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 quick post 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.
And here are the steps for sphagnum moss propagation!
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 (obviously) and at local pet stores. That’s because some reptiles like it. 🙂
So the first step is to wet the moss. You don’t want it completely water-logged, you just want it wet. So I put a bit in a bowl and ran some water in it (tap water is fine). Then I just kind of mixed it around with my fingers to ensure it soaked everything up. And I squeezed out the excess.
After that, I put some into a clear plastic cup and mixed it with some perlite. The perlite is just to help 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 too much.
Step 2: Add plants and plastic bags!
I then add the plants! Make sure whatever growing point you’ve got is down in the moss—whether it’s a node or the end of the cutting. Just depends on what kind of plant you’re propagating.
I have some pictures here of a marble queen pothos plant I’m working on in sphagnum 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 it in the moss method too.
The scindapsus treubii cutting, though, is much tougher to root. I got the cutting from someone locally for $10 (it’s a more rare and expensive plant), and I’ve been carefully working on its roots for a few months now! Since it’s well into fall here, I’ll wait until spring to plant it in soil.
I also add a plastic bag over each plant. 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.
If you don’t keep a baggie over the plant, it will probably be fine as long as you check the moss to make sure it stays damp. (Unless it’s a hard-to-root plant like treubii…use a baggie!)
You can add a bit of rooting powder if you’d like. I didn’t add any to my treubii cutting just because I didn’t think so, but I did add some to a monstera siltepecana cutting batch I’m working on! Let’s hope it helps speed up the root development!
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 week 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!
Once your plant’s roots are sufficiently long, you can transfer you plant to a peaty soil—or whatever soil is best for your plant. Don’t be surprised if it experienced 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 thicker, and the sphagnum moss mixture mimics that same environment. 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 on plant propagation, check out my list of the easiest plants to propagate, my guide for snake plant propagation, my detailed post on propagating succulents from leaves and cuttings, and my DIY test tube propagation stand!
DIY plant propagation box
I mentioned that my 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. We use the ones that Ramona’s stuff comes in at Chipotle 🙂 Here are a few pics to show you how I do it!