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How to Train a Pothos to Climb (In 7 Steps)

The glossy variegated foliage and trailing vines of Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) are attractive, but they cannot climb on their own.

So, I’ll show you how to get your Pothos to climb your preferred support system.

Find the right support system for your Pothos to climb, like a moss pole, trellis, wall, bamboo pole, or metal pole. Tie the stems to the support and keep cutting them to move the vines in the direction you want. You can also use artificial lights to direct your Pothos.

When to Start Training your Pothos to Climb?

Pothos grows long, winding vines with proper care. Some can grow up to 30 feet (9m) tall indoors.

Unfortunately, the vines will also become tangled, giving your Pothos a straggly appearance.

At this point, it’s best to start training your Pothos so they can wrap their poles or climb the wall.

You’ll need to wait about a year and a half before you can begin training your Pothos for climbing.

I speed up the growth of my Pothos by doing the following:

  • I don’t use water to grow my Pothos. Indeed, Pothos spread more quickly in water, but they grow faster in a soil mix. Growing them in water can take up to two years or longer to climb.
  • My Pothos receives plenty of bright, indirect light.
  • Plants such as Pothos, philodendrons, and jade plants are great companions for my houseplants because they provide a constant supply of humidity.
  • Alternatively, I activated my humidifier during the winter, when the central heating is on.
  • During the growing season, I use a booster fertilizer every two to three months.

If Pothos is growing in water, you should wait at least two years before beginning to train it.

After a year, the vining stems should be strong enough to train if the plant is grown in soil.

Either way, your plant will climb better once the main stem has finished growing as a trailing vine.

You should begin training your Pothos when the new foliage at the tip of the main branches is smaller than the foliage closer to the base, according to experience.

Providing a Climbing System for Pothos

Aerial Roots of Pothos Aid Plant Climbing

The aerial roots of Pothos make it a superb self-clinging climber. However, their primary function isn’t just that of a support system anchor.

Pothos aerial roots can also assist the plant in absorbing moisture and nutrients from the surrounding air.

Unfortunately, Pothos can’t climb on its own. For the aerial roots to attach, they need a surface.

So, the first step is to ensure that your Pothos has the proper support system to climb.

That would be an indoor wall for most houseplant enthusiasts. But, thanks to their thin, floaty roots, pothos’ aerial stems cannot penetrate most building materials.

As a result, they won’t damage or peel the paint on the surface.

You can train your Pothos to climb and make a beautiful indoor living wall.

You can place your Pothos on a brightly lit floor or a shelf near a wall. Alternatively, let it spill over the wall from a high-ceilinged basket.

To cover a wall, you can train several pothos plants to grow from various locations, such as a shelf on either side of the wall or even the ceiling.

Walls are one option for anchoring, but they’re not the only one. You can use a trellis, totem poles, moss poles, metal anchors, or bamboo canes.

Your Pothos can take on the form of an anchor for an eye-catching design project.

Materials that Help Pothos Climb

You can train Pothos on an anchoring system to make it look like it is twining while climbing.

The following are some of the most commonly used support materials:

  • Trellises – Whether bamboo, wall, wire, wooden, lattice or arbor trellises
  • Metal poles – They can be of any shape
  • Moss poles – You can purchase a ready-to-use moss pole (Check the latest price on Amazon here) or DIY yours. The critical ingredient is sphagnum moss.
  • Totem poles – These support poles look and work like moss poles. But they have coco coir wound to the surface to provide an anchor system for your Pothos.
  • Bamboo canes – These are a natural and eco-friendly choice

Your pothos’ vines will be better able to climb with the aid of these tools. In addition, pruning and tying the vines will ensure they grow in the correct direction.

Since you’ll need these items, you’ll want to stock up on them:

  • Vinyl tie tape
  • Brass picture hooks
  • Jute string
  • Command hooks
  • Ties

Indoor Wall Training

Your wall is the best and most accessible anchoring system for training your Pothos to climb indoors.

It’s simple to lead them over one or more walls, transforming them into living surfaces.

They will undoubtedly spruce up and add character to your living space.

