What is Irish Moss?
Its botanical name is Sagina subulata and belongs to the Caryophyllaceae family (carnation family). Another cultivar of this plant is called Sagina subulata Aurea, having a more yellowish tint to it. Irish Moss may also be referred to by the names Scottish Moss or Corsican Pearlwort.
The word Sagina derives from the Latin word meaning “food for cows,” referring to its grass-like appearance. The word subulata refers to the Latin word “subula,” which means “awl.” An awl is a small pointed tool that’s used for creating holes, referencing the shape of the leaves.
Irish Moss is a flowering plant native to Europe, thriving in the more temperate climates. It stretches its native roots from Iceland to Spain and Finland out to Romania. Its lush colors are sure to enhance any garden and will fill it out, giving it a finished look.
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How to Grow Irish Moss
Where Irish Moss Grows
Irish Moss is a very versatile plant and can be grown in an array of areas including indoors, outdoors, in a planting container or even in a terrarium.
Grow it outside between flagstones, spread it around pavers, or use it as an edge accompaniment. Plant it in containers or even use it as a lawn replacement. With as many diverse applications as this plant has you’ll be sure to find a home for it in your garden or lawn.
Irish Moss Size
It takes several years to reach its mature size and grows at a moderate rate. It will only reach about 1 inch in height and spread to 1 foot in width. Its low growing, wide-spreading characteristics make it a very popular choice amongst gardeners.
If the moss begins to spread beyond where you want it to reach, you can cut it back or remove pieces to transplant.
Irish Moss Growing Zones
This plant will grow in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 10, depending on which variety you choose to grow. Having such a wide variety of growing zones allows a multitude of gardeners to be able to enjoy this plant.
When grown in the cooler climate zones, it can tolerate brighter sun. When it grows in the warmer climate zones, it will need more protection from the hot afternoon sun.
It can also withstand a moderate level of foot traffic. With this characteristic, it makes for a great plant to line a walkway or even to be used in a lawn.
Type of Soil Needed
This perennial plant performs best in well-draining, average nutrient level soil. It’s a pretty low maintenance plant, so it can survive in practically any growing environment.
Amount of Light, Watering, and Fertilization Needed
This Moss doesn’t particularly enjoy the warmth and will need to be protected from the intense sun rays of warmer climate zones. Absorbing filtered light is essential for maintaining its brilliant green color. Plant your Irish Moss in partial or full sun or for the best results.
Water Irish Moss regularly, at least weekly, and provide it with more water during the hotter days. Keep the soil damp, but not wet. It does not perform well in drought conditions.
You can fertilize this perennial but do so sparingly. If it receives too much nitrogen, it may reduce the amount that its new growth spreads, resulting in a mounded appearance.
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Step by Step Guide for Growing Irish Moss from Seed
- Spread seeds in starter soil, pressed lightly into it
- Germination will take 2-3 weeks, then transplant into their respective location (garden, container, terrarium, etc.)
- Place each plant a foot apart (or closer, depending on how quickly you want the area to fill in)
- Plant the Irish Moss in a location where it will receive sufficient sunlight
- Water it regularly, allowing the soil to remain damp
- Enjoy your beautiful Irish Moss!
Enhance your moss by adding in little garden features that create a story. Irish Moss looks great for usage in Fairy Gardens.
Separating your Irish Moss into boxes adds interest and creativity. You can arrange the moss boxes in different patterns and layouts and they’re easy to move when you want to change things up a little bit.
Moss in a Teacup
Using everyday household items like teacups is a fun way to re-use and up-cycle items and create an unforgettable plant display.
Grown as Ground Cover
Use this plant as an excellent ground cover plant that will cover a vast space and add appeal at the same time. The ground cover plant can be utilized in a variety of ways. This plant has a spongy texture and even feels great to walk on!
Glowing Garden Orbs Add Soft Glimmer to Moss
Placing glowing orbs in your planted moss enhances the environment surrounding your garden plants. Play around with different light fixtures in your moss to generate varying moods.
Create a Contrast with Texture and Color
Placing moss in a stone pot brings out the vibrancy in its color. Plant other succulents in separate pots to create an eye-catching space.
Decorate for Events with Dainty Irish Moss
Combining intricate blooms with the brilliant green moss creates a beautiful centerpiece. Using moss in floral displays can turn a dull display into a delicate centerpiece.
Add Depth and Color to a Rock Garden
Because of Irish Moss’s spreading habit of growth, it can enhance your rock garden by adding lots of depth and striking colors.
Plant in Unique Garden Containers
Utilizing unique planters will complement the dainty yet unique qualities of your Irish Moss. There are tons of distinctive planters that will help to showcase your plant.
Know how to manage your containers with these types of edging for gardens
We suggest that you read these types of edging for gardens to properly manage your containers.
Where to Buy Irish Moss Online
After reading all about Irish Moss and garnering planting inspiration, you’re probably wanting to start incorporating this plant into your own garden. Check out the links below for some buying options for your own Irish Moss and start creating!
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Outsidepride offers packages with 2,500 or 5,000 pelleted seeds. 2,500 seeds will cover 50 square feet. Pelleted seeds will increase the survival rate of these plants.
Live Irish Moss Plant
Kauai Garden will send you a 4-inch diameter patch of moss that’s in soil, has roots and is ready to be transplanted. This serves as a great starter plant.
Irish Moss Seeds for Bonsai Gardens
This packet of 20 high-quality seeds is perfect for starting moss growth. Plant them in unique pots to create colorful texture and contrast.