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With any kind of trailing plant, your instinct is to perch it somewhere high up and let its tendrils hang. Really, your only other option is a clunky, often-too-tall support stake. Liz Fox Roseberry recently found herself in this very predicament and stumbled upon a much more appealing way to encourage a plant to grow up: nearly invisible copper wire. The content creator, known to her followers as Fox Craft Custom, had an abundance of the material on hand from her wedding earlier this year—she handcrafted more than 1,000 paper flowers with flexible stems—and it got her thinking. “Bendable plant stems!” she shares. “Such a simple idea, like a trellis, but the wire can grow with the individual vines.” 

The 9- and 12-gauge wires (available at any standard craft store) are flexible enough to bend and shape but sturdy enough to hold the weight of the plant. Aluminum wire will also work, just be sure whatever you buy isn’t prone to rusting or getting too hot in direct light. 

The trickiest part will be getting one end of the copper wire to anchor in the soil, so Roseberry recommends creating a corkscrew (spiraling the wire around your finger to get a nice shape) for grip, or threading the strand through a hollow piece of bamboo and burying it in the dirt. Once the foundation is set, wrap the wire around the stem needing support in an upward, spiral motion, following its natural position. If you find that one twist isn’t enough, add another layer of wire until you feel the plant is secure. Eventually, the greenery will outgrow that first piece of wire—at that point, simply unfurl and repeat with a longer section and reuse the shorter one on another pot in your collection.

These quasi-stakes won’t just help keep fragile stems upright, they’ll actually help them gain full access to sunlight. Since discovering the hack, Roseberry has used this technique on nearly every one of her vining varieties. “I have a number of pothos and philodendrons,” she says. “It also works beautifully on hoyas and monstera adansonii.” Roseberry has since tested out different colors of wire (her favorite so far is jewelry wire from Benecreat) and even included miniature sculptures at the end of each stem with any leftover material. “There are so many possibilities,” she says. “Like most plant people, I enjoy hobbies that require a little maintenance.”