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5 Live Mosses and Lichens for Terrariums!

Create a serene woodland oasis in miniature by bringing a variety of live mosses and lichens into your home. We recommend adding them to your terrariums and vivariums, giving them their own mossarium, or highlighting an especially gorgeous piece under a glass cloche. Keeping live moss looking green and lush can be intimidating but with the helpful humidity of an enclosed container and taking care not to overwater, you can be quite successful! Here are our five favorite mosses and lichens to give your indoor mossy fairyland a boost…

Pillow Moss

Botanical name: Leucobryum glaucum

Also known as cushion moss or pincushion moss, this is the quintessential mounding moss! It grows in clumps and new growth begins as ‘clumplets’ around the edges of the original cushion. Pillow moss needs medium light indoors and a temperature between 65-80 F. This moss is a humidity lover and does well in a closed terrarium setting. Keep the soil damp to the touch but not soggy. If mold does begin, open the terrarium more often to allow in air circulation.

Delicate Fern Moss

Botanical name: Thuidium delicatulum
A favorite in fairy garden terrariums, the long ‘fronds’ of thuidium moss resemble a perfect tiny thicket of ferns. It forms a fairly dense layer in terrariums so keep that in mind when designing your landscape. Give fern moss medium light and high humidity and regular, even moisture. This moss particularly loves a good misting!

Mood Moss

Botanical name: Dicranum Scoparium
Mood moss is another clumping option but the taller, denser tufts look more like windswept plains. We love to use this to suggest cliffs in a miniature landscape. Mood moss, as with the others, likes medium light and high humidity. Though it looks the best when saturated, constant watering isn’t healthy for mood moss and it can go through dry spells just fine.

Feather Moss

Botanical name: Hypnum imponens
If you’ve worked with ‘sheet moss,’ it was likely in the hypnum genus. This moss is great for covering an area with a mossy carpet. The mat-forming structure lends a beautiful simplicity to your little landscape. Sheet moss enjoys medium to low light terrarium situations and should never be placed in direct sun. This can be a lower water moss than others, and is susceptible to rot, so be mindful of your watering habits with this one.

Cup Lichen

Botanical name: Cladonia cristatella and Cladonia asahinae
Cup lichens are wonderful in open terrariums and fairy gardens. We also love to use them as top dressings around temperate bonsai trees. C. cristatella (Bristish Soldier Lichen) has red tips that resemble the tiniest fairy mushrooms. C. asahinae (Pixie Cup Lichen) resemble their common name, looking like little green cups. These two types of Cladonia need medium light (they are found growing on moss in forest shade) and prefer a drier base but still high humidity. We recommend placing them in the part of your terrarium with the greatest airflow.

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