Learn how to grow Spanish moss, growing Spanish moss demands care and a few requirements that needs to be fulfilled.
USDA Zones— 7 – 11
Difficulty— Easy to Moderate
How does Spanish Moss Grow?
Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) is not a moss but a flowering plant that grows over trees, however it doesn’t leach nutrients from them. It is native in North, Central and South America and belongs to the family of Bromeliads (Bromeliaceae), family of pineapples. It is an epiphytic. Epiphytes (air plants) are those that sit or grow on other plants but they do not use energy of host plant or feed on them.
In its natural habitat it colonized not only on trees but also hangs on power lines, wires or stones. Spanish moss shoots, depending on the form can have different thicknesses, are several meters long. Its small flowers are yellowish-green. Like other air plants, it gets water and nutrients from particles in air.
Most often it is propagated naturally, when the tiny pieces of its stems and plantlets spread during rainy or windy weather. In your garden you can propagate it from division by separating side shoots and plantlets.
To germinate it from seeds, sow them in a substrate with good drainage and put that on a bright location. Remember, humidity promotes germination but once germinated, frequent and regular watering can cause rotting of young plants. Growing Spanish moss from seeds is a slow process. In months it only reaches 1 cm in height.
Requirements for Growing Spanish Moss
Overall Spanish moss prefer bright but not direct light and good air circulation. Choose a location that is exposed to light morning and evening sun on a tree or tall shrub.
During summer or if you’re growing it in tropics, must remember that you never place it in proximity to a hot window or wall otherwise the heat will transfer and might be detrimental for Spanish moss.
Avoid using chlorinated water, use purified, distilled or rain water. Keep the Spanish moss moist all the time, otherwise it will become dormant. Spray it with water regularly but only when it seems dry. Frequent watering when it is already moist can be detrimental.
Spanish Moss Care
Spanish moss care is slightly tricky but once you understand it, it is simple.
Humidity is an important factor, especially when you’re growing Spanish moss indoors. To avoid it from drying out of the middle or rear drives, spray it from all sides.
Spanish moss doesn’t need fertilizer instead it is itself used as a fertilizer. However if it is growing poorly or discoloring, spray it with compost tea diluted half with water.
In cooler zones Spanish moss dies in winter as it can’t tolerate temperature below 50 F (10 C) for long time. However, Spanish moss can tolerate temperature down to 22 F (-5 C). To overwinter it, keep the Spanish moss indoors, hanging near the sunny window in a temperature around 50 – 70 F (10 and 21 C).
In summer provide it a light shade and increase watering.