Make a Homemade Moss Wall Sculpture – Mother Earth News
Create a homemade moss wall sculpture from shade-loving acrocarpus moss or pleurate moss for living outdoor wall art.
Growing moss as a living wall first occurred to me when I traveled to Ireland a few years ago. There, moss grows abundantly everywhere: on rocks, on walls, on animals, on houses, on absolutely everything. There was a certain magic in seeing mossy green patterns dancing along a rock fence wall that sparked a passionate desire to touch. Some types of algae look as soft as lamb’s wool, while others look as prickly as a dry sponge. But all algae are amazing in their beauty. I love moss, and surprisingly it makes a rather wonderful living wall material.
The moss has been around for approximately 300 million years and has been identified in ancient fossils. The moss family includes more than 12,000 species of small, spore-bearing plants that range in size from microscopic forms to giant plants more than 40 inches tall. They are usually distributed in freshwater areas of the world and do not tolerate salt water. Moss is commonly found in moist, shaded locations and helps control soil erosion by providing a tight surface cover that absorbs water. Moss reproduces by producing spores as well as by branching, fragmentation, and regeneration from small pieces.
Which moss is best for living walls?
While moss may grow abundantly in Ireland, and can easily grow everywhere in the northwestern United States, it is not easy to grow in all locations. My garden now has moss, but I spent four years trying to grow moss and failing over and over again. What I finally discovered was that I needed an expert to help me. I contacted David Spain from MossAndStoneGardens.com. He gave me a quick overview of moss and how to grow it.
According to David, there are two primary types of moss used in gardening: acrocarpus and pleurocarpus. Each has unique characteristics.
Pleural moss tends to form spreading carpets rather than upright tufts. They are freely branching plants that grow in a more chaotic, colonial manner. They can grow quickly and regenerate quickly when broken. Some species of pleurocarpous require large amounts of water and special care until they become established.
Acrocarbose algae have a more upright growth habit. They tend to look “full” and are somewhat more tolerant of dry conditions. Its wide branches create a more architectural colonial look. It is important to determine the difference between cultivars because Acrocarpus’ upright growth habit and drought tolerance make it a better candidate for the conditions created by living walls.
Another benefit of acrocarpus moss is that it can survive without soil as long as it is an established plant and receives the water it needs. Dry moss is often found growing on rocks and locations other than soil. Prolonged contact with galvanized, zinc and copper wire will kill this moss, so it is important not to allow algae to touch galvanized products in live wall installations. Additionally, wood or treated chemicals can harm the moss, so it’s best to grow organically and be aware of what the moss comes into contact with. If you find or create metal wall hangings for dry algae, use a non-galvanized material or paint the galvanized metal to prevent the algae-killing effect.
Create a living wall sculpture to house your moss wall
Building a living wall using moss and wall sculptures, especially metal art, is very easy, and wall art can be created from reclaimed materials or purchased as an already created piece of art. Resale stores, garage sales, and online retailers stock metal artwork in abundance at affordable prices. If you are concerned about protecting the wall on which you hang your living wall, the back of the artwork can be covered with a black cloth or removed for watering purposes and replaced once the moss dries slightly. However, I used art for the fence area and watered the wall sculpture directly.
Mosses do best in moderate temperatures and are evergreen plants during the winter. It will bloom year-round as long as moisture and sunlight are available at the same time. Photosynthesis is possible even below 32 degrees F, so dormancy does not usually occur due to cold weather. Instead, most algae become dormant because they are too dry. They usually return to active growth once moisture fills their tissues. Although it’s not necessary, if you want to bring the wall hanging inside during the winter, simply water it in the bathroom when necessary, allow it to dry, and then rehang it inside. Take it out again in the spring.
Finding moss is easy. While some garden centers sell moss, it is easier to find suppliers online. A soilless living wall requires minimal attention once established and is a great conversation piece in your garden and home.
How to build an artistic garden with moss and shade
- An item that can be used as a wall hanging, such as a metal wall art frame.
- Acrocarpous moss sheet
1. Once your acrocarpus moss has arrived, you will need to extend the moss into a shaded area.
2. If you can’t plant right away, water the plants. The moss must be dry before it can be crumbled, so make sure the moss is very dry on the day you build your living wall.
3. In order for the acrocarpus moss to remain in the wall sculpture without assistance, simply pull a large piece of moss from the moss sheet that arrived from the nursery.
4. When the moss is gently pressed into the pockets on the metal art sculpture, it slowly expands and fits tightly to the sides of the metal.
5. Take the large piece of moss with both hands, squeeze it and squeeze it tightly so that it can be placed in the pocket of the metal art sculpture.
6. Repeat until your art sculpture is filled in the shape you want.
7. Hang the wall unit using a hammer and nails or surface screws.
8. Water daily during the first month and follow the instructions below.
Items that can be turned into wall gardens from Creative Moss Living
- Pre-made metal wall hangings
- Small picture frames
- Small embroidery hoops
- Find metal objects and recycle them
- Metal wire baskets
- Old literature shelves or brochure holders
- Flat cans of tuna
- Glass cups
Watering acrocarpus moss
Acrocarpus moss is much slower growing than other algae and does not tolerate extreme humidity for periods of up to three months. Eventually, if moisture persists, the moss will die. David Spain of Mossandstonegardens.com recommends the following watering plan.
- The first and second months: water daily.
- Third month: Water every three days.
- Fourth month: Water once a week.
- Fifth month: Water twice a month.
- After the fifth month, do not water unless there is no rain for three weeks or more.
more than Development of a living wall:
Growing a living wall: creating vertical gardens with a specific purpose By Shauna Coronado. Copyrights © 2015 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc. Reprinted with permission of the publisher; All rights reserved.
(Tags for translation)Acrocarpus