Green Inspiration – sowing in moss

‘Tis the season this year meant ‘enjoy the mild weather as long as possible’. A recent escapade into the woods inspired me to do more sowing in moss. Last year I sowed Saxifraga cuneifolia and Gaultheria procumbens, just for play and it worked very well; now I need more Saxifraga seedlings.
I cannot really replicate this boulder, but if this Saxifraga likes to grow and spread on moss, it makes sense to sow it like that, right? Nature is best source of inspiration.

Saxifraga cuneifolia ssp. robusta in wild habitat

Saxifraga cuneifolia ssp. robusta in wild habitat (Carpathian Mts.)

Of course I don’t have a big, mossy boulder, but I am creative – an old decorative clay pot looks good ornate in moss.

For sowing on moss:
Prepare a pot, mossy stone…, your moss pieces and potting mix (best to add some sand to it);
Place the moss pieces you gathered, press well, water;
Spread the seeds on top, water again;
Enclose the pot/stone in a Ziploc bag, or cover just the top;
Overwinter outside; in the spring start opening the Ziploc or remove the plastic cover.

The seedlings will be tiny (see in the images below taken last summer) and remain like that for some time, so keep it in a shaded spot and mist once in a while. A smaller pot can be kept in the Ziploc but watch it closely as the moss can overgrow the tiny seedlings (this can be rectified by trimming it). It depends on what type of moss is used.

Another Saxifraga that would enjoy this sowing/growing would be the North American Saxifraga virginica (correctly said Micranthes virginiensis).

Saxifraga virginica (Micranthes virginiensis)

Micranthes virginiensis (syn. Saxifraga virginica) in habitat

It is a fun sowing method and in the worst case scenario you will end up with a nice, green, mossy pot! It can be used for other shade loving species, particularly those that like a bit of acidic substrate like Vaccinium, Pieris, Rhododendron…Also it is a great way to germinate and grow any species which like a permanently moist substrate like Viola macloskeyi, Cornus canadensis and probably quite a few others.

Viola macloskeyi

Viola macloskeyi on a mossy hump in wild habitat – Why try to grow it in a different way?!

May the Green Inspiration follow you all throughout the New Year!

8 replies
  1. Jean
    Jean says:

    Such a coincidence. I have been admiring the velvety green hummocks between our patio pavers and plan to pot some up, so thank you for the inspiration to plant into this lovely base.

    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      Thanks for stopping by :) I don’t remember another ‘mossy fall’/early winter like this one. At our former place I always enjoyed how the moss would outline the stone
      patterns on the patio.

  2. Tina
    Tina says:

    Moss doesn’t really happen here in Texas, except along river banks and maybe, the shower stall. But I’ll enjoy photographs of yours

  3. Carol Ermanovics
    Carol Ermanovics says:

    In The Signature of All Things, a novel by Elizabeth Gilbert, mosses are a major interest of the central character, Alma. She seems to know everything about mosses. These plants play a major part throughout the novel. It is probably available at your local library. If Alma was real or alive she would be so interested in this post.
    The book is also very interesting for anyone who loves growing things. It begins at Kew Gardens.

    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      Thank you Carol – right on spot! I read the Signature of All Things; didn’t cross my mind to recommend it :) Besides the mosses it is indeed a great book for everyone ‘who loves growing things’ like you say.
      In my mind I keep the belief that somewhere, sometime, Alma was real :)

    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      Yes, it’s nice to ‘pet’ them and so great to have them around when not much else is green here ;)

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