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By Gary
Posts:  467
Joined:  Fri Jul 08, 2022 3:23 pm
#444602
Hi all. I'm trying to get my indoor tray of moss to grow but not having much success. It stays green, but I don't notice any significant new growth. I give the moss a spray of orchid foliar fertilizer a couple of times a week along with distilled water to keep it wet. I'm growing it in a seedling tray with LED lights in the lid; I've also tried removing the lid and placing the tray under a brighter grow light. I've tried using some of it as a top dressing on my sundews but after a week or so the moss started to blacken from acidic buildup.
The moss in the pic has pretty much looked the same for nearly a year.
Maybe I need to be cultivating more patience.
Advice is appreciated. TIA.
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By PhilipS
Posts:  11
Joined:  Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:45 am
#444603
Start the new year right by remembering what worked.

Moss grows best in thin layers.
You could use a 1020 or 1010 grow tray with egg crate and a sheet of screening to grow the moss on. Just keep well lit and damp. Good ventilation, too.

Spreading it out onto a couple inches of the ground peat starts a bog. I use weed barrier film to slow the growth of Utricularia out the drain holes. It’s not Utric proof.

Spread the moss as thin as possible or cut into 1” pieces. Space out the moss heads.

Some species color up while others stay green.

If you want to use it as a top dressing then try planting just the moss heads onto LFS.

A very weak weekly foliage spray can help. It just grows anyway. Orchid 20-20-20 1/2tsp per gallon then 6oz of that into 1 quart filtered water. Aquarium water is great for fertilizing moss except it promotes algae. Happy growing!🌿
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By andynorth
Location: 
Posts:  1374
Joined:  Fri May 12, 2023 9:08 pm
#444613
I used a layer of peat, then dry LFSM and then spread live pieces of moss all over the top. I covered at first until it grew out of the cover. Be sure to keep it wet, especially if it outgrows the cover. I kept mine out of direct light and a few months later it was growing like crazy. I am also growing red moss but that is more difficult. It starts out green and then turns red. The pic shows how it looked a month or so ago. It was starting to brown due to my forgetting about it but is doing good again.
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By Gary
Posts:  467
Joined:  Fri Jul 08, 2022 3:23 pm
#444614
Thanks for the tips. The Miracle-gro orchid fertilizer I'm using is really weak, the label states the nutrient concentrations at 0.02%. I think the arrangement in the tray can be improved. I'll cut the larger pieces into 1" bits and give them some breathing room. I can find a small screen to allow air flow below the moss.
By Gary
Posts:  467
Joined:  Fri Jul 08, 2022 3:23 pm
#444615
Wow, andynorth, that's a good looking crop. Mine has never grown that much. I did try using a layer of peat moss, covered with dry LFSM and just wound up with a goopy bottom layer. Your setup sounds like a mini-peat bog, maybe that's what the live moss is expecting to have? Might be worth another try because what I'm doing now ain't working very well.
By Gary
Posts:  467
Joined:  Fri Jul 08, 2022 3:23 pm
#448317
Bloody slow. I started using Maxsea at 1/4 teaspoon/gallon and after a month I'm seeing plenty of new growth "buds" and such, but none are getting any length to them. I keep plenty of water in the tray and it gets a lot of light, but not getting much growth.
Perhaps I have a slow-growing variant?
By davinstewart
Location: 
Posts:  343
Joined:  Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:29 pm
#448327
I've grown trays and trays of this stuff. Here's what works for me...

Get an undrained 1020 tray (I like these but any thing undrained and at least 3" deep will work) and lay in about 1" of moistened dead sphagnum. Put your live sphagnum on top of this and press it in so it has good contact with the dead stuff. Keep the live sphagnum moist while still exposed to the air and put it in the strongest light you possibly can while also not letting it dry out.

The dead stuff can be sitting in water as long as the live stuff is above the waterline. The important thing to remember is that most mosses (including sphagnum) are land plants that lack a vascular system so they need access to both water and oxygen at all times. If the sphagnum is submerged or otherwise unable to obtain enough oxygen, growth will slow dramatically.

On the other end of the spectrum, I've found that sphagnum is also very drought resistant and I've had trays full of white, crispy bone dry moss that greened up and started growing again after giving them some water. I'd definitely avoid allowing the moss to dry out but don't panic it happens. Just give it some good, clean water and it should be back to the races.

I'd strongly consider stopping the fertilizer since I've found that just encourages algae and other rival moss growth. I typically don't fertilize mine at all and they grow very well. I have, however, noticed problems with algae when I did fertilize and so steer clear of it now. Focus on the basics of water, light, air, and temp and you'll soon have bunches of the stuff.

