Cushion Moss - Leucobryum
Cushion moss is a different moss with many unusual characteristics. It is often called white cushion moss because of the white sheen that gives it its light green color. Found in nature covering large areas of shady parks and woods, cushion mosses are some of the most versatile and useful mosses, with many practical applications outside as well as inside.
They can form thick mats several feet in length, but often grow as small spheres up to three inches tall, which look like little cushions. This moss grows slowly and spreads through spores, which cause many pillows or patches to grow closer to each other. Over time, these can develop into a light green lawn.
Cushion moss prefers sandy, acidic soil over richer, darker soils. Sometimes found on the edges of shady rivers or old stream beds, it grows best under damp conditions because it lacks real roots. Water must be obtained by the plant from its immediate surroundings through osmosis, and if allowed to dry out, it will enter into a dormant state until it is pre-moistened.
Most cushion mosses are found on the floors of well-established forests in the almost complete shade. Too much sunlight can quickly dry it out, although it is tolerant of partial sun. It can be grown in hardiness zones 6-10, as accents in a garden or even as a unique lawn in a shady yard. Care should be taken to avoid heavy foot traffic over large sheets.
Indoors, it can be put to use as a top layer in hanging flower baskets and other potted plants. The light green of the moss contrasts well with the darker green of many houseplants, adding beauty as well as holding moisture in, which reduces the frequency that plants need to be watered.
If care is taken to place it in its ideal conditions, cushion mosses can make a significant, low demanding ground cover.