The Q&A Archives: Growing moss

Question: I have a spot that will not grow anything but moss. Under a hawthorn, very little sun,mostly shade.I like the moss but how do I help the moss to really take off and grow well, also, are there different types of moss that I can introduce that will grow better than others. Central Michigan area.

Answer: If you want to grow moss on the ground remember that mosses prefer growing on firmly packed acidic soils with a pH between 5.0 and 5.5. You can make the soil more acidic with powdered sulfur or rhododendron food. While it's difficult to purchase the type of moss that grows naturally, you can increase the amount of moss you already have by following this recipe:

To grow your own moss garden you will need beer or buttermilk and your kitchen blender! Gather some moss that you find growing naturally on the ground or on a rock. Remove as much dirt from the moss as you can. Into a kitchen blender put a handful of the moss with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and one can of beer (or substitute buttermilk for the beer.) Blend for just a few seconds, only long enough to mix the ingredients and break down the moss. Take this soupy mixture and apply it with a spatula over the ground or rocks where you want the moss to grow. Keep the moss shaded but try not to water heavily or you will wash away the mixture. After the moss takes hold, mist it often to keep it moist.

Or, you can grow either Scotch or Iris moss in the area. These are readily available in nurseries.

Enjoy your moss garden!

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