Want to make a DIY moss pole for plants but think they are messy and difficult? Check out my DIY moss pole alternative using jute instead!
DIY moss pole alternative using jute
Alright so I might be one of the only plant people who hasn’t had a moss pole for a plant until now. I mean…this one isn’t a moss pole. It’s a DIY moss pole alternative using jute rope instead. Why?
Well, the main reason I put off making a moss pole for so long is because it’s kinda messy. Sphagnum moss can be really annoying to work with, and I just put it off and off and off. But I couldn’t put off taming my monstera deliciosa any longer.
I made a post last year about how to keep tall potted plants from falling over using bamboo stakes and dowels. And until now, that’s the method I used for my big monstera deliciosa. (See my monstera deliciosa care guide and my deliciosa propagation guide for more.) But this year I decided to give this giant something real to climb.
Enter the DIY jute pole. Why use jute? Well, the biggest reason is that I already had it! It’s what I used for DIY cat scratchers—check out my DIY cat tree made using real branches and simple modern DIY cat scratcher post. It’s also just rope, so it’s a lot easier to work with.
Here’s what I used:
And here’s how I made my DIY moss pole alternative!
Step 1: Cut PVC pipe to size
I went with PVC pipe for the base of my pole. Lucky for me I grabbed a scrap piece from my dad’s shop—but if you don’t have a dad shop to raid, don’t worry. PVC pipe is super cheap online pre-cut or at Home Depot, Lowe’s, or a similar hardware store. My PVC pipe was about 1 1/2″ I think.
You can use a pipe cutter to cut it, or you can cut it down on a miter saw. I measured how long I wanted mine to be and trimmed the piece of pipe down to size. To decide on the measurement, I just measured the pot and roughly doubled that.
Should I use PVC pipe or wood for a moss pole?
Traditional moss poles seem to use a wooden dowel and sphagnum moss most of the time. However, wood just does not last forever in wet soil. It can get discolored and begin to rot. Though admittedly in a houseplant it would take a while to rot.
So I decided to go with PVC pipe. PVC pipe is a commonly used pipe in modern plumbing. It’s the white stuff that’s probably behind your walls and under your sink. It’s cheap, strong, and lasts pretty much forever even when exposed to moisture.
Oh, and wood is also expensive right now (writing this in June 2021). PVC pipe is really a no brainer. If you don’t like the white, you can easily spray paint the top of your jute pole if you don’t run the rope all the way up to the top. (That’s what I did!)
Step 2: Glue end of jute just above soil line
I measured and eyeballed roughly where the soil would hit when I put the jute pole in. Then I started the jute rope just above that. I started by gluing the end of the jute rope in place using strong glue. Let that dry so it stays put while you’re wrapping.
Step 3: Apply glue up PVC pipe and wrap jute
Glue a few lines 6 to 8 inches long, then wrap jute around up to the end of the glue. Scrunch the jute down as you are wrapping it into place. The glue will ensure everything stays super secure; just gluing the starting and ending points would not be that secure.
When you’ve wrapped all of the pole that you’d like to wrap, snip the jute rope and glue it in place. I just rested the pole face-down on the glued end while it dried so it didn’t pop up.
Step 4: Optional: paint white parts
So you don’t have to do this, and it would probably be best to do it before you wrap the jute. But I didn’t 🙂 So I simply taped a piece of paper over the white part and spray painted it black.
And here’s my finished DIY moss pole alternative using jute rope!
I repotted this plant for spring and added the moss pole in when I was doing that. The plant was SUPER root bound, so I needed to pull some of it apart, add fresh soil and worm castings, and ended up just potting around the pole.
Once the pole, the plant, and all of the new soil was in, I used green vinyl plant tape to tape the monstera up to the pole to encourage climbing. This also helped make the plant more vertical so it takes up less space.
The monstera is outside for the spring and summer, so I’m not too worried about having to mist the pole. It gets pretty humid here in Maryland, so I am hoping the jute rope just retains some of that moisture to help encourage happy climbing!
And I made a smaller jute pole too!
I loved it so much that I decided to take a tree branch I stained and finished to be the base for a smaller jute pole. This one is for my much smaller Thai constellation monstera plant, but I want to get her off to a good start!