tropical moss or ferns

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tropical moss or ferns

Post  bucknbonsai on Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:45 am

I live in zone 7 and have a large collection of large ficus I bring into a bright sunroom for the winter. I keep the room humid and the trees do well. My question is, can I take moss from outside and place it in these plantings, or does moss need a cold spell just as maples, pines etc do? Same question applies to ferns. I have a brother in florida that could ship me "tropical moss" but im not sure if its any different that what grows up here or if it would work any better than what grows up here.
thanks

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Re: tropical moss or ferns

Post  drgonzo on Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:57 am

I don't believe moss is evolved enough to require a dormancy, they just grow when conditions are right..Ferns would need to come from a temperate source yet would probably be unhappy living indoors through the winter, there are others on here who will know a bit more about it BUT!

that having been said I WARN you that bringing moss in from the wild outdoors is asking, nearly begging, for fungus gnats and mites. Its happened to me Evil or Very Mad
-Jay

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Moss & Ferns

Post  bonsaisr on Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:12 am

When your ficus are outside, they seem to enjoy the same conditions as the moss on the ground, but if you try to grow moss indoors, it will dry up, even in humid conditions. At any rate, the drying out that your Ficus prefer would kill the moss. If you would like a ground cover on your Ficus, try Sedum dasyphyllum. Actually, a neat top dressing of brownish terrarium gravel is most suitable for displaying Ficus. The tropical moss your friend referred to is probably Spanish moss, a tiny bromeliad that actually does grow indoors under the right conditions. Don't put it on your bonsai.
Our temperate mosses do not require dormancy, but they only thrive under very cool conditions.
You can try growing some tropical ferns as companion plants in a separate pot, but don't try to grow them in a pot with a Ficus. The fern will die.
Iris

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Re: tropical moss or ferns

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:12 am

bonsaisr wrote:When your ficus are outside, they seem to enjoy the same conditions as the moss on the ground, but if you try to grow moss indoors, it will dry up, even in humid conditions. At any rate, the drying out that your Ficus prefer would kill the moss. If you would like a ground cover on your Ficus, try Sedum dasyphyllum. Actually, a neat top dressing of brownish terrarium gravel is most suitable for displaying Ficus. The tropical moss your friend referred to is probably Spanish moss, a tiny bromeliad that actually does grow indoors under the right conditions. Don't put it on your bonsai.
Our temperate mosses do not require dormancy, but they only thrive under very cool conditions.
You can try growing some tropical ferns as companion plants in a separate pot, but don't try to grow them in a pot with a Ficus. The fern will die.
Iris

Spanish moss is in the same family as bromeliads, but it isn't tiny. There are a number of other airplants that are also related to bromeliads, some of these stay small and could be grown with bonsai. Jim Smith had some of these smaller relatives of Spanish moss in his trees. There are also some more typical bromeliads that stay small and could be placed in trees, as airplants they don't take anything from the tree. As many on this have said, the conditions that make moss happy is usually not the best conditions for our trees. We even have some invasive ferns here in Florida that grow in our bonsai, these is not desirable.

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Re: tropical moss or ferns

Post  bucknbonsai on Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:15 pm

thanks, One of my ficus is planted on a large pile/stack of "coke" a byproduct of coal burning by trains. It is a lightweight pourous almost volcanic looking rock that I find in brick sized chunks. I was primarily looking for something green to tuck into cranies to make more interest on the column of rock and hanging roots.

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Re: tropical moss or ferns

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:12 pm

Do you have pH issues with the coke?

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Re: tropical moss or ferns

Post  bucknbonsai on Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:48 am

No not at all, its about 100 years old. Ive used large amounts of it in different fish tanks for years and they always did fine without any additives to the water.

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Re: tropical moss or ferns

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Tue Nov 08, 2011 9:23 pm

I have an abundance of "sidewalk moss", which has grown in hot, full sun conditions as long as moisture is available. It also goes dormant easily and comes back after a good rain.

When wintering my trees, I leave the moss on the bonsai. When bringing my tropicals indoors, I tend to pull the moss and repot into small flats and keep it isolated. You can drench moss with a solution of fungus gnat chemicals (I use Gnatrol) and leave it on old newspapers for a few weeks then attach it to a new substrate and it should come back.

It has been my experience with Sidewalk Moss, when conditions are right, will usually spread until it crowds the container and then start dying back. Mine has always died from the inside out (leaving the growing edge). If your moss is spreading, it pays to periodically pull out patches to allow it to refill.

The sidewalk moss that I have should be Bryum caespiticium, pronounced "Bri-um sespeeteesee-um", there is also another sidewalk moss called Bryum argenteum, pronounced "Bri-um argentee-um", goes by the common name the "silver sidewalk moss". Apparently, the color is the giveaway.

Contrary to the name, the moss DOES NOT grow on the sidewalk. I actually grows in the fine organic and grainy materials that accumulate in the cracks of the sidewalk and the edges of parking lots.

Jay

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Re: tropical moss or ferns

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