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Mosses in the desert?

Posted by tugbrethil z 9, Phoenix, AZ (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 16, 09 at 21:14

Does anyone have a list of the mosses and moss-like plants that can best take extreme summer heat and alkaline water? The moss on my bonsais keeps dying out in the summer, and I can't always get it to come back in the fall, even doing post-watering spritzing with distilled water. I keep hoping to find something with a little better appearance and survival rate! Thank you! : )

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Mosses in the desert?

Don't know how they would tolerate extreme heat, but Bryum argenteum and Ceratodon purpureus are adapted to very dry environments and full sun.

RE: Mosses in the desert?

If you are looking for something to stay green then forget about any moss for your area. Even the desert mosses go dormant in summer and turn brown to black in color. You may have to settle for a non-moss plant if you want a green cover plant. Sagina or a Sedum might be more suitable to your requirements.

Here is a link that might be useful: Marlays Garden with a tiny sedum

RE: Mosses in the desert?

Unfortunately, both Sagina and Sedums conk out in the summer, here. 'Elfin' thyme does fairly well, here, but I was hoping for some thing more "fuzzy-mound-like", as well as expanding the palette. Turning black in the summer is alright, as long as it comes back fairly consistently.
Lycopus, I'm going to investigate the species you suggested, and if I ever find out what species the black moss I find growing under the creosote bushes around here is, I'll let the forum know.
Thank you both very much! : ])

RE: Mosses in the desert?

You may want to check out Grimmia as it is a desert plant but probably in the mountains where it is cooler.

Here is a link that might be useful: USDA section on Grimmia species

RE: Mosses in the desert?

I agree with lycopus ; Bryum argenteum is my favorite moss. It is hardy for extreme heat and cold. It even grows in Antarctica! This moss is found almost anywhere you go in the world. It is my choice for bonsai. It is very tolerant of the fertilizers you might use on your plants. If you see moss growing between the cracks of concrete in hot pavement, it is probably Bryum argenteum. Plant clusters you gather from the wild or let your pieces you gather dry up. Crumble them over the tops of your pots. Make sure you don't water so heavy the moss floats out. It takes hold very fast on older Bonsai soil where the bark in the soil is breaking down. When this moss grows new tips; you can brush them of into another pot to get growth. These take hold very quick.

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