A tool that turns Twitter threads into blog posts, by Darius Kazemi.
Houseplant thread incoming --- >
One of the biggest joys in my life right now is my moss gardens and I thought I'd share some info about keeping moss in your own home since its not a very common hobby or resource.
Although moss can be particular, it is not a bad houseplant! It tolerates low light levels and can generally come back from some pretty rough conditions and all around is pretty badass.
Plus, happy moss is so green and beautiful and thriving. I'll often just space out and stare at my moss gardens for half an hour in the morning while I'm having breakfast. It recontextualizes my attention to detail and scale in a way that I'm very grateful for.
Important first note on gathering moss--> ONLY take moss from places where it is growing in abundance. Look for places where it has already been kicked up or disturbed by hikers, animals, falling debris, etc. Often you can find whole chunks on trails or kicked out of the sidewalk
(I pick up little fragments all the time just in my daily walks, keep it moist in a tupperware in my kitchen, and usually have something to plant properly by the end of the week.)
OKAY, so, the most important thing about moss is that although it likes moisture, it does Not Like standing water. Moss needs drainage! However, pots with drainage holes get too dry too quickly. Moss likes high humidity- its very dewy at its usual environment at the soil line.
You might think with high humidity needs, moss would do well in an closed environment that cycles its water, like a sealed jug- but it also likes air. You want to look for containers that are partially open but trap some evaporation- think about a ball jar on its side. You can also moderate more open plantings - like those on dishes - with partial clear covers, like those bell covers that go over cakes (up on coasters to maintain airflow, not totally over the bowl). Even partially covering an opening with plastic wrap will do in a pinch.
I found this weird glass thing at the thrift store today. I think it was part of a lamp? Its perfect though. (Washed thoroughly of course.)
3rd to half your container should be for drainage. Pebbles, rock chips, glass beads, ceramic shards, etc. For this, I situated clay beads in a bed of sand. This is so you can water, but the water drains away from the moss - but maintains a humid environment as it evaporates up.
On top of this layer of drainage material, you need to place some sort of barrier. I use burlap sacking cut to fit, two layers- others used dead, dried peat moss. This will keep your soil from soaking immediately into your drainage zone.
On top of your barrier, spread a very thin layer of dirt. The moss will slowly make a mat in the soil medium. (if you're planting other things with your moss, like a few of my plantings from the top of the thread, you'll need more- but just moss you can use very little soil.)
Get your moss! I like to have a few different types to arrange into a little landscape. They will spore at different times and settle out into different growth patterns, colors, and habits and make interesting distinctions. Some moss competes, but most types grow well together.
Tuck the moss into the container working from the edges, pushing it gently into the soil. You can use the blunt end of a chopstick or your fingers. I also put in a few rocks. (If you're like me and pick up rocks ugh all the time constantly, this is a great thing to do with them)
Water! Its really essential that you have a sprayer (if you use an old one from house-keeping, wash it like 10,000X, moss is really sensitive.) You can either water normally with the faucet or a can, then spritz the top, or spritz very heavily only. I usually do the latter.
(PS this moss i'm planting looks kinda raggedy and sad compared to my other ones because I gathered it last week from my hometown in TEXAS where moss STRUGGLES TO SURVIVE not like this lush soft northern stuff. but its got heart and reminds me of home.)
Find a window where your moss will get light but not much/any direct sun, put your beautiful creation there and THATS IT you have a fuckin moss garden how cool is that
Depending on your home and climate your watering needs will change but (in Pittsburgh, windows always open so humid for a house) I water mine every 2-3 days and often spritz them lightly in the mornings on days that I'm not doing a real water. Same schedule as my other plants!
I find keeping moss to be _so_ rewarding, so I hope that this is helpful towards some of you getting to do the same! Its a very special and old plant and its so cool that it lives all around us in our cities and can in our homes too.
Also, if you're interested in mosses and their scientific, social, and cultural histories, Gathering Moss by Robin Wall Kimmerer is a truly excellent read ---> (osupress.oregonstate.edu/book/gathering…)