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.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

1 comment on “Growing Moss on Rocks

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

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