Has anybody ever grown Spanish moss indoors?

panspipes(zone 9)December 14, 2005

I just stuck a chunk in my ivy plant that's hanging over my sink in a southern window. I mist it once in a while. Do you think it will survive?

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ImANut

in a bath or kitchen?

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 5:44AM
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bihai(zone 9)

It is really not recommended that you grow Spanish Moss indoors. Not because you can't...it would be extremely easy to grow...but the moss that you collect from the trees and particularly from the ground is generally infested with insects, specifically mites and sometimes tick nymphs, which it picks up from the outside, and then brings into your home. People have then been infected and usually the last thing they think of is the moss while they are scratching and slapping on Caladryl...

Decorative Spanish Moss that you buy in bags at a garden center for use in stuffing hanging baskets has generally been sterilized by some method, usually steam. I don't think its even still alive actually, but it degrades very slowly so you can't tell its preserved.

We are overrun with Spanish Moss here in Florida, it hangs year round from every tree, lies all over the ground, and children are taught at an extremely early age never to pick it up or play with it. We burn it as a firestarter in outdoor fires.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 7:15AM
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panspipes(zone 9)

I'm suddenly itchy.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 6:04PM
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nick363

I sanitize my Spanish Moss by swishing it around in water for about twenty or thirghty seconds. I haven't had any chigger or nasty bugs on me yet due to Spanish Moss. If you do grow it inside you will have to mist it fairly consistently with water, unless you have a humidifier. Make sure it gets some sunlight, but not any more than six hours. I just prefer keeping it outside unless your climate is too cold, but there are ways around that depending on how far north you are. If interested ask, and I will tell.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 2:28AM
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gonzer_gw

Bihai, you BURN bromeliads???????? :-O

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 8:51AM
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bob740(zone 6 ,NY)

I've tried growing it indoors over the winter months,and it does ok for about 3-4 months,but gradually dies due to dry air or chlorine in our tap water,even if daily misted,or soaked once a month. And outdoors in the summer,it does fine,except that the birds love to use it for nesting material...so you can't seem to win up north.
Bob

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 9:59AM
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junglegal(10a)

I collected a bunch and hung it up in my trees, gave a really cool look but as Bob said, the birds stole all of it from me.

Bihai is right about the bugs, we went to an outdoor concert under some stately live oaks dripping in the stuff. We were itching all over that night!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 12:03PM
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hotdiggetydam

If you were around grass at the concert.. the bugs could have been chiggers...we have more problems with those in the dry season than anything coming out of the moss..odd how moss wont grow anywhere that cresote is emitted or grease(kitchens vent or fireplace)

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 12:48PM
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nick363

This is in response to bob740. You can leave some outside this winter. It may not do so well if do not live near a body of water. Humidity levels are usually lower outside in the winter time. If the temp. is forcasted to go below 10 degrees I would bring it inside for the duration of that cold spell. After the pretty cold weather passes set it back outside. Usually that type of weather doesn't last more than a few days in a zone 6 so you shouldn't have to worry about taking care of it inside.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 9:29PM
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junglegal(10a)

Nope, we were on sugar sand and we were sitting at picnic tables. We thought it was what is called no see ums (nasty creatures too!) but it was pretty much the upper body itching.

I'm no authority really, maybe it's our high humidity that makes the moss come alive?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 9:33PM
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nick363

I forgot to tell you how I keep the birds from stealing my Spanish Moss. A pretty good indicator that nesting season is gearing up in the early spring is to watch for the buds to start popping on Sugar Maple or Black Maple. Bring the moss inside when you see this. Now wait until the first leaves almost get to full size. At that time it should be safe enough to set your moss back outside. It sounds kind of weird but it works for me.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 9:48PM
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hotdiggetydam

Ack sand here means fleas..as we have no winter and the sand holds heat so thats where they lay the eggs to hatch

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 10:21PM
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tennesseestorm(6B-7A (N.E. TN))

Nick363... so it should be OK outdoors until about 10°? I have a good deal of Spanish Moss draped in some of my trees here @ my house in northeast Tennessee. I am on the 6B-7A border. Our coldest low last winter was 8°, which occured twice and both were record lows for the date. Mine has been there all summer, so I am wondering how easy it will be to remove from the trees. Doesn't it "latch" onto or "wind" to the trees after a period? I had two different batches of Spanish Moss sent to me from Florida. One was a very healthy batch (was packaged in a plastic bag and was moistened, while the other was simply placed in a box and most of it had dried out and perished when before it got here. If I bring it in, how often should I "mist" it with water? We have a built-in water filtration system (takes out chlorine), so I think that would not be a problem. I heard chlorine is not good for it. Even if I leave it outside, should I "mist" it with water like once a week during dry, cold periods?

Thanks for any tips/advice.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 11:43PM
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tennesseestorm(6B-7A (N.E. TN))

Hello? Can anyone recommend a "minimum temp" I should let this go down to before I bring it in?

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 7:23PM
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tennesseestorm(6B-7A (N.E. TN))

Hello? Well, so far, its got as cold as 21° here and it is still doing fine. Some did fall out of a tree and i bought it in and placed it on a hanging basket handle with some other foliage and let it drape down. I have been misting it with non-chlorine water (we have a built-in water softner) and its doing fine so far, but not sure how much sun it should be getting and how often I should be watering it. Thanks in advance.

