Updated at: 09-05-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

Sphagnum moss is a stringy, fibrous option for hanging baskets because of its ability to maintain moisture in potted plants. Peat moss, on the other hand, is known for its distinctive odor (sometimes referred to as sphagnum peat moss). These two common soil amendments have the same origins, yet the ways and reasons in which they are applied may be quite different. Learn the differences between sphagnum moss and peat moss, as well as the recommended uses for each.

What is Sphagnum Moss?

In reality, “sphagnum” refers to more than three-hundred and sixty species of moss. In the Northern Hemisphere, most of the sphagnum moss available for purchase comes from bogs and marshes.

Sphagnum moss and peat moss are both dead, dried material from the sphagnum moss plant, and both are available for purchase online or in stores. Gardeners and artists both use them as soil additions and in their creative endeavors. When it comes to potting and amending the soil in your garden, which one is better?

Sphagnum Moss: How to Grow it and Various Uses of it - Conserve Energy Future

Sphagnum Moss vs. Peat Moss

sphagnum and peat moss are the same plant because they both belong to the same genus, Sphagnum. It’s the method of harvest that separates the two.

For peat harvesting, the bottom of bogs and wetland areas are searched for dead moss debris, which is then processed into peat moss. As a result, the organic nutrients in this degraded moss are enriched to an even greater extent than would otherwise be the case. Peat moss at the bottom of bogs can be thousands of years old, in fact!

Sphagnum moss is harvested from the surface of bogs and marshes where it is still alive. Drying the plant material after harvesting ensures that the end product is an isolated chunk of the plant, rather than an amalgamation of dried plant material.

In spite of their similarities, however, sphagnum moss and peat moss differ significantly in their chemical make-up.

Peat moss is the best general-purpose soil amendment material available on the market today. It’s easier to get your hands on larger bags, and it’s cheaper. Peat moss is an excellent soil amendment for both potted plants and the garden because of the large variety of decaying matter it contains. When mixed with sandy soil, it will assist retain the moisture that would otherwise be drained off. It will help loosen clay soil and improve drainage if it is incorporated into it.

Peat moss, on the other hand, has a very acidic pH level, while sphagnum moss is neutral. A lot depends on the pH of your plants and soil when it comes to choosing between sphagnum and peat for gardening purposes. Peat moss is an excellent soil amendment for acid-loving plants, and this is especially true if the soil is highly alkaline.

How to Grow Sphagnum Moss?

Growing Sphagnum moss can be done both indoors and outdoors. Every year, this moss can reach a length of 0.74 to 0.75 inches, and it does best in temperatures ranging from 59.5 to 70.0 degrees Fahrenheit. Many people believe that this moss originated in the forests of North America, but no one knows for sure. For those who want to grow moss at home, here are some suggestions to follow.

Types of Sphagnum Moss

Sphagnum Moss, like any other species, can be subdivided into multiple subspecies. Here, we’ll take a closer look at four of the most common varieties of this moss.

1. Acutifolia

Sphagnum moss with a reddish or orange colour is what we’re dealing with here. You’ll frequently find this type of moss, which has thin branches and grows vertically, right above the water in swampy or waterlogged places.

How To Grow Sphagnum Moss - Garden Tabs

2. Cuspidata

The Cuspidata has uniformly sized hanging stems and is well-known for its brilliant greenish tint. When the moss’s branches are completely dry, they are likely to regrow.

See Do Palm Trees Require a Lot of Water? for more information on this topic. (How Do I Find Out..?)

3. Sphagnum Sphagnum

Sphagnum moss with greenish leaves and reddish branches is the most frequent variety. The hummocks of this moss are also the largest among the others described here.

4. Subsecundra

When it comes to Sphagnum, this particular kind is known for its spherical, nearly inflated branches, which frequently take on a curled shape. You may find subsecundra in copper, green, red, and yellow colours despite the fact that most of them are copper. Subsecundra can be found in bogs and marshes across the country.

How Long Does Sphagnum Moss Last?

As far as I know, it can last for eternity. For many years, this moss has been collected, and there has been no evidence of the moss’s demise. There is no need to worry about the expiration date when using sphagnum and peat moss for a long period of time.

Products are generally thought of as “expired” when they begin to exhibit characteristics that indicate they are no longer fulfilling their intended purpose. It’s water retention for sphagnum moss, and this moss hasn’t shown any signs of water loss throughout time. You can use the moss indefinitely because it is as good as new.

Are Sphagnum Moss and Peat Moss the same?

It is recognized that Sphagnum and Peat Moss come from the same plant. More than 300 species of this moss can be identified, however the vast majority are located in wetlands in the Northern Hemisphere and are used to make Sphagnum moss. It is found in the Peruvian bogs and some portions of New Zealand’s peat moss bogs.

The dead sections of Sphagnum moss that settle just beneath Sphagnum bogs are commonly known as Peat moss, according to specialists. Over the course of thousands of years, these bogs have given rise to commercially collected peat moss. Peat moss is not sphagnum moss, despite the fact that it is fully natural. It comprises organic materials from insects, a variety of animals, and plants, unlike the latter.

