Sphagnum Moss - Sphagnum Andersonium
There are approximately 380 species included in the genus Sphagnum. Spaghnum Moss form the basis for many peat bogs, retaining water and increasing the acidity of nearby soil. Although there are quite a few species with colors ranging from green to red, the most common species for growing are the green colored Sphagnum flexuosum and Sphagnum cuspidatum. These plants prefer damp conditions and will retain rain waters for long periods. Many Sphagnum species grow in temperate zones such as conifer forests and swampy areas, but have also been known to populate subtropical areas and moist tundras. The surface of the Sphagnum moss grows to about an inch while spreading and is soft to the touch, but can deepen to nearly a foot if contained. This feature makes it a fantastic choice for decorating the ground or base of potted plants that enjoy acidic conditions. The best use of Sphagnum is as a top dressing for carnivorous plants (such as Venus fly traps or pitcher plants) or orchids as it maintains necessary conditions for the soil quite well. Sphagnum can thrive in most areas, but prefer soil acidity and moisture. Proliferation of this moss helps control the growth of larger plants by preventing the soil from accumulating too many surface nutrients. Growing conditions vary between species, but it is best to keep Sphagnum in a controlled environment, growing from peat in moist to wet soil conditions. Sphagnum appreciates taller plants to help shield it from harsh sunlight and high humidity to regulate the moisture content it needs to thrive. Dry winds will have a similar adverse affect to harsh sunlight on the moss. Take care when handling Sphagnum moss, especially if harvesting from an uncontrolled source, as there are potential health hazards from fungal spores that can reside in the plant.