Lichen Gardens





Introduction: Lichen Gardens

About: We are two brothers...usually he cooks and I build...and together we are fathomlis!

Lichens are incredible organisms. They're not plants and not animals. What are they then?

A lichen is a composite organism that arises from algae or cyanobacteria (or both) living among filaments of a fungus in a symbiotic relationship (I got that from Wikipedia).

Was that too complicated? Never mind, lichens are beautiful, intricate, and simply amazing organisms.Lichens can survive in extreme conditions and they can also live very long.

Now lets go and make a lichen garden! Its very easy and simple. And it also looks very pretty as a decorative piece of natural art.

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Step 1: Gather Supplies.

For this Instructable you will need...

  1. hammer
  2. nails
  3. square or rectangular plank (this will be your base)
  4. tree branch with lichen growing on it

The tree branch with the lichen on is fairly easy to get at. I got mine in our woodpile.Please do not go and break off live branches from trees. There are plenty of dead wood with lichens growing on it.

How to indentify the lichens:

Lichens come in many colors, sizes, and forms. Their properties are sometimes plant-like, but lichens are not plants. Lichens may have tiny, leafless branches, flat leaf-like structures, flakes that lie on the surface like peeling paint, or other growth forms. (I got that also from Wikipedia)

Step 2: Preparing Your Wooden Base.

Hammer the nail into your square or rectangular plank so that the nail slightly comes through on the other side.

Step 3: Positioning Branch Next to Wooden Base.

You can do this either as shown on the picture. Or you could use a bench clamp to hold the branch in position and then nailing the wooden base to it.

Step 4: Nail the Branch Onto the Wooden Base.

I suggest nailing in two or more nails. As you can see on the picture, I nailed in three. This will keep your branch steady.

Step 5: Finishing Touches.

You might want to sand paper the wood where it was cut, so that it is more smooth.

Step 6: Caring for Your Lichen Garden.

Caring for your lichens is very easy. All they need is water, air, and sunlight. So all you need to do is to spray them lightly with water, (How often? I'm not so sure, but I'd say like once in 4 months, or once in a month, or once in a week. But it also depends on the climate in your region and also where you put your lichen) and put them in a spot where there is some light. That's basically all you have to do to care for your lichens!

Step 7: The End.

Thats it! We're done. Your lichen branch can be used as a decorative piece that makes you feel as if you are standing in a forest!

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    What lichens species do you recommend?

    1 reply

    Well, I'd recommend those that grow in your region and also those that you like. Lichens may have tiny, leafless branches (fruticose), flat leaf-like structures (foliose), flakes that lie on the surface like peeling paint (crustose),or other growth forms. (wikipedia). Some lichens grow on the ground, some on branches, some on rocks, there are even some lichens that don't grow on a substrate at all, but lives it life being blown around by the wind! So there's a lot to choose from but I don't think it really matters which ones you choose as long as they grow in your area.

    Lichens are also dying because of climate change as many are very sensitive to air quality (not to mention all those hikers trampling the ones on rocks)

    When lichens are found growing prolifically on a plant that also has lots of dead twigs and branches and that produces few, undersized or off color leaves, it is usually a sign that something more serious is going wrong. It usually means the roots of the trees are bad .

    I would not advise bringing lichen (diseased, bacteria) into your house.

    1 reply

    Yes, it might mean the roots of the tree are bad, but that isn't the lichen's fault. Lichens sometimes grow on trees with root problems because those trees grow slower and lichens grow very slow. The lichens are not the bad guys, they might only look a little ugly, but that doesn't mean they are ugly.

    may do extremely well in a terrerium. Some moss would be a great compliment.

    Love It!!! Some people like to eat them! I would prefer to look at them

    You certainly have my vote!

    1 reply

    that's it I'm subscribing to you

    amazing piece of art! have you noticed any growth?

    1 reply

    Well, no, I've read on Wikipedia that they grow very sloooooowwww, and that they might be among the oldest living things.

    I'm a liken this! ☺

    O.k., crummy joke, but this is on a level with Bonsai or coral aquariums, very interesting and dramatic.

    These are great for adding little nature elements to your living space.