Moss: Your Complete Guide to Mosses

Moss belongs to the division Bryophyta, which contains more than 18,000 known bryophyte species. 

Dating back over 450 million years, bryophytes make up some of the oldest plants in existence.

A type of non-vascular plant that lacks true stems, roots, and leaves, moss anchors itself in place with root-like appendages called rhizoids.

Plant Terrarium Graphic with Dark Academia Castle
Moss and Plant Terrarium Encased in Glass Jar

Ancient Non-Vascular Plants

One of Earth’s most drought-resistant plants, mosses source water and nutrients from the outside versus from the ground and reproduce by growing spores instead of making blooms and seeds.

More advanced vascular plants like ferns didn’t appear on earth until about 50 million years later.

The division Bryophyta includes Mosses, Liverworts (named after the liver-like shape of some species), and Hornworts (named after the horn-like appearance of their sporophytes).

Bryophytes lack the specialized tissues for transporting water and nutrients, such as xylem and phloem, which are characteristic of vascular plants like ferns, conifers, and flowering plants.

Instead, bryophytes absorb water and nutrients directly from their surroundings through their cell walls. This lack of vascular tissues is one of the defining characteristics of bryophytes.

Like mosses, both liverworts and hornworts commonly live in moist environments, playing important roles in the ecosystem, including helping to maintain soil stability and water quality.

Moss Garden Dark Academia Aesthetic

Commonly found in damp environments, such as in forests, wetlands, and on the banks of streams and rivers, mosses maintain water quality and play important roles in soil formation and stabilization.

Some species of moss can be used for their ability to act as indicators of environmental pollution and changes in climatic conditions.

  1. Moisture: Moss requires a consistently moist environment to survive, as it lacks the root system to absorb water.
  2. Light: While moss can grow in low light conditions, it thrives in environments with bright, indirect light.
  3. Proper pH: Most mosses prefer acidic soil with a pH between 5 and 6.
  4. Nutrients: Mosses get their nutrients from the surrounding air and water, and can grow in nutrient-poor environments.
  5. Air flow: Moss needs air to complete the exchange of gases necessary for photosynthesis.
Dark Academia Aesthetic Indoor Moss Tabletop Garden with Wall Art in background

Yes, many species of moss can grow on wood. In fact, wood makes a common base for moss gardens or for adding a green accent to surfaces such as walls, fences, or sculptures.

The most common moss types that can live on wood include:

  1. Fontinalis antipyretica
  2. Hypnum curvifolium
  3. Plagiomnium ciliare
  4. Polytrichum commune
  5. Sphagnum moss

The suitability of a particular species of moss for growing on wood depends on factors such as the amount of light and moisture available, the pH of the wood surface, and local environmental conditions.

Tabletop Moss Garden Indoors with Lake in the Background

No, moss does not need soil to grow.

As non-vascular plants without root systems like other plants, mosses absorb water and nutrients directly through their leaves and stems.

Thus, while still requiring moisture, appropriate light, and proper temperature conditions to thrive, moss can grow in a variety of environments, including on rocks, tree trunks, and other surfaces, without the need for soil.

Tabletop Moss Garden iPhone Wallpaper

Yes, moss needs water to survive. As non-vascular plants, mosses do not have a root system like other plants. Instead, they absorb water and nutrients directly through their leaves and stems. As a result, mosses require a consistent source of moisture to survive.

In the wild, mosses typically grow in consistently moist environments, such as in forests or near streams, but in indoor environments, moss requires adequate water to maintain a suitable level of moisture.

However, overwatering can harm moss, so be sure to monitor moisture levels carefully and adjust watering accordingly.

Biophilic Design Plant Terrarium Living Room

It is possible to grow moss directly on plastic, but risk of mold exists if the moss is kept wet for too long. Provide proper drainage and air flow to prevent mold growth and keep the moss healthy. Adjust watering as needed to maintain a suitable environment for the moss to thrive.

To minimize mold risk, create a layer of growing medium, such as sphagnum moss or coconut coir, between the plastic and the moss. The growing medium will help retain moisture for the moss and provide a more suitable environment for its growth, while also reducing the risk of mold.

Live Terrarium
Pillow Moss

Cute Farms
Moss Terrarium
Starter Kit

Tin Roof
Super Fairy

Geometric Glass
Moss Terrarium

Shop On Amazon

Plant Terrarium Gravel
5 Pound
3/8 Inch Pebbles


Organic activated charcoal for plant and moss terrariums
USDA Organic
Activated Olive Tree Charcoal


Meditation Buddha
Zen Garden
Terrarium Accessories


Moss Growing Soil Substrate for Terrarium or Bath Mat
Josh’s Frogs
Bioactive Substrate


Buy Live Moss Online for Moss Terrarium
Live Terrarium Moss
Natural Pillow Moss


Living Moss for Sale Online for Indoor Garden Growing or Outdoor Growing or Terrarium
Gardens Oy Vey
Indoor Moss Plant
for Bonsais


Black Dome Geometric
Glass Moss Terrarium


Handblown 10″ Cloche Style Glass Dome Terrarium Air Flow Opening


8.7″ Tall Gold Glass – Glass Greenhouse Terrarium with Lid


8.66″ Tall Geometric Glass Terrarium Planter with Door


Best Plants for Erosion Control on Slopes Bald Cypress Tree planted near glass house with landscaping and mountain backdrop

These grasses, shrubs, and trees stabilize soil, reduce runoff, and improve infiltration through deep and extensive root systems. Learn more.

dark academia glass, dome terrarium, lush moss, ferns, elegant interior design

Low maintenance microclimates for every room. Learn more.