What Is Moss?
You have probably come across the phrase ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss!’ When I was a child, I would go to the thickly forested area near my grandfather’s house. I used to look at different mosses.
Some would be laid out like a lush carpet, and some would be on the trees like soft covering! I would touch it and loved the silky feel of it. Now, I know that moss is an incredibly resilient plant of the Bryophyte family.
It is a green plant and uses light for photosynthesis to produce nutrients to grow. Moss has been growing on earth even before animals appeared.
Moss plants have no roots, seeds or buds! They only have leaves and stems. There are thin filaments known as rhizoids that anchor the plants to rock and trees.
I know all this because I have continued with my love for mosses. Now I am considered sort of an expert on how to grow moss indoors!
How Is Moss Good?
Moss is a plant which is found everywhere. It does not need much to grow. They are environmentally harmless and, in fact, help in conservation. They are like those nameless workers who do all the work but don’t get any credit.
- It does not need fertilizers or chemicals to grow. So there is no poison in the land. Many insects and animals like salamanders and frogs live in moss. It has a strong taste which many insects don’t like, which is suitable for your garden.
- Water conservation is essential, especially in arid regions. Moss helps in retaining water and stores water. It soaks in water like a sponge. If you pick up a piece of moss and squeeze it, you will know.
- Moss can stop erosion and mitigate flooding. Many moss species help the soil and hold it back from washing away. It can hold on to soil with its rhizoids.
- Many mosses can do a fantastic job of water filtration. They are suitable for wastewater treatment. If you are stuck in the jungle, you can try using moss as a filter for cleaning water.
- Mosses help the environment with its carbon repository in the global carbon cycle.
Moss is a great feature to have in any garden. However, you can bring it indoors as well if you lack space outside. You need a few things and follow specific steps to have lush moss growing indoors.
Things You Need
If you have decided to take on this project, then the next thing is to collect everything you need. You don’t require too many things to grow moss indoors. Let me tell you what you need.
- Container: get a large, wide, and shallow container. It could be made of clear plastic or glass. A transparent box like a terrarium is ideal. The mouth should be wide for you to reach inside to maintain the moss.
- Pincers: you need pincers or forceps to gather and arrange the moss. You can use it to remove dead material from the container.
- Pebbles: you need just a single layer of pebbles across the bottom of the box. This is the base of your moss garden. You can either look for pebbles around your backyard or even buy them.
- Pine Needles: pine needles, rotten bark, or potting soil is best for growing moss. You need a thin layer on top of the pebbles.
- Spray Bottle: this is required for watering your moss plant. Use clean and fresh water to spray. Keep the container moist.
- Moss: you, of course, need moss to start the garden. You should collect enough to cover the base of your container.
How to Grow Moss Indoors
So, you have all the items required to start a moss garden. Now, you can start with the process of growing moss indoors. Just follow these steps:
1. Choose the Right Container
Select a glass or plastic container for growing moss. Use a container which has a wide mouth. You will need to reach inside to arrange or look after the moss.
The container can be shallow and as big to suit your needs. You can even use a terrarium. Get a container with a lid. This is better to keep your moss well.
You can find a container lying around in your house or buy it from any nearby home needs store. It is also possible to get a container online. Buy a size that will suit your budget and the size of your room.
2. Line the Base
Lay pebbles to cover the bottom of the container. You only need a single layer of pebbles at the base. Cover the entire base adequately.
If you are unable to find pebbles, then saturated sand can be a good option. You can use colorful rocks in different shapes to make for a more attractive base. You can easily get pebbles and sands from around your house or buy from a local store.
3. Top-Up Layer
After the first layer of pebbles or stones, at the bottom, next comes the layer of pine needles. This layer will also be thin. Spread them or rotten bark on the pebbles.
Both these are good for most of the mosses. There are a few mosses that can flourish in potting soil. You can either use them on their own or use a mixture. Spread it evenly all over the bottom layer.
4. Laying Moss
You can collect moss from anywhere near your house. It is easy to find it on stumps, rocks, branches, or logs. Carefully peel it from the surface and then use a container to carry it back.
You can use a pincer or forceps. If you find any small branches with moss on them, get them with you. They can go directly in the container and will add to the beauty. You need to cover the box thoroughly, so make sure to get the right amount.
