Moss Grown From a Recipe for Success and Secret Technique!


Moss is so lovely in moist, shady places in the garden and it is relatively easy to plant or transplant. Rocks and logs, near or on water features, gentle slopes, creek banks and between garden path stones are just a few examples of locations where moss can complete a look or solve a problem in the landscape of your property.

Moss plants can be purchased in nursery pots or flats or grown from “starts” gathered in the forest or in the gardens of friends and neighbors. Additionally, moss can be found in a surprising number of varieties and ordered from online
nurseries. Much of the moss ordered online will be shipped in its dormant state. Moss subjected to stress, such as drought or bright sunlight will go dormant for self-preservation. When ready to use, hydrate dormant (dry) moss by submerging in water for several minutes; just until moss is thoroughly drenched, then place in the shade location you wish it to grow and keep evenly damp until it is well established. Moss is ideal to plant in problem areas of where deep shade and poor drainage give the gardener few other planting choices. The soft, inviting texture of moss in its many forms will inspire you to create a special, shady place for relaxing on a hot summer day; slip off your flip-flops, your feet will love the treat!

Transplanting a “patch” or cutting from moss already growing in your garden or from neighboring woodland
areas to your desired shady location is perhaps the easiest way to start moss where you want it. Moss found locally will already be acclimated to your environment. However, there is a very real risk that you might also be transplanting “hitchhiker” plants and weed seeds along with your hand gathered moss.

To solve this problem I asked around and discovered a couple of secrets from a fellow landscaper which I will share with you. Using the simple recipe (below) you can spread moss as easily as frosting a cake. I will also divulge a little known technique for growing the “homemade” moss, on a medium that also controls weeds at the same time!  

Although you can spread homemade moss mixture from the recipe (below) directly on any surface where conditions are correct for its growth) quite successfully, I prefer to use the following, simple technique as it is more reliable,
versatile and virtually no moss mixture is wasted:

  • First purchase a roll of medium to heavy landscape
    fabric, (found in most one-stop homebuilding supply centers or home and garden

  • Cut the fabric (a few inches longer and wider
    than what you need) in the shape and size of the area you wish to cover.

  • Next; spread a thin layer of the moss mixture to
    cover the entire area you wish to grow moss, leaving a couple of inches on each
    side to allow for attaching the fabric to walls, slopes, wood planters, wicker
    baskets and outdoor structures. I use a new or thoroughly cleaned, sponge-type
    paintbrush in a suitable size for the area of fabric to cover. If the moss mixture is
    too thick; add water, too thin; add more chopped moss. 

  • Until well established, “painted” moss “mats” must
    remain flat, kept moist and protected from the sun. If planning to cover large flat
    or gently sloped areas in your garden it is suggested that you anchor the fabric
    to the ground using landscape pins, then brush on the moss mixture. Large areas
    will use more mixture; in which case, try to find buttermilk or plain, budget brand
    yogurt in stores that carry bulk items such as restaurant suppliers like
    Costco. The money you save will be well worth the trip.


                                                             Just a few of the many choices out of more than 1300 species of moss

                                                                                                   you may be able grow in your garden landscape



  Note: Landscape fabric is most commonly used to prevent weeds, particularly
under gravel or bark dust, in areas of high foot traffic or as edge stops for lawns                   
and garden beds. Due to its nature for blocking weeds from below it naturally
retains moisture well; lending itself as the perfect medium for growing moss.



After moss has firmly established* itself on the fabric, (Patience is required for this project to be successful), simply move the section of moss covered fabric to its final destination, secure if necessary and keep evenly moist. Soon you will have a shade garden with the look, feel and atmosphere of an inviting woodland or wetland. You will also have a virtually weed-free mossy area which is important because moss does not compete well with weeds for water supply, causing unsightly bare spots and rapid die off. Conversely, it is wise not to plant your new moss in places where its spread to surrounding areas is undesired or unwelcome... as under ideal conditions, moss can become somewhat invasive.

