Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Growing Moss on Rocks


A stone or rock covered entirely or partly in moss gives the impression of great age… and in fact, if you leave a rock in a suitable location, moss will grow on it… eventually. Fortunately, you can speed things up if you transplant the moss yourself.

020.KTry this method. Using your handy food processor (I recommend not telling your spouse!), blend together a handful of green moss gathered from your property, a handful of pottery clay* (available in handicraft stores) and about 2 cups (500 ml) of water. Apply the mixture to the rock with a brush.

Keep the rock moist for the next 5 weeks by misting 2 times per day or, better yet, by installing a temporary misting system. By then the moss will be well established and you can decrease your misting. After the first summer, the moss will be able to cope with local conditions without further intervention.

Note that the idea that the moss only grows in the shade and under high humidity conditions is false. On the contrary, there are mosses suitable for all conceivable conditions: dry or wet spots, shade or full sun, acid or alkaline surfaces, etc. Ideally, therefore, you should harvest mosses growing under about the same conditions as those that exist on the rock where you want them to grow.

200150314BEnglish* Other recipes advocate the use of buttermilk, yogurt or beer instead of clay, but the latter gives much better results because it helps moss particles to stick to the rock surface and, unlike buttermilk and yogurt, doesn’t result in fungus growth.

Garden writer and blogger, author of more than 60 gardening books, the laidback gardener, Larry Hodgson, lives and gardens in Quebec City, Canada. The Laidback Gardener blog offers more than 2,500 articles to passionate home gardeners, always with the goal of demystifying gardening and making it easier for even novice gardeners. If you have a gardening question, enter it in Search: the answer is probably already there!

1 comment on “Growing Moss on Rocks

  1. Pingback: Using Lime to Control Moss: Another Garden Myth! | Laidback Gardener

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