Staking Indoor Plants for Support
The Spruce / Letícia Almeida
Staking up indoor plants is not uncommon at all. Outdoors in their natural habitats, plants are subjected to wind and competition from other plants, both of which encourages them to grow quickly as well as develop sturdy support structures. Indoors where there is rarely wind, plants often outgrow their support system and will develop weak stems. In these cases, it 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 even outside if they are to be grown as upright plants. Bougainvillea is one such plant. Still, 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 some basic staking methods that should work for most houseplants:
Simple Straight Stake
This is the most basic form of staking and is ideal for single-stemmed plants that are a little top-heavy. Examples include flowering plants or those that have outgrown their stems quickly. This kind of staking involves a single stake, often a bamboo rod pushed into the soil, and simply tying the plant to the stake. 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 nylons or special plant ties.
Wire or Shaped Support
This is perfect for plants that need to be trained to their shape or are creepers. A good example indoors is jasmine, which grows with long branches that flower profusely but cannot support their weight. This kind of staking is easily accomplished with a simple piece of wire, or even a wire coat hanger than been twisted into a loop. Insert both ends into the soil and loosely tie the plant to the wire support as it grows. This has the added advantage of creating a lovely and sculptural hoop-shaped support.
This is ideal for multi-stemmed plants that are top-heavy with blooms or foliage but cannot support themselves. There are several ways to accomplish this kind of staking. You can use a simple wire cage that surrounds the plant, or you can use several stakes with twine strung between them to form a support system. In these cases, it’s often not necessary to tie the plant to the support itself because the cage will support the plant’s weight. Instead, make sure the plant has room to spread out within the cage.
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. 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.
Alternatively, some garden centers and specialty craft stores sell special climbing polls made from fern bark or moss that are designed for climbing plants. 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.
When to Stake a Plant
No matter what kind of stake you’re using, it’s best to place the stake when the plant it relatively young and is still actively searching for support. Also, instead of placing the stake in the center of the pot, it’s a good idea to position the stake near one edge of the pot. 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 wild. Finally, most climbing or vining staked plants will require occasional trimming. Examine individual plant profiles to see if your plant requires pruning.
Staking up a houseplant will help them if they are rapidly growing or naturally top heavy. There are four good methods for various indoor plants.
Instant Upgrade: Learn How to Turn a Basic Tomato Cage Into a Chic Plant Stand
We came up with a brand-new use for this garden staple.
You most likely have a few of them laying around your garden, but did you know that you can use tomato cages inside, too? Tomatoes are easy to grow in your garden at home, mostly because these hearty vegetables do not require constant upkeep and extensive maintenance. We transformed this plant stand into an indoor powerhouse using a few everyday items. A tomato cage is designed to provide structural support as they grow throughout the season—the plant will thrive and work itself up the cage as the tomatoes grow. Cages also protect tomatoes from crop diseases and the damage from pests and insects that normally occurs when tomatoes grow on the ground.
Tomato cages are highly useful for any gardener, but they’re also ripe for repurposing as pretty indoor plant stands. Just as these cages support the weight of a heavy tomato vine, they make sturdy placeholders for potted plants in any area of your home.
How to Make a Tomato Cage Plant Stand
Start by cutting the spiky feet off of your tomato cage with a clipper. (We liked the Gilbert & Bennett galvanized tomato cages available at the Home Depot.) Then, head outdoors to complete the rest of your work. To get our exact look, you’ll transform the basic tomato cage using 18-carat gold spray paint. Here, we used Krylon’s Premium Metallic spray paint, but if metallic tones don’t go with your home décor, you can choose any hue you like best. Let the paint dry completely before bringing the cage back indoors.
Place the newly-painted cage on its wide end, and gently fit your pot inside the top. Be sure to pot your plants in vessels that allow for proper drainage, then slip those into pretty cachepots.
This indoor plant stand makes use of a tomato cage for an instant upgrade. The project is simple and straight forward—use gold spray paint to brighten up a set of tomato cages and bring them inside for easy plant stands.