Growing Your Own Moss: Some Tricks to Know

GROWING  MOSS

Moss Face
If you have Moss and you want to encourage it, or you are bringing some into your land…

Choose or create an ecology like the one in which your moss was originally thriving.
Look for clues as to the favored habitat of your particular candidates. Think about the soil and exposure around each kind in the places where you find it. Most kinds of mosses are shade loving, but there are sun accepting ones, and some amble over stones. Try to reestablish each in its preferred ecology within your landscape.

  • Will you be walking on your moss a bit ? The ferny Hypnum seems better in this application than most others.
    Lovely soft clumps of the trailside pincushion mosses will need a more protected context.

“The way to study a plant is to look at it and observe how it behaves,
to see where
it flourishes and where it gets into trouble.”

Fletcher Steele / Gardens and People

  • Blow them off a lot – mosses don’t like debris on them.
    Keep your would be mossy place blown off or otherwise swept clean of all leaves and miscellaneous stuff. This is critical to the maintenance of all mossy places.
  • Moisture on their tops.
    Moisture from above is important to all mosses as they don’t gather moisture from below.
    Reproduction is accomplished best in a moist environment, so if you want the colony to flourish, reproduce and so expand, keep the moss surface moist.
  • Your earth should typically be of a pH less than 6.
    In the top 2” or so, at least, and a 5 to 5.5 pH is usually even better.
    This will be acidic soil, so it will be best to choose a setting where the surrounding plants are acid loving as well.
  • Bring in different kinds of mosses – but be discriminating.
    There are many kinds to choose from, and some are more desirable for your gardens than others. Typically the coarser kinds will outcompete the velvets, so you may want to keep them separated. The fine textured types may be less commonly available, and slower growing, but even small pieces will multiply along fine in a well chosen moist setting.
    ………..
    ……………………………………………………………………………………D.M.S.
  • Many of the beautiful ones look their best if living in a moist place.
    Mosses will be happier, prettier and more amenable to colonisation with moisture around most of the time. Shady, cool and moist places are usually good, but it is sometimes hard to predict who will do best exactly where, so perhaps try each kind in different locations. As soon as you see who does best in the places you would like to have them, go get more of those kinds.
  • Never take more than a few pieces from a colony.
    Wherever you find your moss, choose your removal locations so that the remaining moss colony can fill back in from all sides. When you cut a piece out, sprinkle some earth from nearby into the hole you make to encourage replenishment of the original colony.
    There can be hundreds of moss plants in a square inch of a colony. Perhaps this is part of the reason why even small gathered pieces can feel like great treasures.
    …………
  • Propagating your own moss.
    Moss can regrow from tiny broken pieces. This is very advantageous both to the moss and to us since it can be transported willy nilly via the paws of wandering creatures and colonise new places. In the forest the squirrels or chipmunks may be the local transporters, but our human paws can easily bring them to new places too.
    G. muralis, l. Alpina, mosses and Euphorbia chamacyparissias………
  • If you crumble a pad of moss, the bits will make new plants.
    The appropriate destination ecology needs to be  chosen for the kind of moss.
    To make conditions optimal, sometimes organic encouragement in the form of buttermilk or beer (both have their fan clubs) is reported to have a good effect on the rapid colonisation of the new place. Having heard this advice long ago, I keep a tin of powdered buttermilk handy and mix the moss crumble with some of it before distributing the moss to a new place. I subsequently mist the moss area so the preparation wont blow away, then let the whole situation get naturally watered in over time. If I’m after crevice moss as on a terrace, I may do a gentle hand sweeping of the place with some powdered buttermilk once or twice a year.
    If I want to encourage moss on a trough or other broad surface, I may make a slurry of the moss/buttermilk crumble with water so I can pour it on something, but I prefer the dry method when adhesion is not an issue, since it is so much less messy.
    My mosses do well, but I don’t really know if it is because of the buttermilk, the watchful watering, or the wandering ants and earthworms.
    ……………..
  • More Moss Tricks
    If I want some moss on a stone wall (any stone or cement artifact is game) I gather sheets of lightweight rock loving moss, let it dry, and then with any old waterproof glue, adhere some here and there onto the stone or mortar .
    I try to choose places somewhat high up where the colony will receive surface moisture. Water and gravity help the moss reproduce down from there.
    The parent pieces you glued on may fall off after a while, but by then you’ll probably have some oncoming colonies they have generated. The patina the mosses provide makes the wall look older sooner, and I’m often working towards that effect.
  • Green Side Down over Green Side Up.
    For transport of mature colony cutouts, I place the small pads side by side close together to conserve the integrity of the pieces. If you are layering pads for transport, the moss will stay cleaner if you layer the pads tops to tops and bottoms to bottoms.
    10” x 20” draining nursery trays are useful carrying tools. You can put a bit of newspaper as a tray liner to keep the bits in the tray, but get the mosses to safety soon as the paper won’t last, or if it does, it will trap water in ways the moss won’t like.
    …………
  • Mosses are patient.
    Most kinds will turn all shades of brown and look terrible in drought, but they are usually not dead, just in a sort of suspended animation. A little surface water will usually bring the colony back to a lovely green. It will be nice if the mosses are someplace where the wind or the grade of the land helps to take the leaf fall away, but it will be best to site the moss out of strong, drying winds.

