What is Sheet Moss?

Updated February 21, 2017

Sheet mosses are large strips of pleurocarpous or hypnum moss. These mosses grow close to the ground and tolerate shade well. However, direct sunlight overwhelms them. They have medium green colour. The pleurocarpous radiates quickly because of its short stems. Hypnum mosses were once called feather mosses because they were used to stuff pillows. Both species live in wet conditions, often on bark and near the base of trees. They are found throughout Eastern North America, Alaska, Africa, Asian and Central Europe.

Harvested Moss Uses

Sheet mosses are used commonly for decorative scenes to give displays a consistently fresh look. They serve as an organic alternative to synthetic manufactured miniature grass in such things as miniature nativity scenes. North Americans also use sheet moss for wreaths and crosses, and the Japanese use sheet moss for ornamental water flowers.

Use sheet moss to surround artificial trees with grass. Cover planter soil to avoid weeds and keep out pests. Line hanging baskets. Some nurseries sell sheet moss as an alternative to sphagnum moss in nurseries. Other stores only sell sheet moss for decorative purposes, with the best sheet moss containing colours that most closely resemble grass.


Sheet mosses fill the empty spaces of terrarium's well when mixed with pebbles and lichens. Terrariums are gardens enclosed in glass containers for the purpose of displaying the plants. Use thin moss that grows on flat stones or fallen logs so that you know the moss will fit in the terrarium. Find them in moist woodlands. Since they grow naturally there, they'll look natural among plant arrangements. Place the sheet moss between the gravel below and the soil mixture on top.

Moss in Gardens

Flesh out your garden by placing live sheet moss throughout. They can highlight other low-growing plants with a slightly different shade. They're durable enough to handle foot traffic and work well between patio stones and stepping stones. However, if large crowds travel through regularly, they may not handle the strain. If you're maintaining a moss garden, you can let the sheet moss dominate.

Acquiring Moss

Collect sheet moss in the summer when dry and lightweight. Or you can buy the sheet moss at a wholesaler. If you're getting live sheet moss, you can purchase moss strips or pre-ground moss. When ground, moss enters a growth stage, so you can fill in areas quickly with a small amount of sheet moss. Manufacturers release some sheet moss combined with growth stimulants, buttermilk and water retention gel. You simply add water and stick the moss wherever you want.

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About the Author

Charles Pearson has written as a freelancer since 2009. He has a B.S. in literature from Purdue University Calumet and is currently working on his M.A. He has written the ebooks "Karate You Can Teach Your Kids," "Macadamia Growing Handout" and "The Raw Food Diet."