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How to Plant & Care for Scotch Moss

Scotch moss (Sagina subulata) is not a true moss but a low-growing evergreen perennial that hugs the ground as it grows, eventually spreading into a soft ground cover. Unlike true mosses, Scotch moss will grow well in partial sunlight, and is especially effective in a rock garden or between paving stones. Tiny, white, star-shaped flowers appear on Scotch moss in late spring and early summer.

Purchase Scotch moss starter plants at a greenhouse or garden center that carries ground covers. Choose compact plants with healthy, bright color.

Prepare a spot with moist, well-drained soil. If possible, plant Scotch moss where it will be exposed to morning sunlight and afternoon shade. The plant will not grow in total shade, but too much hot sunlight can burn it.

Dig a small hole with a shovel or a trowel. The hole should be just large enough to accommodate the plant's root ball, as planting Scotch moss too deeply can cause the plant to rot.

Water the Scotch moss immediately after planting. Keep the soil evenly moist by watering at least once a week, especially during the plant's first spring and summer. During hot, dry weather, Scotch moss will benefit from more frequent watering.

Cover Scotch moss with 3 to 4 inches of mulch if you live in a climate with hard winter freezes. Mulches such as straw, dry grass, pine needles or shredded bark will protect the roots during cold weather. Remove the mulch in early spring so the Scotch moss can grow unencumbered.

Divide Scotch moss if the plant outgrows its boundaries, or if you need to fill in bare spots in the ground cover. Dig a small section of Scott moss and pull it into smaller sections. Plant the sections immediately.


Although Scotch moss can be lightly pruned if necessary, the plant will do better if left alone.

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