Moss are small flowerless plants which grow in the soil. Moss grow in damp ground with indirect or little light. Moss belong to the division Bryophyta. Bryophytes are plants without roots, trunk or leaves. They adhere to the soil by means of structures called rhizoids which resemble threads.
In Bonsai, Moss is used to to cover the soil in the pot.
The benefits of Moss in Bonsai are
Moss gives an appearance of realism to the Bonsai set up. Moss on the soil gives the look and feel of a real forest floor.
Moss also prevents dehydration of the soil.
Moss prevents soil erosion when watering the bonsai
It prevents birds from digging up the soil in searching for worms.
Moss is present in nature in almost all wet areas. You can remove the moss from a wet area and transplant it to your bonsai ground.
Some hobbyists dry the moss in sunlight. The moss disintegrates into a fine powder. This powder can be sprinkled on the surface of the bonsai floor. ‘
Keep the floor surface wet. The Moss will grow and spread until the entire surface of the Bonsai Tray is covered.
Sphagnum is a genus of a large number of Moss species. It is also called peat moss. It is a very popular type of moss in Bonsai.
Sphagnum moss absorbs water many times its volume. This ensures that the Bonsai plant has access to moisture at all times. It ensures that there is no excess water in the soil which can cause damage to the roots of the Bonsai.
In recent years, there has been concern that the sphagnum Moss carries a fungus which can disease in humans called sporotrichosis. Sporotrichosis is a fungal disease which affects the skin. In rare cases, the infection can spread to the bones, lungs and joints.
The Sphagnum Moss like other mosses reproduces through spores. The spores are produced in receptacles called capsules.
When the spores ripen, they are ejected into the air. Sphagnum spores are available at Bonsai stores.
Sphagnum can also be collected from natural locations such as a swampy area or a lake shore.
The sphagnum collected from the wild can contain insects and infections. This sphagnum should be disinfected by means of an insecticide before being transplanted in the Bonsai floor.
Cultivating Moss in Trays
Moss are small flowerless plants which grow in moist soil. These plants do not have leaves, stems or roots like ordinary plants.
Moss gives a realism to a Bonsai set up and are therefore planted by many Bonsai hobbyists. Moss can be collected from nature. Moss can also be cultivated in Trays in your own backyard from spores bought from hobby stores
Spores can also be prepared at home
Preparation of Spores for Moss
Collect Moss from the ground.
Dry the Moss in sunlight till it becomes dry powder.
The powder can be stored in Bottles.
You can make patches of moss in trays and then transplant them to the Bonsai setup.
Cultivation in Trays
Put a few cms of peat in a tray or shallow container.
Moisten the soil
Sprinkle the spores on to the soil.
Spray water on top
Keep the tray in a shaded area away from direct sunlight
Spray water daily to ensure that the soil is moist
Moss patches will appear in about four weeks.
The patches can be transplanted in to the soil of the Bonsai Plant.