3 Different Ways to Grow Moss

Go mad for moss! One easy-growing plant, three ways to cultivate it.

Moss doesn’t ask for much. Forget the fertilizers and pesticides; a little shade and moist soil are all it needs to grow well. It doesn’t even mind a little foot traffic. And some people love the soft feeling beneath their feet so much, they create and use quirky bath mats made of moss. Spread the green around with these three growing methods.

1. In a Container

Plant moss in a pot and either give it the spotlight or use it as filler among other flowers. Native miniature, like partridge berry and dwarf crested iris, complement it well thanks to their diminutive size and fun pops of color: When pairing plants, keep in mind that if the pot is in a shady spot, the moss’s neighbors should be shade-tolerant, too.

2. Beneath Your Feet

Ditch the lawn mower once and for all. This plant grows where grass doesn’t, and in some areas, gardeners simply substitute one for the other. Compared to grass, moss is much easier to care for, and it’s a healthy green year-round, making it an attractive alternative. Sheet moss, like Hypnum curvifolium, is perfect for newbies because of its resilience and ability to live beside most plants.

3. Across a Wall

Fill in the cracks of a ho-hum brick wall for a refreshing new look. Choose species that are heat-tolerant, like Ceratodon and Entodon, and hose the area down first. Then, nudge moss and a little soil into each fissure until they’re firmly in place. And remember, the more porous the surface, the more likely that the moss will take hold and thrive. This approach also works well for stony pathways.

Make It! Moss Letter DIY Decor Project

The Milkshake Myth

A lot of websites tell you to grab the nearest blender, toss in some moss, add a slug of buttermilk, and voila! But before you spread this slurry on the nearest wall and wait for a layer of green fluff to grow, set yourself up for success. The milkshake method is popular online, but these concoctions are occasionally tricky to grow. If you still hear a blender calling your  name, use fresh moss rather than bagged and stick to porous surfaces. Growing moss this way isn’t impossible; it just takes a little extra planning. Good luck!

Kaitlin Stainbrook
Kaitlin Stainbrook, Associate Editor, Birds & Blooms Although Kaitlin is a newbie when it comes to birding and gardening, she loves getting to learn on the job. (She's already impressed a few friends by being able to identify a couple songbirds!) Previously, she worked on other Reader's Digest magazines like Reminisce and Country Woman. Hidden talents include playing the ukulele and speaking Japanese.