Can I Train My Pothos Plant To Climb Walls or a Trellis?

Are you trying to train your pothos plant to climb walls or a trellis? Is it even possible for pothos plants to climb up on different objects if they are trained to do so? In this article, organic gardening expert Logan Hailey guides you through all you need to know when it comes to pothos plants and climbing!

Do Pothos Climb


When you imagine the lush houseplant-filled house of your dreams, it undoubtedly includes pothos. In the past few years, this tropical evergreen vine has taken the indoor plant world by storm. You can find it twirling along ceiling rafters, dangling from hanging baskets, and climbing interior walls of offices, living rooms, and greenhouses.

This has left many new indoor plant enthusiasts not only trying to find the best pothos cultivar, but figuring out how creative they can get with them indoors. Some people even opt to plant pothos together in the same pot!

Needless to say, these dazzling heart-shaped houseplants love to vine. If you’re wondering how to train your pothos plant to wind up a trellis or wall, you’re in the right place. Let’s dig into how to train these plants to climb and vine exactly where you want them to go.

What Are Pothos?

First, it helps to understand the native environment where these lush tropical plants grow. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) are tropical evergreen plants commonly called “Devil’s Ivy.” They originated in French Polynesia and Southeast Asia, but now can be found growing all over the world.

How They Grow in the Wild

Devils Ivy Plant Growing on a Tree
Pothos grow on the floors of forests and grow upward on trees, reaching for sunlight.

In their wild habitat, pothos thrive in the partially shaded understory of rainforests. They typically ramble along the forest floor or twirl their way up tree trunks to reach for the sun. In warm urban areas, they can be found rapidly climbing the exterior walls of buildings using its tendrils and aerial roots. They can do the exact same thing indoors to create a beautiful living wall of greenery.

How Pothos Climb Walls

Devils Ivy Plant Climbing Along a Wall
These plants have small roots that extend from the vine and attach to the surface in which they grow.

Pothos’ aerial roots act as anchors that can latch onto solid surfaces while also absorbing moisture from the air. In a forested or outdoor urban setting, the plants easily vine up almost anything they can find to latch onto.

The aerial roots can help the plant climb up an indoor wall as well, however, most houseplant enthusiasts prefer to use hooks, wires, bamboo, or moss poles to guide the plants upward so they don’t damage indoor wall paint. Nonetheless, remember that aerial roots are fairly delicate and won’t dig into your wall in any way that could actually harm the structure.

Training Your Pothos to Climb

Devils Ivy Plant Climbing Up a Brick Wall
It is best to provide a material the aerial roots can grab onto as the plant grows.

Training pothos plants to climb is as easy as giving them a material to latch onto and guiding the vines to where you’d like them to go.

The most popular trellising materials include:

  • Bamboo canes
  • Metal poles or industrial pipe
  • Totem poles
  • Moss poles
  • Wooden trellises
  • Wire shelving
  • 3M command hooks
  • Picture frame hooks
  • Wires

Gently hold the tip of the vine and use the space between leaf nodes to anchor the vine onto a hook, or begin twisting it around a pole or shelf. Use string loosely tied around the vine to secure it if necessary. These plants naturally want to climb and ramble, so once you give them a little direction, they will take off on their own.

If your pothos vines are too weak, they may not latch onto the trellis as quickly. Use a few of our methods to grow a healthy plant so your plant is vigorous enough to vine onto the trellis you create. 

Green Wall Ideas

Green Plant Growing Along a Wall
Adding clear hooks along the vine will help guide them to grow where you want.

It can be very fun and artistic to design a trellising plan for your pothos. For example, a large planter on the ground can vine up a wall in a V-shape by latching onto 3M command hooks that you strategically place in the design of your choice.

You could also train a shelf-top plant to wind along industrial pipe shelving for a rustic farmhouse look. The plants will readily climb up a simple wire or small hooks along an indoor archway. Some plant owners even get ultra artsy with octagonal wire hangers or decorative mesh that becomes covered in greenery.

Whatever method you choose, begin by securing the trellis system on the wall above the plant. You will need to add more hooks or materials over time as your vines reach toward the light, so be sure to plan out your vision in advance.

How to Secure the First Climbing Vines

Green Plant Vines Up Close
Providing decent support for the first few vines is the key to guiding your plant to climb.

The first vines can simply be lifted up to hook onto the material. Provide plenty of alchoring support initially. You may even want to use a light string to hold the vine in place, especially if you are using a metal trellis that the pothos can’t anchor into.

