3 Ways To Train Your Pothos to Climb As They Do in the Wild

how to train pothos to climb

Letting your pothos climb is an excellent choice if you want to see faster growth and larger leaves

Pothos is native to southeast Asia. Its natural growth pattern is to start climbing trees as a juvenile plant and develop mature leaves as it grows towards the canopy. As houseplants, they do exceptionally well when we can mimic their native habitat. 

We will cover 3 ways to train your pothos to climb: moss pole & its alternatives, wall, and plank. We also include some guidance & tips on which method is best for you.

You can use what you learn in this guide to train your climbing philodendron as well.

How To Train Pothos to Climb a Moss Pole

What you’ll need:


1. Thoroughly moisten the sphagnum moss or coco coir pole

It is important to maintain moisture for this type of structural support. The aerial roots of your pothos will attach to the moss rather than digging into a tree trunk. Therefore, the roots will be more exposed to the air and can dry out without moisture

2. Stake the pole in the center of your pot

If there is space, you can stake the moss pole in the center of the existing pot and soil. Otherwise, you can repot your plant with the moss pole in the center of a new pot.

3. Align the innermost stems of the pothos to the pole trailing up

Depending on the aesthetic look you are aiming for, you don’t have to put each vine on the moss pole. You can leave some of them sitting in the pot for a fuller look. 

4. Gently clip the pothos stem to the pole

Use the attachment material of your choice to gently clip the pothos stem to the pole. 

Attach the part of the stem that is closest to each leaf for the best support. Be careful not to clip or tie the pothos stem tightly, as this will cut into the stem as it grows. That can restrict growth and injure the pothos. 

We suggest using easily removable attachment materials. This way, you can remove them as your pothos attaches to the moss pole with its roots.

5. Give your plant a good location with bright indirect light

Continue to train new growth by attaching it to the moss pole until the roots eventually attach on their own. 

The moss pole is best for those who are attentive with watering, shorter on space, and like the aesthetic. It is suitable for growing larger leaves, but they may not grow as large on a pole as on a wider flat surface. This method is very portable and adjustable. 

Alternatives to moss poles with similar attachment methods

  • Stakes made of bamboo, wood, or metal
  • Fallen branches or driftwood 
  • PVC pipe wrapped in twine
  • Trellis (purchase, DIY, or use recycled materials such as ladders)

The process for attaching your pothos to these alternatives is similar to that of the moss pole, except you won’t need to provide moisture as you do with moss.

With stakes smaller in diameter, you may not see much increase in leaf size. When the aerial roots don’t have a larger surface to attach to, they can’t spread as much which limits their growth. 

However, these alternatives are less maintenance than a moss pole and will provide your plant with some ability to climb up for better light. They can also be a beautiful way to display the lovely vines of your pothos. 

Overall, the best option for staking your pothos depends on your environment, available time, preferred aesthetic, and goals for your plant

How To Train Pothos to Climb a Wall

What you’ll need:


1. Place your pothos close to the wall at the desired height

The placement depends on the light in your home. Your pothos may get more light if starting from the height of a table or bookshelf rather than the floor. 

2. Add wall protection if needed

The aerial roots of your pothos will damage paint if you ever need to remove them. It is up to you if that would be acceptable in your situation. 

You can add wall protection by hanging a large wooden plaque for your pothos to climb or a wall trellis. 

3. Attach the vines on your wall

Attach the vines on your wall as you’d like them to look, with an upward direction to encourage growth. 

Place your vines in an upward diagonal direction for the most natural look. Remember, they will need room to grow. 

Here is a tip: 

If your wall or plaque is less treated/unfinished wood, the aerial roots will attach faster. In this case, using clear tape is an excellent method. Tape is the easiest to remove and shouldn’t need to be on your wall very long.

For heavily treated or painted walls, it would be best to use clips that you like the look of since they will be there longer. 

The wall is best for those who have plenty of space, like the jungle look, and aren’t worried about their wall paint. This method allows for large leaves in proper lighting. 

How to Train Pothos to Climb a Plank

What you’ll need:

  • Attachment materials (Command hooks, wall clips, or clear tape) 
  • Unfinished wooden plank (Cedar is the most resistant to rot.)
  • Drip tray or drainage container 


1. Pick your location and type of plank needed

Decide if you want the plank to be in the pot with your pothos or leaning against a wall. This decision will affect the plank size you buy and how you will install it. 

Need help deciding on having the plank in the pot versus against the wall? 

There is no wrong answer but a few key concepts to remember. 

If you plan to move your pot around for watering or rearranging, you’ll need to have the plank in the pot. It can’t be too heavy for carrying so you’ll need to choose a smaller one. 

If you don’t need to move your plant around, you can use a plank that leans against the wall. It is stationary and difficult to move, but a plus is that you have the option to use a bigger plank with this method. 

By using a larger plank, your pothos will mature faster and grow larger leaves. Since the root attachment will be permanent, make sure you like the way the plank looks. 

2. Wash the wooden plank, and waterproof the bottom

Remove any impurities and chemicals from your wooden plank. Then if you plan to place it in soil, apply a wax finish to the bottom for waterproofing. 

3. Position the plank

Lean the plank against the wall where your plant will sit or put the plank in the pot.

You can repot your pothos if putting the plank in the pot. Instead of placing it in the center as you would with a moss pole, place the plank near the back of the pot. Be sure to only bury the wax-treated portion of the wood in the soil to protect it from rot. 

4. Place a drainage tray or container under your pothos (optional)

Place a drainage tray or container under your pothos if you’re planning to keep it stationary with a leaning plank.

As you are likely aware, drainage holes are essential. Since you won’t be able to carry this pothos around, you’ll need to ensure proper drainage to water it in place. 

Be sure to remove excess water from the drainage catch container by trading it out for a dry one after each watering. 

Naturally, you’ll need to lift your plant carefully since it will be attached to the plank. 

5. Start attaching your plant to the wood

The most common method for this is using clear tape.


Since this is unfinished wood, your pothos is going to attach much faster than it would on a finished wall or a moss pole. The tape can come off soon. 

When positioning your pothos vines on the wooden plank, try to leave some slack in the vines near the bottom.

This will make it much easier when you need to lift your plant for watering with a leaning plank. It will also make it easier for its next repotting in either method. 

The plank is best for those who don’t mind going the extra mile to get mature leaves, enjoy the jungle look, have plenty of space, and want to see the fastest growth.

The plank is unique in that you have the option to use unfinished wood, which your pothos will really like digging into. This speeds up growth.

However, the plank is not the most portable option and that is something to consider. 

What To Do When Your Plant Outgrows Its Climbing Structure

While you can extend some of these, we all run out of space eventually. The good news is that you can always propagate the extra growth. Then you can plant these propagations back into pothos for a fuller pot, gift it to a friend, or start a new plant for your home. 


Hopefully, you have found an option that will work well in your space. When you mimic its native habitat, your pothos will be living its best life and growing larger leaves for you. Using these growing methods, you can have a stunning indoor jungle in no time. 

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