- Sphagnum Moss vs. Peat Moss
- Peat Moss vs. Sphagnum Moss and more
- Sphagnum vs. Spanish Moss
- Is Sphagnum moss the same as peat moss??
- Peat Moss
- Sphagnum Moss Vs. Sphagnum Peat Moss: Are Sphagnum Moss And Peat Moss The Same
- Are Sphagnum Moss and Peat Moss the Same?
- Sphagnum Moss vs. Sphagnum Peat Moss
- All About Sphagnum Moss
Sphagnum Moss vs. Peat Moss
If there ever is confusion concerning plant products, interpreting the labeling of sphagnum moss and peat moss is high on the list.
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Practically everyone who grows plants, uses some sort of sphagnum moss. Sphagnum moss is found in most commercially available potting soils and garden soils, in bales labeled “Sphagnum Peat Moss,” in 2 cf. bags of “Milled Sphagnum Moss,” in moss-lined baskets, and in small bags of “Long-fibered Sphagnum Moss.” But what are you really buying? Are these products basically the same thing? To understand the terminology, one must understand the source of horticultural moss.
Sphagnum moss and peat moss begin life the same way, from the same plant. Sphagnum moss grows on the surface of the soil, generally where the climate is mild, humid, gets plenty of rain, and perhaps somewhat shaded. I say “perhaps somewhat shaded” because there are varieties of sphagnum moss that flourish in full sun. Sphagnum moss grows in abundance in parts of Canada, Peru, New Zealand, Ireland, and Scotland. It grows all over the world, but these areas are where most of our commercially available moss comes from. Sphagnum moss is a living plant when harvested, but when we purchase it, it has been thoroughly dried. Basically, there are two forms of the sphagnum moss when sold commercially, long-fibered moss and milled moss. They are the same moss, but the long-fibered is left in its natural form and the milled is moss that has been finely chopped. Generally, the pH of sphagnum moss is neutral. It is soft, pliable, and very water-retentive. It is used to line baskets, as a seed-starter medium, as a medium that most big-box store Phalaenopsis orchids are growing in, and as an amendment in potting soils. Good quality sphagnum moss will be pure moss, without any other plant material incorporated.
Peat moss, often labeled “Sphagnum Peat Moss,” is quite different, though. It begins its life as sphagnum moss. Over time the sphagnum moss dies and is over-grown by new sphagnum moss. This is repeated over and over, and after hundreds or even thousands of years these many layers of dead sphagnum moss form a bog. This layer of dead, compacted moss is now called peat moss. Peat moss is saturated with water, and can be up to 70% water. Water is a necessary element for a bog to form. Peat moss is not pure moss, though. It will be a mixture of many plant varieties that died along with the moss and may have twigs and dead insects as well. Whereas sphagnum moss has a neutral pH, peat moss is very acidic and is high in tannins. Peat moss is sold in compressed bales and, like milled sphagnum moss, it is used in potting and garden soils. Peat is a less expensive amendment in potting and garden soils. Peat is a great medium for growing acid-loving plants, and my blueberry bushes are growing in pure peat. When peat is used as a soil amendment for plants that don’t grow well in acid conditions, the pH will have to be altered, perhaps by the addition of lime. In some areas of the world, such as Ireland and Scotland, peat is excavated, cut into “bricks,” and used for heating and cooking.
Peat Moss vs. Sphagnum Moss and more
The mailbox of Ask Gardenerd has been receiving some great questions this week. Here’s another about the difference between moss and moss:
“A question about moss… What is the difference between
peat moss, sphagnum moss, and the green moss that grows around the
ground? Going into the 3rd year with my raised bed, and it has many
patches of green moss. Is this detrimental to the plants? Should it be
removed or turned back under into the soil? Thanks in advance. Judy”
I love this question, thanks for writing in. There is a difference in the functionality of these different mosses, and it’s good to know which is which, so you can use them properly.
Mossy trees in Mexico’s National Park in Uruapan
Peat Moss – Technically called Sphagnum Peat Moss. This is the stuff you see most often in bags at the nursery, sold as a soil amendment. It is comprised of decaying material harvested from bogs. It is the dead material underneath the living part of the plant (we’ll talk about that in a second).
