Field of Science

Growing Moss

I have been thinking about moss gardening lately and the challenges associated with this pastime. Questions have arisen such as: What do you do when there is no landscaper in your area to purchase moss from and you want to grow local species? One technique that I have been using in the laboratory might also work for those who wish to garden with moss.

I am growing mosses in these little plastic containers (see photo) with the edges sealed by plastic wrap. I think that larger seed starter trays would work as well. The main item of importance is that they have a lid so that the moisture does not escape.I have started mosses on soil in two ways.
1) I sprinkle spores out of a capsule onto the soil.
2) I take leafy gametophyte plants and grind them in some water using a mortar and pestle. Then I apply the moss slurry onto the soil surface.
In both cases I add some water and seal the lids. In several weeks the leafy gametophytes begin to grow.

I currently have my mosses growing on a light cart that gives them 12 hours of light a day. During the summer I have them sitting in a windowsill in the lab with no additional light.
I am currently growing three moss species on soil in the lab (Funaria hygrometrica, Physcomitrium pyriforme, and Physcomitrella patens). I have not tried this technique with other species, but I have confidence that it would work. If anyone decides to give it a try I would love to hear about the results.

More comments on moss gardening to come!


  1. little plastic containers ? Can you tell me the longness ,width and the highness?

  2. They are about 10cm tall by 5cm wide by 5cm deep.


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