Aside from significant changes in biological structure, the two types of moss (sphagnum and peat) are very similar. Sphagnum, on the other hand, is the plant that grows directly above the bog. Moss sphagnum, unlike peat, is taken while still alive.

Is Sphagnum Moss Dangerous?

Sphagnum moss is generally safe, however it has been linked to several fungal illnesses. Sporotrichosis, an infection caused by a fungus found in sphagnum moss, is a common illness.

In time, the fungus will cause irritation and tiny pimples by invading your skin’s damaged surface. It can also lead to skin ulcers or other health issues if left untreated for a long period of time. It is important to always wear protective gear (such as masks and gloves) while working with sick sphagnum moss.

Now that you know how to cultivate Sphagnum moss at home, go ahead and experiment with the many varieties to find the one that works best for your particular garden! You may speed up the growth of your Sphagnum moss by following our instructions and spraying it with rainwater. As long as you follow our instructions for growing the plant both indoors and outdoors, you should have no problems growing it anywhere.

How to Use Sphagnum Moss

Even while it may be used for many different reasons in the garden and for crafts, sphagnum moss is most suited for those who need something unique.

Kokedama (moss ball planter) creation, seed-starting, orchid planting, potting soil amendment and lining baskets are just a few of the ways you’ll find it being used in the garden and in creative projects.

Even when the soil is dry, it has a neutral pH level and retains moisture. Oftentimes, it can be purchased in smaller packages at craft stores and garden centers. Adding to the appeal of terrariums, real living sphagnum moss is a common addition.

Listed below are some of the most important reasons to use sphagnum moss.

As a Soilless Potting Medium

It is customary to use Sphagnum moss to cultivate plants like succulents and orchids inside. It’s thin, yet it does a great job of retaining moisture. Because it doesn’t get too wet, your plant is less likely to suffer from root rot.

On the other hand, depending on the plant, it can either be used as a potting medium on its own or with soil or another potting medium. Sphagnum moss doesn’t keep many nutrients, thus it may require more frequent waterings and fertilizers on its own.

What is Peat Moss? What is it used for? | Trees.com

As a Liner or Form Builder

In addition to being used to line hanging baskets or to build and keep the shape of succulent wreaths or other frame-built floral displays, sphagnum moss is popular because of its soft, light, and malleable nature.

For Decorative Purposes

Sphagnum moss, when utilized in container planting, can be both functional and ornamental. As a finishing touch, it adds visual interest and fills in empty spaces.

Quality and Sustainability of Sphagnum Moss

It is widely accepted that sphagnum moss is more environmentally friendly than peat moss since it is less likely to decompose. Sphagnum moss may be harvested in less than a decade, whereas peat moss might take decades to mature. It’s still a good idea to look for a trustworthy and sustainable sphagnum moss source when purchasing your product.

In terms of moisture absorption, fiber quality, and appearance, sphagnum moss varies widely. Invest some time in finding reputable providers.

You don’t want to get mired down in moss alternatives at the garden center or nursery if you keep these ideas in mind.

Make your hanging baskets more beautiful and functional by using sphagnum moss. Large sacks of peat moss are the most cheap option for large-scale soil improvement.

Why it Pays to Grow Plants Using a Mini Greenhouse

Sphagnum moss can be used to keep the soil warm and moist in a tiny greenhouse. Grow crops and other plants in a hobby greenhouse for maximum efficiency. Some of the benefits of growing plants and crops in a tiny greenhouse include the following:

Protect your plants from pests and animals that may eat your plants

There are a variety of insects and animals that may be attracted to your crops. When you keep your plants in a greenhouse, you’re protecting them from plant-eating pests. Additionally, you may protect your plants against infectious diseases that can harm them by using pesticides and other measures.

Great for people without much space

A mini greenhouse kit is an option for gardeners who lack the necessary planting space. A six-foot greenhouse is the most common size for tiny greenhouses, however smaller models exist. They look great on porches, decks, patios, and even indoors. The benefits of these greenhouses are the same even though they are smaller in size.

Keep your plants safe from bad weather

Plants can be swiftly destroyed by inclement weather. Rain, hail, snow and frost can wreak havoc on months’ worth of hard work if they fall at the wrong time. You may protect them from the unpredictable weather by putting them in a greenhouse. Plants can be grown in a controlled environment, regardless of the weather conditions outside. During the spring and summer months, you can transplant your plants onto your own garden.

Ideal for gardeners who want to learn more about greenhouses

Investment in greenhouse gardening is high, but it’s worth it in the long run. Mini greenhouses are an excellent way to get your feet wet before investing in a larger greenhouse. As a result, you’ll be able to understand how things work and learn about the best growing conditions for various plants.

Final Thoughts on How to Use Sphagnum Moss

Phragmites and benthic algae can be used in many different ways. Sphagnum moss can be used in both your garden and a greenhouse, so long as you know how to use it.