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How to Grow Irish Trailing Moss (Sagina subulata)

Written by Mindy on March 31st, 2014

This plant is one of the easiest to grow but what you may not know is that the Irish trailing moss is actually not a moss.  It is trailing evergreen that grows to a height of 2 to 6 inches and one plant can spread a foot in all directions.

The Irish trailing moss can be planted inside or out.  If you decide to use it indoors, you will need to follow some general guidelines.  First, while the plant is not a moss it does have growth requirements much like a moss.  The plant can be placed in a hanging basket or terrarium, which will need to be filled with a well-drained soil that is high in organic matter.  Once planted, place the planter in a sunny or partial sunny location.  If you have planted it in a hanging basket, mist it often or place it in a location that has high humidity.  This would include areas such as the kitchen and bathroom.

If you, on the other hand, have planted your Irish trailing moss in a terrarium do not place it in direct sun.  The sealed environment of the terrarium will cook the moss if the sun is allowed to hit the container for long periods of time.  In this case, a partially shaded area would be perfect.

irish.trailing.mossOn the other hand, if you would like to place your moss outside keep in mind that it is only a perennial in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4 through 9.  While you can plant it in other areas, the frost will kill it.  But prior to just digging a hole in the ground and placing it there, consider using this plant in little nooks and crannies of your garden space.  Think about planting it along a stone path that does not have a lot of foot traffic or even in a garden wall.

Once you have your outdoor location picked out, it is time to dig the hole.  For this project, the hole will need to be no wider than the container the moss came in but the depth needs to be at least 10 inches.  While this is deeper than the container the moss came in, it does give you the opportunity to mix in compost.  Continue to mix in compost until you have reached the depth of the container the moss was in.  Next, gently remove the plant from the pot by turning it upside down, tapping on the bottom and gently squeezing the sides.  If you do not want to go to this extreme, just cut away the pot.  Once the plant has been removed from the pot, tease the roots with your fingers and place the plant in the hole.

If you are planting more than one Irish trailing moss plant, make sure that there is a 12 inch space between each plant.  Once planted, water the plant in and continue to water the plant without making the soil soggy.

After 3 to 5 years, your Irish trailing moss will need to be divided up.  While this step will make the garden look a little unsightly, it will take no time before the takes over the space again.


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