Moss is an excellent moisture loving plant and in the right place, it can make an alluring addition to the ornamental garden. The dense, velvety cloak created by this primitive plant provides a rich spectrum of green hues that’s easy to maintain.
Step 1: Choosing the Perfect Type of Moss for Your Garden
Choosing the Moss Plants
There are two main categories of mosses. First, acrocarps are those types of moss that grow upright, possess the tightest formations that prevent weeds from sprouting, and spread slowly. This group includes species like fork moss, cushion moss, and hair moss. Cushion moss is particularly interesting since its colors can range from white to grayish green. The other group, pleurocarps, appear like creeping vines on close inspection and grow relatively faster. Examples of this category include fern moss, sheet moss, and the gold-tinted carpet moss.
Step 2: Choose Your Location
Given their obsequiousness, you probably already know where some good spots are because they’ll have moss growing there. Otherwise, the best locations are those with heavy to moderate shade that still offers some sunlight. Because moss doesn’t derive nutrients from the ground, soil composition isn’t important. However, mosses need a stable base, so loose gravel or sand are poor options.
Step 3: Prepping the Soil to Plant
Preparing the Ground
Mechanical or chemical methods can be used to eliminate grass and weeds. With the ground cleared, it should be smoothed out to remove any sunken spots where water can collect. Next, it needs to be compacted to avoid settling after the moss is introduced. Finally, rocks, logs, and paving stones can be added, but slightly mound soil up around them to keep leaf litter from accumulating.
Step 4: Planting the Mosses
For mosses, the best planting time is in spring or fall when moisture is plentiful and it’s just warm enough to suit the moss. In order to cover more ground, clumps can be teased apart into fragments no smaller than one-quarter of an inch. The ground should be scratched just before placing the moss on it. Then press the moss pieces into the ground to make good contact. The threat of wind or rain can be tackled by covering the pieces with netting.
Step 5: Maintenance & Care for Moss After Planting
Getting Things Going
It’s best to keep acrocarp and pleurocarp mosses apart since the latter group can handle much more water than the first. Cushion moss and other acrocarps should only get one watering per day for the first couple of months to allow drying and prevent rotting. Watering should taper off over the next three months to every other week. Sheet moss, carpet moss, and other pleurocarps enjoy several waterings a day without any tapering. Occasionally, an uninvited weed may spring up. Walking on moss to reach it isn’t a problem since moss lack a vascular system and can easily tolerate being compressed underfoot. However, the tearing force created by running, sliding, or jumping is more than they can handle.