Moss Garden Experiment

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Ernesto

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Started a moss garden. I’m growing five local species of moss under the same conditions as my orchids, and whichever species thrives will be used for a live moss top dressing in my orchid pots. 🙂F3C58727-31E0-4052-B01A-BE7A2BBE68E1.jpeg
 
Moss is always pretty, but why do you need a top dressing?

I’ve been having issues with new roots on my Paphs aborting themselves, so I started using sphagnum moss as a top dressing to retain moisture near the surface of my potting mix. While I was reading about sphagnum moss as a top dressing I also found a few discussions about the use of live moss for the same purpose. I figured if I could get live moss to grow in my home conditions, I could eventually spread it to all my pots. That, and I thought this would be a fun experiment with materials I had on hand. 🙂
 
I think the experiment is quite pretty. I hope the moss does well. I've read
recently that moss is too acid for orchids. I have no idea if that's true.

Thanks! I’ll update this thread with my progress. I know sphagnum moss is known for dropping pH, but I haven’t found anything on the pH regulating effects of live moss. I figure the oyster shell I have in my mix will buffer against the effects of the sphagnum.
 
I tried using local moss once. Bad Idea, I couldn't get it clean enough. I used live moss from eBay vendors and now if I need some I just pull a piece off one plant and move it where needed.
 
I tried using local moss once. Bad Idea, I couldn't get it clean enough. I used live moss from eBay vendors and now if I need some I just pull a piece off one plant and move it where needed.

I rinsed my moss a bunch and still had clay particles stuck to them. I decided it was good enough and soaked them in diluted hydrogen peroxide for about 20 minutes. Hopefully it took care of any hitchhikers
 
I had so-so success with native mosses in my PA greenhouse. Planted on trays of sphagnum, I still had to water them heavily and keep them in deep shade to attain any survival. Interestingly enough, if I had a pot with a heavy algae buildup on the surface, mosses would germinate and grow there just fine.

It makes me wonder if preparing the sphagnum in advance by keeping it very wet, bright and fertilized to foster algae, and then adding the moss might be a good technique. Strictly speculation....
 
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