How to Grow Pillow Moss

Updated November 21, 2016

Tropical pillow moss is a common ground cover for tropical amphibian and reptile enclosures. The lush green moss thrives in moist environments with high levels of light and creates a natural appearance in terrariums. Tropical pillow moss is the common name for a variety of mosses in the Dicranum genus. They have a thick, mounded growth habit and are readily available from terrarium supply stores. Pillow moss is easy to care for in home terrariums.

Fill a small bucket of water with fresh, de-chlorinated freshwater and soak the pillow moss for five to 10 minutes.

Place the pillow moss in a terrarium so that the soil is facing toward the bottom of the tank and the green foliage of the moss is facing upward. Pillow moss generally comes in compacted clumps, and you may need to pry the moss apart after it has soaked in order to cover the base of the terrarium.

Mist the moss several times each day to maintain a high level of humidity in the terrarium. Space the misting times out through the day so that the pillow moss has a chance to completely dry out in between.

Adjust the florescent light so that the moss receives 10 to 12 hours of light each day and ensure that the temperatures in the terrarium remain above 18.3 degrees C. Install a heating pad to maintain the temperature, if needed.


Most pillow moss has a short lifespan in terrariums and will need to be replaced as it dies back over time; some rare tropical species will establish themselves and propagate in terrariums that have adequate light.

Things You'll Need

  • Small bucket
  • Pillow moss
  • Full spectrum florescent light
  • Spray bottle
  • Heating pad
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