Mosses are typically used as a peripheral plant in terrariums to add texture, color, and contrast the primary plants.
A mossarium is a terrarium built exclusively with moss. Using a variety of moss in a terrarium creates wonderful color contrasts and textures that result in a unique and satisfying aesthetic. It’s a masterpiece of its own caliber.
When designing a mossarium you have seemingly infinite ways to input your creativity and personal style. You can style everything from the terrain, to the container, and the moss selection.
In this Mossarium Masterclass, you will learn how to make proper mossariums from the ground up, step-by-step. Every question you could possibly have about your mossarium will be answered here and now. By the end, you’ll have all of the skills necessary to create incredible terrariums.
Feel free to skip to any part of the article:
- Ideas to help you start
- Needed Materials
- Behold The Mosses (10 best species)
- How To Build The Mossarium
Needed Materials & Supplies
The materials and supplies you will need for your mossarium heavily depend on the design you want. A jungle mossarium will need different materials than a forest mossarium, or a stone mossarium.
Also keep in mind the position. Do you want it to be horizontal, vertical, hanging from something, like a lantern mossarium, etc.
Though generally, you will need:
- Any type of soil (preferably clay based)
- Hardscape materials (optional)
In case you are building the mossarium in a container with a narrow neck, like a bottle terrarium, you might need some tools to put everything in place:
- Long tweezers
Behold The Mosses
When it comes to the moss you use in your mossarium, there really aren’t any set-in-stone rules. You can use any type of moss, on its own, or in combination with a variety of other mosses depending on the look you want to achieve.
These are the most popular moss types, and the ones you’ll most often find in commercial plant shops or online.
All you need to know about each species is where it prefers to grow, how long it gets for trimming, and which soil it prefers. Finally and most importantly how it looks!
Cushion moss is the most popular type of moss for terrariums and mossariums. It’s puffy and soft, thus the name. It’s pillow-like shape is what makes it so popular as a terrarium plant.
Haircap moss is a bright green moss that can grow to 40cm in height. It can be used to create a thick pine forest look if placed and grown properly.
Mood moss is a thick, rock cap moss. It has a wavy texture and can grow up to 10cm in height. It’s very vibrant and can add a lot of contrast to a scene because of its wavy carpety texture.
Hypnum moss is everywhere. On trees, wood, soil, rocks, etc. It’s also called forest moss.
Greater Fork Moss
The greater fork moss grows primarily soil. It can be found in moist forest areas and forms clumps and mats on the forest floor. It’s leaves always curve to one side, which is why it’s often used in terrariums.
Tamarisk moss typically grows on wood and rocks, and it’s the most common moss you see outside.
For a mossarium, you want to get a clear, glass container.
The container can be any size, as moss is very versatile and can live in both small and large spaces. So you have plenty of room to play around with different-sized containers.
One thing to know about mosses is that they require really, really high moisture. So unless you’re building a closed mossarium you will have to water it relentlessly.
For closed mossariums, pick a container that has a tight seal, ensuring that no moisture comes out.
You can use anything from a bowl to a little ampule, to a glass box, and even a bottle as a terrarium for your moss.
Super simple, and super easy.
When it comes to the soil for your moss terrarium, you can use any type of soil. Ideally, you’d want to use clay-based soil, but even if you don’t your mossarium will still thrive.
I personally use the following soil mix:
- lava rock
- moler clay
Soil is the first thing you’ll add to your container when building the mossarium. To shape the soil in the container you can use a paintbrush.
After arranging the soil, modestly spray it with water so that it doesn’t move around too much when planting. Then wipe the glass sides of your container so you can see what you’re doing.
The hardscape is one of the most aesthetically significant elements of a mossarium.
Some like to build their mossariums without a hardscape and just like a simple carpet of moss – respectable.
Others add all sorts of hardscape objects to further build upon the complexity of their mossarium. There are many ways to create an astonishing mossarium with just the hardscape. This is where you’ll double down on the theme and feel of your mossarium.
The hardscape layer has no limits, and anything can be used and added. The most basic hardscape objects include:
Even with these two basic materials, you have hundreds of options to choose from.
Mosses thrive in high, high-moisture environments. Since they don’t a root system, you don’t have to worry about over-watering (just, don’t drown them please).
Use a sprayer to water them. And every now and again give your mossarium a bit of fresh air and a spritz of water if necessary.
Moss prefers indirect light and dim areas under shade. So place your mossarium in a spot that gets plenty of indirect light, but never ever places where the light is strong and direct.
The main reason for moss discoloration is too much light. So keep it in a nice, cool shaded area. Ideally, it should get a bit of bright indirect sunlight during the day.
The last and final touch of building a mossarium is adding microfauna – in the form of springtails.
Springtails are the essential workers of any healthy terrarium. They are tiny bugs that eat decaying plant matter, or mycelial growth. They will prevent mold from growing and potentially endangering your mossarium while also fertilizing the substrate.
They are the ultimate clean up crew that will make it their life’s duty to keep your mossarium healthy
Ideas To Help You Start
Here are a few interesting mossarium builds from Reddit users for a little bit of creative inspiration!
There you have it. The Mossarium Masterclass was completed. Congrats.
Now you’re ready to build proper, beautiful mossariums. All in all, I think that moss terrariums are the simplest and easiest type to build. Nevertheless, you can see how the term “complexity within simplicity” comes to life with mossariums.