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How to make A Moss Terrarium

Moss terrariums have become very popular lately and I thought it might be a nice idea if I did a little bit of experimenting with my own. Now, I don't really know a lot about moss but I figured it's a nice time to learn.


A simple Moss Terrrarium

So what I did was went for a walk in the local cemetaries, wooded areas and parks looking for moss. It's kind of ironic because when I got home I noticed I had a fair amount of moss right in my own yard. I didn't even realize it. Anyhoo, here is some tips and information that I gleaned during my walk and I will keep you posted as to the status of my moss terrariums.

An initial thought on Moss Terrariums

To me it seems to be a bit plain to have a terrarium with just moss in it. But we will see how it goes. I do think that moss would be an absolutely outstanding addition to a regular terrarium so whatever I learn will be put to good use.

A second moss terrarium

I have also completed a second moss terrarium tutorial that is a little more complex and more attractive. It is located here: How to make a moss terrarium part 2


Special Note and Caution about using any kind of external plant, rock or wood piece in your terrariums: Moss, Rocks, Plants, Wood pieces from the outside world can carry insects with them. Or even insect eggs that you can't see. You should not immediately add these outside things to any indoor plant or terrarium. You should first quarantine them in a sealed transparent container for up to a month. This way you can see if anything develops or any eggs hatch. In the case of the moss terrarium in this tutorial its rather harmless because there is just the moss and it is a sealed container. A reader, who has a bearded dragon, collects rocks and wood from outside then bakes it in the oven at 350 degree for an hour to kill all bugs and diseases. So his bearded dragon doesn't get sick.


Hunting For Moss

I took a backpack, some plastic bags and a few digging tools with me on my hunt. If you are going to be hunting around for moss I have some suggestions for you.

First off you should really get a feel for the environment that the moss grows in. Notice where it seems to thrive and why? You want to try to replicate this environment in your terrarium. I noticed that moss in my area seemed to like a few things:

  • Shady Spots - the moss in sunny areas was often brown and unhealthy
  • Angled and slanted areas (they seemed to grow well on the sides of small hills) I am not sure if this is because they prefer it or because competing plants don't like the sides of hills.
  • This could be a water preference. On a slanted location the moss will get water only for a short period of time which is rather interesting. And this leads me to believe the moss will do well with frequent but very light waterings. I got an email from a terrarium fan who recommended misting moss terrariums twice a day. This is a bit more work than I want to do but it may be necessary

Moss on a wall

This picture shows moss growing through the cracks of a slanted wall. It appears to be pretty healthy.

Moss under a tree

And this picture shows moss thriving in the shade of a tree. Again the soil has a slant to it.

Digging up the moss

I found some healthy and bright green moss hugging up against the roots of a tree so I dug it up and this is what I am using in my terrarium. I made sure I got a liberal amount of soil under the moss.


Making the First Moss Terrarium

diagram of the terrarium

This illustration shows how I have made this first terrarium.

I put a layer of potting sand on the bottom for drainage. Then I put a thin layer of spanish moss to keep the soil in place.

Then I put about half my intended soil in. And I placed a few thin slices of slate in there. I angled them. Then I filled in the rest of the soil. Finally I placed the moss right on top of the whole thing.

Because it seemed to me that moss likes angles I figured I would build an angle right into the terrarium. We will see how it goes! In the beginning I will mist it every day but hopefully I will be able to taper down on this and not do it so often. I am also going to make a couple more terrariums with just moss. One of them will have the moss in a flat position so I can monitor how well it does.

About sunlight - This is a bit of a concern for me and I am going to limit the amount of sunlight these terrariums get. Seems to me they don't thrive too well in it but with daily mistings they might thrive in more sunlight - I will let you know.


A Note from Will: If you are looking for living moss to make a terrarium or to add to your bonsai this is the perfect stuff. Living Terrarium Moss for Bonsai and terrarium making. Hirts Gardens now sells The perfect moss and it is available on Amazon.com I have ordered two of these and will fill you in on how they are.

Scottish Moss

Scottish Moss - Sagina subulata 'Aurea' - Very Hardy

Twig terrarium

Twig Terrariums Le Petit Singularite DIY Terrarium Kit

Looking for a little green gift to keep that someone fascinated? Look at this one! Le Petit Singularite is a small, well-made, cork-topped jar, made from 40% post-consumer recycled glass. Its design is simple and it looks good everywhere (we've checked around our homes). Kit comes attractively packaged and with one figure - please specify male or female.


Moss assortment

Live Moss Assortment for Terrariums - Frog, Haircap, Cushions, Rocks, Lichen

Will has bought this exact terrarium moss product and he loves it. It comes nice and misty in plastic bags. There is a nice variety of interesting moss.


Terrarium Moss Kit

Will has bought this exact moss kit too!


A moss terrarium

Pictures of more moss Terrariums!

Moss terrariums are wonderful in their simplicity and beauty. And you can often make one without spending a penny. Just collect up the moss from the outdoors. Add some small accents and they become a beautiful little world. I have some pictures here:Moss terrariums.