Mosses are soft and small flowerless plants, that appears to be 1-10cm tall. They are usually found together in clumps or in any shady places. These small plants have various species about 12,000 and are commonly called bryophytes which are the simplest of all variety. Comparatively, these plants do not have a root and only acquires small cellular threads known as anchors. This plant forms spores which develops a similar structure like root and further grows in the ground or on the adjacent surface like a rock or a stone wall. The leaves of the moss are grown as thin sheets of cells mostly single layer which grows in small size in thousands as well as close to each other. Further forms a tiny patch of moss. This unique feature of this plant endorses a beautiful look in an indoor garden. It is quiet difficult to grow indoors but the idea of growing them will be affordable if there are required resources along with a little effort and an apt environment.
There are different species of moss categorized in the Bryophyta. Mostly they grow on land and very less in fresh water. If they are examined distinctively it is found that these plants a perfect example of primitive cultivation and very tiny in size. Among them few are sold commercially and make an excellent ground cover. A home-made terrarium is a container for land plants and an appropriate choice for growing moss indoors. True mosses, club mosses and peat mosses are few varieties and they are also an economical alternative to grass lawns.
a. When to plant: The plant requires a humid, moist and partially shaded place so it is suitable to grow in a low nutrient environment.
b. Where to plant: Any glass container can be served as a terrarium while keeping in mind that a sufficient cover is needed to keep the water contained. An empty fish tank or an aquarium will work as a terrarium.
c. How to plant: Place a small foil according to the size of your terrarium which can hold the soil to mess and leak free. Collect some moss from a wooded area on a tray, loosen the patches of moss and lift it until the moss is removed from the soil. Ensure there are good number of roots hanging down from the moss which should be thin but not too long in length. Mix one part sand and one part clay. The bottom of the terrarium should be filled with 1 inch of the potting mix as the plant has a very narrow root system and usually grows on rocks and wood. After planting the moss in the terrarium add few rocks and pieces of wood for decoration as it increases the humidity inside the terrarium. As a result the moss will grow while covering the wood and rocks. Cover the terrarium with a lid, it should be always on and remove it only to water the moss.
d. How to water: After filling the tray with a rich mix soil, water it thoroughly and gently put the moss patches over the wet soil. The moss should be kept moist but there must not be standing water in the terrarium. Water it frequently in a week specially when the potting mix is turning dry.
Usually, terrariums do not need fertilizing, but the plants may lose its nourishment so fertilization is applied then with a low mixture of all purpose house plant food.
Recheck if any diseased plant is found which should be immediately removed because extreme watering quickly raises the risk of fungus or mold.
Weeds and pests
Sphagnum is a moss variety used for drainage in terrariums but acts as a host to fungi and other pests that spreads to other terrarium plants. If any insect eggs found or fungi in moss for terrarium use, kill the eggs by baking the moss in an oven set to 350 degrees for an hour.
Things to watch out for
Set the terrarium where it can receive some light but it should be kept away from direct sunlight as it increases the temperature inside the terrarium so preferably place it far away. Keep an eye on the terrarium so that additional water will not be needed. Finally it will grow till the terrarium is filled but it’s a slow process and you have to be very patient.