Mosses are one of the most primitive types of plants, and their simple structures have remained largely moss.

Moss is a simple type of plant that lacks roots the plant is anchored by means of threadlike structures called rhizoids. It also lacks stems, and leaves. The name Moss refers to any species of the class Bryopsida that is part of the division Bryophyta. Bryophyta means the first green land plants to develop during the known evolutionary process. Moss is thought to have evolved from very primitive vascular plants. Moss is not known to have given rise to any other kind of plant, an evolutionary dead end of sorts.

different types of moss species

different types of moss species

There are 22,000 varieties of moss worldwide, so you have quite a few options. A good way to narrow down your choices in what garden moss types to use is to determine what you want to do with your moss. Nothing says a lawn has to be grassy, and a damp, highly shaded yard, in particular, may perform much better with a type of moss that can handle high foot traffic. Moss lawns are attractive too. Moss can also be used as the lowest level in a shade garden to make for another tier in an arrangement of differing heights. It can provide color and texture between bricks and paving stones. It can also be the centerpiece of your garden, particularly if different varieties are used and different heights are achieved with the placement of stones.

Benefits of Mosses

Botanical characteristics of mosses are dramatically different from all other plants. Mosses will never have flowers, seeds or roots. Instead, rhizoids (root-like filaments) help hold plants to various substrates. Amazingly, these delicate rhizoids hold moss colonies in place during high winds or when subjected to heavy storms. Rather than drawing sustenance through roots, mosses eat and drink through one-cell-layer thick leaves. This feature allows mosses to hydrate quickly. Consequently, as moss landscapers, it is important to realize that brief yet frequent supplemental watering sessions are preferred over long, drenching soaks. Adjust installed irrigation systems or watering procedures to meet specific needs of thirsty mosses to thrive. When possible, walking on mosses during the establishment phase is advantageous to help rhizoids attach. Water and walk on mosses for best long-term results.

Sphagnum Moss

We are more aware of the need to protect Sphagnum moss and the bogs it forms. Sphagnum moss has many uses. In historic times it was used in bandages to soak up blood. Today people use a lot of Sphagnum moss in the garden. This is very bad news for the wildlife that depends on bog moss. If we recycle vegetable waste from the kitchen, cut grass and autumn leaves from the garden we can make COMPOST. This is much better for the garden than Sphagnum mos

terrarium mosses

terrarium mosses

Pleurocarps mosses

pleurocarpi mosses’ capsules grow from the sides of branches, with each entire moss appearing to be horizontal or prostrate. Pleurocarpi mosses grow flat along tree
roots and rotting logs. Varieties include sheet moss (Hypnum spp.), so named from the Greek word meaning sleep; fern moss (Thuidium delicatulum), with fernlike
branches; and callicladium (Callicladium haldanianum), a common woodland moss.

Collecting Moss

When collecting moss to cultivate or transplant, you’ll want to look in bright sunny places as it is very difficult to cultivate moss that has spent its life in shady areas in the sunny confines of a bonsai pot. When picking out moss to cultivate or transplant, keep in mind the texture, color, shape, depth, and feel of the moss. This is the moss that will eventually end up on your bonsai soil, so keep appearance in mind. You will also want to collect more than one species of moss as it more appealing to have different types, colors, and textures planted together in you bonsai. A technique I use in forest plantings is to use a darker colored moss directly under the trees, inside the forest and to use a lighter shade of moss outside of the forest. This gives a fantastic illusion of shading and shadows.

Mood Moss

Mood Moss (Dicranum scoparium) offers a windswept look. Its moody label comes from its changing looks. “Dry, it appears wispy and irregular, moist it appears fluffy with a verdantly directional texture.” It’s $75 for 5 square feet at Moss and Stone Gardens.