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Sphagnum Moss Propagation 101

Learn how to root plants in sphagnum moss…my new favorite way to propagate cuttings and encourage growth of healthy soil roots! Sphagnum moss propagation is a great plant care skill to learn.

Everything you need to know about sphagnum moss propagation!

Hey guys, today I’m sharing a guide about sphagnum moss propagation. One of my new favorite ways to root plants. Don’t get me wrong—I still love water propagation. But some plants don’t do well transitioning from water directly to soil (like scindapsus pictus).

A sphagnum moss mix can help ease that transition, or you can use it right from the start. It’s also the medium I like to use for my plastic plant propagation box. It holds the moisture well but doesn’t stay too wet. Perfect! Here’s how to use this medium to root plants.

dry sphagnum moss

Sphagnum moss propagation overview

  • Effective method for rooting plant cuttings.
  • Supplies include sphagnum moss, perlite, a clear cup, a water misting bottle, and a plastic bag.
  • Moisten moss and mix with perlite; moss should be damp, not wet.
  • Put mixture in a cup and place cuttings in, ensuring growth points are properly embedded.
  • Cover with a plastic bag to maintain humidity levels and create a greenhouse-like environment.
  • Remove the bag to allow for air circulation and check moss moisture levels every few days; moisten with a spray bottle as necessary.
  • Transferred cuttings to soil once the roots are sufficiently long.

Supplies I use…

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Step 1: Wet the moss and mix with perlite

The sphagnum moss comes dry and packed into a bag. I got mine at a local nursery, but you can also get it online and at local pet stores (reptiles like it!). The first step is to wet the moss. You don’t want it completely water-logged, you just want it wet.

I put a bit in a bowl and ran some water in it. Then I just mix it around with my fingers to ensure it soaks everything up. Once it is fully saturated, I squeeze out ALL of the excess water and mix it with perlite in in a clear plastic cup.

The perlite helps to keep things a bit lighter and assist with drainage. It does retain some water, but not too much. I also have been really liking using clear plastic cups for rooting in moss for the same reason I like using clear containers for rooting in water—I can monitor root development without disturbing the plant.

wet sphagnum moss
wet sphagnum moss
scindapsus treubii rooting in sphagnum moss

Step 2: Add plants and plastic bags

You can add a bit of rooting powder to your cuttings if you’d like. Then add your plants to the mixture. Make sure whatever growing point you’ve got is down in the moss. Below is an example of a marble queen pothos plant rooting in moss and perlite, as well as a scindapsus treubii moonlight cutting.

While the pothos plants are incredibly easy to propagate in water, I wanted to try the moss method, too. It rooted very quickly in the moss! The scindapsus treubii cutting, though, is much tougher to root. It took several months to get the first root to sprout.

I also add plastic bags over each plant when rooting in moss. Or use a large gallon-sized plastic bag to cover several smaller plants. This helps to keep humidity levels high and prevent the sphagnum moss from drying out too quickly.

Bonide rooting hormone powder
rooting plant cuttings in sphagnum moss
rooting plant cuttings in sphagnum moss
roots growing in sphagnum moss and perlite
scindapsus treubii rooting in sphagnum moss
scindapsus treubii rooting in sphagnum moss

Step 3: Monitor and keep moist

If you keep a plastic baggie over your plants, it essentially creates a tiny greenhouse that helps keep humidity high and the moss nice and moist. However, you still definitely want to check the moss and take the baggie off every few days or so to let the plant air out for a bit.

This is also a great time to use a spray bottle to spray down the top of the moss. This is usually enough moisture. Remember, the baggie on top of the cutting will help retain moisture, so you don’t need to add much water.

It’s a bit of a balance—if the moss is too wet and there isn’t enough air flow, the plant cutting will rot. But if the moss is too dry and humidity is too low, the plant won’t root. Play around with some easy cuttings first to get an idea of how to best strike this balance.

spray bottle with water

Step 4: Transfer to soil

Once your plant’s roots are sufficiently long, you can transfer it to a well-aerated soil—or whatever soil is best for your plant. Don’t be surprised if it experiences a bit of shock after transfer. This is common. But transferring from moss to soil is generally much easier on the plant than transferring from water directly to soil!

That’s because roots developed in soil are stronger, and the sphagnum moss mixture mimics an environment similar to soil. Water roots are thinner and very fragile. Since they have grown in water, they also aren’t as good as regulating water intake until they transition to soil roots.

For more, check out my list of the easiest plants to propagate, my guide for snake plant propagation, my tips for propagating succulents from leaves and cuttings!

Consider a DIY plant propagation box

My DIY plastic plant propagation box is one of my favorite spots for sphagnum moss propagation. That’s because it has a lid that holds in moisture, increasing the humidity and allowing the moss to retain water for longer.

I love using little plastic cups for these moss propagations. Here are a few pics to show you how I do it! Make sure to use the same steps outlined in this guide, though—the moss should be moist, not wet, and you should take the lid off regularly to air things out.

sphagnum moss propagation box
sphagnum moss propagation box
sphagnum moss propagation box
sphagnum moss propagation in a cup

In conclusion…

I hope you found this guide helpful! It’s a handy resource for those looking to try a new method, especially for plants you find experience more shock when moving from water to soil.

Remember, the key to success with this method is keeping an eye on moisture and humidity. If you give it a try, let me know how it goes in the comments below! Happy planting 🙂

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collage that says learn how to propagate cuttings in moss and perlite with images of the process
Brittany Goldwyn
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