how to make a moss sphere

diggingthedirtDecember 27, 2006

I grow a lot of mosses in the shady areas of my garden, but I recently came across this photo and would really like to make some of these. It would be such a great thing to have a collection of them in a secluded corner of my tiny garden where visitors might be surprised by them.

I've thought about trying to find concrete or teracotta balls, or maybe making a hypertufa base; does anyone have any other ideas for how to construct one of these?

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Sorry, I should have made the subject of my post a question, not a statement. I hope this didn't confuse anyone, but promise to post the answer, if and when I find it.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 1:52PM
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Wow the moss balls look interesting but look like a nightmare trying to do EXCEPT if they are not quite what they seem. What they look like to me are those mosses that grow in a clump that have been shaped into balls. The balls in your image do not look as those the mosses are being grown and in fact look like green styrafoam!

But on the mosses you are growing, how about telling us more! Like what kinds. Got any images? How are you growing them?


    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 3:47PM
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Sorry, I forgot to include the URL for the image. The web site doesn't provide any info on the objects, but the URL indicates that these are probably, as you said, T.M., those mosses that grow in a clump that have been shaped into balls. They must be used for filtering in aquariums, at least, that's the only thing that makes sense to me, based on the name of the web site:

I'd still like to grow local moss outdoors on some kind of spheres. I have had limited luck encouraging it to grow thickly on terra cotta, and have it mostly beside or in paths; in soil on the north side of my house and between bricks in other areas. I'm amazed at the variety of conditions it can tolerate - full sun to deep shade, at the top of a wall - where I'd expect it to be far too dry. I've really just started wondering about the varieties, and would like to learn more.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 7:41PM
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OK! Now it makes sense. I had one of those years ago when I had an aquarium. It was an algae not a moss. But will check it out as it is interesting.

Am glad to hear that you are interested in your mosses and want to learn more. I have recently learned about a new way that a young man is growing cool loving orchids in Sweden. It is called a Nano Viv and it is based upon a terra cotta pipe of which he plugs up one end and fills with distilled or r/o water. The mosses grow on it like you would not believe. You can learn more at The Orchid Source-Orchid Soup-Nano viv. I tried to set this link up here but the site rejected it!!! I can email you a sheet I did up using some of his images and all his words with only a minor correction and with some editing of content for everyone as the dialogue on his fantastic creation was spread over 3 pages! If you wish the sheet from me you can email me at:
and I will gladly sent you the jpg file.
This brings up the point that if you can find a terra cotta bowl or sphere and fill it with water and keep the water in it then perhaps you can smear some mosses on the outside of the terra cotta and just hang it in a shaded place and wait and see what happens! ?????

Here may be a good starting point for you to learn about your mosses. Hopefully your local library can find this for you.
Hilferty, F. J. 1960. The mosses of Massachusetts. A county catalogue with annotations. Rhodora 62: 145--173.
It looks like a magazine called Rhodora. Possibly available at the University of Massachusetts library or biological science library-if they have their own library.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2006 at 2:31AM
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Thanks, TM. I went looking at and found some interesting books on mosses geared towards gardeners. I also see Mosses of Eastern North America there, however it's $450. I'll keep looking, The Mosses of Massachusetts isn't at amazon but it might be available on ebay.

The Nano Viv looks like just what I need. I followed a link to a terra cotta producer mentioned on the orchid site, and see that they've got reasonably priced spheres, so I may try to pick up a few of those. If I can drill a hole, I ought to be able to get them to work. Of course winter will be a problem, I'd hate to have to start over every spring, and presumably the balls would have to be drained in winter to prevent cracking. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2006 at 1:00PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Sounds like an interesting project The pix seem to be an aquatic algae that grows naturally in a rounded shape but submeged in water. Claudophora something or other lol.
For your project you might make hypertufa forms and smear them with the buttermilk moss mixtures??
Sounds like you want to use them outdoors so would have to stick with temperate types.
The hypertufa is easy to work with and the formula can be changed to anything. Depending on what size spheres you wanted you could use different sized balls for forms.
Check out the hypertufa forum for inspiration. gary

    Bookmark   January 1, 2007 at 3:09AM
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Thanks, Gary. I've been over at the hypertufa forum, there are several threads about spheres - I'm looking forward to trying this!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 6:19PM
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