How to Propagate Irish Moss
Irish moss (Sagina subulata) is the perfect plant for damp, shady places where nothing else seems to grow. Irish moss works well as a ground cover or tucked into tight spaces between paving stones or in a rock garden where it will remain green and lush all year round. Once established, Irish moss will spread and fill in empty spaces with very little attention. To propagate Irish moss, divide the plant in early spring so the moss will have time to become established before winter.
Prepare the soil for the Irish moss ahead of time. Remove all weeds from the area and spade the soil to a depth of 6 inches. Spread 1 to 2 inches of compost or manure on the soil and work it in thoroughly. Rake the soil smooth.
Dig a clump of Irish moss with a trowel or a shovel. Use your hands to pull the clump apart into smaller sections. Alternatively, you can divide the clump with a shovel or a sharp knife. Be sure each clump has at least two or three roots.
Dampen the underside of the Irish moss section with a spray bottle and place the moss on top of the soil in the prepared location. Step on the moss to make contact with the soil.
Water the Irish moss immediately after planting and keep the moss damp for the first 1 to 2 weeks. After that time, water only during extended hot, dry periods.
Propagate Moss Balls
Moss balls (Cladophora aegagropila) create otherworldly aquarium aquascapes, creating big puffs of green in fresh water. When you first add one of these unassuming aquatic plants to water, it expands from a partly dehydrated state to twice its size. This plant is so treasured in the region near Lake Akan in Japan, that the Ainu people have held festivals to preserve it since 1950. Remove the moss ball from the aquarium or other container. Gently squeeze excess water out of the moss ball. Cut each half of the moss ball in half. If the resulting pieces are larger than 2 to 3 inches, cut them each in half. Moss balls don't have a kernel or central structure, so it's fine to cut it through the center and in any direction. Knot the thread and cut off the excess. Turn the moss balls at least once a week to encourage growth on all sides of the moss balls.
- Compost or manure
- Trowel or shovel
- Sharp knife (optional)
- Georgia Native Plant Society: Creating a Moss Garden
- Texas AgriLife Extension Service: Irish Moss Sagina subulata
- University of Nebraska: Ground Covers
- Senri Ethnographic Studies: Creation of the Marimo Festival
- Aquarium Domain.com: Moss Ball
- YouTube: Marimo Moss Ball: What Is It? And How to Propagate?