How to Grow Moss Indoors

Mosses are some of the oldest and most drought resistant plants on earth.

Known as bryophytes, mosses are classified into the plant division Bryophyta, which is estimated to contain more than 18,000 identified bryophyte species.

Dating back over 450 million years, bryophytes are considered by botanists to be some of the oldest plants in existence. More advanced vascular plants like ferns didn’t appear on earth until about 50 million years later.

A Different Kind of Plant

Mosses source water and nutrients from the outside versus from the ground and reproduce by growing spores instead of producing blooms and seeds.

Instead of vascular  structures like leaves, stems and roots mosses have rhizoids, root-like appendages that anchor them in place.

Want to bring the outdoors indoors?

A moss bath mat is the perfect way to grow moss indoors and enjoy the pillowy soft feel of live moss beneath your feet. For a DIY Moss Mat like mine in the photo to the right all you’ll need is 1 silicone mat & some live moss which you can order or collect.

Moss Bath Mat
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(19″x12″) XL (24″x16″) XXL (32X24) Raised Edge Silicone Non Slip Dishwasher Waterproof Mat
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BIODUDE Live Terrarium Moss – Natural Pillow Moss 100% natural. No Dyes or Preservatives.

gardening

Where to Find

Found in wet spots like shady forests and alongside creek beds, live moss plants for indoor growing can either be hunted down and harvested in nature or purchased at a store.

Researchers recommend you get your hands dirty and touch some soil while harvesting your moss.

Mosses usually grow close together in clumps or mats and can be found throughout most parts of the worls including the arctic.

In addition to being free, this method assures that the moss you obtain is suited to your local climate and therefore able to grow, thrive and spread just the way you need it to.

How to Harvest

After finding your moss outdoors, harvest it by wedging a thin flat device such as a spatula underneath its base. Then gently lift the moss plant so as not to damage it and place it inside a plastic bag for transport. Moss is generally quite hardy, so if you’re outside and you have neither a spatula or a plastic bag, pick some up with your hands and shove it in your backpack.
moss

Prepare Your Garden

To prevent bacteria growth and kill existing organisms, you can pour boiling water over the container and/or base you plan on using. However, I have yet to sterilize my planting surface prior to moss gardening and have not suffered any of the consequences that gardening guides warn you about.

Your moss garden can be a container with rocks or soil, a silicone mat with sides, a porous rock, or even a piece of wood. As long as your moss plants receive plenty of water and daylight the moss encasement possibilities are endless. If you’re using a container with soil, lining the container’s base with a thin layer of activated charcoal atop a layer of rocks will aid in maintaining soil health and proper moisture levels. The charcoal will work to remove toxins and help prevent mold or mildew while the rocky bottom layer will promote drainage.

Maintenance

Keep your indoor moss garden in an area with plenty of daylight as mosses require it for photosynthesis.

Provide adequate hydration and humidity by watering or liberally hydrating with a spray bottle. Mosses like areas with high humidity such as bathrooms.

benefits

Air Purification

Due to their lack of lengthy vascular root structures mosses have to absorb water and nutrients from the air around them. In doing so, mosses also collect undesirable air particles such as smoke and bacteria, helping to purify their environment.

Indoor Humidity

Mosses can help stabilize room moisture levels to maintain a relative humidity of between 40 and 60 percent.

When humidity rises above 17 grams/cu. meter, moss will absorb moisture from the air.

When humidity drops below 12 grams/cu. meter mosses humidify the air by releasing moisture back into the environment.

This moss humidification method is especially useful when humidity drops during flu season. Research shows that influenza is most likely to spread at humidity levels below 10 grams/cu. meter.

No Pests

Mosses have no known pests or diseases.

Drought Resistance

Although moss plants are typically found in wet, shady areas, mosses are actually one of the most drought resistant plants in existence. Some species have therefore adapted to survive in seasonally dry climates such as alpine rocks or stabilized sand dunes. During lengthy dry periods, mosses are able to completely dry-out and suspend all growth. When moisture returns, moss plants will essentially come back from the dead and resume their photosynthetic metabolism.

FAQs

Frequently asked questions about moss

Yes, like all plants that undergo photosynthesis, moss uses sunlight for energy. 

Although moss plants are typically found in wet, shady areas, mosses are actually one of the most drought resistant plants in existence. Some species have therefore adapted to survive in seasonally dry climates such as alpine rocks or stabilized sand dunes. During lengthy dry periods, mosses are able to completely dry-out and suspend all growth. When moisture returns, moss plants will essentially come back from the dead and resume their photosynthetic metabolism.
There are several plants commonly referred to as mosses that are not actually moss. Reindeer moss (Cladonia rangiferina), also known as caribou moss, and so dubbed due to its integral role in the diets of grazing animals such as reindeer, caribou, moose and musk oxen, is actually a lichen belonging to the Cladoniaceae family. Related to neither mosses nor lichens, Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) is another fraud. A flowering plant that grows hanging from tree branches in either full sun or partial shade, Spanish moss is an angiosperm in the family Bromeliaceae (the bromeliads). Club mosses and Irish moss are two other fakers with misleading common names.

Scientists estimate that there are approximately 12,000 species of moss classified in the Bryophyta plant division and about 1,000 of those can be found in the United States.

The moss milkshake creates a type of moss paint that can then be spread across surfaces such as rocks, fences, brick walls, trees, ceramic pots, or wherever you desire your moss to grow. An alternative to buying or collecting additional moss plants, the moss milkshake, is likely the simplest way for growing moss without having to wait for them to spread on their own.
2 cups of buttermilk and 2 cups of water, topped with moss to fill the blender. The mixture should be blended until it reaches a milkshake consistency and can then be painted or poured onto the substrate of your choice. Be sure to give your milkshake concoction plenty of misting and you should be growing moss within three weeks.
4.7/5
4.7 out of 5 stars. 1,651 global ratings
(19″x12″) XL (24″x16″) XXL (32X24) Raised Edge Silicone Non Slip Dishwasher Waterproof Mat
4.5/5
4.5 out of 5 stars. 215 global ratings
BIODUDE Live Terrarium Moss – Natural Pillow Moss 100% natural. No Dyes or Preservatives.