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January 21, 2012

Moss Recipes - How to grow moss

- by Debra Anchors


What is moss?  Moss is big business.  Gardeners who want to add moss to their landscapes can purchase products like a moss kit in a carton or even order moss online; but why?   You can easily make your own moss given a "starter" of some native moss, the right conditions and some patience.


The best time to plant a moss garden is when evaporation is low; usually in the spring or fall (in seasonal areas). Mosses can withstand drought better than grass; moss suspends its growth while waiting for water. A shady area in your garden, where flowers and shrubs have difficulty growing, is a perfect spot for a moss garden. Moss does require some light for growth.  Mosses cannot grow in full sunlight nor can they grow in deep shade.




A moss carpet is delightfully soft to walk on. Take note, however, “Only farmers and summer guests walk on moss!” -Tove Jansson.


Moss doesn't stand up well to foot traffic. When you walk on a moss once, it will recover the next time it rains. But, if walked on a second and third time before a rainfall, moss may not recover, but die and need to be replaced. If you walk around on moss, you'll kill it faster than you will a lawn.


How to grow moss

Begin by obtaining some moss native to your area. Ask your friends. One of them probably has moss in their landscape, but fights against it instead of allowing it to thrive. Moss can be found in woodland areas, too, but be sure to get permission before digging. 


You can “paint” directly onto the area where you want the moss to grow, but be aware that you may breed a crop of weeds in addition to moss, since you can’t control the environment. Instead, sow the moss in tubs and “tent” with a wet towel. Then transplant the moss into your desired area when mature enough. 

Moss Recipes to Try

I was given two very different recipes for growing moss. Every gardener has his or her own “tried-and-true” method of propagating moss – who am I to judge which is best? Perhaps you use your own recipe to create  moss too. If you possess a moss recipe you have used and love, would you please share it?


Note: use an old blender and mix the concoction outdoors due to the aroma of the finished product.

Grow your own moss recipe 1:
  • Several handfuls of native moss (separated as much as possible from the soil) 
  • 1 large container of plain yogurt
  • Buttermilk
Mix the moss and yogurt in a blender, slowly add buttermilk until the mixture becomes a runny paste. Use a brush to paint the mixture onto the desired surface. Spray your new moss garden daily with water as it grows - moss thrives when moist.

Grow your own moss recipe 2:
  • Several handfuls of native moss (separated as much as possible from the soil) 
  • 12 oz. can of beer 
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender until the mixture liquefies. Use a brush to paint the mixture onto the desired surface. Spray your new moss garden daily with water as it grows - moss thrives when moist.


Video: Saiho-ji Zen Garden (Moss Temple) Kyoto Japan





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Leave a legacy, but garden like you’ll live forever! 
-Debra

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21 comments:

  1. I had a recipe once and lost it, so thanks for posting this. I would like to try this on some pots.

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  2. I would love to grow more moss in my garden. I am going to try to increase my moss population! Thanks for the recipe. I've heard of the buttermilk before, but not the beer!

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  3. Thanks for popping in! I know. . . some of our mature gardeners and farmers have the best advice, don't they?

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  4. Thank you for such an informative post. I enjoyed reading it very much even though I don't think moss would love my garden :)

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    1. Masha, If you like the idea of growing moss, why not try a terrarium inside your home?

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  5. I love moss and have much enjoyed my little moss garden outside! I'm hoping the moss will fill in around my shade garden. I've thought of doing the buttermilk thing before - I think I'm too afraid that I'll just cause everything to go moldy instead with my luck! :)

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  6. Lucky me moss grows easily in my yard..slowly replacing fescue beneath trees in my backyard ;-) Good advice for others!

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  7. Wonderful post! love moss... just posted on it myself a bit! I have seen some really neat moss graffiti on ugly concrete walls.

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    1. Greetings! Welcome to Gardens Inspired!

      I have seen the graffiti images online and am adding that to my project list this spring. The outside brick of our fireplace will be a prefect place to try it.

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  8. I enjoy reading your Moss receipe but I cannot imagine putting the moss in a blender with yogurt or beer.
    Its really a shock to me.

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  9. I'm curious about those moss recipes. Has anyone actually tried it, and have it work?

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  10. This sounds so wonderful, I dearly love Moss. I will give your first receipe a try. Thanks for sharing

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  11. I have featured your Moss post on my blog along with a few photos. Drop by for a peak. Kathy

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  12. I love moss and recently read a wonderful book called: Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

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  13. I adore moss!! And I have beautiful clusters of several in my yard, at the north of the house, where it gets rain run-off from the roof (we live in a BAD drought area and get very infrequent rain, unfourtunately). I am about to enclose the area where the moss is growing to make a library, and so I will need to move the clumps of moss.
    I'd love to move it to the east side of the house, but it will get morning sun before the sun hits the large Aspen tree, and then will be in the shade of the house for the rest of the day. What are my chances of success? I really want to save my moss!!

    You have my thanks for any advice, Therin

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    1. Hello Therin. Welcome to Gardens Inspired! How lucky you are to have moss in your yard. Because I don't know where you live, it is difficult for me to guess how well the moss will do in the morning sun - how hot will it be in the A.M. during the first week or two of August, for example?

      Even so, if you must move the moss you may as well try to place it where you have planned; the worst thing that will happen is that you will lose it, but then you will lose it anyway otherwise, right? My best advice is to transplant your moss in the spring or the fall (when temperatures are cooler). Also, I would be certain to keep the moss well-watered until it establishes itself in its new home. Good luck! -Debra

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  14. I live in Troy, NY, my landlady and landlord own a small complex of four very small buildings. There is a very postage size courtyard. The old owners had filled the small areas that are not walkways with stone and gravel. Since there is a little sun about two hours a day it wouldn't be practical to grow flowers etc. However, about three years ago we noticed three different types of moss and as we are cultivating the moss the courtyard has taken on a very friendly look.
    Thank you for the moss recipes so we can cultivate the moss quicker.

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  15. Great site, very informative. Now I have to find my old blender and I am in business. The results should be positive, but I will share any advances in the science of moss growing. K.O. Thanks.

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    1. Enjoy growing your own moss. And thank you for your offer to share!

      Debra

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  16. I am wanting to grow some moss in a spot between two fences as it is really difficult to effectively mow this space...and weed eating is not my strong suit (I tend to yard rip more than weed eat). Do I need to "remove" all of the grass in that area, or can I paint my moss over the grass? This is probably a silly question, as I assume I need to remove the grass, but I'd rather know for sure (and avoid the extra work if I do not have to do it). Thanks for the two recipes also...I had not heard of the beer/sugar concoction.

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    1. Sad, but true, Lonnie. You are correct; grass must be removed first. Good luck! Thank you for dropping in and for your question.

      Debra

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