Also, what is about the "lowest" temp this will handle, before its destroyed? Thanks.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2007 at 12:39AM
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kerry_t_australia(9)

My Till. usneoides (Spanish Moss) survived -8 C outdoors, whatever that is in fahrenheit. I don't know if it can survive colder temps than that, and probably not for extended periods. Maybe someone else has grown it colder outdoors?

Cheers,
Kerry

    Bookmark   December 22, 2007 at 7:32AM
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gonzer_gw

17.6F (-8C) Kerry? That's some serious cold!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2007 at 5:42PM
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kerry_t_australia(9)

Yes Gonzer - seriously cold, and never had it that cold before. If interested, see some ugly photos of my frost-damaged garden post that black frost, under the post entitled "Frost etc." by Tomas.

Tennesseestorm - I forgot to add that our hideously cold freak winter of last was also very dry, and I did not water or mist my epiphytic broms (including the Spanish Moss) at all. I relied on the adage "Better cold and dry, than cold and wet". This worked for the S.M. it seems, but had the ground been moister, I believe less damage would have occurred. Probably fortnightly misting of your outdoor S.M. in cold weather would be adequate? Hope this helps.

Cheers,
Kerry

    Bookmark   December 22, 2007 at 6:06PM
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tennesseestorm(6B-7A (N.E. TN))

Thanks Kerry for that info! I am really hoping to see reports of it surviving abit lower than that... lol! We are in zone 7a and while our coldest average January low is 25°F and it rarely gets below 15°F consistantly, it does occasionally drop below 10°F here, during those "artic" outblasts that plunge into the southeast USA. Last winter we dropped to 8°F twice here at my house, but last year, I did not have the moss. This is my first winter year with the SM.... it thrived this summer though. I keep trying to think it will be OK, because eastern NC, eastern SC, southern and eastern GA, northern FL, southern AL, southern MS and upper coastal TX and southern LA have spanish moss and I am sure that temperatures there in winters past have probably been pretty cold. I have seen parts of northern FL drop to as cold as the lower 10s and the moss seems to still be very heavy there. Example, Tallahassee, Floridas coldest temperature on record is -2°F (way back in 1899) and the next coldest was 6°F in 1985, which is pretty frigid, but yet there is still heavy amounts of this moss there... so I am wondering if it simply survived that cold, or did more "blow in" and it regenerated over the years. Its a mystery I guess. I will keep up with those tips... misting it when its mild out and also keep on misting my indoor moss, at least every 2-3 days, as its very dry here inside the house, with the electric heating.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   December 23, 2007 at 12:36AM
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tennesseestorm(6B-7A (N.E. TN))

Well I wanted to update... I did end up bringing in a couple of small patches of the moss into my room. I have it in my south facing window and I mist it nightly. It has been in here for about a month and is doing fine... not itching yet either. :D

The outdoor moss (which I still have alot of), is also doing fine. We had a couple of mornings this month, where the forecast was around 7-8°. I was a little worried for sure. However, both of those mornings, it dropped to 13° here, rather than the single digits. One of those days, the highs did not even get out of the 20s for highs, which I thought would take a toll on the moss, but it did not. 20s for highs is well below average here and about as cold as it ever gets for "low" high temps. The last cold spell, it dropped to 13° and the air was so dry. One day the dewpoint was -2°, which was the lowest I had seen it. However, as usual, two days later, it was raining and 100% humidity. The moss was well-watered all day yesterday and last night. Today it looked fine. Another bout of teens for lows forecasted Thursday night. I just hope it can continue to survive the occasional artic outbreaks we keep getting. We normally only get about 2-3 times when we get down into the teens for lows.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 8:48PM
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nick363

Sorry about not being able to answer your questions Tennesseestorm. This is the first time I've been logged into this site in over 6 months! Now to your questions. I saw on another Spanish Moss forum that it is cold hardy to 5 degrees. It has survived here to temps. as low as 8 degrees thats all the colder it's been here in the last 2 years which is the legnth of time I've been growing spanish moss here. When single digits or an ice storm warning are predicted it comes into the garage or an unheated room just long enough for the nastyness to pass then its back outside. Also I have not misted my moss in about a year(except for the drought last summer) and it is still doing great. in regards to your moss that died the moss needs to have as close to the original light conditions as possible or it could be burned up if it was originally in the shade and is moved to a sunny exposure. I had the same thing happen to me and it was all taken from part shade and moved to afternoon sun. Due to this error I lost half of my new moss chunks. I need a clarification. Did you say it was dead even before you took it out of the box? If so how long was it in there? If I missed any questions or you have anymore feel free to ask. Started a new area of plant emphasis, hardy cacti and succulents. I am also growin a Balsam fir, American larch, and Dawn Redwood. So far as I know I am the only person in this part of TN (middle TN) grow the first 2 trees listed. Also have other plant stuff to talk about if interested.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 12:38AM
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pamplonica_mail_com

Could someone help me exterminate a flea infestation due to putting some Spanish Moss in the porch?
ALso, I've heard if you stick the Spanish Moss inside a bag and in the freezer for a couple of days that you would get rid of those in the moss. Is that true?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 8:38AM
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