Why Grow Bonsai Moss?
Bonsai trees are some of the oldest potted plants around, yet many of us know very little on how to care for them.
One method integral for a healthy Bonsai plant is growing moss around the base of the pot.
Adding a moss layer is practical as much as it is ornamental. While it may seem like it has been placed there just to look nice, there are several key benefits that preserve the health of your Bonsai.
Here are some key reasons why you should add Bonsai moss to your miniature tree.
• Regulates root temperature during summer and winter
• Creates illusion to make Bonsai look larger and fuller
• Prevents dehydration of soil
• Protects roots from birds and pests
• Decorates pot and simulates a lush forest
Now that we have established the symbiotic nature of moss and Bonsai plants, here are a few places to find suitable moss for your potted Bonsai tree.
Option 1: Foraging
The most economical method is to look for naturally growing moss in the outdoors and transplant it to your Bonsai pot. The ideal moss for your Bonsai grows in a sunny area and does not multiply at an astronomical speed. In a suburban area, this often means looking on tree bark, sidewalk cracks, and even rooftops. Don’t be afraid to get creative and enjoy the journey.
Once you come upon the perfect match, use a dull knife to scoop up a large piece of moss. Since moss is a living organism, you want to move quickly and keep it damp with a wet paper towel while transporting it from one place to another.
Remember to be conscious of where you are sourcing your moss. If you are searching on privately own land, always ask before taking any moss or plants that belongs to someone else.
Option 2: Purchase Moss Or Spores
Perhaps you do not live in a suitable climate to find moss outdoors, or you prefer an easier solution to gather your supplies. No worries, as you can purchase supplies online or at your local gardening store.
When purchasing, there are two main options to pick. You can purchase preserved moss, which is full grown, or you can purchase moss spores, the equivalent to seeds. Selecting full grown moss as opposed to spores all comes down to a personal preference. If you would like to take part in the process and watch your moss grow, then spores are a great option for you. If you are looking for faster results and would rather spend more time and money sourcing a full grown product, then preserved moss or foraged moss is also a great fit.
Applying To Soil
Regardless of which method you pick, keep the soil moist after you have applied the new moss to the soil. This is crucial in order for your soil to “hold” onto the moss properly and keep it from dying when it is at its most vulnerable stage.
Moss also needs to be accompanied with ample sunlight to grow. Take advantage of a sunny are of your home, or purchase a set of LED grow lights.
For Mature Moss…
Whether you have foraged moss or purchased your own, it is commonly agreed that mature moss is best applied when it is dry. Allow moss to be dried out in the sun or near a radiator, and sprinkle dry moss into the soil. Continue to mist the moss on the soil so it can adjust and grow properly.
For Moss Spores
In a separate pot, follow the instructions on the spores pack to apply to the soil properly. Be sure not to overseed. Most retail packs of spores are enough to cover more than three times the area of a potted plant, so better to not overdo it when starting out the moss.
Keep the soil moist by misting it, and allow the moss to grow in a sunny area without fully drying.
It may take up to 4-6 weeks for moss to grow.
Now that you have the base of your Bonsai covered in moss, let’s make sure we can keep everything as healthy as possible. Continue to keep the soil moist and in a sunny area. Almost every variety of moss (and many Bonsai varieties) are happiest in moisture retentive soil. Besides ample water and sun, removing any weeds, and keeping everything clean, there is not much else needed from you to ensure a healthy symbiosis of Bonsai and moss.
We hope you enjoyed this guide on how to properly care for your Bonsai with adding moss to the base of the pot. For more care tips and step-by-step guides, check out the rest of our blog posts here!