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Friday, July 30, 2010

Growing Moss With Buttermilk!

Growing Moss with Buttermilk!

Moss looks wonderful in the garden, especially on rocks and rock walls. It gives any garden a sense of age and weight. Getting moss to grow on rocks or on the ground in your garden simply requires you give the moss the growing conditions it needs and have some patience while it gets established.

What Does Moss Like?

Mosses like moisture, shade and generally prefer an acidic soil (5.0 - 6.0). Partial to full shade is essential. Hot afternoon sun will destroy a patch of moss in no time. Did you know that moss has no roots? It has little filaments that allow it to take up nutrients, but no true roots, so it will dry out even faster than groundcover plants.

How to Get Moss to Grow on Soil

The easiest way to get a patch of moss started is to take a piece from somewhere else and move it. Rake and scratch the surface of the soil you’re going to be putting it on, so that the filaments make good contacts. Wet the area and lay the moss on top of it. Press is well into the soil. It even helps if you pin it in place or put some light rocks on it to anchor it. Newly transplanted moss will need to be kept moist for the first few weeks. You can tell you moss as taken when it doesn’t lift with a light tug.

I’ve heard that certain mosses will only grow on soil and others only on hard surfaces. I haven’t found a definitive answer on this, but it’s probably wise to take your transplanted moss from a similar surface to minimize transplant problems.

How To Ge Moss To GrowOn Rocks, Bricks Or Pots

It’s a little harder to start moss on a rock by simply lifting it and moving it. To grow moss on rocks, bricks or pots, many people have luck cultivating moss by mixing it with buttermilk and painting it on the new surface.

Moss Making Recipe:

•2 cups buttermilk or plain yogurt

•1 - 1 1/2 cups of chopped-up moss (Fresh or Dried)

Mix until creamy and spreadable. If the mixture is too thick, add a small amount of water. If it’s too thin, add more moss.

Paint the mixture onto the new surface. You can allow the mixture to sit for a day or two, to start the process. You may get mold first, but by about week 6 you should see signs of moss.

Maintaining Moss

To keep your moss growing well, you need to maintain ideal moss conditions: shade, moisture and a low soil pH. You’ll also need to keep the weeds out. Moss can’t compete for moisture with the roots of weeds.

Be sure to remove fallen leaves in the fall.

A Final Moss Growing Tip

I wanted moss to grow around the edges of my raised water garden. To do this, I lined the top edge of my garden with landscape fabric and laid a small piece of moss on it. Since the fabric soaked up water and stayed moist, the moss took hold and spread quickly.

So now when I want to start a new patch of moss, I put it on a scrap of landscape fabric and set it in on the side of my water garden, although a suspect a shallow tray of water would work as well.

Once the moss filaments are attached to the landscape fabric, I can move the whole piece to the soil I’ve raked and prepared for transplanting. You’ll still need to keep it moist for several weeks, but it seems to make a stronger start.


How To Make Moss Graffiti

Moss graffiti, also called eco-graffiti or green graffiti, replaces spray paint, paint-markers or other such toxic chemicals and paints with a paintbrush and a moss "paint" that can grow on its own. As people become more eco-friendly and environmentally aware, the idea of making living, breathing graffiti has become a more green and creative outlet for graffiti artists. It can also be considered another form of guerrilla gardening.

One or two clumps (about a small handful) of moss

2 cups of buttermilk

You can also substitute with yogurt (vegan yogurt can be used)

2 cups of water (or beer)

1/2 tsp. sugar

Corn syrup (optional)

1. Gather up as much moss as you can find or buy.

2. Wash the moss to get as much soil out of the roots as possible.

3.  Break the moss apart into manageable pieces and place in blender.

4. Add the buttermilk/yogurt, water/beer and sugar. Blend the mixture until completely smooth. You'll want it to have a paint-like texture.
If the mixture is at a consistency where you feel it will drip, add corn syrup until the consistency you desire is reached

5. Use a paintbrush to apply the moss-paint to the surface on which you wish your design to grow.

6.  If possible, check back weekly to either spray the design with water (to encourage moss growth, especially if you live in a dry environment) or apply more moss-paint.

Moss can also be used as a decorative element indoors.