*Moss will begin to show signs of strong growth in 6-7 weeks and become                  

established enough to move to its new home in 3-4 months






                                                                         These two photos   are intended to inspire "moss" imagination






        2 cups
        buttermilk or plain yogurt

  •     1  1/2 cups of chopped-up moss (any variety) 

    can use fresh moss or the dried (dormant) bagged type found in craft stores
    or online.

    both ingredients in a household blender adding yogurt or buttermilk
    alternately with the chopped moss. Pulse on high for five seconds at a time
    checking consistency often, it does not take long to get there.

    should be creamy and spread like thin mayonnaise. If the mixture is too
    thick, add a small amount of water. If it’s too thin, add more moss.

    the mixture onto the new surface.  Keep
    moist and protected from the sun. Your new moss should begin to show signs
    of growth in 6-7 weeks. Don’t be alarmed if the painted on mixture looks a
    wee moldy in the first few weeks, this is common and nothing to worry

    if using fresh moss gathered locally from your landscape or purchased from an
    online or local nursery, Inspect the moss and remove and weeds and shake moss
    briskly to remove small seeds leaves or other bits of debris that may have
    fallen into the dense plant.



 Frogs might agree that the soft, moist mounds of

moss are the best places they know of to croak!

Q: What do frogs do to moss?

A: "Rubbbbitt, Rubbbbitt"      *Groan*


Well established moss growing on "mats" of landscape fabric are ideally suited to "Living Walls" and patchwork designs with pavers or other planted shapes. Doubtless, the possibilities are only limited by our imagination. From what I know of my new garden friends here on Garden Share,imagination is alive and well and I expect see original moss creations, and moss gardens in splendid photos from many of you in the future. I look forward to those pictures for joy of your shared experience as well as the new ideas I gleam from you.



 The U.S Forest service reminds us to ask them for a "pass" given for a nominal fee to harvest certain products from national forests and BLM lands. Employees of the Forest Service struggle to protect endangered plant species, it is our responsibility to co-operate with them in every way to preserve rare and endangered plants, animals and all other living organisms and the forest products that sustain them.

                                                  I think I will go moss around in my garden now.

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Comment by Anzy Faubion on October 22, 2011 at 8:09pm
Tina you are absolutely correct about the soil PH, I meant to include that fact in my blog so thank you for pointing that out. The buttermilk and  yogurt in recipe give the moss the perfect PH start. You can add a tablespoon of vinegar to your water in a gallon size watering can to feed the moss with once a week for even greener healthier moss.
Comment by Anzy Faubion on October 22, 2011 at 8:01pm
The pictures above were ones that i tried to include in my blog but the picture uploader quit on me. I found these on the web and thought they might inspire some of you who are not yet sold on moss in the garden. They are a little "out there" but I love the ideas all the same!
Comment by Anzy Faubion on October 22, 2011 at 7:54pm
Thank you, one and all, for your comments. I have been out of town since the posting of the blog and did not have my laptop with me. I have begun a new landscape job and OHhhhh boy! This one is the greatest challenge I have faced yet. I(I love challenges!) I will take before and after pics of this one to post here later,. In the meantime I will be very busy and unable to post here as much at least for the first 3-4 days.  : (. I find this place so addicting and feel you are all such good friends already. Thank you for reading my blog and I am happy to share the info with you. Hugs
Comment by Tina M Tellin on October 21, 2011 at 10:30pm
I think that mosses are such wonderful plants! I wish that I had more of it in my garden. I believe that your soil PH level has to be at least 5.0 and under to successfully grow moss.(it likes soil on the acidic side) I have used it to anchor edges around flower beds and it works well. It does transplant easily and is wonderful to work with. Once it is established, it is low/no maintanence. You either love it or hate it, it all depends on how you view it. THANKS for the recipe!
Comment by Bonnie Hannum ~ Missouri, USA on October 21, 2011 at 3:41pm

Thanks for the *groaner*, too!  ;)

Comment by Bonnie Hannum ~ Missouri, USA on October 21, 2011 at 3:41pm

Ohhhh, Catherinnnne, hang your head in shame!  LOL.  (This falls under "One man's junk is another man's treasure."  We have to remove it in areas where we dont want it, too, tho.)  It's not for everyone; but there are places that are too hot and dry to grow it, so it's highly treasured in some places.  Sort of like if your hair is curly, you want it straight.  If you have too much hair, you cut it off.   LOL.

Nicely written, Anzy!  Appreciate you spreading the word of the joy of moss. I love it! 

Comment by Carolyn Bartleman on October 21, 2011 at 1:32pm
I tried to grow moss in the past without any success, maybe I'll try again with landscape cloth. Thanks for the inspiration.

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