When potted plants don’t get the water and nutrients they need to grow, they can look dull, limp, and shriveled-up; they may even die. Fortunately, you can help your struggling potted plants by using moss in their soil.
Moss is good for potted plants because it absorbs and retains water and nutrients, which helps plants grow. Potted plants lose valuable nutrients when their soil is dry. Using moss helps the soil to retain water and nutrients close to the plant’s roots.
Potted plants thrive when the right kind of moss is used with the soil. But what variety of moss can be used? Is all moss good for plants?
In this article, we’ll break down the answers to these questions and more to help you decide if moss is the best solution to revive your potted plants.
Why is Moss Good for Potted Plants?
Helps the soil retain moisture
Soil helps a plant thrive by bringing air and nutrients to its roots. As you water your plants, the roots receive valuable nutrients. As the water trickles through the soil, it leaves open spots for the plant’s roots to get air.
But as the water drains to the bottom of the plant, the roots lose the nutritional benefit of the water if the soil can’t absorb it.
When you add moss into the soil of your potted plant, you can retain moisture around the plant’s roots. This moisture delivers nutrients to the plant’s roots more frequently and ultimately helps it grow.
Makes the plants attractive
If the soil around your potted plant doesn’t have a decorative look you are going for, consider using moss to dress it up.
Moss can cover up the harshness of soil and create a more natural look than mulch. To dress up your potted plant, consider these moss varieties:
- Spanish Moss – The thin curly pieces of Spanish moss provide a beautiful covering around any potted plant. The moss has a light gray color that easily blends in with the greenery. It can even help retain moisture after you’ve watered your plants.
- Sheet Moss – Use a thin sheet of this green moss on top of the exposed soil in your potted plant. Note: you should only use sheet moss in potted plants that have good drainage as it can absorb an excessive amount of water.
- Reindeer Moss – This type of moss is like sheet moss, except that it is thicker and is a lighter green color.
Improve the health of the plants
Potted plants help to clean the air you breathe. They can remove dangerous toxins and increase oxygen levels.
Moss helps to accelerate these benefits by keeping your potted plants healthy and robust.
Indoor and potted plants add serenity to the spaces they live in. The use of moss adds to this tranquility.
When is Moss Bad for Potted Plants?
If moss becomes dense and grows over the top of your potted plant, it can keep water from reaching the soil; this causes the soil to dry out and rob the roots of nutrients. Your potted plant may become limp and even die if you don’t remove the moss.
When moss grows over, it may also be a sign of poor water drainage or poor soil. It may be time to repot into a new batch of soil or a different container.
What is the Best Moss to use for Potted Plants?
There are over 15,000 varieties of moss, yet not all are suitable for potted plants. Some of the best moss for your potted plants are:
Sphagnum moss is harvested from sphagnum bogs. It is alive when it’s harvested and dried of any moisture. Sphagnum moss has a stringy and dry appearance. This moss is commonly used as a lining to help the soil retain water for hanging or wire plant baskets.
Peat moss also comes from sphagnum bogs. It is the dead sphagnum moss that has settled to the bottom of the bog.
As it decays, it mixes with other organic materials from plants, insects, and animals. The decaying material is harvested and is commonly known as sphagnum peat moss.
When incorporated into the soil of a potted plant, peat moss can retain water and nutrients of up to 20 times its weight.
To properly balance its chemical impact to a plant, it is combined with soil, sand, and compost. Peat moss has a relatively low pH level, so it’s an excellent additive for acidic plants.
Spanish moss is often used to line hanging or wire plant baskets. It allows for drainage, but also helps soil to retain water.
Spanish moss may also be used as a decoration around the soil of your potted plant.
Mixing Moss with Potted Plant Soil
You pick up pre-made potted plant soil with moss at most home improvement or gardening stores. This potting soil mixture often contains peat moss, compost, and perlite. You can easily repot existing plants into the new soil.
Experienced gardeners typically whip up their soil for their potted plants using peat moss in the mixture. With the right ingredients, you can do this too.
Follow these steps to make your potted plant soil:
- Pick up a bag of peat moss, gardening soil, perlite or builder’s sand, and some fertilizer at your local home improvement or gardening outlet.
- Sprinkle the peat moss into a pan and leave it outside for a few weeks. The moss is dry and needs to absorb water from dew or rain every day. If the forecast looks clear for the day, you can spray the peat moss with a garden hose. Just be sure that the peat moss is exposed to moisture at least once a day.
- Once the moss has been outside for a few weeks, mix it with the garden soil and perlite in a bucket. Make sure that you mix equal parts of each and stir it thoroughly with a gardening tool, such as a spade.
- Add fertilizer to the soil mixture. The amount of fertilizer needed depends on how much soil mixture you have. Be sure to read the instructions on the fertilizer box and carefully measure out the amount.
- Thoroughly mix the fertilizer into your soil mix.
Once your potted soil mixture is completed, you can use the soil to repot your existing plants or for new seedlings.
Are Moss Poles Good for Potted Plants?
A moss pole is a stick of moss that can be staked into the center of an existing potted plant or a new container. A moss pole helps to brings nutrients directly to the roots and branches of a plant.
By placing the moss pole into a pot with a plant already growing, make sure you don’t damage the plant’s roots. When you put a moss pole into the center of your potted plant, you can wrap any branches present around the pole.
Over time, the roots and branches will start to affix themselves to the pole and draw nutrients from the moss. The extra moisture from the moss can speed up growth and improve the health and strength of your potted plant.