Although you might have never known the name for it, sphagnum moss is very commonly used for a variety of things. It has been used for potting, floral arrangements, and even arts and crafts. Even though it’s fairly common, many people are still uncertain of how to properly utilize this moss.
Sphagnum moss is most commonly used for moisture retention, insulation, and as a seed starter. For house plants, the best possible service this moss can provide is to be placed on top of the plant’s soil to keep its roots warm and to help retain water better.
This moss is rich in applications and history that provide its caretaker with a better understanding of how to best employ it. Continue to cultivate your education by reading more about sphagnum moss below. Using it properly will benefit your house plants immensely!
Using Sphagnum Moss for Your House Plant
Sphagnum moss has been around for thousands of years and has been used for everything from dressing wounds to serving as warm bedding for barn animals. What we are looking for here is how it can be best used for your house plants. The answer to that is very simple but provides extremely useful results.
As stated above, the best use you can get out of sphagnum moss is to add a layer on top of your house plant’s soil. This will keep roots warm because of the insulating nature of the moss, as well as prevent roots from rotting.
Not all plants perform well in sphagnum moss, and some can only survive in this moss depending on their environment. Here are some plants that do great in sphagnum moss:
- Water Succulents: These plants are very commonly paired with sphagnum moss. This is because this moss holds water incredibly well. When paired with succulents, you can also use the moss for soilless planting, but keep in mind that this moss does dry out very quickly, so you will need to water more frequently.
- Orchids: This plant has a unique but satisfying quality of not needing too much attention. They prefer less water and enjoy a good drying out every now and then. This means that sphagnum moss is a great match for your orchid.
- Carnivorous plants: These house plants perform best in a sphagnum or peat moss mixed with sand. This is because most carnivorous plants love being in the water and because sphagnum moss retains water so well, it makes it a perfect companion for this house plant.
- Hanging baskets: The moss is a great liner for hanging baskets because of its pliability and ability to form to whatever object it is placed in.
Characteristics of Sphagnum Moss
With over 380 different species falling under the category of sphagnum moss, it has a lot of variety. People often get confused by peat moss references and sphagnum moss references. To make it easy, there isn’t too much difference between the two other than where they come from.
Peat moss is the dead and decayed matter of sphagnum moss that settles at the bottom of the bog in which live sphagnum moss grows. Peat moss is dredged up from the bottom and is often seen as more desirable since it brings additional organic matter with it when it is harvested. This could be anything from other dead plants to dead animals and insects. This makes it have a greater nutritional value, and interestingly enough, peat moss can be a thousand years old!
Sphagnum moss, on the other hand, is the living moss that grows on top of the bog. This moss is literally a multi-colored living carpet that grows in marshlands. It can be colors such as red, pink, green, and orange. They can be regrown but usually take 8-22 years!
Its nature of absorbing water and then drying out quickly can help plants get the water they need without you having to worry about the roots rotting. When it isn’t compacted too heavily, allows for great aeration that your house plant will thrive off of.
When growing on the bog, the moss will grow close together and form a mat on the water that can withstand a lot of weight. This characteristic is the reason it makes such a great liner for hanging baskets and to cover up foam used for floral arrangements.
This moss’s ability to hold water can make it like a sponge; it can hold up to eight times more water than its weight. When it reaches its capacity, you can squeeze it out and reuse it. Sphagnum can be reused many times and can last an extremely long time. This is extremely useful when using it for your house plants, as you won’t have to switch it out often. Eventually, when it does need to be replaced, this will be due to heavy compaction that is no longer allowing for easy drying and airing out.
Nutritional Value of Sphagnum Moss
Peat moss is valuable because of its high nutrient levels. This is because of the organic matter that comes with it when it is sold. Sphagnum moss on the other hand is slightly less nutritious. Actually, overall and in comparison to other composts used as soils, this moss is not very nutritionally rich, so you would do well to mix the moss with another soil type. Once you do that, the moss will help to hold in those nutrients.
Sphagnum moss has an extremely low pH value when compared to other soil amendments, as shown in the chart below. Utilizing this characteristic can help lower your soil’s pH value. Its low pH value also slows the decaying process greatly. You want your soil’s pH value to be anywhere from 5.6 to 6.3 for optimal results.
|Soil Amendment Type
Sphagnum moss is a great way to dress up your house plant while also bringing additional benefits to the plant. Its absorbing nature and insulation characteristics will definitely help aid your plant in growth. Do not put this moss on the backburner! If you’re interested, you should consider implementing it into your gardening habits.