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Live Moss Culture

This is a discussion on Live Moss Culture within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I have been playing with some mosses from our backyard for mounts and recovering flasklings ...

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  1. #1
    mycologist's Avatar
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    Default Live Moss Culture

    I have been playing with some mosses from our backyard for mounts and recovering flasklings and want to share my very positive experiences. First though, note that many mosses are very slow growing so please don't collect them (especially from rocks) if they are not abundant and inconspicuous.

    I had seen mention of "live moss" culture, noted as being a miracle method for reviving ailing orchids, but couldn't find any description of how it is traditionally done. Four months ago I had some fresh moss from the backyard I was using for mounting, and some very sick flasklings that were failing rapidly (another story), so I tried to put together a system that would keep the moss alive and then grow the flasklings in the living moss. There are several advantages to this that I will discuss after the pics:


    Basically a bunch of corks in the bottom, then some medium bark for the moss to grow on, then a layer of the fresh live moss wrapped around each individual one at a time and tucked together into the pot. I water them thoroughly once a day with pure water and the moss after four months is still bright green and seems to be growing some. They were watered shortly before the pics.

    The flasklings were my first and were damaged during shipping and had to come out before I was prepared. The large ones are Paraphalaenopsis labukensis and there are a few tiny Neo v. caerulea that were very premature (I lost enough of these to make a grown man cry in the previous culture). They may not look impressive, but the point is that they were dying before and are doing MUCH better now.


    The little Neo is the second plant up from the bottom left corner, you can barely see one leaf and the tiny root.

    The advantages I see are that if the moss is alive, it is using water actively. This helps greatly with managing their moisture level as you can soak the roots more frequently without the moss remaining wet too long. It also seems to provide good humidity levels. If the moss is alive it is not breaking down so the environment stays very clean. I also speculate that it may be actively defending itself, and that this may benefit the seedlings.

    For the moss, the felty terrestrial ones without a thick cuticle work much better. I picked it clean and washed it in water only. I doubt they will tolerate being treated with any chemicals and you will need clean relatively pure water. I have not had any issues with pests or infections and have used this moss on a number of mounted plants as well. They all have exceptional root growth.

  2. #2
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    Neat! I have some tiny patches live moss in my terrs but, as you noted, they are very slow to grow. The most exuberant moss growth in is my "sealed" terr. Unfortunately as the humidity is about 100% in that terr, the shock of being brought into an environment of signficantly lower humidity is traumatic for just about any plant and generally lethal for the mosses it seems.

    It will be interesting to see how your moss survives in the long term. (Wonder if it will require a cool dormancy to remain healthy)

  3. #3
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    I am so happy to see your post! Coincidentally, I am also growing moss in small clay pots and using it just like you do, in my case at the moment, to rescue a rootless laelia and a rootless sophronitis with very quick and positive results. I grow my moss on top of clay pellets. I am actually taking pictures to document the stages of the "rescue" and was planning to post them at some point. Keep us posted on the progress of your flaskings, I am very interested.

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    Can spanish moss also be used? It drips off the trees here.
    Connie

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    Interesting post. I look forward to following your progress.

    Cheers,
    BD

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    Cool, it is good to hear that others are having good results too! If you post up pics I would love to see them - could you please PM me or post the link so I don't miss the post (or feel free to put them here)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lambert View Post
    I am so happy to see your post! Coincidentally, I am also growing moss in small clay pots and using it just like you do, in my case at the moment, to rescue a rootless laelia and a rootless sophronitis with very quick and positive results. I grow my moss on top of clay pellets. I am actually taking pictures to document the stages of the "rescue" and was planning to post them at some point. Keep us posted on the progress of your flaskings, I am very interested.

    I don't know Connie, spanish moss is a vascular plant and is quite different from a real moss. I use some to retain humidity but have not heard of how to use it as a growth medium. Sure is cool looking on the trees though!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cjcorner View Post
    Can spanish moss also be used? It drips off the trees here.
    Connie

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mycologist View Post
    Cool, it is good to hear that others are having good results too! If you post up pics I would love to see them - could you please PM me or post the link so I don't miss the post (or feel free to put them here)?
    Will do!

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    Connie, I would falso be leery of using the spanich moss in your area as it is usually 'chigger infested' from what I understand

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    Ron-NY is offline rothaholic
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cjcorner View Post
    Can spanish moss also be used? It drips off the trees here.
    Connie
    Connie, Spanish Mess is a Tillansia and not a moss. I am sure you can can find mosses in environments where Tillansia can be found.

  10. #10
    GrumpyBear is offline Senior Member
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    we have a moss here in our lawn we've been trying to get rid of for years now, if it's resilient enough to thwart our every move i bet it'd be good for this (of course mum will give me strange looks for cohorting with the enemy...) if i post a picture here can you tell me if it's suitable?

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