According to the University of Texas A&M, sphagnum moss is dehydrated acid-bog plant remains from the genus sphagnum. Sphagnum moss is a light weight material, providing drainage and aeration to plants. It is found in light brown, compressed bales in most floral shops.
Sphagnum moss is used when propagating plants using the air layering method. Layering, according to the University of Missouri, is a method of rooting a plant for propagation while it is still attached to the parent plant. Sphagnum moss is soaked in water and wrapped over the wounded area of the plant after cutting, preventing infection and disease.
Sphagnum moss is used in the planting of hanging wire baskets. Sphagnum moss is soaked in water overnight, then after wringing out, is spread out at the bottom of the basket. The 1- to 4-inch layer of moss is covered in soil. Sphagnum moss retains moisture in the soil, and catches water runoff.
Sphagnum moss has the ability to absorb more than 10 to 20 times its weight in water, says the University of Texas A & M. This makes it a valuable soil amendment in sandy soils that do not hold a great deal of water. Sphagnum moss is also used in clay soil to amend soil drainage, while still holding water for plant growth.