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How to Preserve Reindeer Moss

Reindeer moss is really a lichen: a combination of a fungus and algae that have a symbiotic relationship and form a new plant. The moss is spongy when moist, but dries out when removed from its natural habitat. Preserving the moss keeps it from disintegrating and helps it retain its natural beauty. Crafters use the moss for wreaths, preserved flower arrangements and topiaries. Model train enthusiasts use the moss to landscape realistic terrain for their sets. It is easy to preserve your reindeer moss with a glycerin solution.

Clean the reindeer moss by removing any twigs, dirt or pine needles.

Cut away any discolored or misshapen pieces.

Put the moss in a pot with three parts water to one part glycerin. Add fabric dye, if you want a different color. According to, the glycerin and dye will be absorbed so that, when the lichen is dry, it will retain its color and remain pliant.

Heat the pot, bringing the solution almost to a boil before allowing it to cool.

Remove the lichen an hour after the solution is cool and squeeze out any excess liquid. You can let the moss remain in the pot longer, if you want it to absorb more color.

Spread the moss on sheets of newspaper to dry. Store dried moss in plastic bags.

Care For Reindeer Moss

Contrary to its name, reindeer moss is not a moss at all but a lichen that grows on rocks and in the sandy soil on the outcroppings of the forest. It was named after reindeer because it is a favored treat for reindeer and caribou in northern regions. Water reindeer moss lightly during dry seasons. Most mosses and lichens that grow naturally require little in the way of watering, as they tend to store water. If you plant reindeer moss in your moss garden and it is not natural to your area, you may need to water it regularly during droughts to keep it from drying out. Reindeer moss is a lichen, which is an algae and fungus combination that thrives on cool weather and shade. Provide your reindeer moss with good quality air.


Wear eye protection and old clothes when preserving reindeer moss. Wear heavy-duty gloves when squeezing liquid out of the moss.


Do not use kitchen pots to soak your moss. Select a pot that will be used only for craft purposes.

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