Pothos on a Moss Pole

wgbennett83February 8, 2009


I just purchased some golden pothos that I want to grow on a moss pole. I have 12 vines that are about 5 inches long. Do the plants need to grow longer before I try to start growing them up a moss pole? Once they start growing up the moss pole can they be replanted to grow up another moss pole, or are they bound to that one? If I can start growing them up a pole right away, how long and wide should I make the pole?

Thanks in advance to all responses.



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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi Will,

You haven't said whether you've grown this before or not; or for that matter, if you have experience with growing plants in general.

I ask 'cause it has bearing. Some folks find Pothos VERY easy to grow, yet once in a while there's someone who simply kills this plant every time. Overwatering is the one way to kill this plant.

It's important to learn its watering habits (they need to dry out btwn waterings). I'd do that for the first few motnhs, making sure it was growing well into Spring before I tried to add a moss pole.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 3:11PM
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First off, thanks for the reply. As for my experience growing plants, I have none. This is the first plant I've purchased. I did purchase a book on houseplants, and believe that I have a decent idea on how to care for it.

When I add the pole in the spring, how tall should I make it? Also, once the plant is climbing the poll, can it be moved to a larger pot with a taller poll, or is it bound to that one? I've read that it is difficult to get pothos to grow into a moss pole, but that it is possible. If it grows into the poll, I assume that would make moving it difficult?

Thanks again for all replies.


    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 5:10PM
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Also, these 12, ~5 inch vines of pothos are actually in two 6 inch containers. Should I move them to one larger container, or grow them separate?

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 5:16PM
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Bennett, the moss pole is designed to keep the climbing vine in a moist state. I, myself, use a 5-foot length piece of cedar bark. Ideally, it should be placed into the soil and deep enough for sturdiness. My bark is 3" wide. My pothos has climbed that pole (if you want to call it that) I don't really know, it is kept growing up, then allowed to climb back down on itself, then back up. Right now its one big mass of leaves which sometimes makes it difficult to get the spout into it.
As long as it is sufficiently long to start its training up the pole, there is no need to separate it yet. It doesn't need to be so thin it will twine around the pole, it can be affixed to the pole with a plastic tie....be sure tho to tie it loosely.
When you feel the roots might be tangling in one another, its time to separate the individuals if you consider it necessary. Two, or three plants can be let to grow up the pole and give you a more robust plant pretty quickly.

The 6-inch pot is plenty big enough right now. Later if you wish to separate the individuals into their own pots, then you can better tell when they grow and can tell where the roots are. If you do decide you wish to separate them, don't wait too long that the roots tangle with one another.
That may bring up the need to unpot the whole mass for better sighting of where to separate.

About going up to bigger pots, I suggest you read articles on when, why, or whether you should increase the size of pots for your houseplants. Generally, you will see the remark to go up only one size each time you do it.
There is a reason for this. But read further on it.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 7:19PM
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Mentha(9 CA)

I am one of those weird people who PG menthioned. I have been growing all sorts of plants for years now, but pothos is one I cannot master. That doesn't keep me from trying though. Common sence says to plant them with the pole now while their roots are still small, instead of waiting for an emergency procedure. Once you train it to the pole, this will be it's home for a long time, so be sure to get one long enough. An oblisk might weigh less, but probably would be a bit more expensive. It would look nicer in my opinion though. I made my own with floral wire and rebar.

It's not the best picture but you can get an idea, right? This is the largest of my frames, the other ones have one piece of 10 ft rebar bent in half wired together with a grid.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 1:05PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

We forgot to ask if you're growing indoors or outdoors.

I think a moss pole in a greenhouse is doable, also in the tropics. I think a moss pole for indoor growing is a disaster waiting to happen (especially for someone who has no growing experience).

I'm guessing it's going to need a lot of moisture to keep the pole moist, that may be too much for the plant & kill it instead.

It's not my intent to be a downer, but I think this is overly ambitious, the pole is unlikely to work. What about just growing the plant w/out the pole & seeing if you can master it plain & get its watering down?

Otherwise it's likely to be a disappointment, bum you out & keep you from growing other things & enjoying them.

Hey Mentha,

Sorry, you poor thing you, you know I wasn't singling you out!! ;>)

Did you happen to breathe those Pothos-killing cooties my way? I've grown this plant well for yrs. by ignoring it & it's done fine. Lately mine was fading so I've tossed it & have started more water cuttings w/ which to replish it. They're not doing that well & frankly I'm miffed as to why!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 1:56PM
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Mentha(9 CA)

I do have one which was lovely when I got it, and it's still kicking. I need to give it a trim, but I like the long vines hanging to the floor. I only wish they had leaves on them ;) I'm a glutton for punishment. I just bought this guy a few days ago. 4 3 in pots planted into an 8 in pot. Never seen one of these before. You know acquisition is more of a pull than anything.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 2:54PM
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johnh_or(Portland OR Z8)

Believe it or not, if you train your Pothos to grow upright, the leaves will get larger and larger. Pothos in Hawaii will naturally attach themselves to the bark of trees. I think a coarse bark pole will work better than a moss one. Check the picture on the link provided. That is a Pothos!!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Pothos in Hawaii

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 7:31PM
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Thanks for all the replies. I am growing this plant indoor. Since a moss pole would be difficult if not impossible inside, would climbing anything be out of the question? I've read where people attach pothos to a rough piece of wood.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 11:56PM
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Mentha(9 CA)

You could make your own pole with PVC, chicken wire, spagnum moss, and a bit of potting soil, however they will be less likely to cling unless you keep the pole moist. I think this may be why PG advised against it. It is quite a mess keeping the poles moist enough for root contact.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 3:17AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)


Mentha & I are on the same page here, nice look but not so doable indoors.

Since you seem intent on having it climb (rather than trail or hang as it's likely to do indoors), here's an idea.

Use a hanging basket which has either wires supporting the basket or ropes like macrame, put the pot inside & train the Pothos vines up the rope (which they'll likely cover up from view). I expect this will give you a vertically climbing plant w/ much less fuss. Then again, I still suggest you master just growing the plant first.

Mentha, that's a very pretty leaf, doesn't look like a standard pothos. Tho' the frog is cute, it's the same color as the leaves, confusing to try to see what Pothos that is.

Hey John, maybe we can camp out under that Hawaiian Pothos, a considerable space that is, holy moly!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 11:26AM
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johnh_or(Portland OR Z8)

pirate girl.....sounds like a plan to me! I am amazed by the incredible size that Pothos leaves attain in Hawaii. And they develop splits too. I've seen leaves 2 feet across in Maui. Yet if you check the base of the plant, the leaves are the size of your average houseplant Pothos.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 9:26PM
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I don't think I'll be growing that Pothos inside my house....

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 10:41PM
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I am very sorry to intrude on a thread that I can't offer any useful advice on; I grow several pothos, but not a single one on a pole of any kind; but Mentha I had to ask where did you get that pothos! It is amazing! It has the best qualities of a golden pothos with the colors of a silver. Nice plant, I have horrible envy right now. California gets all the cool things first.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 8:22AM
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where can one acquire a bark pole? My local nursery (Chelsea Gardens) does not carry them and a google search turned up nothing. An online retailer would be ideal...

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 6:56PM
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Just one word of advice - make sure you dont stretch your stem while fixing the plant to the moss pole. You wont believe the number of pothos I've lost this way. I think the trick is to loosely tie the vines to the moss pole and allow the plants to find their own way.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 1:47AM
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