As it grows longer, it will be easier to wind and train it exactly how you want to. The stems are very pliable and eager to please. However, you should be careful not to bend them too drastically or they will snap.

If You Accidentally Snap a Vine…

If you do accidentally snap a vine while trellising, don’t worry! You can use that portion of the vine to root a new cutting! That part of the plant may bush out, however there will be plenty more vines for you to trellis in the future. 

Pothos Want to Grow Toward the Light

Bright Green Devils Ivy Growing on a Tree
In nature, you will find these plants growing up trees to try and reach more light.

Keep in mind that a pothos is less likely to want to climb up a wall if there is no light for it to reach toward. Remember back to the native rainforest setting where these plants grow naturally.

A skylight, large window, or a hanging grow light are the best ways to encourage pothos to keep reaching upward. Remember, these plants fare best in bright, indirect sunlight. So that’s important to consider when figuring out where you’d want to place your plant. If you notice your pothos leaves yellowing, it’s likely time to evaluate if they are getting adequate sunlight.

Trellis Ideas

Houseplant Growing on Coconut Coir Pole
Using a trellis pole is an excellent way to achieve a bushy and tall plant.

If you’d prefer to keep your pothos on the ground but want to encourage larger, bushier growth, opt for a moss or wooden pole stuck right in the middle of the planter. The mossy support system creates more humidity and an easy surface for aerial roots to cling to. 

Begin twisting the vines gently up the pole. Some people use metal pins or hooks to secure the vines in place before they latch on with their aerial roots, but I’ve found that a simple counter-clockwise twist is usually enough to train the plant upward.

Encouraging Bushier Growth

Close up of Plant Growing on Trellis Pole
Regular pruning is a good way to promote a bushier effect.

Once the vines reach the top of the pole, snip the tips of the vines off. This removes what is called the apical meristem, or the growing tip of the vine. As a result, the plant is signaled to begin growing larger leaves and bushier foliage.

The result is a gorgeous vertical pothos plant with extra large lush foliage that eventually covers the entire moss pole. If you notice your vines aren’t developing leaves properly, plan to troubleshoot your plant and make any needed changes as a result.

Transplanting Pothos With a Trellis

Marble Queen Growing on Coconut Coir Pole Trellis
It is best to transplant the whole plat, trellis and all, when moving to a bigger pot.

After winding up a trellis pole for a while, pothos can easily overgrow their planters and run out of space to grow. There is no use in trying to untangle vines from a moss pole or trellis. You may break the vines or injure the plant in the process.

Instead, it comes time to transplant a trellised plant, keep in mind that the plant roots have probably started winding around the pole to keep it in place. You can simply transplant the entire plant with the trellis attached. When you move the pothos to a larger pot, hold the trellis and vines in place while keeping the root ball intact. Consider adding a taller trellis pole for any new growth to latch onto.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Pothos like to climb or hang?

Pothos naturally vine horizontally or hang downward from their pot unless there is more sunlight to reach up for. Depending on your preferences, these laid-back, easy-to-care-for plants are willing to climb, trellis, weave, or dangle from a hanging basket. Training them is as simple as guiding the vines where you’d like them to go and securing them with hooks or twine if needed.

Can Pothos grow upward?

In the wild, these plants naturally vine upward from the forest floor as they reach for the sunlight. When growing indoors, they enjoy vining upwards toward the ceiling as long as there is enough light above the plant.

You can trellis pothos up walls, shelves, rafters, or artistic trellis installations. To encourage more upward growth, consider moving your plant under a skylight or tall windows. Alternatively, you can hang grow lights above your plant.

Final Thoughts

Pothos vines are born to climb. Depending on your setting and your goals, this houseplant can be trained to cover a lush vertical garden wall or to wind through your rafters. It can even be trained to grow in a certain design or to simply wind around a moss pole in a pot.

Training pothos is as simple as gently lifting the vines and placing them where you want to go. When in doubt, wait for the plant to grow a little larger, and don’t force the stems to bend in any weird ways that might break them. These plants respond well to a little coaxing, so once you start moving the vines around, you may notice they bend toward your touch or the trellis system within just a few hours.

Most importantly, be sure that you have the proper lighting conditions for your plant. Bright yet indirect sunlight is ideal for these understory plants. In order for it to climb upwards, they need light to reach toward, just like in the rainforest.

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