Sphagnum Moss (Growing/propagation)

NicoleXPopa

Seedling
Obviously one of the important ingredients in carnivorous plant soil is sphagnum moss which is harder to find alive than dried and more costly so I was wondering if anyone could help educate me on how to grow and propagate live sphagnum moss. I’ve purchased some from my local nursery and some from Facebook marketplace and would be interested in learning the process. I have killed (or dried) a few already so I have little to no experience. What materials do I require? Should I place it in a plastic bin or terrarium? What temperature/humidity? In direct sunlight, under grow light, or shade? On top of peat soil? Should I cut them in pieces? Thanks in advance for the help!
 

Lloyd Gordon

Cactus micrografter newbie.
Staff member
Doesn't always work but just take some dried LFS. Put in a shallow bowl, moist, not soaked, medium light, humidity and temperature. Wait. If it gets yucky, try again.
 

KingLouisCLXXII

Carnivore
I like to just place it on top of (wetted) dry sphagnum on any container with holes. I use 1020 mesh trays but thats probably unnecessary if you just need a bit. Humidity is key. I spray my moss daily and also fertilize every week with ~75 ppm maxsea.
Ive also found that if you want looser & larger heads then start by laying out the strands in strips but if you want a more dense moss with smaller heads then lay two layers of strips perpendicularly and aggressively prune the moss back every few weeks until its small enough for your liking.
 

Ertiocx

Carnivorous Plant Addict
I keep my stock of live sphagnum in a shallow tray and water it by periodically flooding the tray. Then I leave it to dry before spraying the moss clean with high pressure water and flooding it again.

Nov 2023:
I put some plastic mesh down in the trays and loosely overlaid some strands of live sphagnum I pulled out of my nepenthes pots.
The mesh is just there to hold the loose bits together so I can lift it out of the tray in one piece later on. The strands of moss shown here are fairly long since I had a lot of extra moss pouring out of the sides of my pots, but this would have worked fine with just clipped moss heads also.
29087


~8 months later, Jul 2024:
The trays have filled out. I'll clip off the heads and restart the trays once it starts spilling out the sides. Enough extra heads have grown that I can probably split these 3 trays 1:2 or 1:3.
29088


Here's what the moss looks like now. I occasionally dump the moss out to spray the underside to remove any algae or cyanobacteria that might be growing. There usually isn't too much since I flush the moss with water regularly.
29089
29090


Here's where the trays usually live, at the back of my shelf where they receive ~300 umol/m^2 s (~20000 lux) for ~16h/day
29091
29092
 

NicoleXPopa

Seedling
I've had good luck putting live sphagnum around my terrarium plants (on top of peat and LFS with intense light). I also have clear plastic containers that I put a thin layer of LFS on the bottom and put the live sphagnum on top. I keep it wet and in moderate light.
Ouh I’d love to try it out, I should have one of those clear containers close by
 

NicoleXPopa

Seedling
I like to just place it on top of (wetted) dry sphagnum on any container with holes. I use 1020 mesh trays but thats probably unnecessary if you just need a bit. Humidity is key. I spray my moss daily and also fertilize every week with ~75 ppm maxsea.
Ive also found that if you want looser & larger heads then start by laying out the strands in strips but if you want a more dense moss with smaller heads then lay two layers of strips perpendicularly and aggressively prune the moss back every few weeks until its small enough for your liking.
Oh wow, how fast does the moss grow with fertilizer? Does it affect the colour at all, green/red?
 

NicoleXPopa

Seedling
I keep my stock of live sphagnum in a shallow tray and water it by periodically flooding the tray. Then I leave it to dry before spraying the moss clean with high pressure water and flooding it again.

Nov 2023:
I put some plastic mesh down in the trays and loosely overlaid some strands of live sphagnum I pulled out of my nepenthes pots.
The mesh is just there to hold the loose bits together so I can lift it out of the tray in one piece later on. The strands of moss shown here are fairly long since I had a lot of extra moss pouring out of the sides of my pots, but this would have worked fine with just clipped moss heads also.
View attachment 29087

~8 months later, Jul 2024:
The trays have filled out. I'll clip off the heads and restart the trays once it starts spilling out the sides. Enough extra heads have grown that I can probably split these 3 trays 1:2 or 1:3.
View attachment 29088

Here's what the moss looks like now. I occasionally dump the moss out to spray the underside to remove any algae or cyanobacteria that might be growing. There usually isn't too much since I flush the moss with water regularly.
View attachment 29089View attachment 29090

Here's where the trays usually live, at the back of my shelf where they receive ~300 umol/m^2 s (~20000 lux) for ~16h/day
View attachment 29091View attachment 29092
Wow! I can’t wait to have such vibrant colours with my moss like yours, thanks for the advice! I had received a grow tent with bigger lights so I’ll definitely try to put them under for +16h
 

KingLouisCLXXII

Carnivore
Oh wow, how fast does the moss grow with fertilizer? Does it affect the colour at all, green/red?
It grows much faster. Maybe 2-3x faster if I had to estimate. I don't think it affects the color. I think color is mostly affected by light intensity. Some moss turns brownish/yellow under bright lights but others will stay green or turn red.
 

Ertiocx

Carnivorous Plant Addict
I don't fertilize either, although the moss that grows in my heliamphora does get fed whenever the pitchers overflow. It grows a bit more quickly but the more heavily fed areas directly next to the heliamphora are more green than normal.

Here's an example:
50 days between left/right images, no fertilization
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30 days between these two images.
29102
 

Smilodonichthys

Carnivorous Plant Addict
I grow most of mine on a base of rinsed used peat from repotting. To grow as much as possible I chop up live sphagnum very fine and spread it thin but fully covering the peat. Any container with holes in the bottom placed in trays of water would work.

Outdoors is best. Under grow lights is fine but it needs to stay wetter or the tips will dry out and it will grow slow. I do have great sphagnum growing conditions where I live so I don't know for sure if it would work the same for everyone.

I usually have live sphagnum available. Feel free to message me if you ever want some.
 
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