shady moss hoop house

froggy(z4/5 WI)July 26, 2006


so i wanna grow moss, orchids, ferns, liverworts, etc... in a heated, misted, fanned and even maybe cooled hoop house. as ya'll can see, im in wisconsin. which brings me to my question. what would u use for a covering?

this wont be a production house but a hobby house. ponds, water and plants everywhere. the plants that im wanting to grow arnt into change. they are slow and temperamental (sorta like me).

i have a 2x blown poly to start off with (18% shade)

i also have liquid shading. this shading type mostly falls off after freezing starts. the benefit of this stuff is that one can easily make 'shade' or 'hot' spots. the problem is that it falls off and is in constant flux thruout the year.

i was also thinking about putting on a ~70% shade cloth. that would give me a total of 88% shade. its not that expensive and will be constant.

or maybe there is a 'white' plastic that i can put over the 2x poly (or maybe even use 2x white poly instead of clear?) that will be a better and easier choice? tho im a bit afraid of what type of light it will block out.

anywho, any advice, experences or comments will be greatly appreciated,


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deep_woods(z5 central IL)


Growing moss, orchids, ferns and liverworts in a heated,cooled, misted and shaded hoop house with air circulation? George Schenk in his book Moss Gardening mentions moss house in his descriptions in chapter four, titled In Public Gardens of the West which describes both the outdoor and indoor moss gardens of North America. Page 44: " a successfully designed moss house must solve the basic problem - insufficient humidity - that makes so many of the world's more spectacular bryophytes practically ungrowable in the open garden."

Shade and misting particularly during the hottest months will help. Since you are from Wisconsin your soil and moss do best in acidic conditions. Be sure to use collected rainwater or pond water if your tap water has minerals and is alkaline (pH>7. The filmy mosses and ferns do need shade and misting but there are many mosses that do quite well with more sun. Closely examine any moss growing on old stone bridges, in the cracks of sidewalks or on the roofs of cabins or old garages. Those are sunny mosses that do well in hotter and dryer areas.

Hylocomium splendens or commonly called stairstep moss is one spectacular moss found in your area that requires high humidity and does not like to be immersed in water or constantly wet conditions.

If you go to this page you will find a good picture of stair step moss and much other good information on Wisconsin bryophytes.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 10:50PM
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froggy(z4/5 WI)

thanks Rick.

i have Schenk's book. i find it only of minor help. its more of a book about pictures and an introduction to moss than specifics on growing moss.

and as of late, i have been collecting those 'Closely examine any moss growing on old stone bridges, in the cracks of sidewalks or on the roofs of cabins or old garages. Those are sunny mosses that do well in hotter and dryer areas.' mosses and ferns and i even have 1 liverwort. but as of now, im in the process of developing one of my greenhouses into a 'shady humid perminate house' so i can place collected mosses directly where i want.
i have spent some time @ the Wisconsins bryophyte site. it is helpful in taxonomy.
i do have a question about shading. what would u use? im partial to using the sprayon. but im not to crazy about the winter falling off thing. not sure how the plants are going to handle that. any comments?


    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 8:56PM
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deep_woods(z5 central IL)


Try the spray-on shading. True it might peel off over the winter but sunlight intensity is less in the wintertime.

Walk in the woods in the winter and contrast that minimal shading with what you see in the summertime. I had a place I would drive to that in the wintertime you could just open your side door of your car and reach out and touch the moss.

Drive by that same location in the summer and (a) you can't open your car door because of the weeds that have grown up above the moss and (b) you can't see the moss even if you try because of the dense weed undergrowth.

Goerge Schenk's book is elegantly written and I too was frustrated by his seeming lack of details but after reading it again and again and reading Fletcher's book I have come to the conclusion that in some ways you have to know the moss and it's native habitat and since neither book is very deep on taxonomic identification then it can seem puzzling just what conditions apply. Also Moss Gardening is a small book of 260 pages with over 100 pictures. No other book has such pictures. Mosses of the Great Lakes is 590 pages with only taxonomic information but if you can identify your moss that book will describe the moss's habitat and it's idiosyncracies. Only black and white line drawings in that book though. Schenk's book is the travel brochure and Fletcher's book is the cookbook.

Schenk particularly mentions taking some of the soil the moss is growing on. This forces you to at least consider what types of soil or surface the moss favored in the woods.

Have you found Leucobryum glaucum the silver cusion moss or white moss or sometimes called the pincushion moss? You should be able to find this moss and because of it's unique features it is easy to identify. Schenk seems to indicate that this is one of his favorites and I have to agree. You can look at the picture on page 48 or go to the link. The funny thing about this moss is that I could put six different samples in front of you and you would swear that there were six different types of moss.

The pictures at this site are pretty good but this is the problem with moss id; different growth stages and growing under ideal or minimal conditions may look quite different


Here is a link that might be useful: White cushion moss

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 9:48PM
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froggy(z4/5 WI)

i would agree with u about Schenk's book. i do not have Fletcher's book. Schenk's book is a very nice looking book, no doubt. if after reading the book one doesnt become involved with moss, one must be insane. some of that old growth is phenominal.

as to white cushion, yes i collected some but it seems to have died. infact, most of my collected mosses have died. i feel very bad when that happens, like a failure. they seem to be much more temperamental than higher plants. that is one of the reasons i wanna start up a hoophouse just for these creatures. if they are ripped away from their existing home, they better have a good place to go to or they turn brown within days. fyi, liverworts are easier, just give them some running water and they settle in pretty quickly. i have not found a hornwort yet but understand they are simular to liverworts in this fashion.

so im focusing on the environment with the ideal of 'if u build it, they will come'. hence the questions about the 'ideal shade moss house'.


    Bookmark   July 29, 2006 at 7:05AM
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deep_woods(z5 central IL)


sorry to hear of your moss loss.

Actually moss is less temperamental than vascular plants. I had two "Caribbean Crush" verbascum plants and last week each of them died in 24 hours. One had all its leaves go limp and curl up one day. The next day the other did the same thing. And these were large plants with leaves 10" long.

While the verbascums definitely died, moss sometimes appears to be dead and is not.
More on that later.

I just got another copy of FletcherÂs book, The Moss Growers Handbook yesterday. My previous copy was a couple of years old and this newest copy has some line drawings and an index. This book is 87 pages long and is free for downloading!!!!!!!!!


Here is a link that might be useful: Moss Grower's Handbook

    Bookmark   July 29, 2006 at 8:50AM
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