    Moss……..

  • Moss will grow best where it doesn’t have much competition.
    It is often hard to weed mosses without breaking up the pads, so if you want to keep the colonies pure, try stay ahead of any invasions. Count on some time for detail weeding now and then.
    ……
  • Mosses have been Men’s and Women’s companions down through time.
    They insulated hands and feet through many long ago winters, and provided pillows for sleep. For countless generations they kept women clean through their monthly cycles and diapered their babies. [1]
    After having lived so closely with them for so long, it would seem natural that so many of us have a heartfelt affinity for Mosses.
    …………..
  • E.O. Wilson would call this Biophilia, meaning our attraction to and affiliation of feeling for landscapes, plant materials and creatures with which we coevolved.For some pictures of the different kinds of Mosses and their names, please see my article on Moss Identification

    The radial moss garden pictured above was made lightheartedly from the leftover masonry materials at the end of a full landscape renovation project. The peaceful place thus created has become a beloved feature for the People and their gathered Mosses.

[1] Please see the most wonderful book about Moss that has ever come into my hands.
Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer.
She received the John Burroughs Medal Award for this lovely work.


This entry was posted in Garden Making Guidance, Most Popular Posts, Plant Portraits and Stories, Things They Never Tell You and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.
  • All written and visual materials on this site are Copyrighted. (C) Ellen Cool 2010 - 2017

66 Comments

  1. Posted 2014/10/02 at 1:30 am | Permalink

    Just wanted to mention, І liked this blog post.
    It wɑs helpful. Keep on posting!

  2. Posted 2014/09/05 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    That is really attention-grabbing, You are a very skilled blogger.
    I have joined your rss feed and sit up for in search
    of more of your great post. Additionally, I’ve shared your site
    in my social networks

  3. Posted 2014/05/17 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Ce post est plein de bon sens

  4. Posted 2014/04/14 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Pretty! This has been a really wonderful article. Thanks
    for supplying these details.

  5. Posted 2014/02/16 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    I have been surfing online hours today, yet I never found
    any interesting article like yours. If all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet would be much more useful than ever before.

  6. Posted 2013/12/06 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    My brother suggested I might like this blog. He was entirely right.

    This actually made my day. You can not

    consider just how much time I had spent looking for this information!
    Thanks!

  7. Posted 2013/11/20 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Really like what you are stating and the way in which you

    say it. You make it enjoyable and still keep it wise. I

    cannot wait to read far more from you. This is actually a

    tremendous web site.

  8. Posted 2013/03/23 at 1:37 am | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing superb information. Your site is so cool.
    I’m impressed by the details on this site. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for more articles.

    You, my friend, ROCK! I found simply the information I already searched all over the place and just could not come across. What a great web-site.

  9. Posted 2012/12/31 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I’m very happy to read this. This is the type of manual that needs to be given. Appreciate your sharing this best doc.

  10. Posted 2012/12/31 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I have been reading out some of your stories and i must say pretty clever stuff.

  11. Posted 2012/12/29 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    Hi! I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading through your articles.

    Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics? Thank you!

  12. Posted 2012/12/27 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    It’s hard to find knowledgeable individuals on this topic, however you sound like you already know what yotu’re talking about!
    Thanks

  13. Posted 2012/12/27 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    Hi I am so excited I found your web site, I really found
    you by accident, while I was researching on Aol for something else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to say kudos for a
    marvelous post and a all round exciting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through it all at the minute but I have saved it and also
    included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be
    back to read a lot more, Please do keep up the awesome job.

  14. Posted 2012/12/04 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Hey really cool web site!! .. Excellent .. Amazing .. I will bookmark
    your weblog and do the feeds also…Im prepared to
    find numerous useful infos here inside each post,
    we start to develop more methods in connection, Cheers for posting.
    . . . . .

  15. Posted 2012/12/02 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Your site provided us with valuable information to work on. You’ve done a formidable job

    Our entire community will be thankful to you.

  16. Posted 2012/09/24 at 2:54 am | Permalink

    I stumbled over here from a different website and thought I might as well check things out.

    I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to looking at your web
    page.

  17. Posted 2012/09/24 at 1:02 am | Permalink

    Magnificent website. Plenty of useful info here. I’m sending it to a few buddies and additionally sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank you for your effort!

  18. Posted 2012/06/08 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for such a wonderful post. It was a great read.

  19. Posted 2012/03/14 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Hi! Great post! :)

  20. Posted 2012/03/13 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Tyvm for the useful information! I wouldnt have found this otherwise!

  21. Posted 2012/03/12 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    I truly enjoy looking at on this internet site , it contains superb blog posts.

  22. Posted 2012/03/06 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely pent written content, Really enjoyed reading through.

  23. Posted 2012/03/04 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    But wanna say that this is invaluable , Thanks for taking your time to write this.

  24. Posted 2012/02/22 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    Utterly indited content , regards for selective information .

