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 simplest of plants that is found all over the world. It can usually be found in moist areas, around rivers and streams, and can often be found on trees. Moss is a resilient plant that can survive through hard 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 generally surfaces where most other plants 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
Mosses prefer wet, boggy places in nature. Some mosses live in very damp or even submerged conditions, while others are more tolerant to 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, especial sphagnum peat moss. Sphagnum peat moss is “dead” moss, and it is great 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 under water.
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 also may also carry this fungus. People could become infected if they get pricked with the thorn that has this fungus on it. There are many plants that 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 if 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 desire to use and place it in a blender, along with either beer or yogurt; the reason for these ingredients is because 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.
Moss gardens are great projects for all ages. They don't require much light and are very easy to setup and maintain. You can easily find kits to buy online and various moss terrariums.
Moss terrariums can be made out of glass bowls or jars. You can find suitable products in the vase (flower) area, or garden section of popular retail stores. Dollar stores sometimes have the cheapest 'terrarium' type glass bowls.
Nature is usually not too far from most of us. Any trip down to a forest, wooded lake, or river, and you can find all sorts of mosses growing on the ground, on rocks and trees. Marshes and wetlands are the best places to find moss and to get your garden started.