Moss is a natural way to enhance the appearance of your garden. They are a perfect match for shade garden planting. But often, taking care of moss isn’t done in the right way. Hence, it’s essential to know some of the best practices for taking care of moss.
Moss’s growth depends upon the four requirements, i.e., soil, shading, moisture, and humidity. Whenever you look to take care of moss, you essentially need to take care of these factors. Moss needs balanced water, moisture, and the right lighting conditions for better survival.
If you are looking for a detailed guide on how to take care of moss in the best way, then this article is for you. Keep reading the entire article to keep thriving your moss for a longer life span.
What is Moss?
Moss is a type of plant that grows on the ground and can be found in many environments. These are the non-flowering plants that belong to the Bryophyta plant kingdom. Interestingly, mosses do not have any roots. They only have stems and leaves.
“Mosses are very important because they provide food for other organisms,” says Dr. David Larkum from the University of Nottingham. “They also play a role in keeping soil moist.”
It spreads by sending out runners, or stolons, to create new plants. It is generally found in damp areas, such as the shady side of trees and on rocks and logs. Moss can be grown indoors in pots or outdoors in gardens and lawns.
Moss is a low-maintenance plant that requires little care or watering. They cover up bare patches of soil to create a natural-looking lawn. As a result, they provide an attractive natural look to any garden space.
Types of Moss
There are over 1,000 species of moss. However, most gardeners are familiar with sphagnum moss and peat moss.
Sphagnum moss is the most common form of moss used in gardening. It comes in different varieties, including blueberry, red, and green. It has a soft texture and a light brown color.
It is also known as bog moss because it thrives in wetter locations and works great on moss poles for houseplants.
Peat moss is another popular variety of moss. It is usually sold in bags and is ideal for use in containers. This type of moss is dark grayish-brown in color and has a firm texture. It is commonly used as a mulch material.
In fact, peat moss is the layer of decaying, water-saturated sphagnum moss that has sunk below the surface.
Other Popular Mosses are:
- American Tree Moss.
- Common Haircap Moss.
- Spoon Leaved Moss.
- Springy Turf Moss.
- Heath Star Moss.
- Baby Tooth Moss.
- Pincushion Moss.
- Mood Moss.
How Should You Take Care of Moss?
The advantages of moss are not hidden from anybody. It is a popular plant that can be used, such as lining a pathway, filling in the cracks of a wall, or even covering an entire garden.
Besides this, moss helps absorb moisture and prevent soil erosion. Hence, it becomes essential to take care of moss in the best possible manner in these situations.
Many different moss care practices can keep your moss looking its best.
Moss is often seen as one of the easiest plants to care for because it doesn’t need soil, but there are still many things that you should know about how to take care of your moss.
We have gathered some tips that you can follow to take care of your moss to enjoy the unlimited benefits in your garden.
- Moss needs to be watered regularly and fertilized every few weeks with an organic fertilizer like compost tea or fish emulsion. It needs to be watered often but not too much.
- Using moss as an accent plant should not be watered more than once per week because it will grow too quickly and become invasive if it gets too much water.
- Moss thrives best when it has shade from the sun and plenty of moisture.
- Location plays a significant factor while you take care of moss. Some conditions for the best location for moss are good airflow, high moisture, and moderate light.
- You should never use tap water or boiled water. Filter water is preferred for watering moss. This is because tap water contains chlorine, and the chances are that moss may turn brown.
- One of the most important things to do is make sure that the moss does not dry out and get too much sun exposure. Moss needs moisture and shade for it to thrive and grow.
- For taking care of mosses in a better way, there are certain tools that you can use to make caring for mosses easier. Some of the best tools have been given below:
Tools Required to Care for Moss
- Pincers: They are used to place moss and remove dead sections of moss.
- Spray bottles: They are used to water the moss and increase humidity.
- Scissors: They are used to cutting off the dead leaves and tidying up undergrowth.
Growing Conditions for Moss
Mosses are tiny plants that live in damp places. They don’t have roots or leaves but instead form mats of thread-like stems called rhizoids.
The requirements for growing moss are:
- Low temperatures.
- High humidity.
- Firmly packed acidic soils with a pH between 5.0 and 5.5.
Mosses have large hollow cells which allow them to absorb water and hold it like a sponge. Without a water source close by, mosses will not be able to carry out their daily plant-like functions.
Mosses can only survive in the water as it is lacking a vascular system, unlike other plants. So mosses can’t transport water and mineral to their various parts instead they rely on osmosis to allow cell to cell transport, so being in damp areas would be beneficial for them.
They also need water is because their male reproductive cells can only survive by swimming in droplets of water and without this transport system they will not be able to reproduce and carry on the species.