  25. Posted 2012/02/20 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    VERY intriguing to read

  26. Posted 2012/02/19 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Hiya, I’m really glad I’ve found this information. Today bloggers publish just about gossip and web stuff and this is actually irritating. A good website with interesting content, that is what I need. Thank you for making this website, and I’ll be visiting again.

  27. Posted 2012/02/19 at 5:09 am | Permalink

    Very interesting points you have mentioned , thankyou for posting . “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” by Arthur Ashe.

  28. Posted 2012/02/18 at 3:14 am | Permalink

    The most comprehensive and very well thought out information I have found on this subject on the internet. Keep on writing, I will keep on coming by to read your new content. This is my fifth time stopping by your site .

  29. Posted 2012/02/14 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    A colleague of mine suggested to me to take a look at your blog site few weeks ago, since both of us like exactly the same subjects and I need to say Im certainly impressed.

  30. Posted 2012/02/12 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful blog post. The graphic material shown right here is definitely of quite great quality. I most certainly will take this website more often

  31. Posted 2012/02/10 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Great info! I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

  32. Posted 2012/02/10 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Highly intriguing posts on this awesome website!

  33. Posted 2012/02/10 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    Growing Your Own Moss ….you’ve got an incredible weblog right here! would you wish to make some invite posts on my weblog? Regards, Outdoor Furniture Manufacturers

  34. Posted 2012/02/08 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    I like this weblog so much, bookmarked.

  35. Posted 2012/02/07 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely comeback.

  36. Posted 2012/02/07 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    Very interesting subject , thanks for posting

  37. Posted 2012/02/06 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    prodigious article keep it up.

  38. Posted 2012/02/06 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Hi! Great post! :)

  39. Posted 2012/02/06 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    Very interesting topic , appreciate it

  40. Posted 2012/02/05 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    I admit I have not been on this blog in a long time however it was joy to find it again. Just great stuff as per usual!

  41. Posted 2011/02/01 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    some really nice and useful information on this web site

  42. Posted 2011/01/31 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Hey very cool web site!! Man .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your web site and take the feeds also…I am happy to find a lot of useful info here in the post, we need to work out more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  43. Posted 2011/01/26 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, my group has been looking for this kind of stuff.

  44. Posted 2010/12/20 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    I typically don’t post, but found this text of great worth, Thank you Author

  45. Posted 2010/12/16 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    very nice post, i certainly love this website, keep on it

  46. Posted 2010/12/14 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    This website has a lot of really helpful information on it! Thanks for helping me!

  47. Posted 2010/12/07 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for your help!

  48. Posted 2010/12/05 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    This is a good blog post with thanks for sharing this educational information.. I will visit your web site frequently for some newest publish.

  49. Posted 2010/12/05 at 2:22 am | Permalink

    You’re a Really Professional Blogger, You either have got top quality knowledge of what your discussing or you did some great research. Thanks for this excellent article.

  50. Posted 2010/12/03 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Terrific articles & Superior A webpage.

  51. Posted 2010/12/02 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    Incredible, really exceptional detail. This website is really amazing. I bookmarked it and will come back again.

  52. Posted 2010/12/01 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    Gracias por compartir su maestría en esta área. Hay mucho Info inútil en esto que flota alrededor y aprecio su trabajo duro.
    Thanks for sharing mastery in this area. There is very much useless Info in this that floats around and I appreciate this hard work.

  53. Posted 2010/11/27 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    I just found your blog via Yahoo answers, a really good article, thanks.

  54. Posted 2010/11/26 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    TY for putting this up, it was very helpful and showed me very much

  55. Posted 2010/11/25 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    Cool news it is definitely. We have been waiting for this information

  56. Posted 2010/11/24 at 4:22 am | Permalink

    No BS and written well, thanks much for the information

  57. Posted 2010/11/23 at 4:06 am | Permalink

    This is a wonderful post thanks for sharing this interesting information.. I will visit your weblog regularly for some latest article.

  58. Posted 2010/11/23 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    Straightforward and written well, thank you for the information

  59. Posted 2010/11/22 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    A insightful post there mate . Cheers for that .

  60. Posted 2010/11/22 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I just added your page to my bookmarks. I enjoy reading your posts. Thanks!

  61. Posted 2010/11/22 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Just thought I would comment and say great theme, did you design it on your own? It’s really awesome!

  62. Posted 2010/11/22 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Hello. Terrific job. I did not expect this on a friday night. This is a cool story. Thanks!

  63. Posted 2010/11/21 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Is it alright to post part of this on my website if I post a link to this page?

  64. Posted 2010/11/21 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, great job! This was the thing I had to know.

  65. Posted 2010/11/21 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Me too, tyvm for posting this..

  66. Posted 2010/11/21 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    What a great resource!

2 Trackbacks

  • By Stone Stories 1 - A Reasoned Landscape on 2012/07/28 at 7:38 am

    [...] of the earth, and happens faster in a shady, moistish place. Feel free to rub mud on them or add a moss and buttermilk concoction once in a while to encourage biological beginnings on the stone’s surfaces. [...]

  • By Tiffany Dinwiddie on 2012/02/11 at 1:36 am

    I think this is a really great blog article.Much thanks again. Much obliged….

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>