Sphagnum Moss mound growing on a bench adjoining the entrance to the visitor center.  This mound was first planted several years ago from  small amount that appeared in one of the plants on the certified nursery benches.  Initially it barely survived even when kept in a saucer with no holes that held about 1/2" of water. About then,  we were running trials of a liquid fertilizer in a hand spray bottle and the moss greened up when it was sprayed frequently.  When I put a handful of Nutrient Granules in the water saucer, it really took off! 


              Last month I introduced our moss research and first semi-terrarium success posted at www.fukubonsai.com/2a6.html  This month reports of efforts to create colonies that can be sent to those members of our Fast-Track Study Group who are interested, willing, and able to join in our research. I believe it is possible to grow both sphagnum and java moss outdoor when night temperatures are above 55F (and possibly cooler) and indoors during cooler seasons. 



          Sphagnum moss is usually available in garden centers in dried form in various quality depending upon where it was collected.  Most commercial sources are in deep deposits and it may compressed and partially decomposing.  Highest grade is very airy, light, and fluffy such as the photo that was harvested and dried at Fuku-Bonsai.  While most of the sphagnum moss that we use is purchased, for special or high-value projects, I prefer to use our own.


           To date I have tried to create new colonies. Was partially successful on the oldest trial and more successful recently.  This is the third major trial that builds upon what I believe are the success criteria of the past.  I think it is important to collect a lot of the growing tip and keep them bundled on top.

           Pull it out in one long draw.  I separates in the area it is starting to decompose.  The black saucer and Nutrient Granules will be used.


           Turn the handful upside-down and pile the older growth over the green new growth.  In the bottom of the old grow, fashion the moss like a bird's nest and insert a handful of Nutrient Granules. 


           This in my third try.  The first try is on the left.  I simply grabbed a handful, rolled it up into a flattened ball,  added Nutrient Granules in the middle, closed the opening and flattened it on the 7" saucer.  The tips of a few strands are just now starting to grow.

           The second try in the sandy tan saucer on top was done two weeks ago and the new tips are already starting to grow!  The one just put together is on the right and I believe it will be the best.



           JAVA MOSS.    This is an unusual small fern- like moss that has different appearances depending upon different growing conditions.  It has the ability to climb moist walls like in the photo where it has climbed the edge of the nursery flat. 

           At Fuku-Bonsai we have no problem growing this moss in a standard nursery flat filled with our regular body media.  But Ryan has a hard time in drier Oahu and we'll make a modified version of the Sphagnum Moss saucer, but make holes in the sides so it holds less water.  Stay tuned!  


              This photo shows that Java Moss when planted in a pot will climb a rock as well as spill over and start climbing down the glazed white ceramic pot.  Notice that in this photo, that the moss is much finer than in the above photo. When in its finest version,  it is coarser but  resembles Kyoto Moss.

             If you search "Java Moss" Google Images,  you'll see that this is a favorite moss for growing in aquariums where it can  grown on branches and trimmed to resemble underwater trees or other interesting shapes.


               In the sun, Java Moss will grow about 1/2" to 3/4" tall and at times takes on a golden appearance.  Java Moss was planted on gravel on the large complex landscape titled:  "CREATING A BONSAI WORLD" and is making the landscape more interesting and attractive. 


             We believe that growing sphagnum moss has antiseptic qualities as those who were wounded in World War I and II have stories of wounds wrapped in sphagnum moss did not get infected.  We believe that some plants will more easily root when the base of the cutting is wrapped in live sphagnum moss. We believe that the highest quality sphagnum moss is the freshly harvested and dried. So growing it makes sense if you do challenging horticultural work as we do at Fuku-Bonsai.

             We believe that Java Moss is the most promising decorative moss for those who grow bonsai outdoors.  There's nothing that can compliment bonsai as nice green moss accents.  So we are trying to see if a moss growing unit can be developed if only to keep the moss available for photos or shows.

             Please contact me if you have interest or ideas on this subject.  ~~~David


                Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation and Fuku-Bonsai, 2014