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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
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I have a small patch of gravel 300mm x 5m under a north facing wall. It doesn't get much rainfall so is there any way of getting moss to grow on this area?
This is interesting! I have never met anyone who wants to grow moss...where I am...in Pittsburgh....it gets so swampy sometimes that moss grows everywhere and we all want to get rid of it!
There are a lot of videos on the topic (to be honest, I had to Google this to see if people actually liked moss growing--It is pretty, but where I am it is just so invasive as it loves water and we get lots of rain most of the time).
Anyhow...here is a sample video:
Post back if you are able to succeed!!! Best wishes!!
If you keep the gravel moist it should grow. However, moss will destroy the gravel over time, so I am not sure why you would want to do this.
In order to grow moss, you have to mix it with buttermilk. Mix 2 cups buttermilk and 1 1/2 cups moss. Mix until very creamy, and then paint on rocks. Only mist with water occasionally or the moss might be washed off before it sets on the rocks.
Here is a link to an article that tells more:
Have a great day!
There are plenty of areas that are adaptable to growing moss.
Moss needs to be where it can be kept moist with good air circulation and no sun.
There are several good sites that explain how to propagate moss and steps to keep it living. It requires patience as it requires daily misting and it takes several weeks before you will see growth.
Here is a good site and has easy to follow instructions:
Caution: Use a blender or food processor to break up the moss into fine bits, but be careful not to liquefy it.
You can use buttermilk, yogurt, mayonnaise, skim milk with equal amounts of moss (dead or alive) but an old blender is about the only way to prepare this.
A paintbrush (Dollar Store) always worked best for me.
Be aware: This concoction will smell terrible so it is best if you can do it outdoors or in an open well ventilated area.
There are several kinds of moss but essentially are the same and can be mixed. If you do not have access to living moss it can be purchased at most garden centers or online.
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)The birds love to take baths in this waterfall, as it has a couple of places that "fit" them just right. Personal bath tubs if you will, LOL
By Vi Johnson from Moorpark, CA