Can Sphagnum Moss Grow Underwater?

  • By: TheWalledNursery
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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You can try to grow sphagnum moss underwater. Although, many people have mixed results. Sphagnum moss grows naturally in bog environments, so while it loves water, it won’t grow if submerged for several days. 

However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t add it to your tank!

Growing sphagnum moss grow underwater
Can sphagnum moss grow underwater

Many people add them to floating wood or other items in fish tanks.

You’ll need to know the best ways to care for this moss if you want to grow it at home for your projects. 

Will Sphagnum Moss Grow Underwater? 

Many types of moss can grow underwater and look great in various tanks.

However, many people have mixed results when it comes to sphagnum moss.  

Not every kind of moss is suitable for use in an aquarium. Some moss types need to stay submerged, while others need to be above water with soaked soil.

Sphagnum moss can grow underwater
Will sphagnum moss grow underwater

Any land moss won’t survive underwater for longer than a handful of days. 

In Particular – Sphagnum moss is a bog moss. It grows over drenched soil or the top of a swamp. While it thrives in a wet climate, staying underwater for days at a time can kill it.

Many aquarists have tried to make sphagnum moss grow while submerged.  

These aquarists said that the moss didn’t look nice after a few days, even if it tried to spread.

These results have to do with the nature of this moss species.

It can survive underwater for the amount of time a bog floods (usually a few days) but dies when constantly submerged. 

Overall, you can try it yourself! You’ll want to have the moss on floating items in the tank. If the moss becomes submerged, it should be fine until you remove it.

If you want moss that stays under the water all the time, you’ll want to try using something different. 

Will Sphagnum Moss Float? 

Sphagnum moss can float as long as it doesn’t absorb enough water to make it sink.

You can set it on the surface of your tank, and it will continue growing there! 

Sphagnum moss can float
Will sphagnum moss float

In nature, sphagnum moss can float on the top of the bog, creating a carpet-like layer.

If given enough time to grow, it can support the weight of people! 

In Short – You can add sphagnum moss to your tanks at home. Keep in mind it can spread from any floating decorations and grow along the water’s surface.

This effect looks great, but depending on the type of setup you have, you might not want that. 

How Can I Grow Sphagnum Moss? 

You’ll want to grow your own sphagnum moss since it tends to have a high price tag in stores, and companies harm bogs by removing it.

Plus, the dried moss you buy won’t continue to grow at home.  

You won’t need to use any potting soil because this moss doesn’t have roots! The leaves take in water by making direct contact with it.

How to grow sphagnum moss tips
How to grow sphagnum moss

They grow over fallen trees in bogs and rocks, so you may want to add these materials to your container- but you don’t have to. 

Use a container with drainage holes at the bottom and a tray to set this container on:

  • First, line the container with a cloth that water filters through.
  • As you water the moss, leave the excess in the tray. It evaporates and keeps the air nearby humid! 
  • Set a thin layer of moss over the cloth.
  • Then, mist it generously with clean water.
  • You should place the moss somewhere it has access to bright but indirect sunlight.

This moss also grows well with supplemental UV light if you need to. 

Can I Grow Dry Sphagnum Moss? 

You can grow dried sphagnum moss!

You can grow dried sphagnum moss!
Can you grow dry sphagnum moss? 

This version is usually what you find in garden stores. Once you start the moss, you can continue growing it using more fresh moss. 

The moss should regain its color and continue growing once you rehydrate it.

However, you won’t be able to do this for chemically treated and preserved moss.

This moss is entirely dead and can’t come back to life, even with tons of water. 

When Can I Harvest Sphagnum Moss? 

When you follow the above guidelines to grow your sphagnum moss, it should fill the top of the container in about two to three months.

You’ll want to snip off any long strands emerging from the container, then set them back on the moss patch to continue growing. 

You can harvest the moss at any time!

Your container may take less or more time to fill. It should be ready to harvest as long as you wait for the moss to start sending out long strands to grow. 

What Do I Use Sphagnum Moss For? 

Whether you have an aquarium or love gardening, you’ll find plenty of uses for this moss at home!

What Do I Use Sphagnum Moss For? 
Using sphagnum moss

Many people create moss planters:

  • use them to start seeds
  • use it to line hanging baskets
  • or add them as a top dressing to their potted plants

Sphagnum moss has a neutral pH level, so it won’t harm your plants or change an aquarium’s environment conditions very much.

Plus: It can be very vibrant and beautiful when taken care of properly! 

Is Sphagnum Different From Peat Moss? 

Sphagnum moss is different from the peat moss you might be used to in several ways.

It grows on the surface of a bog, but peat moss stays below the water’s surface.

Peat moss also decays underwater, creating a layer of decay in swamps.  

Sphagnum moss vs peat moss facts
Is sphagnum different from peat moss? 

However, these aren’t two different species of moss!

Sphagnum moss can turn into peat moss if it sinks below the water’s surface and stays there.

Essentially, these are two different areas of the same moss you find in a bog. 

So, you won’t want to leave your sphagnum moss underwater forever! Eventually, it breaks down and turns into peat. 

Lastly, sphagnum moss is alive, while peat moss is dead.

You can harvest sphagnum moss and continue growing it, but you won’t have the same results if you try to grow peat moss. 

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