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I've never actually tried this, but I've been meaning to. Here is a recipe I've been told works well to give planters and rocks that aged look.
Put a handful of whatever type of moss you want to grow into a blender with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and a can of cheap beer (or buttermilk) and mix it up just long enough for it to get thick and soupy. For the sake of your blender, try and remove as much dirt from the moss as you can.
Use a paint brush to spread the mixture over items you want to grow moss on, including on the ground between stones in walkways and paths. Keep these items in the shade and mist them once in a while to keep then from drying out. In anywhere from a few months to a year you should start seeing some moss growth.
I've also read you can paint plain yogurt directly onto planters and rocks and then rub those items with garden dirt containing moss spores. If you're not familiar with what moss spores look like, when they sprout up from the moss, they look like little bristles of hair with wheat seeds on the tips.
By Ellen Brown
The only problem I had was the rocks that got more sun, the moss would dry out and die. But if I kept it damp with the hose now and then it would survive. Not sure what makes it work unless it is the cultures in the buttermilk, but it worked for me. I hope it works for you.
By Claudia - MD
Moss never acutely die, if your moss has dried out, that means is in a hibernate stage, just add water and it will come right back to it's lush self. Mosses loves water! Also if you do some research, there are some mosses that grow faster then other, because some species of moss will clone them selves as well as reproduce. It is also a myth that mosses don't like sun, they do, there are even some moss species that live in desert. But if you do have your moss in direct sun light they are going to need more water.
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How do you go about growing moss using buttermilk or yogurt? I need moss for bonsai.
I heard that you just paint plain yogurt on rocks with a paintbrush. I tried this one time and discovered that my big sweet dog had followed behind me happily licking it all off so I don't know if it works! I'm curious to see other feedback.
After starting moss on rocks with the buttermilk recipe can you cover with clear plastic?
Hardiness Zone: 6b
Jackie from Towanda KS,
I've never heard of doing that, but it seems like a good idea- Like creating a little mini-greenhouse while it gets started. The only thing I would worry about is fermentation... I wouldn't wrap them tightly, but leave a way for air to circulate while still reatining the greenhouse effect. Otherwise, the whole project might rot. Ew.
I'm going to try your recipe for growing moss on clay pots, but have a few questions. 1. How long do you leave the pots in the plastic bags? 2. Can the pots be planted after eight weeks and can they remain in full sun or do they need shade? 3. Do the pots, with moss now growing have to be misted everyday? 4. Can they remain outside for the winter and will they start growing moss again in the spring?
By Paula from Denver, CO
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We have a waterfall in our back yard that we have been trying to get moss to grow on for years. Finally it is doing really well. (Good ole buttermilk/yogurt)
By Great Granny Vi from Moorpark, CA