  1. Gather everything you need: It requires little material. To tie, you only need adhesive hooks (or nails) and jute string (twine or fishing string will suffice). Any solid framework placed against a wall can serve the same function.
  2. Apply hooks/nails: Arrange them in the pattern you want your Pothos to follow. Connect all hooks/nails with twine or string. You can be as creative as you want, creating a geometric pattern, imitating a fanning effect, or framing your window. Your pothos vines will take care of the rest.
  3. Plant positioning: You can place your Pothos on the floor close to the wall or a shelf. Hanging my photos from the ceiling end of the wall is the clear winner for me!
  4. Train, train, train: I like to begin training the vines around the most extended strings and work my way down to the shortest. Make sure the vines have enough room to stretch on the strings.

That is simple, but it requires a lot of patience, pruning, and training.

Hoop Training

Using this method, you can train your Pothos to grow around a hoop in the container.

Balloon trellises come in various shapes and sizes, and they can be planted directly in your planting medium.

U-shaped hoops are my favorite, but semi-circle balloon trellises are also popular these days.

The steps to train your Pothos to climb a balloon trellis are as follows:

  1. Gather what you’ll need: Of course, you’ll need a hoop in your desired shape, as well as twine, jute string, fishing line, or gardening wire to tie the vines to the trellis.
  2. Start with long vines: I train by wrapping the longest vines around the balloon trellis and then tying them to the hoop with twine or tying string. Make sure it wraps around the hoop until all the stems are looped around it.
  3. Pothos vines may not be long enough to wrap the entire hoop. Keep winding growing stems around the hoop.
  4. To accommodate your plant’s growth, incorporate multiple hoops into the design. I prefer grid or wire trellises with open weaves. They are adaptable and allow more light in for healthy growth.

Pole Training

Pole training is an excellent choice for beginning gardeners. If this is your first time training a pothos to climb, this is the obvious choice.

The pole’s function is obvious: to support and guide vines as they grow longer.

  1. Gather materials & supplies: You’ll need a pole with a diameter of about an inch (2.5 cm) and a length of about ten feet (about three meters). You will also need twine, gardening wire, or string.
  2. Prepare the vining stem: Pluck some leaves from the vining stem and begin rolling a knot around your pole with care.
  3. Drive the pole into the ground until it can stand on its own.
  4. Start training: Wrap your Pothos around the pole and tie the vining stem regularly with twine or string. The knots should be loose to allow for growth and prevent damage.
  5. You can increase the size of the pole as needed.
  6. As long as the vining stem is wrapped around the Pothos, it will climb the pole. Pole training is thus a set-it-and-forget-it method.

How to train Pothos to Climb?

Here are the critical steps to training your Pothos to climb in your home:

Step #1: Ensure Growing Conditions are Optimal

It is critical to place your Pothos in an area with plenty of bright, indirect light. This should be at least a few feet away from east, west, or south-facing windows.

If you use grow lights, your Epipremnum aureum won’t mind.

The direction of the light source should match the direction you want your Pothos to grow. The reason for this is that it gravitates toward the source of light.

Epipremnum aureum prefers temperatures between 70-90°F (21-32°C) and moderate humidity levels, so keep these conditions in mind.

Step #2: Potting Medium Matters

It’s crucial to plant your Pothos in a well-draining regular potting soil (Check the latest price on Amazon here).

Also, ensure the pot isn’t too large or too small for the size of your plant. It should have several drainage holes in the bottom, as well. 

Step #3: Gather Everything You’ll Need

Here’s what you’ll need to train your Pothos to climb:

  • Your preferred anchoring system can be a trellis, moss pole, totem pole, bamboo cane, or metal pole.
  • Cutting tool – a pair of sterile scissors should do
  • What to use for tying the vines – This can be gardening wire, twine, fishing string, or jute string.
  • Your well-established Pothos 

Step #4: Install the Anchoring Support

This step will vary depending on the support system you choose. First, let’s dive into the four most common anchoring systems for training pothos.

Moss pole

You can buy pre-made moss poles or make your own (more ahead on this). The surface of this pole is covered in sphagnum moss, coco noir, or peat moss, as the name implies.

Their function is to encourage the aerial roots to attach to the pole.

