternative in particular? Metal plant trellises. I’m not talking about the standard ones you can find at any old garden center, though. I’m talking about the stylish, sculptural ones available online.

You can find metal trellises in various shapes, colors, and sizes, and on top of being functional, they truly can turn your plant into a work of art. The gold, copper, and brass-colored options are particularly amazing. They’re also fairly easy to source. Great options are available on Amazon, but I love the stylish and unique options small businesses, like Etsy seller NatitBe, have to offer. Check out these minimalist, boho-style metal plant trellises — the snake one below is to die for, and it’s only $31! 

Credit: Etsy

When buying a metal trellis, keep the size of the plant you’re hoping to stake up in mind. Larger plants like monsteras will need equally large supports, while smaller plants like pothos or heartleaf philodendrons will be okay with shorter trellises. 

Now, obviously, metal trellises and plant supports cannot provide the plant’s aerial roots with any moisture or nutrients. But as long as you are watering your plant properly, fertilizing it during the spring and summer (depending on the plant), and using good quality soil that is appropriate for your plant, it will be just fine with a metal trellis. Most climbing houseplants like pothos or monsteras obtain the majority of their water and nutrients from their primary underground root system anyway. So while a moss pole can be a great option for your climbing houseplants, it definitely isn’t the only one!