growing moss

hookilau(long island NY)October 8, 2012

I collected a bit of moss that had been growing outside last evening. It had been growing in sandy substrate all season.

Has anyone who's collected moss have any advice for me? I laid it down on some gritty mix in a shallow dish & misted.


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penfold2(4b, MN)

You'd probably get more responses if you posted this on the Moss, Ferns & Cryptogams forum, but I'll give it a shot. Gritty mix is probably not the best choice for moss. Mosses don't have roots, so you don't have to worry much about soil porosity. But that also means that mosses need moisture at the soil surface. They're not capable of pulling it up from below the surface. So you want something that will wick water, keeping the surface damp. I use straight Turface because it's clean and easy to work with, but peat or topsoil may work as well. Another method used by some is to lay down a piece or two of felt (like from a craft store). I tried it and found that it dried out too quickly for me. You can also use clear plastic containers, like those used for berries and other foods, to keep humidity up and prevent moss from drying out so quickly.

You may also want to check out the Moss Grower's Handbook. I should read through it again myself now that I have a little more experience.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 11:05AM
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hookilau(long island NY)

Thanks for the info. It didn't even occur to me that there was a forum for just moss =) I just grabbed it on a whim & didn't even realize it might be different than any other plant.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 12:09PM
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Besides the wondeful advice that Chris gave you, I too grow Moss on rocks and the such with a small layer of peat and newspaper.

One thing to remember too is that no moss does well in hot sun. So what I do is look for an area that will not expose it to hot day sun and also I find places under shrubs, trees, bushes, along my pond, anywhere you feel will tsay moist quite a while. In fact, if not exposed to sun, it can even be grown on rocks without any soil at all.

I think Josh is an expert in this regards and you will find him there at the Moss forum. He got me started..:-)


    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 1:24PM
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hookilau(long island NY)

Thanks for the tips =) I'll check out the moss forum to see what's what. The moss I collected has been living btw the bluestone on my patio for the last season. It had about .25" of it's own sandy grit so the bunch I collected is basically planted, I just crammed the pieces into a shallow dish & misted. Well, I'm off to the moss forum -_0

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 4:58PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Some moss DOES grow in full sun, Mike. I have a friend with a very large nursery op. I've collected moss growing on hard-packed clay cart paths in full sun where it's kept moist by the overhead irrigation system (other types of moss, too) and pureed it in water (blender). I then mix it with 1-2 cups of milk or a cup of yogurt + a can of beer in a 2 gal sprinkling can & pour it over Turface fines on cookie sheets. Keeping the Turface moist soon results in sheets of moss. You can grow it on untreated lumber that way, too, if you can keep it moist. Aged wood is best.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 5:05PM
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My goodness Al!!

I thought you were almost going to say you make a frap of it until I read further! lol

Ok...Now seriously,that is great to know. I think I'll give that a try too. You know Josh and I feel about Moss. It looks so beautiful in the landscape it it's righful place.

By the way, hope you are doing good these days:0)


    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 6:34PM
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Just as Al explained - I use this mixture to 'paint' on rocks/pots/garden statuary to give it aged look.
Use paintbrush or just smear it on, and make sure to keep damp. Soon your object will look much older, like from old English garden.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 11:16PM
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hookilau(long island NY)

Clip! Now I know what to do with my turface (& turface substitute) fines. The stuff stuck to the moss pieces looks like really fine sand. I hope I can keep this stuff going through the cold months. I have the trays (3 small plastic bonsai drip trays) under lights. I figure since it grew in full sun, these weak florescents won't hurt 'em much, even if it did, I could collect more next season.

Al, I'd like to use pieces of this to decorate the soil on a few plants, and maybe even in a shallow dish by itself. The velvety green texture is soooo pretty =>

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 9:42AM
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Hey Hookilau,

I actually have a couple of plants with moss on the top. You are right and I love it.
I'll take a pic tomorrow for you :)

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 4:02PM
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Antoinette-- I'm about to do the same thing as you :) Our apartment complex is forever trying to kill the miss that grows in the parking lot cracks. I plan on collecting it and stuffing it into post on my balcony. It faces north, so I think it should be fine as long as I can keep it moist enough.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 3:59PM
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