Skip to Content

Moss Turning White: Causes, Solutions and Proper Care Tips

Spread the Word!

Moss turning white can be a pain, but it can also be a symptom of something else. What is it, and how should you deal with it?

Various reasons might cause white moss, but too much sun exposure is the most common. 

Moss naturally turns white when it is in direct sunlight for an extended period of time. The bleaching effect is caused by the breakdown of the green chlorophyll, which gives way to more pale pigments within the cell structure of the moss. Too much water can also cause moss to become stressed and lose its color.

In this article, we will explain more about the reasons why moss turns white, what you can do to prevent it and how to provide the ideal growing conditions to keep your moss healthy.

What Causes Moss to Turn White?

Moss turning white

It can be an attractive addition to any garden, but over time moss tends to lose its dark green color and become a stark white. 

This whitening is due to several factors, including sunlight exposure and water imbalance.

Light Exposure 


One of the main causes of moss turning white is the amount of light it’s exposed to. Sunlight can bleach plants with its ultraviolet rays, which break down chlorophyll. 

In trying to protect themselves from these damaging rays, plants may even change color as a survival mechanism to avoid being eaten by predators or preyed upon by herbivores.


Even though moss doesn’t look like it has very much in the way of features, it does require regular watering. If you don’t water moss as often as it needs, it will begin to wilt and lose its color.

How Can You Make Moss Green Again?

There are ways to prevent moss from turning white in the first place. 

  • Try to ensure that your moss has plenty of shade to protect it from sunlight. Moss can be grown under trees, on rocks and walls, or in any other shady spots. 
  • It needs moisture in order to stay alive. After a day of rain, it should be green and healthy again. If it’s not, there may be something wrong with the soil in your garden.
  • If your moss does start turning white due to too much sun exposure, you can also try cutting back some of the affected areas and then watering them every day until they grow back. 
  • If you have trouble finding a shady spot to grow your moss, try growing it in containers indoors or near a window where it will not get direct sunlight. 

Ideal Growing Conditions For Moss

It’s found everywhere, from a sunny meadow to deep inside a dark cave. The conditions that are best for moss are:

Humid Environment 


Moss grows best in a humid environment. In nature, this climate is found near water sources such as ponds and streams. 

The same conditions can be created in your home by placing a tray underneath the spot you are trying to cultivate moss. It is important that the tray is filled with either pebbles or sand so that the area is clear. 

To supply humidity to your moss, and also to keep it from drying out completely, it is recommended that you mist your moss once every 24 hours.

A Shady Area With Little Sunlight

Moss likes shady areas where there is not much wind. The ideal spot for moss is under a tree in the woods where there is an area that only receives about six hours of sunlight per day. 

Moss does best in soil with a pH between 5 and 7 and can grow in rocky soil as well as soil that has been amended with manure. Moss also prefers wet soil to dry ground.

Most garden centers carry reasonably priced pH test kits that can tell you the soil’s pH level. 

If the soil is too alkaline (pH above 7), then add acidic organic matter such as mulch, bark chips, or pine needles to lower the pH.

To test the moisture and pH of the soil you can use the cost-effective Trazon Soil 3-in-1 Meter. It not only tests for pH but also moisture content and light intensity. You can find it by clicking here!

Trazon Soil pH Meter 3-in-1 Soil Tester Moisture

Indirect Sunlight

Moss likes indirect sunlight, so try placing your plant near a window with some sun coming through but not directly onto the plant itself. 

The shade and the consistent moisture in the area will provide a good environment for moss to grow.



Mosses are not picky about their soil; they will grow in almost any kind of environment. You can grow moss on pavement, rock, or even wood. 

Moss does not need much sun or water to grow, making it an ideal choice for people who want to add some green to their home without adding the extra time and expense of frequent watering. 

Moss can be purchased online or at most gardening centers, but be sure you purchase the right moss for your environment.

How to Keep Moss from Turning White?

It’s actually not that difficult to keep moss from turning white. If you live in a particularly dry climate, it’s important to water your moss regularly.

Using shade cloth as a barrier can help prevent moss from losing its color in an exposed area. 

Likewise, keeping your plant indoors or in an shaded area will help minimize the damage caused by too much sun exposure. 

You may also be able to minimize this effect by keeping your plant indoors during the day and bringing it outside at night, so long as you don’t live in an area that gets below-freezing during those hours.

Can Moss Get Too Much Light?

Mosses are very adaptable plants and can grow in a variety of different environments and conditions. 

However, there is one thing they cannot tolerate and that is too much light. If you have just planted your moss, it needs to be placed in a part of the garden with filtered sunlight or in a place where it is mostly shaded. 

If you have an established, older moss clump, it can still take up more light but if it becomes too much, it will turn brown and die.

Additional Moss Care Tips

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 with 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:  

The Takeaway: 

There are many reasons why most would turn white, not all of which are cause for concern. It’s good to remember that moss will turn white again once the conditions that caused it to begin to subside. 

For example, sunlight is not always necessarily the best thing for moss, particularly if it’s too intense or directed. 

Moss grows in moist places because that’s the environment where it gets the water and nutrients it needs. As such, be careful to not overwater your moss, especially if you fertilize it frequently.

Spread the Word!

Free Plant Care & Gardening Guides