How to Grow a Moss Bonsai

Updated February 21, 2017

Moss, so often overlooked, can be used to decorate bonsai specimens. The moss becomes an integral part of the display when chosen, placed and cultivated with infinite care. Moss was the first green land plant, thought to have developed from simple vascular plants. Moss itself is an ample plant without stems or leaves. It anchors itself to the soil by threadlike structures known as rhizoids. Moss obtains water directly from the soil or the air and gains its nutrients from the air. It can grow only in very moist environments. The Japanese have been using moss to accentuate bonsai specimens for many years.

Make small drainage holes in a plastic container using a pair of scissors or a utility knife.

Cover the bottom of the tray with an inch of fine sand and mist the sand until it's damp.

Collect moss from natural settings and mince it to a very fine texture with a razor blade. Sprinkle the minced moss over the sand, mist again and place the tray in a spot with dappled shade. Mist the moss once a day---it must not dry out.

Wait about two weeks until the entire tray is covered with a thin layer of moss. You may keep the moss in the tray for up to a year and use it as needed.

Collect moss from natural sites and let it dry out a little.

Put the moss into a blender and blend it with beer to form a heavy paste.

Set a brick on a tray. Cover the brick with the paste and with water. The brick will draw up the water and keep the moss moist.

Keep the tray filled with water for several weeks until the brick is covered with a sheet of moss. Create larger sheets of moss by using flagstones or other pavers as the base.

Apply a thin layer of peat to a page of newspaper. Sprinkle moss spores on top.

Keep the spores moist and out of direct sunlight.

Wait two or three weeks and the moss will begin to grow.

Things You'll Need

  • Shallow plastic trays
  • Scissors or utility knife
  • Fine sand
  • Mister
  • Moss
  • Beer
  • Blender
  • Kyoto moss spores
  • Newspaper
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About the Author

Tanya Lee is a professional writer with more than 30 years experience. She has published extensively in the field of education and as a journalist, the latter in such publications as "High Country News" and "News from Indian Country." Lee holds a M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.