How To Grow Moss On A Bonsai

Growing moss on a Bonsai creates an aesthetically pleasing look, but did you know it also brings great benefits for your tree? Moss prevents dehydration in Bonsai trees and offers protection for the roots. If you are reading this, then you are probably interested in creating a textured environment for your Bonsai using moss. Luckily, we have gathered our research to create this guide on how to grow moss on a Bonsai. 

To grow moss on a Bonsai, follow these steps:

  1. Grow or collect moss specimens
  2. Prepare the top layer of soil around your Bonsai
  3. Lay one layer of sphagnum moss
  4. Arrange pieces of your cultivated or collected moss 
  5. Press down your moss and apply a light mist

Now you know the basic steps to grow moss on your Bonsai tree. Keep reading as we break down each step in detail and discuss the how-to when it comes to propagating moss for Bonsai trees. We will lay out all the steps you need and provide insights into what moss is best for the job. 

A lush bonsai planted on plastic planter, How To Grow Moss On A Bonsai

How To Grow Moss On A Bonsai

Moss is affordable, spreads quickly, and creates a thriving environment for your Bonsai. Cultivating this moss landscape enhances the look of your miniature tree while adding to its health. The harder question to answer is why not grow moss on a Bonsai? The five steps to growing moss on your Bonsai are broken down in detail below. 

1. Grow Or Collect Moss Specimens

First, you need to gather the moss you plan to use. Moss can be grown from store-bought spores, or specimens can be collected from the surrounding environment. Growing moss in a separate container takes about one month.  

Amazon offers fern moss, perfect for Bonsai here.

Ensure the container you are using to grow your moss has adequate drainage. Cover the container with a cheesecloth or breathable lid, and mist the spores or specimen once a day until they are ready to be harvested. 

2. Prepare The Top Layer Of Soil Around Your Bonsai

Before you lay your moss around a Bonsai, the top layer of soil needs to be properly prepared. Remove any debris and remove any aerial roots using a sharp pair of root scissors. 

Have a look at these root scissors here on Amazon.

3. Lay One Layer Of Sphagnum Moss

Next, you will put down a layer of sphagnum moss over the top layer of soil. Having sphagnum moss between your soil and fresh moss helps to keep your fresh moss moist and in place. After you lay your sphagnum moss, lightly water to flatten the moss into your soil. 

Find dried sphagnum moss here on Amazon.

4. Arrange Pieces Of Your Cultivated Or Collected Moss 

You can start placing your cultivated or collected moss around your Bonsai. Place your first piece of moss to lean against your tree, then continue to lay your moss in a natural-looking way. Avoid layering your moss as this will decrease the amount of moisture that makes it to the Bonsai roots. 

5. Press Down Your Moss And Apply A Light Mist

With all your moss in place, gently press down on the top using a spoon or spatula to keep everything in place. The last thing you will do is lightly mist the newly positioned moss and let the soil do the rest. 

Chinese elm as bonsai tree

Read more on our blog post, “30 Moss Garden Ideas That Will Inspire You (Both Indoor And Outdoor).”

What Moss Do You Use For Bonsai?

There are a variety of mosses that you can use for your Bonsai. The important aspect is to match the soil pH with the individual needs of your moss. You can't grow moss that likes an alkaline environment in acidic soil.

Alongside different environmental needs, different mosses offer unique looks. You can choose moss that gives off a mountainous appearance, one that is flatter and all sorts of colors. 

Larch Bonsai

Always research the moss you plan to use to get familiar with its characteristics, such as the pH, and water requirements. You also want to be familiar with the needs of your Bonsai and try to match the two. Some types of moss you can use for Bonsai include the following:

Each choice offers a different look, and there are even more moss choices outside this list. The moss you use is really up to the look you are going after and the environment you are planting in. 

Learn more on our blog post, “12 Types Of Moss That You Can Add To Your Garden”.

How To Propagate Moss For Bonsai

Growing or propagating the moss for your Bonsai can be done in two different ways, and both are quick and painless. Propagating moss can be done using spores or by collecting established moss. Let's take a closer look at the process of each method. 

How Do You Use Bonsai Moss Spores?

Bonsai moss spores are great if you plan to use moss over a long period of time on multiple trees. Cultivating moss using spores creates a supply of moss you can consistently take. 

You can buy moss spores from online gardening stores or your local plant nursery. Do your vigilant research on the type of moss you plan to use to ensure it is a good match for your Bonsai and its environment. 

You can find Kyoto moss spores here on Amazon.

Fill a pot or container with standard potting soil. Ensure the soil and your pot have adequate drainage.

You can create additional drainage using a false bottom in your container or pot. A false bottom can be made with stones, charcoal, and a type of mesh screen, with your potting soil placed on top.

Spread your moss spores evenly within your soil. Keep up with daily misting to maintain a moist environment and allow plenty of sunlight to reach your soil. 

The moss put in a pots in a row preparing to sale

One month out from laying your spores, you should have moss that is ready to be transplanted around your Bonsai tree. Simply take what you need from the moss pot, and allow the moss to continue growing for use on another tree. 

How Can You Utilize Established Moss?

Propagating moss using established moss is beneficial because you will use moss that you know does well in your environment. Collect moss from your surrounding area, focusing on moss species that grow in areas with plenty of sunlight. 

Moss in the lawn

Allow your collected moss to dry out for a couple of days before crumbling it with your hands, creating a dust-like substance. Thoroughly water your Bonsai before sprinkling the moss dust over the top layer of soil. Continue to mist this layer of moss twice a day to promote growth. 

The video below offers additional tips and tricks for propagating moss: 

How Do You Water A Bonsai Tree With Moss?

Once your moss becomes established, continue to water your Bonsai tree normally. The average Bonsai requires weekly watering; the amount may vary depending on environmental factors like:

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Sunlight
  • Wind
  • Soil choice
  • Size of your tree
  • Size of your pot

Detail of a japanese bonsai pot with beautiful moss and small grass

Are you noticing your moss is drying out between watering? Use a spray bottle to mist the top of the moss between watering. This allows your moss to get the moisture it needs while avoiding over-watering your Bonsai. 

Blooming Japanese wisteria bonsai

The amount of water your Bonsai tree gets can vary, just like the watering methods. Some methods include watering by rainfall, drip irrigation systems, water immersion, and the use of watering cans or a hose. 

Read more on our blog post, “How Fast Does Moss Grow?”

In Summary

Growing moss on a Bonsai is easy and holds so many benefits for your tree. Create a natural, beautiful landscape while providing health and moisture to your Bonsai.

Cultivating moss can be done using spores or established moss from the environment. Both methods are simple, and the resources you need are readily available.

Once your moss has been placed over the soil, keep up with regular watering and mist your moss as needed to keep a moist environment. We hope you found this article helpful when propagating moss for your Bonsai and have found some inspiration to get started. 

Are you looking for where to buy moss or seeds? Have a look through our blog post, “Top 30 Online Stores For Live Moss And Moss Seeds.”

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