Sphagnum Moss vs Peat Moss

Sherin Woods is a California-based DIY enthusiast and garden design aficionado. With a background in Environmental Science, she combines creativity and sustainability in all her projects. A Pinterest favorite, Sherin is committed to eco-friendly solutions and has contributed to various home and garden publications. Her areas of expertise include DIY project planning, sustainable garden design, and content creation.
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Mainly used as a soil amendment or potting soil ingredient, it is essential to know the difference between Sphagnum Moss vs Peat Moss! Let’s find out!

Often confused as the same growing material, but these both are not! Though they are two different parts of the same plant, their usages are vastly different. This article is going to guide you in-depth on Sphagnum Moss vs Peat Moss!

Check out our article on growing Spanish Moss here! 

What is Sphagnum Moss?

Sphagnum Moss vs Peat Moss

Sphagnum moss has a neutral pH. It is a soft and pliable part of the plant that forms a dense, water-retentive clump. This quality makes it perfect as a seed-starter medium. It also finds its uses in line baskets and as a potting soil amendment.

There are two types of sphagnum moss available–long-fiber moss, which is a natural form and milled moss, same as long-fiber, but cut finely. It is native to Canada, New Zealand, Peru, Scotland, and Ireland.

What is Peat Moss?

People often confuse Peat moss with sphagnum moss, as various stores sell it as “sphagnum peat moss.” Peat moss is a form of sphagnum moss that has died and then over-grown by moss thousands of times, forming a bog. This, dead and layered, compact form of moss is what we know as peat moss.

It is rich in water content, which is the main requirement for the process of bog formation. Peat moss also has a mixture of various plants, insects and twigs. It is very acidic and has a high content of tannins as well.

Pro Tip: If you are looking forward to growing acid-loving plants., peat moss is an excellent medium! 

Sphagnum Moss vs Peat Moss

Sphagnum Moss vs Peat Moss 2

Both peat moss and sphagnum moss originate from the same plant. However, they’re quite different.

Properties of Sphagnum Moss

  • Has a neutral pH
  • High water retention capacity
  • Excellent growing medium, as it is soft and pliable
  • Long-fibered
  • Purest form of moss with no other plant material included
  • An excellent medium as a seed starter for growing orchids, lining baskets, and a growth material in potting soil.

Properties of Peat Moss

  • Highly acidic with high tannin content
  • 70-75% of Peat Moss is water
  • Is compacted naturally and sold in compressed, bale form
  • Has a mixture of other plant materials, dead insects and moss
  • Used in both potting and garden soils

Note: Do bear in mind that Peat moss is a non-renewable resource, as compared to the sphagnum moss. The biological process that undergoes to form it takes thousands of years. Even its reserves grow at a rate of a mere millimeter every year. It is mostly mined in Canada and supplied in America. 

Here’s how you can make coco peat at home easily! 

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