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How to Train a Houseplant

Vining plants climbing a wall

Photo by Bloom and Grow

Growing houseplants or an indoor garden may seem like a boring hobby to some. After all, the plants just kind of sit there in their pots or hydroponic containers, right? Well, that may be true, but there’s a lot you can do to interact with your indoor garden and get more enjoyment from the plants.

One of those things is to train the plants to get the appearance you want from them. You don’t have to just let them go and see what they turn into. You can shape them.

Here’s how…

Train plants to climb walls

One of the most common ways to train plants is to get them to climb stakes or trellises. But you don’t have to have a trellis in your house to get the same look from indoor plants. Houseplants can literally climb the walls.

Woman in front of climbing plants

Photo by Bloom and Grow

And it only takes one simple product to get your vine plants climbing. Command hooks. You can find them at pretty much any general store, hardware store, or big box store.

Mini Command hooks

The mini hooks are the perfect size for most houseplant vines. Take a look at these before and after pictures of a vining plant trained with mini Command hooks.

Before training:

Potted vining plant

Photo by Bloom and Grow

After training:

Trained vining plant

Photo by Bloom and Grow

That’s really as simple as it is. You decide where you want the vines to go or what pattern you may want them to grow in. You can start plants in a pot on a shelf or even in a wall container to make the entire display hanging on the wall.

Of course, you can also use any number of other items to allow your plants to grow on, including bamboo poles, trellises, or ladders. Get as creative as you want.

Plants can attach to the wall

Once you start training houseplants to climb the wall, you may be surprised one day to find that they are helping keep themselves attached. Some plants, such as pothos, will grab the wall with their aerial roots (the roots that grow out from the stems rather than in the soil).

Don’t be alarmed when this starts happening. It’s a natural behavior of the plant, and it won’t be able to penetrate into the wall; it will only grab the surface, so there is no risk of damage to the wall.

Which plants are climbing plants?

If you’re intrigued by the idea of plants climbing up your walls, you’re probably wondering which plants to choose for this project. Trailing plants, for instance, can often become climbing plants. Here are a few good options.


Hoya plants have thick, waxy leaves that make them hardy plants. They can live for many years and enjoy bright sunlight. Hoyas can easily be trained to climb. They love high humidity, so they’re a good candidate for a bathroom garden.

Hoyas grow slowly, so be patient with them as they climb.


Philodendrons are fairly popular houseplants, in part because of their velvety, heart-shaped leaves. These plants quickly grow long vines and like bright, direct sunlight.

Various types of philodendron can be picky about water and humidity, though, so be sure to read the care instructions for your particular variety.


The monstera adansonii has holey leaves, kind of like Swiss cheese. It’s an interesting-looking vining plant that grows quickly. It’s ready to water when the leaves start to look droopy.


Pothos are easy houseplants to grow. Because they grow quickly, they’re great for climbing. Pothos are also easy to propagate with cuttings, which means you can quickly create a whole indoor garden from one plant.

Most plants that have aerial roots are good candidates for training because as mentioned, the aerial roots will eventually attach to the wall, or whatever else they are next to.

Have fun training houseplants, and feel free to come into The Tye-Dyed Iguana in Fairview Heights for plant inspiration!