These bogs take between one to three thousand years for nature to make them, and we harvest the contents much faster than that. The world is experiencing a dramatic loss of peat bogs, between 89-98% of the bogs that once existed are now gone. That’s why I recommend using coir, the outside hull of coconuts (which is a waste product) instead.
Sphagnum Moss – This is also found at nurseries or craft and hardware stores, and is used to line hanging baskets. It’s often used to cover the soil in decorative topiaries. This is the living part of the plant that dwells above ground. It covers the bog and without it the bog can not thrive. This part is usually removed in order to access the peat below, though many countries have adopted sustainable harvesting methods to preserve the sphagnum layer while still accessing the decaying peat below.
Sphagnum moss can contain some pretty nasty fungal spores, which if not handled properly (or sterilized before being sold) can get under your nails and cause major health issues. It is recommended to use gloves when handling decorative sphagnum moss.
That other moss – Green moss or algae (and it could be either) that appears on the soil surface usually crops up in places where soil has poor drainage and more shade. In reading about the possibilities, I came across this helpful guide from University of Georgia:
Controlling Moss and Algae in Turf
To summarize this and other sources of info, here are a few tips:
It’s generally harmless – you can scratch the soil surface to disperse it, and it will most likely come back, but it won’t harm or kill your plants.
Check soil pH and fertility – algae tends to grow in infertile areas where there is light, so check your soil and amend with organic fertilizer as needed. Add lime if the soil is too acidic (another happy breeding ground for algae).
Add compost – to improve drainage, or create raised beds.
Cut back on watering – the presence of algae or moss is a sure sign that the soil is too wet. Let the soil dry out between waterings if possible and see if that doesn’t improve things.
Thanks for writing in. I hope this helps.
You may have read about a fungal disease called Cutaneous sporotrichosis, a chronic infection identified by skin lesions. The fungus which causes this disease has been found in several kinds of organic material and, because in extremely rare cases this disease can cause death, gardeners are rightly concerned about protecting themselves from contracting it. Unfortunately, however, some of the information circulating about how gardeners can contract this disease has been inaccurate. It confuses two separate products; one of which is known to carry the fungus and one of which does not.
One of the materials known to carry the sporotrichosis fungus is sphagnum moss. Most frequently used by the floral industry to line wire baskets, this product frequently is being confused with sphagnum peat moss, a soil conditioner known for its ability to bind sandy soils, loosen clay soils and retain water. The difference is an important one. While there have been cases of sporotrichosis resulting from handling sphagnum moss, after extensive research, I can find no cases resulting from handling sphagnum peat moss. Sphagnum moss and sphagnum peat moss are NOT the same product, as many avid gardeners know.
Sphagnum moss is the living moss that grows on top of a sphagnum bog. The fungus Sporotrichum schenckii is known to live in this growing moss.
Sphagnum peat moss is the dead material that accumulates as new live material grows on top and exerts pressure on the peat moss below. The fungus is not known to live in the levels of a sphagnum bog where peat forms. Harvesters of horticultural peat moss remove the top few inches of the live sphagnum moss and only harvest the peat from the lower layer.
‘Living’ sphagnum moss is used in the floral industry to make wreaths and to line hanging baskets. Workers in that industry have been warned to protect themselves with gloves and heavy clothing to avoid puncture wounds or scrapes. Gardeners wishing to use sphagnum moss to create their own baskets or for other uses should simply follow the same advice: Wear gloves and long sleeves to avoid coming into contact with the dried moss. No similar warning appears on Material Safety Date Sheets (MSDS) for handling sphagnum peat moss.
Gardeners worldwide use sphagnum peat moss as a soil amendment because its unique cell structure enables peat to:
aerate plant roots by loosening heavy clay soils; add body to sandy soil; and save water by absorbing and holding moisture.
Peat moss is not only effective, it’s organic and safe to use.
Sphagnum vs. Spanish Moss
moss image by Witold Krasowski from Fotolia.com
Confusion may arise when florists and horticulturists drop the terms “sphagnum” and “Spanish moss” in conversations about growing houseplants or improving soil. Sphagnum, also called sphagnum moss, slowly decomposes to form a soil amendment called sphagnum peat or peat moss. Spanish moss isn’t a moss at all and grows in a completely different environment, with different needs and growth habit.
