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Does Moss Need Soil? Detailed Guide

Have you ever wondered if moss needs soil to grow? As it turns out there are many types of moss that can grow in all kinds of conditions, however, moss typically does well in shaded areas that have a lot of moisture.

If the conditions are just right moss can grow at a tremendous rate and are usually found in the most unlikely places. Moss is known to grow on things like rocks, roofs, lawns, patios, and even driveways.

To some people moss can be very annoying especially if it’s growing in places like your garden or driveway, but how does it do this? and does moss need soil?

Because moss is a non-vascular plant they do not need soil to survive, instead, they have what’s called a rhizoid multi-cell anchoring structure that’s used to climb and grip over rocky surfaces.

Now, that’s not to say you can’t grow moss in the soil, of course, you can! what we are saying is unlike vascular plants that need soil to survive moss does not.

To explain this in more detail let’s first talk about the reasons why moss can grow and survive without soil.

Can Moss Grow Without Soil?

Unlike most plants that contain a root system to provide the stems and leaves with water and dissolved minerals! Moss, on the other hand, doesn’t have any of these structures.

Instead, moss has an external anatomy called (Rhizoids) that obtains all the water and minerals it needs from the air and rainwater making it very versatile when it comes to growing in different types of habitats.

Still, if the conditions are just right moss will grow in the soil, and when it does, the rhizoids will anchor into the soil for stability. However, as before, unlike vascular plants, they do not require soil to survive.

Moss tends to grow near the ground, where there’s plenty of moisture for its external structures to absorb. Anywhere that has water gathers, is a suitable place for it to thrive.

If your thinking about growing moss, the best time to do this is in the early spring when the sun is lower. This is also a good time for the moss to absorb plenty of minerals from the rain.

The easiest way to grow moss is to look for a patch growing in the wild, if you are unsure of any places that may have moss you can purchase several varieties at your local garden store.

When growing your moss you should always make sure the area is kept free of weeds and other plants and place it on a damp landscape that’s near a water source for the best results.

Anchoring Structures

When moss grows it uses anchoring structures to climb across rough terrain. These structures have thin root-like growths called rhizoids that look very similar to root hairs of vascular land plants.

These rhizoids can attach to any surface and secrete a sticky substance that helps the moss stay in place.

The fact that it doesn’t have a root system is what allows the moss to grow so quickly on vertical surfaces like trees.

Now you may be asking yourself how does moss manage to get enough water and minerals if it doesn’t have any roots?

As we mentioned before, moss has external structures that absorbs all the water and minerals by photosynthesis through its leaves that are connected to these anchoring structures.

This means they don’t need to be rooted in the ground. However, because mosses contain no roots they can dry out very quickly!

This is why moss is usually found in moist habits and also explains why moss does not need soil to survive.

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Non-Vascular

There are two types of plants there are vascular and non-vascular. Plants that contain roots are called vascular plants and need to be planted in soil.

Yet, plants that are non-vascular means they have no vascular system and do not need to be planted in soil.

A plant’s vascular system consists of xylem and phloem, non-vascular plants basically lack these particular tissues, and although moss may appear to be a weed it’s actually classed as a non-vascular plant.

Vascular plants are also known for bearing flowers, green leaves, stems, roots, and branches. Yet, Non-vascular plants do not have these features and are mostly non-flowering plants like mosses, liverworts, or hornworts.

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Can You Put Moss On Top Of Soil?

Moss can grow all over the place and this includes lawns! and as we know lawns are basically soil with grass yet moss is able to reproduce and grow simply by just laying on top of the grass.

So can you put moss on top of soil? Yes, you can! in the same way, moss is able to grow on grass, “but again” the conditions need to be right.

Just remember that moss has no roots so there is no need to plant it. As long as the conditions are suitable moss will have no problem growing.

What Soil Is Best For Moss?

If you want to grow your own moss and are wondering what type of soil is best? We would say, it’s not the soil you should be concerned about but more the surrounding conditions.

Moss grows best in spots that are damp and slightly shaded, however, areas that are too wet or too shaded can actually do more are than good.

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Final Thoughts

In the end, if your thinking about growing your own moss your better off just simply placing it in a damp area and letting nature do its work.

The best place to get moss (if you don’t have any) are usually in the Forrest and because moss has spores all you need to do is take a small patch, place it in your garden, (again anyway that’s damp) and wait.

The best time to grow your moss is in the early spring when the ground conditions are still wet. trying this in the summer heat will be more challenging.

If you want to know more about moss don’t forget to check out our other article where we go into more detail, you can do this at the navigation menu top of this page.

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