How to grow an indoor moss garden

Written by faith schuster | 13/05/2017
How to grow an indoor moss garden
The unusual nature of moss makes it an attractive candidate for an indoor garden. (Image by Kim Love; Flickr.)

There are several hundred different species of moss. Unlike most plants, moss does not develop an actual root system. Instead, the plant produces spores, which build a root-like structure that grows into the ground or attaches itself to a surface such as a rock or stone wall. As the moss grows, tiny leaves begin to emerge and hundreds if not thousands of tiny leaves grow beside one another and exist within a very small patch of moss. With just a few basic supplies and a little bit of effort, it's possible to take a piece of the great outdoors into your house to enjoy.

Find a suitable container. Moss will grow well in a variety of vessels including terrariums, glass bowls, small plastic aquariums, wide bottles and short glass vases. Moss craves humid conditions and will thrive in an environment where it can be kept warm and moist.

Know where to locate the moss you'll need for your indoor moss garden. Moss can be found growing outdoors in lightly shaded areas where moist soil abounds. You may even have some growing in your garden but, if not, ask friends and family if you can search for and take a few small cuttings from their property. In the event that you are unable to find moss or want a speciality variety, consider purchasing moss online.

Harvest outdoor moss by carefully using a hand-held shovel to remove a small patch. When taking a moss cutting be sure to also remove about 3 cm of the growing medium below it as well. This helps to ensure that the protonema, which is the moss's root-like system, is not damaged. Place the piece of moss on a plastic plate to transport it back to your house.

Fill your container about one quarter full with pebbles or gravel. Then add a thick layer of soil to the container, filling it until the container is approximately half full. If you would like, add a very thin coating of peat moss to the top of the soil, since moss likes slightly acidic conditions. Do not press the soil flat, as moss grows best in loose, non-compacted soil. Carefully place your piece of moss on top of the soil and gently press it down so it sits atop the layer of soil. If you would like to embellish your indoor moss garden with decorative elements such as small ceramic figurines, add them to your garden now.

Place your moss garden in a shady part of your house, away from direct sunlight, and mist it regularly. A plastic spray bottle filled with room-temperature water is ideal for this task. It is important to make sure that the moss is kept moist but is not saturated with water, as over-watering in an enclosed container can cause moss to rot and mould. Check your garden daily or every other day to see if it needs to be misted.

Things you need

  • Container
  • Moss
  • Small hand-held garden shovel
  • Plastic plate
  • Gravel or small pebbles
  • Potting soil
  • Peat moss (optional)
  • Decorative elements (optional)
  • Plastic spray bottle for misting

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