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5 Alternatives to Moss Poles (+How To Make your Own!)


Whether to ensure their recovery after planting or to guide their growth, some plants need support.


Staking allows to relieve fragile plants in order to facilitate their development and their blooming. Essential to support certain trees after they are planted, moss poles are installed at the time of planting. 


Moss poles must be solid and resistant. In order to preserve them longer, choose materials that are not susceptible to rot: hazelnut, chestnut, bamboo or covered steel poles (to avoid rust).


Take care to anchor them in the ground: they must resist the growth of your plants.


Attach your plants to these supports with ties, clips, wicker, raffia or plastic. Avoid wire, which can strangle the stems. 


5 interesting alternatives to your moss pole

To maintain an attractive habit, some ornamental garden plants need to be staked, either individually or by whole clumps. You can use the various types of stakes sold in garden centers or make your own.


1. The simple pole

Probably the most commonly used support device, the simple pole is nothing more than a wooden or steel stake to which the tomato plants will be fixed as they grow. This solid and reliable stake is suitable for all varieties of this fruit, which is why this system is so popular.


Moreover, it is very economical, as any long wooden stem will do, as long as its diameter exceeds three centimeters. However, thanks to their rot-proof nature, bamboo stalks are especially recommended for the realization of simple tomato stakes. The hazelnut tree, known for its sturdiness and its straight stems is also recommended.


2. The spiral pole

Generally made of galvanized steel, the spiral pole is preferred for its ease of installation and its aesthetic side which gives a little design to the vegetable garden. Nevertheless, not supporting too heavy weights, it is sometimes rejected for its weak resistance, but also for its price which remains high.


That’s why it is mostly reserved for small tomato plants. On the other hand, its great resistance to bad weather and external aggressions, makes it an investment for a few years.


3. The V-shaped pole

Also used for peas and beans, this type of pole requires the use of two straight sticks joined at their tops with a cord to form an inverted V. The whole joined horizontally, at the top, by another wooden rod if possible quite straight.


During its installation, a distance of about fifty centimeters at least must be observed between two porticos. This pole is particularly suitable for bushy and invasive tomatoes, such as the cherry variety. With this support, there is no need to prune.


4. The teepee pole

As the name suggests, teepee poles are inspired by the shape of conical tents, the dwelling places of American Indians. The trellis is generally composed of three wooden or wrought iron rods that are firmly attached by their upper points with a string or a wire. The particularity of this system is its great solidity.


Moreover, always in this concern of robustness, some do not hesitate to add a fourth pole. This model of pole is especially recommended for the windy places and for the varieties of tomatoes with big fruits like the tomato heart of ox for example.


5. The wire mesh pole

Commonly also called tomato cage, the wire mesh pole is recommended for crops in greenhouses, or in the open field, since this system occupies a lot of space: in fact, the device must still be one and a half meters high and sixty centimeters wide, minimum.


With circular contours, this pole is in most cases made from sheep wire mesh or wire mesh recovery. The use of fasteners is very limited, even non-existent, because the branches, the stems and the leaves of the plant cling to the meshes of the grid and tangle there.


How to make your own moss pole

  1. Gather materials: 
  • Wire mesh, also called wire netting, 60 to 90 cm wide (available at any hardware store);
  • Dry sphagnum moss (peat moss);
  • Bucket;
  • Wire cutters;
  • Flexible wire (e.g., florist wire) or twist ties;
  • Pliers;
  • Work gloves;
  • Bamboo pole or other long object;
  • Potting soil for indoor plants;
  • Large flower pot;
  • Climbing plant.


  1. Soak the sphagnum moss in a bucket of warm water.
  2. Wearing gloves (to avoid injury to yourself on the cut wire), cut a 20-25 cm width of mesh with the wire cutter.
  3. Roll the mesh into a cylinder, using wire or twist ties to secure it.
  4. Use pliers to tuck the cut ends of the mesh inside the cylinder to avoid cutting yourself in the future.
  5. Remove the foam from the water and wring it out.
  6. Fill the cylinder with wet sphagnum moss, packing it firmly. A bamboo stake (or other long tool) will be useful to push it towards the center of the cylinder.
  7. Place the moss pole upright in the pot.
  8. Fill the bottom with the pot with moist potting soil and tamp it down so that the stake stays upright.
  9. Remove the climbing plant and place it in the pot near the stake.
  10. Fill all around the root ball of the plant and the moss pole with moist potting soil, packing it tightly enough so that the moss pole is solid.
  11. Attach the plant stems to the stake with twist ties or flexible wire. (These can be removed later when the plant is well rooted to the moss pole).
  12. When you water the plant in the future, be sure to moisten the moss pole in addition to the potting soil.


From then on, as the plant grows, the aerial roots that form at the nodes of the stems, attracted by the moisture of the pole, will attach themselves to the moss pole and then the plant will climb without any help from you.


Which plants to pole and why?

Some tall or fragile plants in the ornamental garden need to be staked to prevent them from breaking or lying down unsightly at the first gust of wind or after a heavy rain.


Plants can be staked in 2 main ways:

  1. either by attaching them individually to a stake ;
  2. or, when possible, by staking the whole clump, which is less tedious and more aesthetic, giving the plants a more natural look.


Staking is particularly necessary for the following plants

  • Delphiniums, whose stems are very brittle.
  • Dahlias, peonies, sunflowers, large carnations and some large daisies whose heavy flowers can bend or break the stem.
  • Cosmos, gauras, oriental poppies, large irises, large asters with too flexible stems, which bend or collapse with the wind.
  • Hollyhocks, gladioli, lilies, lilies, large salvia, with high stems giving a strong grip to the wind.
  • The annual climbers (volubilis, cobées, nasturtiums, sweet peas…) which cling to the moss pole to offer an enchanting show.


In general, the stronger the wind in your area, the more your plants will need moss pole: experience may make you add some plants to the previous list.

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