So by now this charming, fuzzy carpet has won you over and you want to try your hand with a moss garden of your own, right? That’s great. It’s really easier than you think. There are three ways you can go about this.
If you are lucky to have moss growing in your yard, you can transplant moss plugs into your garden. This is the surest way to start a moss garden because this variety of moss is already successful in your soil.
Be sure to water for the first few weeks after transplanting to allow it to spread. If you have no moss in your yard, let your gardening friends know you are in the market for moss. If they have no interest in moss, they’ll be glad to let you harvest theirs. Never harvest moss from public areas without permission.
2. Buy from a Wholesaler
There are a only a few online retailers specializing in moss. Moss Acres, the largest of the moss marketers, is a 54 acre moss plantation tucked in the Pocono mountains in Pennsylvania. They sell moss starter kits and sampler sets of live moss, complete with instructions for transplanting. They also sell their trademarked-named Moss Milkshake which is a special blend of moss fragments, an acidifying agent and water retention gel. Just mix Moss Milkshake with water or beer, spread it over the area you want to cover with moss and watch it (slowly) grow! It covers approximately 10 square feet.
3. Mix up a Moss Smoothie
If you are more of the hands on type and prefer to make your own recipe, then get out your blender for this moss-starter concoction. There are several recipes for this. You may want to try making it outdoors, because it is quite a smelly process. Try the moss smoothie recipe below.
Recipe for Homemade Moss Smoothie
Just like making sourdough bread, you’ll have to have a little “starter” to make your moss smoothie. Try to find some moss in your yard, preferably in similar surroundings as your proposed moss garden. There are so many different types of moss, each desiring a different environment, so choose one that will thrive where you plant it. Look for moss in shady spots on your lawn, or even between cracks on your patio. You’ll only need a handful. Most likely the moss you’ll find there will be Sphagnum moss, a very common variety and excellent for transplanting. Did you find a little moss for your starter? Great, now we can begin.
In a blender, mix:
2 cups buttermilk, (can substitute 16 oz container natural plain yogurt, or 1 can beer) at room temperature.
½ tsp sugar
Add handful size of moss. Scrape off as much dirt as you can from your moss samples. It won’t hurt to soak it in water (room temperature) for a while to loosen the dirt. (Because moss has no root system, it develops a stickiness to help it adhere to surfaces. For this reason it will be impossible to remove all the dirt.)
Mix until well blended.
Add water to mix if it is too thick. Mixture should be consistency of a melting milkshake or a healthy green smoothie, not so thick it will not easily spread on the surface.
Pour your mixture onto the desired area. You can also use a clean paintbrush to further spread the mixture. A paintbrush is a good tool to use to apply the mixture on flower pots or statuary.
Once your mixture is spread, gently water the area. Keep the mixture moist for several weeks.
Now comes the hard part. You. Gotta. Wait. Don’t give up on it. It will grow. It may take a whole season though to get the results you want. Keep fallen leaves and twigs off your baby moss (you can use a broom) and remember to keep it moist. Once it’s established you usually won’t need to water. Oh, and go and give that blender a good scrubbing.