The ideal temperature for moss is between 60 – 85degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius), then the moss won’t survive.
However, although moss can tolerate large temperature swings it cannot survive for long in low humidity conditions.
When the humidity is low in the environment surrounding the moss, it tends to suck the moisture out from the soil through evapotranspiration.
This leaves the area dry and will eventually suffocate the moss as it relies on this moisture for its survival.
Indirect sunlight and low-level lighting are ideal for moss growth.
The ideal lighting conditions for moss are indirect sunlight and low-intensity lighting. The reason why moss grows well in these conditions is that it has adapted to living in dark environments and it uses photosynthesis to create energy.
Moss like any other plant species uses light to create energy through photosynthesis, Light is a good thing, however, if the moss gets too much direct sunlight it will burn itself and die.
Sunlight is transferred with radiant heat and this heat can quickly dry out the moisture that the moss needs to grow.
However, mosses that are grown indoors with artificial lighting will do better in indirect light as the light does not transfer a great deal of heat onto the moss and its surroundings.
Air circulation is very important for moss because they require lots of oxygen.
If the moss is kept in an enclosed space, such as indoors, then the airflow should be allowed to circulate freely around the moss. This helps prevent mold and mildew build-up. Mold and mildew can kill moss and cause it to rot away.
Air circulation is also required for nutrients to be circulated and exchanged to the moss as the air is changed out from its surroundings.
Acidic soils are perfect for growing moss because they help moss absorb nutrients easily. However, neutral soils are also suitable for growing moss.
In acidic soil, the pH levels are lower than 7.0 and the moss absorbs the nutrients easier. In neutral soils, the pH level is at about 6.5 –7.0.
Both types of soils are suitable for growing moss but the moss will still prefer acid soil over neutral soil.
On the other hand, mosses don’t really need soil to grow. As you may have noticed before, moss can grow almost anywhere once the conditions are right.
As long as there is enough moisture, shade and some sunlight mosses can grow on anything.
What we have also found is that mediums that retain a minimal amount of moisture, just enough to remain damp, are ideal for moss growth.
How to Take Care of Moss Indoors?
Growing and taking care of moss indoors is a much carefree and the best way to get a greenery enhancement inside your house.
It’s so because when moss is kept indoors, they require little sunlight and moisture. And, of course, no fertilizers are needed.
Though taking care of moss indoors may be a less tedious task than taking care of moss outside, there are still some best practices you need to follow to let them strive and thrive indoors.
Below we have listed some of them that can help you keep your moss inside the house healthy.
- Misting the surface twice a week to keep it moist.
- You should always leave some space on the top of the container so that there is some scope for air to exchange.
- It has to be ensured that the moss container receives sufficient light.
- You should have two or three windows from where light can be passed for at least two hours.
- If you don’t have such a facility as stated above, you should ideally keep the container with moss in light for a couple of hours a week.
- Alternatively, you can also have a fluorescent lamp. You can place it above the container, and the moss will get enough sunlight to maintain itself.
If we have to summarize the concept of how to take care of moss indoors, keep in mind that you require damp and a well-lit container with high humidity.
Besides, pruning can also be one method to encourage the healthy growth of moss indoors. Correct light, moisture, and temperature can make moss inside the house grow well for years.
Will Moss Survive Without Sunlight?
Mosses are generally associated with such dark areas and under shade. So, a typical question that comes to mind is whether sunlight is required for the moss to grow or not.
The answer to this question is yes, moss requires sunlight to grow and reproduce. Moss needs sunlight to generate energy. Mosses are autotrophic plants. They produce food through a process called photosynthesis.
Photosynthesis cannot occur without sunlight. Hence, it becomes crucial for moss to have sunlight in such a scenario. If there is no sunlight, moss cannot generate energy, so it will not survive.
Even for moss indoors, sunlight is necessary. It is essential to give moss adequate light to let it grow and survive for a longer life span.
But, too much exposure to light or the sun is also not good. It can have a detrimental effect on the moss. One effect includes drying up delicate filaments of moss.
There should be balanced exposure of light given to the moss. Different moss has different requirements for sunlight.
It has the highly bearable qualities of being exposed to sunlight. Because of this, it is a preferred choice of cultivation for gardeners.
Some moss also requires particular hours of sunlight. While some may require only 2 hours of sunlight, others may prefer 8-9 hours of sunlight in a day.
Therefore, it entirely depends upon the requirements of a specific moss. So, you need to invest your time before you plan to grow moss in your garden.
To sum up, it can be said that moss requires sunlight for its growth. How much it requires depends upon the moss type and its specific requirements.
Will Moss Grow Without Soil?
Because of such properties of moss, it is unnecessary to have soil as one condition to grow moss.
Moss can grow on any soil. But without soil also, it can grow well. There are two reasons moss can survive and thrive without soil.