If you insist on fertilizing then I'd start out with a super light dose ... ~1/10 strength and adjust from there. You want just enough nutrients to benefit the moss without providing any benefits to anyone else.

In terms of light, I've found that sphagnum grows best when it's gets tons of sun. Some people have reported that it grows best in partial sun or shade but I think that's because it's easier to keep moist under those conditions and in that situation, shade is the lesser of 2 evils. Or maybe it's because the moss will grow longer (etoliate) trying to reach more light but I've found this growth to be weaker and less vigorous. The ideal situation I've found is keeping the moss moist while giving it as much light as possible. Seriously, this stuff will take 12 hours of full sun as long as you can prevent it from drying out ... and turn beautiful shades of red, yellow, orange as well.

In terms of temps, it seems to like it mild with ~70F days and cooler nights. For me here in North Carolina, it grows best in the spring and fall but slows down to a crawl in the cold winter and hot summer. Even under good conditions though, we're probably talking about just a few inches of growth per year so don't expect it to take over your backyard anytime soon.

Oh, one other tip is that it seems to like growing in clumps much more than growing alone. I'm not sure if this is because it creates its own microclimate or for some other reason but I've noticed that it is much happier when bunched up together.

Or you could just press the easy button and just put it in the tops of your sarracenia pots. They like the same conditions so should grow very well there. I do this and have so much growing in my sarracenia pots that I don't really bother with the trays any more.

Hope that helps!
Last edited by davinstewart on Mon Mar 11, 2024 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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By Gary
Posts:  467
Joined:  Fri Jul 08, 2022 3:23 pm
#448352
That's a lot of great info, thanks! I think I see where I've been going wrong. I tried using dead LFSM as a substrate but was leery of keeping it too wet as it can get mushy. Consequently, I just did daily spraying of the live moss, it would quickly show signs of drying out. When this didn't produce any growth, I tried just live moss in the tray with likely more water than needed.
I'll set up a 1020 tray per your instructions and get the moss farm going. One question, should the tray be covered to help retain humidity?
By davinstewart
Location: 
Posts:  343
Joined:  Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:29 pm
#448353
I never bothered but it's also fairly humid in NC. I'd try without at first and if you have problems with drying out then might explore the humidity dome.
By Gary
Posts:  467
Joined:  Fri Jul 08, 2022 3:23 pm
#448354
You also mentioned just sticking the moss into Sarr pots and such. I tried that but always wound up with clumps of blackened moss from the humic acid. I'm currently trying to get some to propagate on top of the LFSM in my Nep pots, but it's slow going. Regarding ambient humidity, I'm in central AZ and humidity can vary from single digits to ~70% depending on the season. When the summer monsoon season hits we're fairly humid, at least when it's raining.
By davinstewart
Location: 
Posts:  343
Joined:  Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:29 pm
#448407
Yeah, I've seen some staining on my moss ... frequently when I put new springs of moss on top of bare soil but typically it's able to outgrow those intial problems. It might be because my plants are exposed to rainfall ... and we have a bunch of that here in NC. Average annual rainfall in my area is 44-50" and so my moss gets washed off fairly frequently. Possibly flushing out the tannins before they can accumulate to toxic levels ... not sure.

Here's some pics of my setup. Please note that my plants are a little dry atm because I haven't turned on the automated watering yet.
Gary wrote:You also mentioned just sticking the moss into Sarr pots and such. I tried that but always wound up with clumps of blackened moss from the humic acid. I'm currently trying to get some to propagate on top of the LFSM in my Nep pots, but it's slow going. Regarding ambient humidity, I'm in central AZ and humidity can vary from single digits to ~70% depending on the season. When the summer monsoon season hits we're fairly humid, at least when it's raining.
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By Intheswamp
Location: 
Posts:  3420
Joined:  Wed May 04, 2022 2:28 pm
#448408
Gary, being as you're growing the moss indoors you might want to look at the link I posted. It can be used either indoors or outdoors. If I was to grow in the bottom of a plastic tray (which I do) I would want the tray to be clear (which is what I use) if it was more than a couple of inches tall.

I've read to scatter the growing tips out over the tray bottom but it seems that mine has grown better when in larger clumps...expanding out from the edges. I don't now if there's some "mass moss" dynamics going on or what that, but that's what I've experienced.

Davin, I think you're probably hitting the nail on the head with the mention of rain rinsing out your sphagnum in the plant pots. It seems I encounter more brown/black-tipped sphagnum when I'm growing indoors where plants don't get rained on. Thanks for all the moss information, very helpful!
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