Sphagnum comprises any number of true mosses that belong to the botanical genus Sphagnum. It grows in cool, moist to wet marshes, bogs or wetlands where winter freezes occur. As the plants grow, their dead leaves and stems form a compost peat mat that sustains more new moss plants.
Spanish moss is a bromeliad (Tillandsia usneoides) that grows upon and dangles from tree branches in tropical and subtropical regions. It is not a true moss but a flowering plant.
Sphagnum moss grows low to the ground in tufted clumps of stems and tiny leaves that are light green although some species have pink, bronze, yellow or reddish foliage. It grows no taller than 4 inches but spreads to potentially more large colonies to look like a groundcover.
Spanish moss is an epiphyte–growing upon another plant like a tree–and has a long string of thin, hair-like leaves that are silvery green. A individual strand eventually branches and becomes a mop-like clump of foliage that produces tiny chartreuse flowers, which are usually overlooked. Strands can be as long as several yards in length.
When actively growing, sphagnum does look like a moss and when dried retains a green to brown color. The plant parts soak up water and hold it well. Likewise, if the dried sphagnum is allowed to further decay and become compacted, it becomes sphagnum peat. Peat is soil-like organic matter that is acidic in pH, retains moisture and is a dark red-brown to chocolate brown in color.
Spanish moss resembles a stringy lichen or fungus. When it is wet, its color changes to light green but then dries to gray or silvery green. Excessive dryness kills Spanish moss, when it shrivels up slightly and becomes grayish brown in color. It does not retain moisture when wet but dries out; it will rot and decompose if kept too wet.
Sphagnum is typically sold in packages to use as a decorative soil-top dressing on indoor container plants or to line hanging wire baskets. It is also used as a naturalistic craft product for model train set environments, creches or statuary, or as a groundcover in a terrarium. Decomposed sphagnum is sold as peat or peat moss and is used as a soil conditioner to improve the texture, drainage or moisture content of top soils. It is also used as a primary component in soil-less potting mixes for houseplants or to sow seeds.
Spanish moss traditionally was used to stuff mattresses, life preservers and automobile seats, according to Floridata. Today Spanish moss is used (when dried) as a top dressing on interior container plant or as a craft product, just like sphagnum. Spanish moss does not decompose to become a soil amendment.
The Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association recognizes that sphagnum moss grows in limited natural areas and thus a primary concern is the preservation of habitat while also ethically harvesting the moss and underlying layers of peat. It takes decades for sphagnum to renew into large, deep ecosystems. Today in Canada and the United States there are many producers of sphagnum and peat that harvest materials in order for it to be a more renewable resource.
Spanish moss is widespread across much of the frost-free land of North America and is not in low supply. Since Spanish moss is easily obtainable when it drops from trees, it contains many small insects and other creatures in its foliage mass. Floridata comments that before the plant material is brought indoors or used, it should be microwaved or boiled in water to kill the plant and anything hiding or living within it.
Is Sphagnum moss the same as peat moss??