Using moss/totem poles, the most effective way to encourage pothos vines to climb and grow in the desired direction is to use moss/totem poles. That almost always means upwards!

Moss poles take it a step further. The organic fibers mimic pothos’ natural habitats and deliver moisture and nutrients via aerial roots.

Place the pole so the vine can reach the moss or coco noir.

Trellis

Trellis is another popular type of pothos anchoring support. You should train your pothos to climb the trellis in the spring or early summer, just in time for the growing season.

Your pothos should have properly latched onto the trellis by winter. Remember that pothos are tropical natives that frequently climb trees and other plants in search of more light.

The trellis will accomplish the same thing, allowing your pothos to wrap around and reach for more light.
Trellises are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials.

Choosing the best one is frequently a matter of personal preference. Check that it is sturdy enough and that it fits your decorative needs.

Tripods, flats, arches, and wall trellises are among the best. Overall, I recommend getting trellises with bottom supports and long prongs.

Place a trellis in your plant’s pot or against a wall for added stability when training. Begin by tying the vines to the trellis framework with the main vining stem.

Bamboo Pole

Bamboo canes, a great alternative to totem poles, provide adequate climbing support for your Pothos. But unfortunately, they also have natural pest-repelling properties.

A potential disadvantage is a lack of flexibility when repotting your Pothos. In addition, drive it gently into the soil to avoid damaging the root system.

Because bamboo canes do not retain moisture as well as moss poles, you will need to keep the pole wet more frequently.

Metal Pole

Pothos vines can be anchored to metal poles, as well. It is strong and long-lasting and can be formed into any shape.

Check that the pole does not rust or contain any phototoxic chemicals.

It can withstand the pressure of plant vines with ease. However, some may think it is overpriced.

Step #5: Tying Vines

Begin training your plant to climb once the anchor systems are in place. Twine, wire, or string the vines to the anchors at various strategic points.

Twisting the stems ensures that they are tightly wrapped around the support.

Step #6: Prune as Necessary

If your Pothos is too large for support, you can prune some of the vining stems. But don’t go too far with the pruning. It is preferable to expand the size of the support.

Step #7: Ensure your Pothos is Well Cared For

Although not a heavy feeder, your Pothos will benefit from fertilizer once every two months to promote healthy growth. As needed, add supports or string ties.

Moss Poles Help Climbing Pothos Grow Bigger Leaves

Moss poles are helpful for more than just climbing. They also assist your Pothos in producing the most vibrant and extensive foliage.

This is since moss retains moisture for an extended period.

The following cultivars and varieties of Pothos are best trained with moss poles:

  • Marble Queen pothos
  • Pearls and Jade pothos
  • Silver pothos
  • Neon pothos

The trick is to provide your Pothos with abundant bright, indirect sunlight.

How to Make a Pothos Moss Pole? 

Follow these easy steps to DIY your moss pole:

  1. Gather necessary materials and supplies – You typically need sphagnum moss, hardware mesh, a wooden stake, and gardening wire/twine/jute string/zip ties
  2. Soak the sphagnum moss in water
  3. Turn hardware mesh into a cylinder
  4. Make an open cylinder out of the hardware mesh
  5. Fill the cylinder with wet Sphagnum moss
  6. Sew the cylinder closed or use zip ties/strings/twines
  7. Compact the sphagnum moss into the cylinder mesh

Does Pothos Like to Hang or Climb?

Choosing which method to use might come down to your preference, but Pothos like climbing rather than hanging.

In addition, the foliage of Epipremnum aureum grows more significant and more robust when you train your plant to climb. 

This is because climbing vines expose the leaves to more light. On the other hand, less light hits the undersides of pothos leaves that grow in a hanging basket.

How Long Does It Take for Pothos to Climb?

It will take 1-2 years for your plant to climb if you start training your Pothos as a cutting. On the other hand, mature Pothos should take a few weeks to begin to climb.

Why Is My Pothos Not Climbing?

Your Pothos may not be climbing due to poor growing conditions. Maintain 70-90°F (21-32°C) temperatures and plenty of bright, indirect light. Regular feeding can also aid in the growth of your plant.