So many of you loved the best plants to use for miniature gardens ideas that I thought you would also enjoy this beautiful, miniature moss bonsai in a teacup. This project is an excerpt from the book, Miniature Moss Gardens, and the step-by-step instructions are listed below.
This excerpt from Miniature Moss Gardens was provided by Tuttle Publishing who also provided a review copy of the book.
Miniature Moss Gardens
What is a Moss Bonsai?
The ‘bon’ in bonsai refers to the pot, while the ‘sai’ character means plant. Pots or bowls in which moss only is planted are called moss pots. These do not need a hole in the bottom, unlike moss bonsai pots.
For moss bonsai beginners, a small pot about the size of your hand is recommended as it will not take up too much space. As the years go by, the moss will get thicker and provide an attractive contrast to the surrounding vegetation.
When choosing a pot or bowl for your moss bonsai, make sure it has a hole in the base. Japanese-style bowls that evoke a feeling of calm are a good choice, but colorful bowls and receptacles with an interesting shape are also suitable.
Choose something that will complement the atmosphere of the place and work in with the image you are trying to create.
Moss bonsai and moss pots
Receptacles holding only moss are called moss pots, while moss bonsai have plants growing together with the moss.
Small pots are easy to move around
Pots that are too small do not retain water well and will easily dry out. Hand-sized pots are best.
Make sure the bonsai pot has a hole
Use a bonsai pot that has a hole or make a hole in the pot yourself. Moss pots do not need a hole.
Make a Moss Bonsai
- Planting soil for moss*
- Common bluet | Houstonia caerulea
- Japanese sweet flag or other mountain grasses
- Coffee cup or other receptacle
- Spray bottle
- Pincers with spatula attached
*Kokedama (soil for moss) can be made from a combination of peat* soil, Akadama soil, Fuji sand (black volcanic rock sand), river sand and charcoal (rice hull charcoal).
*Peat (sphagnum peat moss) has been widely used in potting mixes for years. Because harvesting peat requires the destruction of irreplaceable carbon-sequestering ecosystems (bogs), the search for sustainable alternatives is underway. Coconut coir is often suggested but it too has limitations. The quest to garden in an eco-friendly manner continues.
In Canada and the United States, we can grow moss outdoors on loam, clay, or other rich soils; preferably not sandy soils. For indoor growing, get moss potting soil.
Make sure not to damage moss when attaching it.
Some types of moss are easily damaged. Be particularly careful when touching moss with your hands or with pincers.
These images are slightly low resolution but I’m hoping you can still see the steps clearly enough to follow them. ~m.
Keep in mind how you want the finished product to look. A miniature landscape with valleys and rivers can be created on this foundation.
Related: Best Plants for Miniature Gardens
This makes the moss easier to attach to the planting soil. Use curved scissors for this task.
This is done with a tool such as pincers with a spatula attached. Use the spatula to adjust the position of the moss.
Keeping the overall composition in mind, position the mountain grasses. Plant them by inserting them into the moss from above.
Position the common bluet, keeping in mind the overall balance of the moss and mountain grasses. If moss is placed in the depression of a rock, you will achieve a more realistic result.
Spray lightly to wash off any loose dirt. Wash dirt off the cup as well.
Caring for a Moss Bonsai
When and How Much to Water
In a moss bonsai, not only does the moss need watering but also the plants growing in the moss. If the surface of the soil in the pot becomes white and dry or the moss dries out, watering is needed.
Use a watering can and water until excess trickles out from the hole in the base of the pot.
For small pots and pots containing only moss, either use a spray bottle so that the moss will not get washed off or moved but still receives plenty of water, or place the pot in a tray filled with water for a few minutes so it can be soaked up through the hole in the base of the pot.
As a rough guide, water once a day in spring and fall, morning and night in summer and once every 2-3 days in winter. However, it is always best to check whether the moss is dry before watering.
Get the Book
Miniature Moss Gardens presents expert advice and techniques from the birthplace of miniature gardening—Japan.
Friendly enough for total beginners and full of ideas and tips that experienced gardeners will love to read about, this moss gardening book brings you information on the following:
- Finding and collecting moss
- Cultivation and maintenance
- Choosing soils and other components
- Designing your garden for visual effect
- Choosing the best plants for your mini garden
- How to make a perfect Kokedama or moss ball
- Enhancing your moss garden with rocks and other elements
- How to make a gorgeous terrarium
and much more!
A section on finding moss on city streets, parks and mountains opens your eyes to the beauty that’s all around you every day!
Moss can be gathered to make a complete and perfect miniature gardening world.
Let this fun Japanese gardening book set you on the path to a deeply satisfying new way of expressing yourself.
With full-color photographs and step-by-step instructions you will be creating your own Moss Garden in no time.
If you love moss, there are lots more creative projects in the book, plus extensive information on how to identify, collect, and care for moss.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