Can You Use Moss As A Mulch?

Can You Use Moss as A Mulch

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Mulch is a good way to keep your garden moister, protect plants from extreme weather and add an aesthetic flair, but it can be expensive depending on the material. This has led some to wonder whether moss can be used as mulch – is it possible? 

Moss is a good alternative to mulch. Many gardeners recommend moss as mulch because it is environmentally friendly, winter hardy, not invasive, requires little to no maintenance, and can also take foot traffic.

So, what are the main benefits of moss as mulch? Read on to learn about some of the best reasons to choose moss as mulch below:

Best Reasons to Choose Moss as Mulch

Of all the materials you can use as mulch, such as wood chippings, stones, or straw, moss has some very special benefits. There are so many that we may not be able to name all of them in this single article, but below are a choice few advantages: 

There Are Many Different Varieties Which Means Many Different Aesthetics Available

Across different climates, there are a number of kinds of mosses, lichens, and liverworts you can choose to place in your garden, around your other plants. This means you can choose many different varieties for any aesthetic you would like for your garden.

Some of these whimsically named varieties include:

  • Frecklepelt
  • Sickle
  • Hook
  • Green tongue liverwort
  • Broom

Speaking of whimsical, many consider moss-surrounded flowers to look fairy-tale-like, while others think they look ancient and mysterious. Considering that moss may even grow on tiles, flowerpots, and other hard materials, whatever aesthetic you want to adopt, you can do it.

Very Effective at Retaining Water

If you live in a climate that has periods of hot and dry and then seasons of soggy and wet, then you will need a mulch that retains water quite well to prevent the soil from drying out too much during the hot periods. 

In this respect, moss is a brilliant mulch that can retain water very, very well and therefore keep your other plants better hydrated. It does a better job than many other mulches you might choose.

Provides A Natural Habitat for Insects

With the worries of climate change lately, being environmentally conscious has become an important factor in many people’s lives. Conserving different species is a great part of that effort, and moss serves as a natural habitat for insects to:

  • Live
  • Lay their eggs
  • Hunt for food

In some places around the world, bigger animals can rely on moss as homes, such as spotted turtles in Canada. 

This means that your moss mulch is helpful to your plants and the ecosystem around you.

It Absorbs a Lot Of CO2

Speaking of being environmentally friendly, moss is a champion of sequestering CO2, absorbing CO2, and not releasing it again. Provided the topmost layer of moss remains undamaged, the lower layers won’t decompose and release CO2.

A few fun moss facts in this area are:

  • CityTreeOpens in a new tab. claims that a moss wall can absorb as much CO2 as approximately 275 trees
  • A square meter of moss is thought to absorb as much CO2 as a mature tree.
  • Peat bogs contain something approaching 200,000 times our annual carbon output from burning coal.

So, if you want the self-assurance of being environmentally friendly, moss is one of the easiest ways to make the biggest difference.

Moss Is Great at Controlling Temperature 

Moss can greatly impact the soil’s temperature – depending on the environment; it can warm-up and cool down the environment.

In colder places like the Arctic, they can prevent the sun’s rays from hitting the soil and keep the ice from thawing, keeping the ground cold. On the other hand, in hot places, they can protect the roots of plants from extremely high temperatures.

So if you live in a place with extreme temperatures on either end of the spectrum, then moss is a good choice of mulch to protect your plants. 

They Keep Weeds at Bay

One of the most annoying aspects of gardening must be weeding – having to pluck the odd unwanted plants continually is an arduous task, and pesticides aren’t an option when you have plants you want to keep.

However, mulch can be an effective and chemical-free way to keep weeds down, and in terms of varieties of mulch, moss is certainly one of the best kinds for this:

  • Moss forms a solid blanket, meaning there aren’t gaps in between the mulch for weeds to poke their heads up
  • Moss keeps sunlight from reaching the soil and therefore starves weeds of sunlight.

They Are Not Invasive

The problem with planting plants as mulch in many ways is that it may be an invasive species – that is, it may keep growing and growing and overtaking your entire garden.

Not so with moss. They can be prolific growers, but they are not the invasive type, which means that there’s nothing to worry about in that regard using moss as a mulch. 

Moss Is Incredibly Hardy

Another benefit to moss as mulch is that it is a very hardy plant. They can survive all sorts, such as:

  • Moss can be dehydrated and rehydrated to a greater degree than most other plants.
  • Moss can be trampled nearly completely flat and still bounce back.
  • Moss also has a natural anti-freeze, meaning it can survive the winter as well.

Moss Is Fantastic at Controlling Natural Erosion Control

Because moss attaches most firmly to the top layer of the soil, it is very good at preventing natural weather phenomena from eroding the soil away. This is something that most mulch can’t boast.

Moss Is Incredibly Low Maintenance

One of the best things about moss – aside from its environmentally friendly aspects, hardiness, weed prevention, etc.- is that you can basically set it and forget it. 

Moss needs no mowing and doesn’t need to be reapplied as most mulch does. If it’s applied correctly, there shouldn’t be any weeds growing amongst the plants. When applied correctly, it should barely need anything done, which is a huge boon amongst mulch.

Moss Is Completely Free and Easy To Propagate

Some mulch can get very expensive, but moss is totally free! You can grow as much as you need if you just follow the few steps:

  • Find some damp, healthy moss
  • Take a few handfuls of moss home
  • Break up the moss into very small pieces
  • Mix these pieces into yogurt or buttermilk. It should have the texture of a loose slurry
  • Put this mixture on anywhere you want 
  • Keep that area lightly misted – and you should see it start to go green 

If it starts to waver, water the moss with four parts water and one part buttermilk, which should keep your moss fresh and green.


Moss not only can be used as mulch but it is actually recommended by many gardeners due to a number of advantages. It is environmentally friendly due to sequestering a lot of CO2, being a home for a biome, and preventing natural erosion. It is non-invasive, low maintenance, and generally very aesthetically pleasing. It also protects the soil from extreme temperatures and weather conditions and prevents weeds from growing. 


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