Moss Garden DIY

Make your own gorgeous centerpiece

I've always been attracted to mossy things.  I think it's because it makes everything look old and romantic.

Moss Garden DIY


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I didn't realize just how easy it is to grow until I moved to my current place.  It's in the mountains, with lots of trees, which sounds about right, but it's not in a rain forest by any means.  Moss just grows naturally on the silty soil, which surprised me.  I thought it needed more organic matter, like leaf mould.

Moss Garden - they just get better with time

For this project, using my painted plastic pots, I wanted to make something like a topiary that would just get better and better. 

The soil I used is about half and half my native silty soil, and peat moss for water retention. 

I didn't want it to be too heavy and waterlogged, as moss generally prefers good drainage.  If it's too dry for it, it will go dormant for a while, and replenish when the weather changes to more showery.

In the bottom of each pot I put a closed yogurt container to take up some of the room.  Moss doesn't need a deep soil, except for moisture, so this won't affect it.

A closed yogurt container takes up some space

I filled the rest of the pot with the mixed soil, slightly moistened but not wet.  Then I placed established pieces of moss scraped from shady spots around the garden and gently pressed it onto the soil to make contact.  Expecting a shower or two (it is almost April, after all) I didn't bother watering it.

Moss is an odd creature; it doesn't fill in if there aren't enough pieces to cover.  This picture of a planter I did two years ago illustrates that perfectly - each little square of moss was a cell of soil that grew moss accidentally, but when it's planted it stays in the square and never grows out of that shape.

Moss Checker Board

Now to put the planters in a shady spot and wait for it to get established.  This can take a year or more.  Care for my moss gardens consists of pulling out the occasional weed (the soil wasn't pasteurized, after all) and a sprinkle of water if it looks really dry.  Other than that, Mother Nature does a better job than I can!

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