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Growing moss?

Discussion in 'Orchid Culture' started by hornet, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. hornet

    hornet Member

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    I see many mounted orchids with moss growing very well over the mount, how do you guys achieve this? I cant keep moss going on mounts for the life of me. Are there particular mounts they grow best on, what conditions do they need for healthy growth?
     
  2. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

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    For me it grows naturally. I don't cultivate it nor do I try to get rid of it. It just grows with the same conditions and culture as the orchids. It grows on any mount or potting medium that has been in place long enough for it to establish. Some on this forum have so much of it that they remove it as a weed.
     
  3. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That would be me. If it were a miniature sphagnum I would be happy, but sadly it isn't.
     
  4. hornet

    hornet Member

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    i'm guessing naturally epiphytic mosses would be the way to go? Might have to try some, i love the stuff
     
  5. Uluwehi

    Uluwehi angraecoids, dendrobiums and more Supporting Member

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    I never had spontaneous moss when I grew orchids outdoors in the lowland tropics. Only since I've grown orchids in controlled environments like my indoor vivarium or greenhouses outdoors have I had moss grow of its own accord. Moss tends to be most prolific in more moist, shady spots and when humidity is consistently high, air circulation is not as fast, water quality is good, a plants are being fertilised.

    Moss grows most enthusiastically atop dead NZ sphagnum moss used in mounting. I see at least half a dozen moss species in my growing areas, some prefer different light or moisture levels and different substrates (e.g. one species only grows on top of pumice, while another only grows at the tops of mounts but never at the bases of mounts).

    The drier the mount and the more exposed it is to UV light the less moss you'll likely have.

    Algal growth is usually the precursor to moss germination, as they build on top of that. Try setting out some long-fibre sphagnum moss, keep it moist but not soggy in a spot with moderate light and see if you can get some spontaneous moss growing on it. If you are successful first you'll see the blond sphagnum turn slimy green and then moss primordia will be visible.
     
  6. DPfarr

    DPfarr Well-Known Member

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    How do you differentiate miss species? I'm going to be looking a little more intensely around the greenhouse from now on making note of physiological distinctions.
     
  7. goods

    goods Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I agree with Jacob. I get tons of moss growth in my terrarium, but if I move that plant outside for the summer. Most of the moss dies off. I have a species of semi-aquatic moss that I've added to some of my mounts, and forms a nice layer that isn't too thick.

    Daniel, I don't know how to differentiate moss species, but I do know that it's a very challenging task for the untrained eye. Often, it takes a bryologist to find the differences.
     
  8. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    Folks in the US can take a look at the "terrarium assortment" offered by mossacres.com
     
  9. Uluwehi

    Uluwehi angraecoids, dendrobiums and more Supporting Member

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    I am not a trained bryologist, nor have I spent time attempting to identify what species might be, more it's just a matter of paying attention to morphological differences. If you have an eye for patterns you'll see perhaps some that are more filamentous while others are more tightly packed.

    Yes, moss can easily die or go dormant when disturbed. It would be interesting to see images of your semi-aquatic moss!

    There are of course downsides to moss, one is that overzealous patches of certain types of moss can smother the base of a plant, blocking out vital air movement to the crown of the plant, sometimes causing new growths to rot off, or the sheer density of moss can make it hard for water to sufficiently penetrate the orchid's roots causing water stress. Also some kinds of moss in more wet conditions can accelerate the decomposition of wood or cork bark mounts, sometimes leading to the demise of an orchid's entire root system.

    With that said, I don't mind certain types of moss as I have found not all detrimental and I quite like some of the mosses in my cool house where most moss growth is (my intermediate and warm growing areas have far less spontaneous moss).
     
  10. T. migratoris

    T. migratoris Active Member

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    You want moss? I'll give you moss! I can't controls the stuff in my greenhouse - it's become the new pest, control of which has become a significant challenge. I've got moss from Madagascar, South Africa, Santa Barbara, Montana, Washington ... I've even got little ferns that I'll throw in - no extra charge. In fact there's no charge for any of it ... send me your address & I'll ship you a box fulla mosses from around the world. Hate the stuff.
     
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  11. goods

    goods Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Really? I guess it doesn't grow well enough for me for it to be a nuisance. I'm always looking for new mosses to grow in my frog tanks.
     
  12. Ricardo

    Ricardo Slave of demanding bird

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    I grow orchids outdoors and moss grows only on the most water retentive mounts that are in the shadiest spots. These are the tree ferns plaques and posts, perhaps moss has a lichen for tree fern.
     
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  13. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    :rolleyes:
     
  14. T. migratoris

    T. migratoris Active Member

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    Send me your address ... you'll be sorry!
     
  15. Uluwehi

    Uluwehi angraecoids, dendrobiums and more Supporting Member

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    Bummer that it's such a bane in your greenhouse. There are some types I welcome, and others I consider pernicious that I always pull out, though I can empathise that you and Marni will tell me that all moss are equally unwelcome.

    I have a crazy moss from Java! It is not weedy yet even though its been in the greenhouse for a few years. We'll see.
     
  16. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    No, not all mosses, just the ones that kill my orchids. You are forgetting my much beloved sphagnum moss mound.
     
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  17. keithrs

    keithrs Member

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    I grow outdoors here in so cal and have no problem growing moss on mounts that dry out daily. Every thing gets watered daily except in the winter. The moss grows naturally here by my house. Its a very low growing form. I transplant it on some mounts. Others I wait a year and it just grows. Now I can't grow sphag with out the plants being in my seedling tent which is humid and stays warm. In general you need a humid grow environment for it to do well.
     
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