For the most part, plants decline and die in situations where the amount of food/energy they’re able to create (with the help of the sun) is less than they are expending to drive their metabolic processes. It doesn’t LOOK like your tree is in any immediate danger of expiring, but symptoms made manifest by ongoing limitations commonly lag the cause by weeks to months. Necrotic leaf tips and margins are far more often than not a symptom of over-watering and/or a high level of dissolved solids (salt) in the soil solution. Occasionally it can be traced entirely to growers watering with their own version of enhanced frequency; more often, it’s the result of a poor soil that simply does not allow the grower to water correctly w/o the plant paying a tax in the form of diminished root health because the soil remains saturated long enough to have attained the age of majority. Curing the effects of too much water in the soil starts by using a soil that doesn’t hold too much water, and by default, not enough air. Then, using a ‘tell’ as an indicator of when it’s appropriate to water to put a polish on what you practice. I use soils that hold no (or nearly no) excess (perched) water. That means I’d have to work very hard at over-watering. That scenario makes things easy for the grower and easy on the plant. If you’ve been forever in battle with your chosen soil for control of your plants’ vitality, the change that occurs when you switch to a good soil (one that allows you to water correctly , will make it seem like you have somehow done something magic. Too, where a poor soil makes fertilizing something of a helter skelter proposition, good soils make it monkey easy. Your job, as chief grower, is figuring out what is most limiting to your plant and fixing it. This represents the difference between a plant surviving at the outer limits of what it’s programmed (genetically) to tolerate and one that’s growing in its ‘sweet spot’. understanding how soils work, followed by understanding how plants work, are representative of the largest steps forward you’ll likely make as a container gardener. There are several links I can suggest if you have interest? Low light and cool temps can cause plants to stall in sort of a consequential dormancy, but nutritional issues and root congestion can do the same; as can the cyclic death and subsequent regeneration of roots as the root mass wobbles back and forth between just right and too wet. Soggy soils kill roots. Before the top can/will grow, the root system has to be able to support new growth, so dead roots have to be replaced. The energy it takes to regenerate roots might have been put toward an increase in the plant’s mass. The difference between what a plant is and what it could be is described as lost potential. Even plants that LOOK good can be losing out on an extreme measure of potential; and in plants, lost potential can never be regained under ANY circumstances. If your plant has a droopy or hang-dog look, it’s likely from a lack of turgidity (internal water pressure), brought about by too little water, too much water, and/or a high level of dissolved solids in the soil. Unfortunately, after wilting the leaves of F lyrata often don’t recover to occupy their former spatial positions. IOW, once they wilt, their attitude usually changes at least partially so that droopy appearance becomes a permanent thing. Try reading this. Al
Randy L. Rasmussen/The Oregonian Debbie Knitz used two different tropical ferns, creeping fig, river rock, metallic marbles and glass discs to make this terrarium, adding twigs of coral-bark maple for fun.
If the word “terrarium” conjures up images of the defunct aquarium turned musty terrarium of the ’70s, take a gander at the beautifully encapsulated gardens created by Debbie Knitz, artist and owner of BlingKing Lizard Design in Portland.
Knitz mixes discarded objects with a few handfuls of potting soil, charcoal, moss and plants for her hip, updated versions of that has-been. Follow along to learn how to make your own glass gardens. Each garden takes about 15 minutes and costs around $12. (Price depends on materials: $12 if you make several; significantly higher if you make only one.)
• A clean glass container with an opening smaller than its girth, at least 10 to 12 inches tall. Containers with necks slightly smaller than their girth are perfect for succulents. Knitz finds inexpensive glass at Goodwill, garage sales and discount stores, but don’t overlook your cupboards and closets for items to use, such as that vase your Valentine’s Day flowers came in.
• Beads, seashells, marbles, pebbles, recycled tumbled glass, glass discs, small pottery shards — the sky’s the limit when it comes to pretty baubles for your terrarium. Shop Goodwill, garden centers, and discount and craft stores. Knitz likes to use old necklaces she finds at Goodwill, especially necklaces made with beads glued to the string that can’t be reused for her jewelry creations. She uses the beads, string and all, in the base and chooses individual items for top-dressing.
• Horticultural charcoal. This keeps the terrariums from getting a bad odor. Find it near potting soil at garden centers.
• Sphagnum or Spanish moss, and reindeer moss. Knitz prefers the green color of sphagnum moss (do not confuse this with sphagnum peat moss) over Spanish moss. Find moss at floral supplies and craft stores.
• Potting soil. Use cactus mix potting soil for succulents; standard mixes will work for all other plants. Do not use garden soil. It’s much too heavy, plus it tends to grow fungi and other organisms in high humidity.
• Low- to medium-light plants in 2- to 4-inch containers. Choose plants that grow no larger than 10 inches tall; plants 5 to 6 inches tall are best. Bonus: Four-inch containers will often contain more than one plant, possibly as many as six. Divide them and stretch your plant dollars. Check houseplant and gardening sections of local nurseries and big-box stores.
