Help Vines Grow Upward With This Viral TikTok Hack

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This simple houseplant TikTok hack is blowing up the internet. Does it actually work? I tried it out on my pothos plant and here are the results.

Potho, a type of vine, is one of the most popular houseplants in the world for several reasons. It’s beautiful, grows indoors and is relatively easy to care for. That’s why it’s such a hit with first-time houseplant growers, apartment dwellers and dorm residents.

Many people keep pothos in hanging planters or place them on window sills and shelves, sending the stems cascading toward the floor.

TikTok poster Liz Fox Roseberry (@foxcraftcustom) owns a droopy potted pothos. Right out of the gate, she says, “I have this neon pothos. I want to get it to grow up.” It sounds like she thinks that pothos vines generally grow downward. But according to Lisa Eldred Steinkopf, The Houseplant Guru, that’s not the case.

“If you want leaves to split and mature on a pothos, they have to grow up,” Eldred Steinkopf says. “If you let them hang or trail around a window, they probably will never mature.” So if you want big, luscious leaves and a fuller plant, sending them up can really help!

The second part of the video deals with bending the vine in unique ways, which intrigued me. Roseberry asks, “What if I just attach wires to the stem? Will they bend and just do what I want them to do … without a stake?”

I took the “Bendable Stems” challenge and here’s what I found.

@foxcraftcustom

Wait this is so cool

♬ Ladyfingers – Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass

How It Works

Gather these simple tools and materials:

  • A pothos or similar type of plant, with long, cascading stems.
  • Wire. I used 19-gauge, which is about 1-mm.
  • Wire cutters or strong scissors.
  • Green floral tape (optional).

Step 1

Place the potted plant on a table at about waist height (standing).

Step 2

Choose a stem and measure it. Add a few extra inches to allow for some wire to go into the soil, and for turns and curves.

Step 3

Unfurl the wire and cut it to the desired length. (You can always cut the wire later if it’s too long.)

Step 4

Stick one end of the wire into the soil, about halfway down into the pot.

Step 5

Bend and twist the wire upward and/or outward, away from the center of the pot, in the shape and angle you want.

Step 6

Gently grab the base of the stem near the soil and loosely wind the stem around the wire, sort of like an open corkscrew. Be extra careful not to break off leaves or snap the stem in half.

Step 7

Form a loop at the outer end of the wire to prevent scratching or poking.

Step 8

Continue Steps 1 through 7 until all stems are wrapped around the wire. If you want, leave a couple of tendrils dangling to add more interest.

Results

side by side of a before and after of a potted pothos plantToni DeBella for Family Handyman

It’s not a life-changing hack, but it’s definitely a really cool way to be creative with your long-stemmed houseplants, turning them into indoor works of art. It’s fun and relatively easy to do.

Trellises or stakes also work well for getting pothos to grow up. But wire is much more malleable, letting you make curly cues and waves with the stems.

Problems and Solutions

I tried the silver aluminum wire shown in the TikTok video. It worked fine but looked a little tacky — you could see it from across the room. Green plastic-coated wire blended better with the plant.

My biggest concern was damaging and breaking the vines, so I attached the stems to the wire with green floral tape instead. It worked really well and saved time. I cut two-inch strips of tape and wrapped them around the wire and the stem.

Eldred Steinkopf says floral tape is fine to use, “but you will need to check it often to ensure it isn’t damaging the stems.”

I also found the wire slacking from the weight of the longer vines and larger leaves. Eldred Steinkopf recommends thicker wire because, just like in nature, stems increase in size as they grow upward.

“I think bamboo stakes are better at supporting more weight,” she says. “If you really want to use the wire, it could be held up at the bottom by a bamboo stake. I do think it’s creative and I love it!”

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Toni DeBella
Toni DeBella is a culture and lifestyle writer, reviews expert and DIY enthusiast covering everything from pests to painting to pool cabanas. Based in a medieval hill town in central Italy, when Toni isn’t documenting her travels around Europe, she’s tending her garden or honing her clay-court tennis game.