DIY Moss Garden

Five simple steps to grow moss in a dish from moss expert David Spain.

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Finished Product:

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Materials:

Drill and ceramic-tile bit

Ceramic dish

Landscape fabric

Pea gravel

Well-draining potting mix

Rocks and vascular plants

Spoon, skewer

Moss

Tweezers or surgical clippers

Step 1

Using the ceramic-tile bit, drill a center hole in the dish. Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the dish, allowing water to settle the dust and cool the drill bit as it heats up. Begin drilling at a 45-degree angle to create a groove as a foothold, stabilizing the bit. Then slowly move the drill to a 90-degree angle and finish drilling. Wash the dish.

Step 2

Line the bottom of the dish with landscape fabric so rock and potting mix won't clog the drainage hole. Add a thin layer of pea gravel to assist in drainage.

Step 3

Add well-draining potting mix to just below the brim. Begin adding the "bones" of the dish garden. Here, David Spain uses a rock and an ebony spleenwort fern for structure. Use a kitchen spoon to dig holes for vascular plants. 

Step 4

Add a larger piece of moss than the space allows and, using your clippers, trim to a size a little larger than needed so the edges can be tucked in. Lay it atop the potting mix and press down firmly.

Step 5

Use any tool to tuck in the edges of the moss. Here, Spain uses a bamboo skewer. Using tweezers or a surgical clippers, remove any leaf debris. The final design includes mosses Brachythecium rutabulum and Dicranum scoparium, reindeer moss (Cladonia spp.), and ebony spleenwort (Asplenium platyneuron).

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