Some links in the post are affiliate links and I get a commission from purchases made through some links found in the post.
In its natural habitat, the pothos is an active climber. Its aerial roots attach to other plants in the wild, using these anchors to get to the top of the canopy.
As such, the pothos can grow several feet tall. But when grown indoors, the plant tends to trail rather than climb. Is there a way to replicate their vining tendencies?
Yes! All you need to do is to understand how they climb in the outdoors and to provide support for them to do so indoors. Luckily, this training is relatively easy. Let’s investigate how it works:
How To Make a Pothos Climb
In the wild, the pothos anchors itself using aerial roots attached to nearby plants. And that’s what you need to replicate indoors.
So how do you make a pothos climb? By providing it with an anchoring system. You can use different materials for this: solid frames, bamboo canes, moss poles, etc.
The goal is to provide a stable support system that the plant can rely on as a base as it climbs to higher levels. Keep in mind that this system should be continuous as it would be in the wild.
Secondly, you must give the pothos a reason to climb. Else, they will trail along the surface on which you put them.
In the wild, pothos grows upwards in search of light. And to get them to climb indoors, you must entice them with light.
So, place a light source above them. With light and a support system in tow, it should not be long before your pothos starts climbing.
But that’s not all the pothos needs to climb. You must also ensure that it has adequate growing conditions, which include:
- Temperatures in the range of 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit,
- Adequate moisture – you can tweak the ranges using a humidifier or other appropriate methods,
- A good choice of well-draining potting mix with slight acidity,
- Enough drainage,
- A suitable watering regimen that protects the plant from underwatering and overwatering,
- Fertilizer every 1 to 3 months to keep up with their heavy feeding, and
- Bright indirect light exposure.
When training the pothos to climb, you can skip pruning to allow it to have a natural bushy aesthetic.
If you are enjoying this article, check out our article on can a pothos live outside.
How To Train A Pothos To Climb
To get a pothos to climb, you must capitalize on its aerial roots. These enable the plant to attach to solid surfaces and absorb nutrients from the air. Below are two methods on how you can use these roots to your advantage:
Using a Pole For Your Pothos
We earlier mentioned that pothos needs an anchoring system to climb and that you can use poles for this.
Poles are highly supportive anchoring systems that work for other climbing plants. Besides, poles allow pothos to seek the light.
And like we had stated, this ability to seek light encourages pothos to climb. So, to use a pole, all you need is to:
1) Find a Good Pole for your Pothos to Climb
We recommend using a pole at least 10 feet long and about an inch in diameter.
Ideally, your pole should be twice as long as your plant, especially if you have a fast-growing variety.
Moreover, this pole should be free of any leaves. Tie a loose knot around the pole, which you will use to anchor the pothos to this support structure.
2) Stick a Pole next to the pothos
Ensure it is firmly in the soil or anchored to a stable surface. This pole will serve as a support framework, and the pothos will latch onto it to seek light in other sources.
So, the plant will start climbing soon afterward. But to encourage this, you must use wire to attach the pothos to the pole in some parts.
Or you can coil the plant around the pole and secure it using wire. If the plant is not flexible, do not wrap it around the pole. Instead, use wire to attach the plant directly to the pole.
As the pothos grows, you will need to add more knots to the pole for support.
See how easy that was?
Using Hoops for Your Pothos
The other standard option is to rely on hoops to support the plant as it grows.
Naturally, the aerial roots in the pothos will attach to the hoop. As they do so, they will follow the shape of the hoop, resulting in a growth pattern.
If the plant outgrows the hoop, you must add another hoop to ensure the continuity of this directional growth. How do you do this?
1) Choose the kind of grid you want your plant to follow. It’s best to choose one that allows your plant access to adequate air and sunlight.
You can always tweak this using sheer materials that can regulate air and light. Weigh your options and see what works best.
2) Attach your pothos to the hoop by securing the aerial roots with wire or any other suitable material. Do this for each aerial root to ensure support for the whole plant. The plant will then grow to fill the shape of the hoop.
That’s all it takes.
When Should You Start Training Your Pothos to Climb?
A pothos only climbs well when it has adequate growth to wrap around an anchoring system.
Thus, you cannot start training it to climb until it has developed vines from which you can see new leaves.
As a rule of thumb, you should wait for the plant to start trailing, which can take about a year or two.
Moreover, leaving the pothos to trail allows it to grow much faster. Once the plant has enough growth to anchor, you can start anchoring the new growth.
In most cases, you must wait at least a year. But you can use a few pothos care tricks to hasten this process.
We have an article on how fast do pothos grow and tips on how to make them grow faster.
What Materials Should You Use to Help Them Climb?
Do you want to hear some good news? You can use pretty much anything to train your pothos to climb. Examples include:
- Metal poles,
- Moss poles: These poles are a great choice when dealing with a pothos variety that boasts big leaves. A good example would be silver pothos,
- Bamboo poles
The pothos grows in line with the material, enabling the plant to scale to greater heights. Please note that once the plant reaches the top of the pole, you must figure out how to support it at that point using anchoring.
How To Make A Pothos Climb A Wall
Have you ever seen a pothos sprawling across a wall? That view is incredible – no wonder so many people want to train their pothos to attach to walls. Can you do it? Sure! And here’s how you should go about this:
1) Wall training starts at an early stage. So, as soon as your pothos starts growing, you must provide support for it. And you can do this by anchoring it with a wire.
Use the wire to attach the pothos stem to a solid frame which you can directly use on the wall, e.g., nails or a trellis. Ensure that the solid frame attaches to the wall to provide the plant support as it grows.
2) You must then monitor the plant as it grows. And as you wait, you can map out the areas you wish the pothos to cover on your wall.
You can then place nails on strategic points and link all these points using a rope. The pothos will follow these routes as it grows. So, you are free to choose the design that excites you the most.
3) As the plant grows, wrap its stem around the thread so that the plant can grow along the routes you mapped out.
Each time shoots appear, anchor them using wire to the solid frame. Then allow the plant to grow along the mapped-out paths.
That’s all it takes to have pothos scaling your walls!
Will A Pothos Damage Your Wall?
Climbing plants have positive aesthetic effects on your home. But did you know that some climbing plants can damage your walls?
For example, plants with small branches and spikes can scrape your paint and even dig into your wall. Ivy is an excellent example of a plant that should not be on your wall.
Is that the case with pothos? Luckily, not at all. The pothos is an eco-friendly addition to your home. While it does have aerial roots, these will not harm your wall.
If anything, they offer the plant adequate support to scale the wall. But if you feel that they are getting out of hand, do not shy away from pruning them.
Do Pothos Like Climbing or Hanging?
It would not make much sense to make your pothos climb if that’s not in its nature. So, what does the pothos prefer? The good news is that this plant is highly adaptive to its surroundings.
That means that it can climb or hang without suffering any adverse effects. All you need is to ensure the plant gets its basic care needs, and it will do quite well.
Thus, the question of whether to climb or hang the plant ultimately comes down to what you want out of it.
As long as your pothos has a reason to climb (light) and a stable support system (canes, poles, hoops, walls, etc.), it is sure to climb. Don’t forget to cater to its growing needs too.
Before you go, here are some more related articles I encourage you to read below to help solve more of your gardening issues:
Pothos N Joy vs the Pearls and Jade
Why do Pothos Leaves Drip Water
Hawaiian Pothos Vs Golden Pothos