Sphagnum moss is the go-to moss species for not just succulents but other plants too. Just like a succulent-specific soil mix, it dries out fast and is well-aerated; two qualities that’ll help you keep root rot, one of the biggest problems with succulents, away.
We recommend The SuperMoss Orchid Sphagnum Moss that can be purchased on Amazon for 42.99 USD.
Why Use Sphagnum Moss
We’ve already seen that sphagnum moss is the best as far as succulents are concerned. Here’s why.
Quick to Dry
Moss thrives best in wet/damp places, so it’s well adapted to the excessive water in its environment. That’s a direct opposite to succulents which are native to largely dry areas and therefore need just enough water to stay alive.
How will these two survive in the same environment?
Well, for starters, the sphagnum moss is dried – as mentioned above. It’s light and doesn’t stay soggy for long, just like your ideal succulent potting mix.
Again, as you’ve seen above, this is important in keeping root rot away while still being able to raise healthy and beaming succulents.
More Convenient Than Soil in Some Instances
Obviously, a well-draining soil mix is always the best when growing succulents. It contains all the nits and grits necessary for a healthy plant.
But what if you want to get a bit creative?
You know, like making a succulent wreath, getting a wall planter, or incorporating a hanging basket or a chicken wire into your succulent arrangement.
These are pretty awesome ideas to enhance the beauty of your plant collection. But trying to implement them using a potting mix just won’t cut it as it’s going to be clumsy and almost impossible.
That’s why succulent enthusiasts use sphagnum moss. It stays into spaces that would otherwise be impossible to fill using soil while providing a medium for succulents to continue their growth.
Besides that, the sphagnum moss itself also adds to the beauty of your plants by filling those dead spaces in your basket or pot.
The Problem With Using Sphagnum Moss
Sphagnum moss isn’t all peaches and cream. Here are some problems you’ll encounter while using it.
Needs Lots of Water
Before drying up, sphagnum moss takes up water easily and keeps it for a long time. The situation is the direct opposite of this when the moss dries up.
Getting it wet will take some serious drenching. Succulents and Sunshine recommends watering the sphagnum moss severally for half an hour to an hour to get it properly wet (yes, that’s the kind of work you’re looking at).
And when you’re done, the water doesn’t stay around for long. The sphagnum moss dries considerably faster than even a succulent potting mix which could be a problem if you stick to your usual watering schedule.
You Have to Take Fertilizing Seriously
This isn’t such a big deal as you might already be fertilizing your succulents that are growing in a potting mix. It helps boost their growth and bring out their colors more.
That being said, this isn’t usually a must as the succulents can make do with the potting soil or garden nutrients. For a sphagnum moss medium, though, fertilizing every now and then is absolutely needed since the moss doesn’t have much going for it as far as nutrients are concerned.
A minor inconvenience but an inconvenience nevertheless.
For some reason, you’ll have to pay more for sphagnum moss than potting soil. It’s not a crazy difference but it’s big enough to be noticeable. Keep that in mind before jumping in.
On the bright side, though, it lasts slightly longer than soil, so the extra cost might be worth it after all.
Repotting Can Be a Problem
This is especially true if you’re using sphagnum moss for propagation. It can be more difficult to separate the plant’s roots and the moss completely compared to, say, using a potting mix.
To get around this, you’ll have to transplant your succulents early on before the roots gain any serious traction in the moss. Also, just make sure the moss is sufficiently drenched in water for a more pleasant experience – and for the safety of your young succulent’s roots.
Understanding the Difference Between Sphagnum Moss and Peat Moss
There’s also a bit of confusion between sphagnum moss and peat moss. While they’re sometimes used interchangeably, the two are actually different and serve different purposes as far as gardening is concerned.
Confusing these two is understandable because they’re obtained from the same place though they have vastly different compositions.
Sphagnum moss is the plant and is actually a genus containing some 380 individual species all of which grow in bogs and other wetlands. For gardening purposes, these are harvested alive and dried. The end-product is solely made of moss – not other plant or animal material.
Peat moss, on the other hand, is a mix of several things – decayed plant (mainly sphagnum moss) and insect material. So it’s not really a plant if you think about it.
It’s harvested from under the bogs and wetlands where the sphagnum moss grows. Due to its decayed plant and animal material content, it’s packed with some nutrients which makes it the perfect option for soil amendment.
Adding to sandy soils will make them retain moisture for longer while doing the same for clay soils drastically improves the drainage – this is especially great if you’re looking to grow your succulents in the ground instead of containers.
You can use both peat moss and sphagnum moss to correct the PH of your garden soil. The choice you’ll go with will be dependent on whether your soil is acidic or basic as they tend to have opposite effects.
For strongly basic soils, peat moss – being acidic – will help bring the PH level to the more succulent-friendly levels of between 4 and 6.5.
Generally, though, correcting your PH this way isn’t something you’d want as peat moss holds water for longer than it’s ideal for succulents.
Sphagnum moss is the best moss if you’re considering going this route. Just like a well-draining succulent soil mix, it dries out fast enough for your plants’ liking.
It’s also a better option if you’re looking to get a bit creative with things like wall planters and baskets.
That being said, you have to make a few adjustments including more serious fertilizing and watering frequency. This fills in for the moss’ lack of nutrients and the fact that it holds water for a shorter period compared to potting soil.
Hello! I’m Oscar, a freelance writer from Kenya. Among other topics, I also love writing about houseplants – succulents to be specific. I prefer them because they’re so much easier to care compared to other plants and they also offer so much variety in terms of shape, size, and color.