care of moss indoors

Jeffrey SchneiderAugust 15, 2007


i just received a bunch of beautiful live moss to plant on top of the soil of some potted sprouted coconuts.

in a shady area of my home, is is difficult to keep the moss alive (in a shallow pot with some dirt or would you recommend a terrarium)?

what about all of the bugs? do insecticidal soaps hurt the moss?

thank you!


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Forget the coconuts! Live moss toppings in potted plants can be difficult even outside in more ideal situations.
If you wish to keep moss alive within a home then you should know roughly where the moss came from: that is, is it a tropical species or a temperature species.
Knowing this will help establish a range of temperature requirements as well as guage the need of whatever percent of humidity may be required.
Generally the cooler the situation the more successful will be the attempt.
Besides temperature and humidity the most important consideration should be the amount of foot-candles (light) that the moss will receive. At the moment I can only surmise but would think that a minimum of 500 foot candles may be necessary. This should generate from lighting that is around 6 inches from the surface of the moss. Depending upon the species the closeness of the lighting can be varied but the aim is to grow a moss that is not elongated or that looks like thin threads but rather close compact mats. Some species can take a great deal of light including full sun while others would die back under such conditions.
Check out the other threads in this section on moss cultivation.
The final note should be on substrate. I have not come to any real conclusion if there is any one that will be good for all but the substrate that might be the best to try would be coir, or ground up coconut bark. To use soak a brick of the coir (found at most pet shops) in distilled water until completely wet and it falls apart then drain, squeeze it out and resoak again in distilled water. Follow the basic rules on stratifying the soil layers of a terrarium (gravel-activated carbon-either an aquarium filter mat or shredded bark fibers and then the coir or coir mixture onto which is placed the moss).
Use only distilled or R/O water. Check out information on keeping terrariums for more details.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2007 at 4:56PM
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Jeffrey Schneider

wow! thanks for all of the information.

would a picture of the moss help? if so, i've posted it on my blog ?

thank you!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 9:51AM
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what would be needed in images are:
1. overall image of the colony
2. close up of a or seveal strands in the colony
3. close up of any capsules
still may not provide enough to species but probably to genus.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 5:38PM
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On the soaking of coir (ground up coconut bark)
This week I begun the soaking treatment for a brick of coir
and on my second soaking noticed a great deal of sudsing occurring. It looks as though I will be trying several soaks to see how many it will take to eliminate the sudsing.
My principal experience with coconut bark and moss is with a tropical Diacrinum species. On planting the moss it took a long time before it began to respond and regrow. Hope to develop a web journal on it.
By using a regime of soaking the coir and resoaking it is hoped to eliminate whatever salts may be present that would deter of limit the growth of the moss and expedite the growth of the moss.
Will update

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 3:35PM
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To update:
I used 4 soakings before I was satisfied that the coir
was ok to use. Recommend using a fine sieve to drain out
the water before squeezing out the coir.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 3:56AM
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Jeffrey Schneider

thank you for all of the information. it does seem like a great deal of work, but moss is SO beautiful and mine is doing well so far. i am going to get my hands on some coir though.

thanks again!!!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 9:19AM
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Hey Jeff,
I will try to get some images of the tropical moss that I have growing on the coir. This coir I only soaked once.
There are two containers. One is shallower and with more
drainage holes than the one with a deeper layer of coir.
There is a definite difference!!! Will take foot candle readings too.
Am aiming for Monday or sooner. will post link.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2007 at 4:28AM
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Here is my 4 page journal on Diacranum.
Any questins email me. There is a link at the bottom of
each page.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tropical Sheet Moss

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 2:35AM
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