Re: Growing Live Sphagnum

Oliver T Massey CFS (
Mon, 2 May 1994 11:33:32 -0400

> By some good fortune I was able to get a clump
> of live New Zealand sphagnum moss, which I would like
> to cultivate into a much larger clump :)

> One question I have concerns the appropriate
> amount of water in the moss. When I water the
> Nepenthes (about once every 10 days) the excess
> runs out of the pots and into the plastic tray
> where the moss is. So, the moss is sitting in
> about 1/4 inch of standing water. The plastic
> bag that covers everything does have some holes
> in it so evaporation and some air exchange does
> take place. Does this moss not like sitting
> in water?
> When I checked around inside the
> plastic bag today I noticed a slight mildewy
> odor. I figured that this is not good. Should
> I drain out the excess standing water and let
> the damp moss just sit on the (drier) plastic
> tray?
> Thanks in advance for helpful
> suggestions.
> Perry

I grow most of my plants in live sphagnum moss - a local variety, including
some Nepenthes and my one H. minor. As a general rule, it grows pretty well.
I have it outside, inside under lights, and inside in 3 thru 30 gallon tanks.
In most cases it grows in standing water of about 1/4 inch to 2+ inches. In
the terrariums 1/4 inch (maybe a little less?) has worked for me.
I have one setup under glass that sounds similar to yours, plants in pots
surrounded by living moss.
While tap water may be ok for Nepenthes, it will definitely kill moss. I use
rain water, or now, RO water. Mine grows best in the closed terrarium
environment, although the other grows fast enough to occassionally pull out for
use in other plantings.

If you are worried about the amount of water, my experience suggests that
reducing the water level will not hurt your moss or your plants.

I usually consider a bad smell a sign of trouble, (in laws, dead neighbors,
etc) it could be your Nepenthes growing media, particularly if they have not
been repotted in a while. Occasionally I have some inexplicable die-offs of
the moss, usually thick, older plantings in outside containers.

Hope this helps,

Tom in Fl