Moss Care Guide
Hello, I will try to present you guys a quick guide for moss caring. ( Marty )
It depends from various factors. Try to think about the place where you have found the moss or read about its natural habitat to mimic it if you want to leave the moss in closed system, like terrarium, where you will have little to zero interference with moss.
In Terrariums try to look at from where you will get the light. Having a lux meter is very useful to measure your light levels in forests near you. It will be somewhat between 2.000 - 10. 000 lux. Aim for that range with artificial light.
Next we will have to provide Carbon Dioxide for our mosses. Dried Sphagnum moss ( or just dead basically ) mixed with substrate should provide co2 to your terrarium. If you are a smoker, open your jar and blow some of the smoke inside your jar. Decomposing matter releases co2. Read more about how to get co2 to best suit your needs. Everybody will have a different concept in their head.
Water. We need to provide our mosses with enough moisture to complete the process of photosynthesis. Try to use rain water, tap water might damage your moss in terrarium.
Try to use slightly acidic substrate, and try to place Acrocarp type of mosses ( Beard, Screw, Cushions ) under an angle or on non absorbent matter, like rock, concrete etc. As for substrate, Coco fiber, zeolite powder and volcanic ash should do it, you can add dried sphagnum to it. Acrocarps needs periods of drought ( otherwise their rhizoids can rot ). Acrocarps are good with withstanding more direct sunlight than other mosses.
Liverwort, Hypnum, Tamarisk, Sphagnum, Thread, Thyme and Mood Moss can withstand higher levels of humidity. Liverwort and Sphagnum can be even submerged for periods of time, same with Hypnum. Tamarisk, Thread and Thyme like high humidity levels as well. But give all your mosses a period of drought for couple of days.
So after this quick introduction into terrariums we can move into greenhouses.
You will need a humidity, temperature meter. Moss likes to have levels of humidity over 70-80%. No more than 2-4 hours of direct sunlight, if so water the moss to keep it moist, but not under direct sunlight, you can burn the tips. You will have to equip yourself with couple of fans. We have to battery charged and one solar powered fan. But when temperatures are very high, it is challenging to keep the temperature and humidity levels right. But moss is robust, it has been here for over 500mln years. A water butt to collect rain water will be useful as well. Water sprayers or sprinkler system. If you want to provide the optimal conditions for your mosses for all time, you can easily do it. Keep the humidity levels above 75%, direct sunlight only for Acrocarps, keep the rest in shaded area. Water the mosses when they are dry, but also remember to leave them dry for a wee while. You can water your acrocarps 3-4 times a week throughout the whole day and then leave them to dry for a day or two. You can leave your pleurocarps to dry a bit for a day or two once a week, or once per 10 days. Remember that humidity levels will vary from height. On the bottom of your greenhouse you will have higher levels of humidty. So a wise choice would be to place your high humidity tolerant mosses on the bottom. We built a few tables for our greenhouse. So far we have one long table ( over 4m long ) and two medium tables ( both 2m ). We will be adding more levels to them soon, so for now, we have a bottom level where we are trying to plant our mosses, and the high humidity tolerent ones and on the tables we have the ones that likes more sun and can be dry more frequently. To know more about the process of Planting Moss, read our article.
Finally outside, in the garden we have another medium table 2.5m long, in shaded area of garden, and basically in every free area of garden we have moss, or moss growing. On the top of the tables we have fleece membranes without any substrate.
Provide your greenhouse with co2. Read more on google to find a way for yourself that will suit you. Slabs as floor in your greenhouse would help you to keep cooler temperatures and higher humidity levels. When the temperature outside is high, and temperature inside the greenhouse is above 25-30 degrees celsius, open the door and windows in your greenhouse, turn the fans and set them on full power if you haven't already.
After reading few research papers about soil/substrate pH for Mosses I think that most mosses are optimise in the range of 4-5 pH where 4 is the best.
I notice that mosses that prefers high humidity prefers acidic substrate whereas sun tolerant mosses prefer alkaline substrate, while both of sun tolerant and intolerant moss need around 20-25% nutirents in soil. There is no difference if your substrate has 25% of nutirents of soil or 200%. Remember that when you are choosing substrate for your moss. We will talk about it more in detail in our new Moss Science series.
If you have more questions, ask us here on chatbox or message us on facebook, Moss Clerks or Instagram at @mossclerks or @themightymoss
More articles to come out soon.