How can I Grow Moss?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Growing moss on a variety of objects is relatively simple. There are a number of basic techniques you can use to grow moss, ranging from creating a moss mixture which you can paint onto surfaces like flagstones and wooden benches to transplanting sheets of moss into shady areas in your garden. Once established, moss requires little care beyond being kept moist. Keep in mind that moss grows slowly, so try not to be impatient while you grow moss.

Moss on stones around a waterfall.
Moss on stones around a waterfall.

There are thousands of species of plants in the Bryopsida genus, which encompasses the mosses. These plants vary widely in color and texture, but all of them are nonvascular, meaning that they lack familiar structures like leaves and flowers. Mosses also do not produce seeds; they reproduce using spores which are dispersed on the wind. The mosses are believed to be incredibly old, and they are extremely hardy; moss can be found flourishing in extreme cold, for example.

Moss growing between cobblestones.
Moss growing between cobblestones.

If you want to grow moss from scratch, first select a moss which you find attractive. Try to match your candidate moss to the area where you plan to grow moss. If you want to grow moss on stone planters or flagstones, for example, look for a moss which is growing on rock. Collect a handful of the moss, shaking off as much dirt as possible in the process.

Add the moss to a blender along with a half teaspoon of sugar and one cup of buttermilk, beer, or yogurt. Blend the moss mixture until it is just combined, and the moss has been broken up. Spread the mixture where you want the moss to grow, ideally somewhere cool, shady, and damp. If you want a moss mixture which is more like paint, add a small amount of clay. If you're spreading the moss mixture on soil, make sure that the soil is tightly packed and acidic, as moss prefers an acidic growing environment. Moss growth will emerge within a few weeks, usually.

Several companies also sell sheets or flats of moss which you can transplant. Sheet moss has the advantage of looking finished when you put it down, making it a better option for impatient gardeners. When you transplant sheet moss, make sure that the soil is tightly packed, acidic, and moist, and tamp the moss down firmly. Water well, keeping the moss moist but not soggy. You can also transplant moss from other parts of the garden, or mosses you find along your daily travels; if you would like a starter of moss from someone else's garden, always ask politely.

Moss can be a great addition to a garden. The pleasing green color will be retained through all seasons as long as the plant is kept happy, and it makes an excellent soft groundcover. You can also make a moss garden, featuring a range of interesting mosses. Other gardeners like to use moss as an accent, since it often makes a garden feel more mature, especially when cultivated on planters, benches, fireplaces, and similar garden features.

A layer of moss.
A layer of moss.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


I learned a lot. Wow.


What are some good tips for getting moss to grow in not-so-shady areas of your lawn?

I've been trying to grow lawn moss in the flower beds on my lawn, and they're all symmetrical, but there's one that is in a rather sunny spot.

I'd really like all the beds to have the same arrangement, so are there any good tips for growing moss on a lawn that might help me out? It's not like the area is particularly over-sunny, but it's certainly not shady.

Do you have any tips to help me get my moss to grow there?


Does the same system work if I want to grow moss in a terrarium?

I've been trying to start a small terrarium to keep my room more vibrant during the winter, but a lot of them only let you work with sheet moss, and I'd rather grow mine from scratch.

So can I use this method in a terrarium, or do I have to use the premade moss? I was just planning on getting some lawn moss and using that, but after seeing so many articles telling me to buy special moss for the terrarium, I'm not sure what I should do.

What do you think?


How interesting! I was trying to find out some information on growing moss between a flagstone walk, and ended up here -- I'm glad I did!

So why do you have to mix the moss with the buttermilk, beer, or yogurt? Does that make the spores reproduce better, or is it just for application's sake?

I'm so glad that it's relatively easy to grow moss -- I always thought it would be more complicated than that, like you would have to buy a moss kit or something.

Now I'm definitely looking forward to making my moss liquid and applying it between my stones. I can't wait to see what they look like in a few months!

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