We’ve got a large old Monstera plant that’s grown right over the top of its moss pole – so how can we replace or extend the pole?
Remove a moss pole by untying any support wires and then coaxing the plant away from the stick. If a few aerial roots get damaged that’s fine, but don’t sever any stems. If it still won’t come free, then turn the plant over in its pot whilst holding it in place, and use more downward force on the pole.
Let’s dig down into this subject in more detail (pun intended!), and determine how exactly to replace a moss pole in simple steps. We’ll also look into extending moss sticks like we probably need to…
Can You Replace a Moss Pole?
You can replace a moss pole in theory – but it’s a tricky job, and doesn’t come without risks. If you have a large climbing plant like a Monstera, you’ll notice that it becomes very attached to its moss pole, which makes it hard to replace the stick if you need to.
Simply pulling out the stick can cause damage to the plant’s roots as well as the tendrils growing around the moss pole. So if your moss stick has become rotten, or your climber has simply outgrown it, what can you do?
How Do You Replace a Moss Stick?
Sometimes, it’s possible to remove the old moss stick. It’s all about being gentle. Untie any clips or wires that have been helping the plant climb up its support. Then slowly and carefully start to coax the plant away from the stick. If you have a Monstera, it’s OK if a few aerial roots get damaged, but don’t sever any stems.
If you think this won’t work, an alternative method is to place the new moss stick in the pot, and gradually coax the plant over to it. Hopefully, your plant will favor the lovely new moss pole, and the old pole can be left until you can safely remove it.
The third solution is to cut the pole away from the plant. You can hack away at small sections of the pole, carefully avoiding the roots and stems, until the moss pole is basically no more. This is pretty labor-intensive, but effective. You just need to make sure that you have the new stick ready to go before you begin this task.
How do you attach the plant to its new moss stick? Carefully place the leaves and stems where you want them to be, and fasten the plant to the pole. You can use Velcro ties, string, twine, gr wire. Green Velcro ties look good, and are easy to adjust.
Then, position the stems. If you have a plant that has aerial roots, like a Monstera, make sure that these are in contact with the pole. They will eventually start to grow into the moist moss.
Can you re-pot a moss stick along with its plant if your plant outgrows its container? Yes you can, and this is a gentler approach than attempting to both re-pot and re-stake your plan.
The easiest way to replace a moss stick is to turn the whole thing (plant, pot, and moss pole) upside down. This is definitely a two-person job, even with a smaller plant! It’s also pretty messy, so make sure that your floor is protected before you start.
By repotting the moss pole along with the plant, that’s one less trauma for your houseplant to experience. As we plant parents know, most species really don’t like any changes!
How Long Does a Moss Pole Last?
This depends on what your moss pole is made from. Some are made from wood, which will eventually rot, while a pole made from a PVC pipe will last a lot longer. We’ve heard that you should allow a lifespan of around 4-6 years.
If you’re using all-natural materials, the pole is likely to rot after a while. This is because the moss stick needs to be kept moist to feed the climbing plant.
There’s another potential issue: your happy, healthy plant will continue to grow. What happens when it starts to overtop its support?
If you want your moss pole to last a long time, the best solution is to plan ahead. Either buy a moss pole that’s taller than you need, or pick up an extendable moss pole. Yes, these are a thing, and they’re designed to grow with your plant.
However, if you’ve already got a moss stick in place and are reluctant to replace it, it is possible to make a DIY extension.
Can You Extend a Moss Pole?
When your plant starts to overtop the moss pole, you have two choices: cut back the plant or extend the stick. The latter solution is preferable: no-one wants to excessively prune a happy plant that’s growing well.
If you’re reading this before you start out on your moss pole journey, just make sure you buy a tall enough stick to begin with. Read up on your plant’s likely height (or measure your ceiling, whichever comes first), or decide at what height you are prepared to start pruning.
The classic way to extend any stake is to lash a second, taller stake onto it. However, this doesn’t work that well with a moss pole, as the plant will already be attached to the shorter stick.
Watch this short film from Planterior Decorator to see how she extends a moss pole. She fixes a wire cage over the top of the end of the existing moss post, then stuffs it with moss. She continuously adds cable ties to keep the wire frame in shape, and to prevent the extension from leaning.
Top tip: if your moss pole is starting to feel too tall and you’re worried that it’s unstable, simply add a classic bamboo-type stake to the pot. Tie this onto the moss pole for extra support. A slender but strong cane should provide stability without interfering with the plant’s growth.
What Happens To An Old Moss Pole? (If You Leave it in)
An old moss pole, if made from natural materials, will eventually begin to rot. This can potentially cause damage to the roots, so when your plant has adopted its new pole, you should cautiously try to remove the older stick. This should be easy if it’s really rotten.
Hopefully, your moss pole will last you up to six years, so this won’t be a frequent problem! As we mentioned earlier, there are various ways to replace your old moss pole if it starts to deteriorate, and you can also extend your existing moss stick if your plant grows more than anticipated.
Final Thoughts on Replacing Moss Poles
It looks like the easiest thing to do is simply extend our moss pole, not completely replace it.
However, it’s good to know it can be done if our Monstera keeps growing and we need to change our pole at any stage in future.
Just make sure you get someone to help if you try and turn the plant over in its pot to remove your moss stick – our Monstera’s a beast and weighs too much to do this on your own. 🙂
Homeowner and property investor Larry James founded Take a Yard in 2020 to bring you the very best outdoor living content, based on his years of experience managing outside spaces. Read more >