• Chopsticks from last night’s Chinese takeout.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
• The process is all about layering. Remember those layered sand jars of the ’80s? Yep, kind of like that. The first four layers should total 3 to 5 inches. Allow 5 to 6 inches for the plants with an additional 3 inches or more for plant growth.
• Baubles: Enough to cover the bottom.
• Charcoal: Enough to cover the baubles.
• Sphagnum or Spanish moss: Enough to cover the charcoal (Do you see a pattern here?) to prevent soil from seeping down into the bottom. Since moss is often harvested from trees where poison ivy grows, Knitz recommends wearing gloves when handling it.
• Potting mix: 2 to 4 inches, enough to cover the root balls of the plants you are using.
Randy L. Rasmussen/The Oregonian Four-inch containers will often contain more than one plant, possibly as many as six. Divide them and stretch your plant dollars.
• Plants: Knitz mixes tropical houseplants with hardy plants, such as New Zealand brass buttons (Leptinella squalida, syn. Cotula squalida) and Irish and Scotch mosses. A succulent fanatic, she loves to create tapestries of hardy and non-hardy succulents in terrariums. Don’t mix drought-tolerant succulents with thirsty plants.
Thoroughly moisten the plants’ root balls before planting; lightly loosen the root ball.
Pinch off broken, desiccated and dead leaves and stems.
Plant, working from the outer edges inward with the tallest plant in the center. Use chopsticks to make planting holes in the soil and to move plant material around.
• Reindeer moss and baubles: Top-dress with just enough to cover the soil to prevent it from splashing the terrarium’s sides during watering.
• Mist the terrarium and close it up. If your container lacks a lid, make one using a square of plastic wrap tied with raffia or another decorative tie. A lid is not required, especially if you’re planting succulents; they prefer a drier environment.
• Place your terrarium in as low a light as the plants will tolerate. Keep it out of bright sunlight to prevent interior temperatures from rising to toxic levels.
• Terrariums are an example of when neglect is a good thing. Completely closed terrariums require little to no watering. Open terrariums, sometimes called dish gardens, will require more regular watering, but the smaller the mouth, the less frequently you’ll need to water. When condensation stops accumulating on the glass, water using a mister, applying a little at a time to avoid overwatering.
• Terrariums rarely need fertilizing, but if your plants develop yellow leaves, a sign of nutrient deficiency, spray plants with a very weak application of liquid organic fertilizer mixed well with water.
• Remove dead leaves and other debris as needed.
• If planted correctly, given the appropriate light and care, your terrarium’s plants should last for several years before requiring transplanting.
Debbie Knitz sells her terrariums and other creations at local farmers markets and craft venues. Contact her for more information:
BlingKing Lizard Design, 503-360-8138, [email protected]
— Lisa Albert; [email protected]
Peat moss is partially decayed Sphagnum Moss. It is the main soil component of bogs, fens and pocosins. It has amazing water holding capacity (10x), and can create very acidic conditions.
Because it creates such acid conditions, it inhibits bacterial growth. This makes it an ideal medium for preservation. Well preserved specimens of Mastadons and even humans have been found in some bogs.
Under proper management Peat Moss is a renewable resource. The Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association (CSPMA) and associated organizations and institutions, are doing their best to ensure that peat moss is a renewable resource.
As a growing medium for carnivorous or one of the soil ingredients.
As a packing material for wrapping and shipping CPs.
As an antibacterial and antifungal dressing for wounds.
As a bio-friendly alternative to chlorine for clearing pools. It inhibits algae growth.
As an insulation for cabins and fill between the logs.
As an insecticide, it keeps flies and mosquitoes away.
As a diaper liner, but is said to be scratchy and uncomfortable.
Sphagnum moss can potentially harbor the fungi, Sporothrix schenckii, which can cause the chronic disease sporotrichosis, when spores enter the skin through abrasions, scratches, or small wounds. It is good practice to wear gloves when handling Sphagnum Moss.