Moss uses its anchoring structures during growth. These structures are termed rhizoids (similar to thin roots). Mosses absorb nutrients and water through the process of photosynthesis.
There is no requirement for moss to be rooted in the ground. Since moss has no roots, it can dry out quickly. Hence, they are usually found in moist areas. They do not require soil to survive.
There are two kinds of plants, non-vascular and vascular plants. Mosses are categorized into non-vascular plants. Non-vascular plants do not require to be planted in soil.
They are non-flowering plants and have no tissues. Because of these properties, there is no requirement for moss to grow without soil.
Therefore, it can be said that it is easy to grow and take care of moss. But the only thing that needs to be taken care of with moss is the right conditions suitable for better growth.
Moss is a very simple plant to care for. It needs sufficient water and moisture. It can be grown in containers and is easy to propagate. Moss does not need much light or fertilizer, but it requires high humidity levels.
What can Cause Moss to Die?
Moss is a type of plant that grows in moist, shady areas. It is often found on the ground or on rocks. Moss can be grey, yellow, green, brown, or blue. Moss grows in a variety of shapes and sizes.
There are various reasons moss can die. Some of them have been listed down below:
- Using fertilizers and bleach in large quantities
- Too much sun exposure
- Too much wind exposure
- Poor drainage
- Planted in an area with poor drainage
- Lack of enough moisture (water)
- Trampling by animals or people
- Not enough air circulation
- Insects feeding on moss
The Benefits of Moss In the Garden
As mentioned earlier, moss can be used in many ways. Here are some benefits of growing moss in your garden:
Moss and other ground vegetation can pull soil together and form biocrusts.
Biocrusts are only a few millimeters thick, but they stabilize the soil surface and protect it from erosion by rain and wind.
Soil is a very valuable resource as it holds all the necessary ingredients plants need to grow and create healthy produce, not to mention, the fertilizer which was applied on soil surfaces.
Soil covers like moss can effectively reduce the eroding effects the natural elements like rain and wind can have on the soil.
Retains Soil Moisture
Moss can shield the soil from the heat of the sun as well as the wind which actively removes moisture from both plants and soil.
As a soil cover, moss can prevent moisture loss from the soil which would result in less watering from a quick-dry out of the soil.
The beneficial effects of moss as a soil cover are keeping moisture in the soil that helps both plants and the moss that is growing on the soil’s surface as well as, reducing watering frequency and the amount of water required to maintain garden crops.
By occupying the space on the surface of the soil. A layer of moss will prevent unwanted weeds from growing.
Weeds can “rob” plants of nutrients in the soil by using it for their own growth. Moss requires a little amount of nutrients and restricts the onset of weed growth.
Moss can prevent soil-loving pests like gnats. Gnats usually lay their eggs in the first few inches of the soil. A moss layer or barrier will block gnats and other soil-based pests from inhabiting soil and damaging garden and houseplants.
Aesthetics – It Looks Good
- You can use moss to make attractive borders
- Moss can be used to cover rock walls, fences, sidewalks, patios, etc.
- Moss can be used to decorate pots, planters, and hanging baskets
- Moss can be incorporated into landscape designs
If you want to add moss to your garden, remember that it should be kept moist. You can plant moss in a container if you like. However, when planting moss outdoors, keep in mind that it will need more sunlight than indoor plants.
How to Grow Moss Outdoors
If you want to start growing moss indoors, here is what you need to know:
First, find a place where moss can get plenty of sunlight. A shady spot works best. If possible, choose a location close a window with indirect sunlight.
Second, prepare a potting mix that contains peat, perlite, vermiculite, sand, and compost. Make sure the mixture is not too wet. Add moss to the mix.
Third, put the pot in a warm, shaded, or even dark place. The ideal temperature is between 60°F and 85°F. Keep the moss damp. Mist the moss daily.
Fourth, wait until the moss has sprouted. Then transplant it outdoors. When transplanting moss outdoors, ensure that the soil mix holds some degree of moisture before adding moss.
Also, make sure that the moss is placed in a shaded area that will not be exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods.
Growing Moss Indoors
If you want to grow moss indoors, here is how you can do it:
First, buy a moss starter kit from any gardening store. This kit usually includes moss plugs, moss pellets, moss balls, moss sponges, moss sphagnum, moss peat, moss soil, and moss potting mix.
Second, soak the moss plug overnight in water.
Third, remove the moss plug from the water and let dry completely.
Fourth, insert the moss plug into the potting mix. Be careful not to damage the moss.
Fifth, mist the moss daily.
A small amount of fertilizer can be added once a week while misting to help accelerate the growth.
Sixth, wait until the moss starts to develop shoots. Then transplant.