Apply your paint in a moist area that receives a moderate amount of sunlight.

Moss grows best on porous surfaces such as bricks or other stones.

The best times to plant your graffiti are in the spring or fall, and keeping the moss moist will encourage its growth.

If for any reason you wish to get rid of the design or parts of the design, spray it with lime juice as this will kill the moss.
Graffiti art, unless done with a public art permit, is probably not legal in your area. This article does not endorse illegal art, but does suggest that the graffiti can be done in or around your home or with a permit.

If you're doing this because it's the green thing to do, be careful of how you obtain your moss. Please do NOT gather it from public areas. You can buy it from nurseries or online sources who grow it comercially. Not exactly anti-establishment but the right thing to do.
Originated by: Anonymous


  1. heya hunny, Its Ichigoshortcake from swapbot ^3^

    Cute blog! xx (honeybear1)


  2. OMG! Thank you for posting this! I have been trying for years to grow moss with no luck at all! This is definitely one of my top 5 blog post reads ever!

    Thanks so much!

    ~ANKH (Pumpkinniki on SB)

  3. wow. i didn't know people grew moss. i always thought it was a kind of /weed/ that people DIDN'T want. and grew due to age and decay and like, an untended garden. now here's an eye-opener. :)

    ~mireillie from swapbot

  4. Hi there. I am your newest follower. I am Oh Sew Addicted from swap bot Blog me Baby. I am not sure I will ever need to know how to grow moss and I am not sure that you could do it where I live. It is too hot! LOL. I posted a link to your 4 blogs on my blog! YAY! Take care!
    carla louise

  5. This is CRAZY. I love love love this! Who knew you could use buttermilk for this? Thank you for posting the recipe--the project ideas are awesome, too.

  6. Wow, I love that Moss Graffiti! Great blog post!!

    -Kimmiekarma from Swap-bot: Blog Me, Baby

  7. Omigosh! I've never heard of moss graffiti until now! What a great idea! Thanks for sharing this post. {billiemonster from swap-bot 'blog me baby' swap}

  8. I love how the moss is used as decoration! I can't wait to try it out someday. Thanks so much for posting it, and I am looking forward to reading more (:

    mag @ swapbot
    blog me, baby

  9. I just book marked this.

    LOVE IT!

    Haha, I want to paint with moss. It's so fluffy. Soft. Charming. Lovely.

    I'm enjoying your blog.

    [Roosterruler via Blog Me, Baby on SwapBot]

  10. hi there, I just found your site and it's the best explanation for moss growing I've find so far, thanks for the effort you've put on this post.

  11. Just what I was looking for-how to grow moss! We have a very shaded front lawn that looks awful. Will apply all I learned here to getting a lush mossy lawn! Thanks

  12. I was really happy to stumble onto your blog! I have been trying to find "cultivating moss", with no luck until now! My parents have a large, dense grove of trees in the back yard of their farm that my family and I have used as a campground for the past three years. It started as a large weed patch under the trees, but from regular mowings, it's now become bare dirt, which is very muddy after rains. This spring however, I noticed several small patches of moss growth, and have decided to encourage more growth using your buttermilk method to provide a soft, lush, natural carpet! Thank you for sharing!

  13. Has anyone actually tried this? Does it really work? I'd like to try it if it will work.

  14. What do u mean by "landscape fabric"?.........surely you don't mean that black plastic stuff? Plz. explain, am dying to get my moss garden started!

  15. I'm not trying to plant a moss in terranium garden, until not i study and searching all about in terranium,.but first of all i want to plant moss only for basic plant before i plant any different kind of plants.i want you to help or guide me to plant a moss. i don't know if they still alive after a few weeks. and i don't know if easy to plant it.just comment in my gmail account for those who want to help me.,marvinanthonyepifanio@gmail.com

  16. Thanks! Me and my friends are building a secret hideout under a Japanese maple. This is a great addition!

  17. Going to try growing a moss lawn. Thank you all for the tips. Will post if it takes or not. Almost have it all now, naturally!!

  18. Love your blog! Great ideas and cute collection of pics.

  19. Looking for this recipe. Had it once but lost it. Friends cultivated a moss lawn and it is fabulous! Happy I found recipe...Many thanks..Church Lady