How to Grow Moss
A moss garden can be a fun project to start at home. They are very easy to care for and to maintain. Moss is one of the most beautiful and simple plants found all over the world. It is usually found in moist areas, around rivers and streams, and can often be found on trees. Moss is a resilient plant that can survive harsh conditions, such as a dry season, and then quickly rejuvenate once conditions are favorable again. Although the moss may turn brown and look dead, it will thrive once again under the proper conditions.
Moss has a shallow root system, and the roots are not used to absorb nutrients. It relies on getting nutrients from the air and water rather than soil. Because moss doesn't require soil, it can be found on trees, rocks, and surfaces where most other plants generally cannot survive. Although moss can grow on trees, it is not parasitic and can be beneficial to trees in many cases. Moss prefers acidic soils and will thrive on nutrient-poor soils; on nutrient-low soil, it has less competition with other plants such as weeds.
Where to Find Moss
Moss prefers wet, boggy places in nature. Some mosses live in very damp or even submerged conditions, while others are more tolerant of dryer areas. When looking for moss, you just need to find wet areas around your property or go down to a nearby stream. Often, I see different types of mosses growing in between the sidewalk slabs. Bring a clear container to gather your moss into; before adding the moss, be sure to add a cm or half an inch of filtered or bottled water.
Don't add tap water because it contains lots of chlorine and other bad substances. Sphagnum moss may be familiar to many people, especially sphagnum peat moss. Sphagnum peat moss is dead moss, and it is excellent for absorbing lots of water and then releasing it slowly over time. Sphagnum moss is easy to grow as it loves wet conditions and can even grow underwater.
There is some controversy about sphagnum moss (not sphagnum peat moss, which is dead), since it may carry a fungus that causes sporotrichosis. Roses and many other thorny plants may also carry this fungus. People could become infected if they get pricked with the thorn that has this fungus on it. Many plants could infect you with this fungus. This issue has been very exaggerated with sphagnum moss.
How to Grow Moss
It's as simple as finding a damp and shady area outside to start your moss garden. You can even grow moss indoors. If growing moss indoors, be sure to place the moss in a sunny location and keep it soggy. Even dead-looking moss will start looking green again in a very short time.
If you have a large rock on your property, it may look nice covered in moss. Moss can produce an aged, calm, and relaxed feeling in a garden. To cover any objects in moss, you simply take the moss you wish to use and place it in a blender, along with either beer or yogurt; the reason you use these ingredients is that they are acidic, and the sugar in them provides food for the moss. The mixture is not going to be very thick as you are merely releasing the spores in moss. After blending the moss, brush it on the surfaces where you would like it to grow. Keep in mind that moss will only thrive if the area is moist enough, so think about growing it in shady areas.
Some people will spread the moss onto unglazed terracotta pots. The moss is brushed onto the outside of the pots all around and then placed in a cool shady area.
Do you have any tips on how to grow moss? Let me know in the comment section below!
Moss gardens are great projects for all ages. They don't require much light and are very easy to set up and maintain. You can easily find kits to buy online and various moss terrariums.
Moss terrariums can easily be made with glass bowls or jars. You can usually find suitable glass containers in the garden section of big-box retail stores. Dollar stores are a great option to check out; I've often seen affordable glass bowls or containers that would be suitable for use as a terrarium.
Nature is usually not too far away for most of us. Take a trip down to any forest, wooded lake, or river, and you'll find all sorts of mosses growing on the ground and rocks and trees. Marshes and wetlands are the best places to find moss and to get your garden started.
Are you interested in starting your own moss garden?
© 2011 Joel Durant