Staking up outdoor garden plants for support is a common activity, but staking is also a good idea for many indoor houseplants. In the confined space and rich potting mix of an indoor pot, houseplant plants often grow very quickly plants and develop weak, leggy stems. In these cases, it often may become necessary to stake up your plants.
Rapid growth isn't the only reason for staking up indoor houseplants. Some plants are naturally top-heavy and require staking—bougainvillea is one such plant. Other plants are natural climbers and need to be supported to grow properly. Many of the most beautiful species of philodendron are included in this group, as well as ivy, jasmine, and tropical plants such as monstera.
How you should stake your plants depends on the type of plant you're growing. Here are four basic staking methods that should work for most houseplants.
When to Stake Up Plants
No matter what kind of stake you're using, it's best to place the stake when the plant is relatively young and is still actively searching for support. In fact, you can even position the stake or support in the pot at the same time you are planting the specimen. This method prevents the root damage that can occur if you drive stakes or supports through the roots of a well-established, mature plant.
Before Getting Started
Instead of placing the stake in the center of the pot, it's a good idea to position the stake near one edge. This will give the plant more room to grow and make it easier to display the plant with a "good" side, instead of letting the plant grow unrestrained.
Keep in mind that most climbing or vining staked plants will require occasional trimming. Examine individual plant profiles to see if your plant requires pruning.
Click Play to Learn How to Stake Indoor Plants for Support
- Stake or other plant support
- Stretchy plant ties
How to Support Plants With Simple Stakes
The most basic form of staking, ideal for single-stemmed plants that are a little top-heavy, is to use simple straight stakes. Examples include flowering plants or those that have outgrown their stems quickly.
Drive the Stake
Drive a stake deep into the soil alongside the plant you are staking. Commercial stakes made of bamboo or vinyl-coated metal work well for this purpose, but almost any material will work. When staking a potted plant, make sure to drive the stake all the way to the bottom of the container, since potting mix is a loose medium that will not support stakes as effectively as garden soil.
Tie the Plant
When you're tying the plant off, be careful not to tie it too tight. This can cause injury as the plant grows and the tie cuts into the plant's stem. To prevent this, use a stretchy tie, such as strips of nylon or special plant ties.Taller plants may require several ties at different points along the stems.
How to Support Plants With Wire Loops
An effective and less visible plant support can be made by using a piece of heavy-gauge wire, such as a wire coat hanger, bent into a loop with the ends embedded in the container's potting mix. Garden centers and online retailers sell green vinyl-coated wire that is ideal for this use. Wire loops are perfect for plants that are creepers or which need to be trained to their shape. A good example indoors is jasmine, which grows with long branches that flower profusely but cannot support their weight.
Shape the Hoops
If you are making your own plant loops, use wire cutters and pliers to bend a piece of rigid wire to the desired shape, with two vertical legs and a round loop where plant stalk will fit.
Garden centers also sell prefabricated loops, some with single legs, other with two legs, that will work well for this purpose.
Secure the Plant
Loosely tie the plant to the wire support as it grows. This has the added advantage of creating a lovely and sculptural hoop-shaped planting.
How to Support Plants With Moss Poles
This is the most complicated kind of staking and is best for climbers that need support to grip onto. Examples include golden pothos vines, monstera, and climbing philodendron. Garden centers and specialty craft stores sell special climbing polls made from fern bark or moss that are designed for climbing plants. Alternately, a climbing pole can be made by filling a narrow wire tube with damp sphagnum moss and tying the plant to the pole until it latches on by itself.
These stakes can be invaluable to growing a climber, but be aware that it will take extra moisture to keep the pole moist and encourage the plant to latch onto the stake. This is especially true for poles that use sphagnum moss, which dries out quickly.
"Plant" the Moss Pole
Insert the moss pole into the center of the pot, driving it all the way down to the bottom of the pot. This is best done at the same time you are potting the plant. Firmly pack the potting mix around the pole to hold it securely.
Secure the Plant Stems
Some plants will naturally cling to the moss pole with tendrils as they grow, but others, such as pothos, will need to be tied to the pole with stretchy ties or vinyl-coated wire as they grow. Make sure to keep the ties loose so they do not damage the plant stems.
How to Support Plants With Cages
Multi-stemmed plants that are top-heavy with blooms or foliage often require a different type of support offered by some form of cage. There are several ways to accomplish this kind of staking. You can use a simple purchased wire cage that surrounds the plant, or you can use several stakes with twine strung between them to form a support system. Or, you can use wires to create intersecting loops that form an informal cage for your plant.
In these cases, it's often not necessary to tie the plant to the support itself because the cage itself will support the plant's weight. Instead, make sure the plant has room to spread out within the cage.
Growing Indoor Plants With Success. University of Georgia Extension.