Sphagnum moss and sphagnum peat moss (frequently known simply as “peat moss”) are often confused for the same growing material. In truth, they’re two different parts of the same plant, but the impact of their use is wildly different. Sphagnum moss is a plant that grows on the surface of soil or a swamp. It thrives in New Zealand and other wet climates. It is carefully harvested to ensure regeneration of bogs, a cycle which typically takes 5-6 years. Peat moss, on the other hand, is the layer of decaying, water-saturated sphagnum moss that has sunk below the surface. It is the basis of swamp land, forming over thousands of years. Although peat moss can be found in potting soils in nearly every gardening center in the world, harvesting peat moss is not a sustainable practice. It takes thousands of years for peat moss to develop, and harvesting it requires digging up bogs, which destroys the potential for regeneration of the swamp.
Properties of Spagmoss vs. Peat Moss
The properties of sphagnum moss include:
- Neutral pH
- Pliable and soft growing as a growing material
- Pure moss (no other plant material)
- Used as a seed-starter, to line baskets, for growing orchids, and as additional growing material in potting soils
Sphagnum peat moss:
- Is acidic and high in tannins
- Can be up to 70% water
- Is naturally compacted and sold compressed into bales)
- Contains a mixture of organic materials, including moss, decaying plant matter, and dead insects
- Is used in potting and garden soils
We provide a wide range of highest quality, sustainably-obtained spagmoss products for use in growing orchids, floristry, growing carnivorous plants, and landscaping. To learn more about the benefits of sphagnum moss, contact Besgrow.
Sphagnum Moss Vs. Sphagnum Peat Moss: Are Sphagnum Moss And Peat Moss The Same
In one form or another, most plant owners have dealt will sphagnum moss at some point. In spring, when it’s time to plant the garden, bales or bags of sphagnum peat moss fly off the shelves of garden center. This popular soil amendment is lightweight and inexpensive. However, when perusing a craft store, you may see small bags labeled sphagnum moss selling for just as much, or more, than you paid for a compressed bag of sphagnum peat moss. This major price and quantity difference may have you wondering are sphagnum moss and peat moss the same. Continue reading to learn the difference between sphagnum moss and sphagnum peat.
Are Sphagnum Moss and Peat Moss the Same?
The products known as sphagnum moss and sphagnum peat moss come from the same plant, which is also known as sphagnum moss. There are over 350 species of sphagnum moss, but most of the varieties harvested for sphagnum moss products grow in wetlands of the northern hemisphere – mainly Canada, Michigan, Ireland and Scotland. Commercial sphagnum peat moss is also harvested in New Zealand and Peru. These varieties grow in bogs, which are sometimes drained to make harvesting the sphagnum peat moss (sometimes called peat moss) easier.
So what is sphagnum peat moss? It is actually the dead, decayed plant matter of sphagnum moss that settles at the bottom of the sphagnum bogs. Many of the sphagnum bogs that are harvested for commercially sold sphagnum peat moss have built up in the bottom of bogs for thousands of years. Because these are natural bogs, the decayed matter known as peat moss is usually not purely sphagnum moss. It may contain organic matter from other plants, animals or insects. However, peat moss or sphagnum peat moss is dead and decayed when harvested.
Is sphagnum moss peat moss? Well, kind of. Sphagnum moss is the living plant that grows on top of the bog. It is harvested while it is alive and then dried for commercial use. Usually, the living sphagnum moss is harvested, then the bog is drained and the dead/decayed peat moss beneath is harvested.
Sphagnum Moss vs. Sphagnum Peat Moss
Sphagnum peat moss is usually dried and sterilized after harvest. It is a light brown color and has a fine, dry texture. Sphagnum peat moss is usually sold in compressed bales or bags. It is a very popular soil amendment because of its ability to help sandy soil hold moisture, and helps clay soil loosen up and drain better. Because it has a naturally low pH of about 4.0, it is also an excellent soil amendment for acid-loving plants or highly alkaline areas. Peat moss is also lightweight, easy to work with and inexpensive.
Sphagnum moss is sold in craft stores or garden centers. For plants, it is used to line baskets and help retain soil moisture. It is usually sold in its natural stringy texture, but is also sold chopped up. It consists of shades of green, gray or brown. In crafts it is used for a variety projects that require a natural flair. Sphagnum moss is sold commercially in smaller bags.