If you are unable to find it nearby, then buy it online or in a flower shop near your house. Make sure that you buy fresh and moist moss, which is not treated with chemicals. Every bit of the base needs to be adequately covered. Put small pieces of moss around the corners to cover completely.
Use a spray can to lightly mist the moss garden. Use clean water. Some people like to use distilled water, which is also good. Be careful as overwatering can stunt the growth of moss.
At the same time, don’t allow moss to dry out; otherwise, it may die. You need to maintain the right balance of moistness and humidity.
That’s it! If you follow the steps, I have mentioned you will have your moss garden all set. However, once you have arranged everything, the next thing is to maintain it well.
Like with growing any other plant, you need to care for it in the right way to ensure that it is healthy. You can do the following to make sure that your indoor moss garden thrives and grows well.
- Cover the container: if you buy a terrarium, then get one with a lid. If your box does not have a lid, you can place any other suitable cover on top.
- This is important to create a mini rain forest inside the container. Moisture from moss will evaporate but condense on the container’s walls.
- This will slowly slide back to the moss. So, there is a constant supply of water for the moss. Due to this, you need to give minimal attention and care to your garden.
- Once a month, take the lid off and let the air circulate for about half an hour.
- Keep far from direct sunlight: direct light is not suitable for your moss, but it will also not grow in the dark! You need to keep the container in a well-lit area with good air circulation.
- Direct and harsh light can dry the moss and kill it. On the other hand, if you keep it in the dark place to keep the humidity high, this will also kill the moss!
- It needs to photosynthesize for its nutrients.
- Spray 2-3 times a Day: spray water about 2 to 3 times a day with the spray can to keep the moss moist. It has to be damp to remain healthy.
- After spraying, close the lid to keep the moisture inside.
- You should keep a watch on the moss to make sure that you neither overwater nor let it dry.
Innovation with Moss!
You have a moss garden in your house. Instead of letting it grow in a container, what if you could try some innovative and exciting things with it! It can beautify your home and channelize your creativity. Let me give you some examples, and then you can try things on your own.
- Grow moss in beautiful containers or terrariums. Use them as tabletop centerpieces. They can fill your house with greenery, even in a small space without much effort.
- Moss walls have become the in-thing in both homes and offices.
- This requires more effort and expertise from you. It gives an elegant look to any space. You have to be careful with the growth.
- Vertical growth is slightly different. You will have to prune to ensure a smooth look regularly.
- Moss balls are a Japanese way of growing small plants beautifully. You use the moss balls to grow any beautiful plant. The effect is just amazing. It is called Kokedama gardening.
- Using moss to write or create art is called moss graffiti. This is an exciting way to use moss though you will need to practice to get good results.
- Zen gardens are trendy, both indoors and outdoors. Moss can add a lot of beauty to any zen garden.
Is Moss Harmful To Humans?
There are approximately 12000 types of moss that we know of! They generally go unnoticed all around us. It is excellent for the environment with its unique features of water conservation and holding the soil.
Moss is mostly harmless, but if you let it grow unchecked on the roof of your house, it can be a problem. Some people can be allergic to specific types of mosses.
There are some varieties of moss that are good for humans. Some are used in making medicines, and some are used in different ways as a nutrient for other plants and soil.
Survival guides can give you a lot of information on how to identify moss to find the edible ones. Yes, there are a few types of moss that you can eat!
- Reindeer Moss: from the name, you can make out that it is meant mainly for reindeers and caribous. However, you can eat it if need be.
- If you take it raw, it can upset your stomach. It is better to boil it until it is soft. Mix it with berries or lard to give a better flavor.
- Some people boil and make a medicinal tea.
- Oakmoss: it grows mostly on oak tree trunks and branches.
- It has an acid with a peculiar woody smell that the perfume industry uses in making fragrances. However, this acid can be toxic if ingested raw.
- It can cause severe stomach pains. Once you boil it well, it is quite delicious. Extract the acids well by boiling twice.
From the time I was a child, I wandered through the woods and saw rocks and trees with moss on them and wondered if I could grow moss indoors! Its feel is like velvet and silk!
These plants are unlike any other plants. Having moss in terrariums or containers indoors is a nice way to make a miniature forest inside your home. Go ahead and create a moss garden indoors and enjoy the beauty!