Did you know many common houseplants are considered epiphytes? Plants such as Monsteras, Philodendrons, Hoya’s, Orchids—all epiphytes. Given room and freedom, epiphytes tend to naturally grow along surfaces, usually on trees. They mature as they climb. Some plants fenestrate more, while others just double in size. Monstera Deliciosa will start to sprout smaller and more juvenile leaves if they’re not given proper support.
What does that support look like? Well, some people say moss poles, others will argue that wooden planks are the best. Both of these options have their pros and cons, but let's discuss them in more detail.
Moss poles are made from sphagnum moss. You can buy them online or DIY it with a bunch of different materials (chicken wire, heaps of moss and zip ties). When given the right amount of humidity, aerial roots take off with moss poles. They’re also a great way to help raise your ambient humidity. And they’re a tad easier to attach and can be made bigger when your plant inevitably outgrows it.
On the flip side, however, sphagnum moss dries out really fast—sometimes within 24 hours. if you don’t keep the moss pole moist or have high enough humidity, you won’t see those leaves mature. And when you have multiple moss poles around, having to constantly keep them moist isn’t always ideal. The next downside would be the expenses. Moss poles use a lot of sphagnum moss—we’re talking bags of it. Between that and chicken wire, the price can get a little high. But still, given all this information, there’s just something so classic about a big beefy Philodendron Verrucosum growing along a moss pole.
If I’m being honest, this is my preferred method because sometimes, you just need a basic wooden plank from the hardware store. If you want something fancier, you can consider our Zella Trellis.
Wooden planks also mimic natural substrates, so they're more likely to encourage attachment to the wood than moss. The trick to getting your plant to attach is to have higher humidity. Ideally, at least 50%. If you’re able to keep humidity at 50% (whether in a cabinet, green house or plant room) those aerial roots will attach in no time. No worrying about moistening a moss pole—just set it and forget it. The biggest con, however, is rot and having to extend the plank. Cedar wood is always best—although it can be tricky to find sometimes. Once again, you could also look at our Zella Trellis. It’s made to be easily extendable and made from cedar which is less likely to rot as fast.
When it comes to maturing your plants, I would definitely recommend trying wood over moss. It requires very minimal effort and adds to that whole indoor jungle feel.
However, it's always worth it to experiment and see what works best for your environment.