All About Sphagnum Moss
Sphagnum Moss has long had a place in both the animal and plant hobbies. It’s widely available, and has a multitude of uses. Yet, even though sphagnum moss is seemingly everywhere, many know surprisingly little about it. Let’s take a trip down moss lane and explore the natural history of sphagnum moss, and what it can do for you.
What is sphagnum moss?
Sphagnum is a genus of moss consisting of over 100 species, found worldwide. Sphagnum is known for it’s water retaining abilities – even dead sphagnum moss can hold a huge volume of water. This allows sphagnum to slowly grow from wetter areas onto formerly dry land and create bogs. In these bogs, generations of sphagnum grow on top of each other, forming dense mats that can be several feet thick! I’ve read estimates that sphagnum bogs cover 1-2% of the earth’s surface.
Sphagnum creates a low pH environment, resulting in anaerobic conditions that reduce and greatly slow down the decay process. In this naturally anti-bacterial environment, the process of decomposition can take ages! In the past, this characteristic of sphagnum led ancient peoples to use sphagnum bogs as a sort of primitive refrigerator, storing meat and other foods in the sphagnum bog. Sphagnum has also been used a dressing for wounds in the recent past.
The best part about sphagnum moss is that it grows back! Sphagnum is a renewable resource – depending on the location, sphagnum will regrow in 8-22 years after harvesting. That means that sphagnum is a green substrate, in both senses of the word!
How can I use sphagnum in a container garden or terrarium?
Josh’s Frogs Sphagnum Moss can be used as a top dressing on potted plants to aid in moisture retention. It can also be use to line hanging baskets for outdoor plants to prevent soil loss. Use Josh’s Frogs Sphagnum Moss in floral arrangements to cover floral foam or as a decorative addition. Josh’s Frogs Sphagnum Moss can be used for art and craft projects and home decor. Sphagnum moss will hold in moisture, keeping soil moist, and can even be used as a substrate for carnivorous plants and cuttings.
How can I use sphagnum moss in a vivarium or naturalistic terrarium?
Sphagnum moss is a vital part of any naturalistic vivarium. Placed above the soil layer and below the leaf litter layer, sphagnum moss mimics the layer of decayed plant material found right above the soil layer in the tropical jungle. Sphagnum moss keeps the dirt off of your vivarium inhabitants, and also promotes a more humid soil layer, while providing a home to beneficial microfauna.
Sphagnum moss can also be used as a stand alone substrate for quarantine or temporary enclosures. It’s natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, coupled with it’s ability to hold a vast amount of water, makes sphagnum moss an ideal temporary substrate for humidity loving amphibians. Sphagnum moss also makes a great substrate for humid hides, providing much needed moisture to a wide variety of reptiles, and aids in the shedding process.
Many people want a lush, live bunch of moss in their vivarium – if this is the case, sphagnum moss is not for you! Check out our blog “Growing Moss like a Boss” for tips on creating your lush green moss oasis!
What are the different kinds of sphagnum moss?
Sphagnum moss is available in a wide array of different qualities and types. Canadian sphagnum moss tends to be cheap and full of sticks and other debris. This is the kind of moss you’re most likely to run into at the big box garden centers or home improvement stores, and is not appropriate for use with animals.
Chilean sphagnum moss is of moderate quality, still containing some debris but relatively clean. Once available widely in the United States, Chilean sphagnum is now mostly exported overseas to emerging Asian markets, making it a non-viable option for us in the US.
New Zealand sphagnum moss is widely hailed as the highest quality, most preferred sphagnum moss available. Largely free of debris, New Zealand sphagnum moss is a great option for use in naturalistic vivaria and container gardens, and is what we carry at Josh’s Frogs. We also have chosen to carry a higher grade New Zealand sphagnum than commonly available – only the best for you and yours!
Where do I get sphagnum moss?
Sphagnum moss is widely available at garden centers and nurseries across the nation. But, many of these stores focus on selling a cheap product for a cheap price – it’s difficult to find quality sphagnum moss that’s appropriate for use with our animals and delicate plants in many places. We sell quality, clean New Zealand Sphagnum Moss for use in hanging baskets, container gardens, and naturalistic vivaria at Josh’s Frogs. We purchase the highest grade moss available in order to ensure you’re getting the best.