Moss is a naturally occurring plant, which often sprouts independently and mainly on pavements and lawn’s bare spots. Mosses grow in the temperate zone throughout the world, and they prefer shade, moisture, and acidic soil.
When used in lawns and gardens, moss can make any garden setting very appealing to the eye, especially for those who want a fairytale-esq vibe outdoors.
If you’ve ever thought about creating a moss garden, you don’t have to wait for the moss to sprout itself because, truth be told, propagating it is easy.
Here’s everything you need to know to cultivate it.
Two Main Types of Moss
Before growing your own moss in your garden, you must have an idea about what type of moss you think will suit your garden setting. Naturally, moss grows in two main ways:
- Upright or Acrocarpous Mosses
- Prostrate or Pleurocarpous Mosses
Pleurocarpus moss grows flat on many grounds, and it grows faster. It also does a perfect job at erosion control, and it’s easy to walk on without harming the plant.
The upright version, on the other hand, is a drier type of moss which means it is more easily damaged if disturbed or walked upon.
Benefits of Moss to Your Garden
Moss can indeed create a fairy-like ambience in forests and gardens. But did you know that it can also benefit your garden in so many ways? For instance:
Moss holds moisture and is considered as one of the most drought-tolerant plants out there. Meaning, it requires less water to survive. Mosses are rich in nutrients and provide organic material to your garden too, making them an excellent replacement for mulch.
Plus, moss doesn’t need replacing yearly and it hosts beneficial insects such as spiders, ants and worms— which provides a valuable food resource for other animals, e.g. birds, amphibians, and reptiles.
When to Grow Moss
When it comes to transplanting or propagating moss, it’s best to do it in the early spring. Growing them on ground conditions that are still wet from the winter snow or rain can help the moss bed to settle before the summertime and before other challenging growing conditions set in.
Note: Ensure there are no signs of any threat, such as frost before you select a spot for your moss.
Equipment and Materials You’ll Need to Grow Moss by Transplanting
In terms of tools, you’ll be needing the following:
- Gardening gloves
- Hose and Sprinkler
- Paintbrush or Spatula
- Spray bottle
As for the materials, prepare the following:
- Landscaping pins
- Moss transplant
- Soil pH strips
This method (courtesy of The Spruce) works best for growing moss directly in the soil or covering up some bare patches where your lawn won’t propagate. Let’s get started!
Step 1: Recover and Weed the Area
Using a pitchfork, upturn and weed the spot you want to grow your moss. Then rake the surface of the soil so that the filaments can make good contact with the ground.
Step 2: Test Your Soil’s Acidity With the Use of Soil pH Strips
Soils normally become acidic when elements such as calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium are replaced by hydrogen ions. Most lawns require a 6.5 to 7 soil level, which is neutral and considered alkaline. But for moss, it should be below 6.
To test your soil, use your pH strips. If the result is higher than 5.5, make sure to add compost, manure and other soil amendments.
Step 3: Wet the Planting Area With a Hose or Sprinkler
After moistening the ground with a hose or sprinkle, allow the water to soak in for about 15 minutes to half an hour. Otherwise, you’ll be planting in dirty water, or worse, mud.
Step 4: Place the Moss on Top of the Soil
When laying your moss press it down firmly, then, pin it in place with the use of landscaping pins. Placing some light rocks on top as an anchor is also ideal.
Step 5: Keep it Moist
While it’s true that they can survive dry conditions, mosses still require dampness for them to survive.
Make sure to keep your moss damp for the first three weeks after planting it. You can use a misting garden hose and mist it at least once a day during dry weather conditions.
Now that you know how to grow your own moss garden, you can now have a serene and magical place to rest and spend your time outdoors!