Growing Moss On Painted Wood Panels

taequiltySeptember 5, 2012

Hello my fellow green thumbed Gardeners!

First thank you for all the help I've found on these forums. I've been a reader here a long time but I've finally come across a problem I don't believe has ever been address on this forum.

I'm working on a project growing moss on painted wood panels to bring something alive and beautiful into my room for the winter. I have read online instructions to make a paintable solution of moss that would allows me to form whatever decorative shapes I wish on the aforementioned panels. Sounds great, but thus far I've been unable to get it to work.

Here's what I'm working with:

1. My wood panels are thin (1/3" deep) and made of regular stock wood, painted black using acrylic paint (very thin layer).

2. The moss solution is made of moss I collected from the woods (all one type) near my house which I cleaned, removing dirt, and blended with beer, some miracle grow, water retention gel, water and yogurt. It has a good consistency and I was able to apply it in the desired pattern. I've watered it every few days using a spray can laced with some miracle grow until it is fully damped but...

Nothing has grown in the few weeks since I first applied it.

I'm willing to try anything to get this project to fruition.

Is moss unable to grow on painted surfaces? (I could discard the paint.) Should my panel face north? Does it need to be in a specific temperature? Is there a specific sort of moss I should use? Is there anything wrong in the way of my solution? Is a simple flat wood surface not ideal?

Thank you all for the help!

The-currently-not-so-green-thumbed, Taylor Q

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Addendum: I've made two solutions. #1 Contained all sorts of moss from around my home + beer + water + corn syrup (for thickness) + water retention gel + SUGAR - which I forgot to mention above. #2 Contained only own type of moss + beer + water + Greek yogurt + miracle grow + SUGAR. Neither have yet grown. It has been three weeks. How long show I expect before I see some sort of growth?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 5:43PM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

All the mosses I've grown require consistent moisture. Growing on a vertical wood panel is not the same as growing on the ground. The wood panel will dry out much faster than the ground. If the moss is allowed to completely dry out, especially when first becoming established, it will die. I water my mounted mosses several times a day. A few suggestions:

  • Protecting them from full sun and wind may be necessary to keep them from drying out too quickly.

  • Keeping the panels horizontal (at least while the moss is becoming established) will retain moisture longer.

  • The paint you're using may prevent the wood from absorbing water and acting as a small reservoir for the moss.

  • I don't know if this will help you, but I start my mosses from a collected mat rather than the slurry you're using, and I find that large, thick mats are much easier to grow than small, thin ones, which need more care in order to remain damp. Again, this is about providing a water reservoir for the moss.

  • And finally, there are some mosses which simply adapt better to the artificial conditions we're trying to grow them in. Trying several species of moss will give you a much better chance of success than struggling to find the necessary conditions for one species.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 2:01PM
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