Gardening · General · Uncategorized

In Defense of Moss and Lichen

Moss and lichen are awesome.


Around my pond, and around my garden in general, I have a few patches of moss and lichen. And I think they are a very misaligned plant. While they can be a pest at times, such as in areas where young, tender plants are pushing up they can block them and essentially kill them. And on paths they can be slick when wet and potentially dangerous. But in other areas? I personally think they can make something mundane look a WHOLE lot better


Take, for instance, my rock border edge. What was once a nice enough slab of Yorkshire stone is now a beautiful, aged part of the living organism that is my garden!


You will notice that the rocks on this side of the garden don’t have anything like as much lichen or moss on them as so look… Kinda boring? Nothing like the other side of the garden!

The same for the rocks around my pond. The different types of moss give the whole thing a sense of character. And in summertime they change colour, have tiny flowers and make the whole thing… Better.


And then there are the bonus aspects to allowing moss to take hold. Above is my raspberry pot. I allowed the moss to grow because it does two things. One, it acts like a mulch in that it holds water in the soil, but it also insulates it to keep it cool when warm and warm when cool!

Note that moss does not take any nutrients from the soil so don’t worry about any leeching occurring. The plants won’t require any extra feeding because of the moss being there.

And then there is the last thing… It’s beneficial to some insects and frogs and a few other amphibians love it!

So… For me at any rate, moss and lichen are good when in the right place.


17 thoughts on “In Defense of Moss and Lichen

    1. Well… They do… But it doesn’t come from the soil. It’s mainly from windborn dust and particulates that get caught in the fronds.
      A bit like coral really. B-)

  1. I like my moss, too. It is distinct leaves, which surprises me, as it is different from the moss I grew up with, which was more like bowling green grass in appearance.

    Interesting to know how moss feed (ref your last comment).

    1. There are types of moss for different areas… The type that lives in my lawn *shakes fist* is not so nice, but the rest I kinda do!

      But there are some forms of moss and lichen out there that are simply AMAZING.
      Cobalt Crust (Terana caerulea)

      Note that it isn’t colour adjusted… It really is that blue! How awesome is that? B-)

      1. Looked up cobalt crust – not heard of it before, and I agree that it his an amazing colour. There is so much to learn when it comes to biology and plant science.

        1. Oh yes! I don’t think I, as an entry level gardener, could never know enough.
          I don’t think even top level horticulturists could know it all. Which is why they all specialise.

          But it sure is fun learning new things!

            1. To a degree… But anything delicate or small will have problems pushing through it.
              Only let it settle if you don’t have anything else there. Oh… And it spreads!

              1. There isn’t anything else growing where the moss is (ie I haven’t planted anything). If it causes any problems anywhere, I’ll take it up. Quite surprised it grows, though, considering how dry my back garden is.

                1. It can catch moisture out of the air and use that. If I have been reading right it’s one of those plants that creates it’s own environment. It filters moisture out of the air and feeds itself from the dust particles but some of the moisture gets trapped underneath… Which then improves the soil.
                  The only issues is… It can inhibit some plants from growing and can create dry zones if it gets overgrown and too matted.

                  It has to be said that I am only just learning this so I may be wrong!

  2. These are beautiful! I miss that in Wisconsin – here in Colorado it is too dry. Even in the shadiest spots, I just cant get any moss – boo hoo! Think it adds character to a garden!

    1. That is such a shame. Any chance you can artificially make it? A pond in a shady corner or something? Or is it just plainly too hot where you are?

        1. Probably lichen then. That stuff can grow ANYWHERE. And Lichen can sap nutrients from whatever it grows because its so slow growing it can survive on near no moisture, or it can get moisture at night when temperatures drop and water condenses.

  3. Lichen is great stuff – I’ve heard it is a sign that the air is very clean. Plus it looks pretty on my apple tree.

    1. I know moss needs clean air. I don’t see why lichen is any different. By then I don’t think any form of life will grow in a putrid environment other than fungi. Only because fungi will grow ANYWHERE. even in the heart of a nuclear power station!

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