Researching this article, I found out that there are 15,000 moss species,
12,000 of them present in the Americas. Bryologists (thatís what you call
people who can tell the 15,000 mosses apart) believe moss to be the second plant
to evolve, between algae and ferns. Moss is so primitive that it lacks a
vascular system to transport nutrients and has no roots. Instead it anchors
itself with sticky-ended filaments, like a mussel shell, and absorbs nutrients
directly through cell walls.
Being very Zen, moss is beautifully serene unless you actively try to
cultivate it. None of the 15,000 mosses do winter indoors, and, outdoors, moss
doesnít like change. Each variety is a niche-player that has had 400 million
years to specialize by light, temperature, moisture, soil acidity, water
minerals, etc. Moving grown moss, then, is only for the expert and the lucky.
Further, the moss gurus all admit that a large, uninterrupted sweep of moss,
while breathe-taking, results in disharmony with your squirrels, dedicated moss
diggers. It also annoys the neighbors because itís stoop-labor intensive,
tempting one to resort to a (gasp!) leaf blower. Lastly, stealing moss from wild
areas wrecks your karma; moss takes a long time to grow and is a vital part of
So, as far as I can see, the best way to bring moss in your life is to
encourage small patches of pre-existing moss outdoors. Select spots you can keep
moist, with sun and wind protection. With rocks and ferns is nice. Firmly pat
down an inch or two of peat (for acidity and moisture retention) mixed with sand
(for drainage and easy weeding). Keep damp and free of weeds, mulch, and litter.
(This is work, so just do little spots). Air-borne moss spores will come.
Alternately, crumpled-up bits of local moss can be pressed into the soil. Your
new moss should be noticeable in 6 months and impressive in 2 years. Keep up the
weeding and press the squirrel divots back down. Where moss grows in your lawn
naturally, without all this effort, treasure it and lay off the killer
To grow moss on pots, rocks, driftwood, brick windowsills, and
other porous, rough surfaces, blend moss fragments with yogurt, thin with water,
and paint on. Shade from full sun. Mist daily until the moss takes (a few
weeks). Put rocks and empty pots in a shallow water pan.
Store-bought moss is a great winter mulch for outdoor pots but
goes dormant when the spring bulbs flower. Try drying it out completely, as soon
as it starts to turn. Then store it in an open bag in a well-ventilated area
until late fall.