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How to select the right species for your moss wall

Wild moss growing in forest with brown leaves on top
In this article, we list 18 species of moss, describe their unique features and provide pictures to help you build your own aesthetically pleasing moss wall.

Table of Contents

Moss walls are becoming increasingly popular in both commercial and residential spaces. They are a great way to add a touch of greenery to the location and provide not only an aesthetically pleasing look, but also offer numerous benefits such as improving air quality, reducing noise levels, and regulating humidity.

One of the critical factors when creating living moss walls or preserved moss walls, is choosing the right species of moss to use, as each species has varying needs and characteristics. For instance, the cushion or bun-type moss is perfect for areas with high humidity as they tend to retain water well. Meanwhile, haircap or star-moss has a more delicate appearance and should be handled gently during installation to avoid damaging its fragile structure. Reindeer lichen, which grows slowly and requires little maintenance is ideal for those who prefer low-maintenance designs. Finally, sheet or carpet-type mosses provide excellent coverage for larger spaces due to their wide growth patterns.

Selecting the right moss for your moss wall is crucial to achieving a sustainable and aesthetically pleasing design. This process may seem daunting, but with some planning and careful consideration, you will have a stunning and unique moss wall that will keep your space vibrant for years. To help you choose the right moss, we have listed 18 unique species of moss and described some of the key physical characteristics they have to help you build your own aesthetically pleasing moss wall.

Physical Shape of the moss

Cushion or bun-type moss

  1. Cushion moss (Leucobryum glaucum): This species forms dense cushions of silvery-green color, and it is perfect for creating a textured moss wall. It grows in acidic soil and is commonly found in rocky areas and forests throughout Europe, Asia, and North America.
  1. Rock cap moss (Dicranoweisia cirrata): This species has a low-growing habit and forms dense mats of green. It is perfect for creating a lush and low-profile moss wall, and it grows on rocks and soil in forests and wetlands throughout North America and Euro
  1. Cypress plait-moss or Hypnum moss (Hypnum cupressiforme): Typically found in North America and Europe. This moss forms a soft, cushiony mat that is bright green in color.
hand picking living moss

Haircap or star-type moss

Juniper haircap moss growing naturally
  1. Haircap moss (Polytrichum commune): This species has long, hair-like strands and a bright green color. It is perfect for creating a wild, untamed moss wall, and it grows in moist and shaded areas like forests and bogs throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.
  1. Star moss (Tortula ruralis): This species has a star-shaped growth pattern and a bright green color. It is perfect for creating a unique and eye-catching moss wall, and it grows in soil, rocks, and crevices in North America, Europe, and Asia.
  1. Juniper haircap or juniper polytrichum moss (Polytrichum juniperinum): This moss is an evergreen and perennial species of moss, that grow in thin, interwoven mats.

Sheet or carpet-type moss

  1. Fern moss (Thuidium delicatulum): This species has feathery fronds and forms a dense carpet of green fern like leaves. It is suitable for creating a lush visual effect when used in moss walls, and it grows in shady, moist areas like forests, bogs, and swamps in North America and Europe.
  1. Broom moss (Dicranum scoparium): This species has a light green color and has leaves that can be described as light, delicate feathers. It is suitable for creating a wispy and airy moss wall, and it grows in forests and bogs throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Dicranum scoparium is also very well suited for growth in terrariums.
  1. Horn calcareous moss or Swans neck moss (Mnium hornum): This moss has a delicate, fern-like appearance with small, delicate leaves. It can be found in North America, Europe and Asia.
Thuidium delicatulum moss hanging on tree branch

Color of the moss

Dark green, light green or bright green colored moss

bright green moss growing on ground
  1. Stringy moss (Bryum argenteum): This species has a stringy, hair-like texture and a bright green color. It is suitable for creating a delicate and intricate moss wall, and it grows in moist and shaded areas like forests, bogs, and wetlands throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.
  1. Rough-stalked feather moss (Brachythecium rutabulum): This species has a rough texture and a bright green color. It is suitable for creating a bold and textured moss wall, and it grows in damp, shady areas like forests and bogs throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.
  1. Wave moss (Atrichum undulatum): Found in North America, Europe and Asia, this moss forms a dense, cushiony mat that is bright green in color, with small, delicate leaves that undulate like waves.

Yellow or Golden Green colored moss

  1. Golden carpet moss (Thuidium tamariscinum): This species has a dense carpet-like growth and a golden-green color. It is perfect for creating a warm and inviting moss wall, and it grows in shady and moist areas like forests and bogs throughout North America and Europe.
  1. Sheet moss (Hypnum curvifolium): This moss forms dense mats with small leaves that vary in color from green to yellowish-brown.
  1. The Golden Clubmoss (Lycopodium clavatum ‘Aurea’): Provides a stunning contrast to other shades of green by adding splashes of golden-yellow hues.
Thuidium tamariscinum

Unique Colored Moss

Orthotrichum cupulatum moss growing on rock
  1. Orange Moss (Orthotrichum cupulatum): Typically forming dense mats on rocks, trees, and soil, this moss has a feathery, upright structure and can grow up to several centimeters in height.
  1. Peacock Moss (Selaginella uncinata): This moss gets its name due to its striking blue-green coloration resembling a peacock’s feathers. This fast-growing moss thrives in high-humidity conditions and requires minimal maintenance making it an ideal choice for vertical gardens or living walls.
  1. Purple moss (Ceratodon purpureus): This moss has a deep purple color and can be found in a variety of habitats, including disturbed areas and urban environments.

With so many options available, you can create a moss wall that’s tailored to your specific style and needs. Just be sure to choose species that are appropriate for your climate and lighting conditions, and follow proper care and maintenance instructions to keep your moss wall looking healthy and vibrant.

For more inspiration on moss walls, check out our Inspiration Gallery and the “Moss-Wall” tag!


To purchase pre-made moss frames, art or panels, check out the link below:

https://www.foresthomesstore.com/collections/plant-wall-art

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