Both moss and succulents make for great and low maintenance house plants and decor. But how well do they go together?
Can you grow succulents in moss?
Yes it you can grow succulents in moss. For this purpose, succulent growers use the type of moss known as sphagnum moss. You can plant succulents directly on sphagnum moss without worrying too much about the health of your succulent.
In fact, sphagnum moss is ideal for situations where using a soil mix is difficult or downright impossible. For example, if you wish to use wall planters for your succulents, the weight of the soil might not allow the planters to be held securely in place.
Another instance where sphagnum moss is preferable over soil mixes is if you are planning on creating a terrarium.
Take note that compared to soil, sphagnum moss can dry up more quickly. This means that you will need to water your succulents more frequently. Additionally, succulents grown with sphagnum moss may require more applications of fertilizers.
What is sphagnum moss?
For succulents, crafters typically use a type of moss known as sphagnum moss. They enjoy using sphagnum moss because it readily absorbs water, providing succulents with ample moisture. Apart from that, sphagnum moss dries up quickly.
These two properties are critical for one important reason: succulents do not like to be soaked in water for an extended period. Too much moisture can rot the roots of succulents which can lead to their death.
For craft projects, sphagnum moss can be used on its own or mixed with soil.
The term sphagnum moss can refer to any of around 300 species of mosses. Sphagnum moss can be found in peat bogs, hence its other name, peat moss.
This type of moss has evolved to absorb a high volume of water in response to its living environment where it depends on rains as well as the air for moisture. Some species of sphagnum moss can hold water equivalent to 20 times their dry weight.
Apart from crafts, sphagnum moss is used by gardeners to condition soil.
For growing succulents, be sure to use long-fiber sphagnum moss and not the dead variety used for amending soil.
Other uses of sphagnum moss
Apart from acting as a soilless medium for planting succulents, sphagnum moss can be used for other purposes by succulent growers.
One common use of sphagnum moss is for lining up frames, like wire chicken planters often used in topiaries and wreaths. Here, the sphagnum moss conceals the frame before being covered in soil.
Sphagnum moss may also be used in securing succulents and other plants in vertical spaces. You can use the moss to ensure that your plants are held securely.
Finally, you can use sphagnum moss as an accent for your succulent container.
Working with sphagnum moss
Before filling up a container with sphagnum moss, it is highly recommended that you soak it first. Dry moss can be difficult and messy to work with. Wetting the moss makes it easier to mold and place it into a container. However, be aware that it may take some time before the moss is completely soaked.
Succulents can live in moss for a surprisingly long time. Some succulents can live as long as one year in just sphagnum moss. However, if you want to prolong the life of your succulent, you should add some soil.
Be aware that watering succulents planted in sphagnum moss can take more time than you might be accustomed to. The moss tends to repel water first and you will need to water it a few times before it gets completely wet.
Finally, it is completely normal for sphagnum moss to lose its original color as time goes by. You should not expect it to remain green because it is already dead and won’t respond to regular misting. Over time, some parts of the moss will turn brown. If you wish to use sphagnum moss for decorative purposes, opt for those that have been dyed. This type of sphagnum moss won’t lose its color.
Consider sphagnum moss for your succulents
Whether you are planning on a crafting project for your succulents or you simply want to try a different substrate for your plants, there are a few reasons why you should consider using sphagnum moss.
But remember to check if your plant gets adequate moisture and avoid overwatering.
Image: istockphoto.com / kornyeyeva