CURRENT NEWS: Check out our new Peruvian Leaf Litter!

Dusk Moss Mix - A Quick Primer

Posted by Glass Box Tropicals on Nov 11th 2020

The Dusk Moss Mix that Glass Box Tropicals offers is a product that has been available in the United States but only intermittently. Over the years, it has always been well received and highly sought after. This moss mix is extremely popular throughout Europe and is used with great success. The mix contains a blend of sphagnum moss, tropical mosses, assorted fern spores, and seeds from assorted Begonias, Gesneriads, and other tropicals. This blend allows for amazing moss growth, creating a very naturalistic appearance.

Glass Box Tropicals is the only distributor of this product in the United States.

What you will receive: When you order this product, it will come as a dry powder that has been milled to a very fine consistency. All of the contents are dry and dormant. This product will take several weeks to show beginning signs of growth, and several months to completely cover a background or other surfaces.

How to prepare the mix: First, add the mix to a small container that has enough volume to allow for the addition of water (a small mixing bowl is typically large enough). Then, slowly add water, and gently stir until the mixture has the consistency of thin yogurt. Next, allow this mixture to sit overnight in order to fully absorb the water. Allowing this absorption and rehydration is EXTREMELY important.

How to apply: After allowing the overnight rehydration, apply the mixture to your background, hardscape, or even the substrate layer of your terrarium. There are several options for the application method.

The first is to use a stiff bristle paint brush (a simple cheap brush from your local hardware store will do). Dip the brush into the mixture and simply paint it onto the surface you want to cover. Ideally, you will have a layer about 1mm thick evenly across the surface. It may take a few tries to accomplish this, so do not instantly be discouraged!

The other two methods are much quicker and generally result in more uneven moss growth - something that many people prefer for a more “natural” look.

The first option is to grab small bits of the rehydrated mixture and simply splatter it onto the surface you are trying to cover. How thick you want to apply the moss mix using this method is up to you. We recommend trying to keep the thickness of the moss mix under 2mm. The benefit of this method is that the moss starts growing with a more natural appearance, where it pops up in some areas and not in others.

The other option is to grab a handful of the mixture and just smear it across your chosen surface. This method will result in an uneven coverage, which can appear more natural while growing in. There will be some areas with a lot of moss growth, and other areas that are thinner and grow in more slowly.

General care: There are a few extremely important factors to consider when planting and during care. The first is the surface you plan to apply the moss mix to. Generally, a super smooth surface like glass is not a good option as glass will not hold enough moisture or provide a suitable growing surface. We highly recommend using EpiWeb or Hygrolon as surfaces to grow the moss mix on. Other good choices are Virgin Cork Bark, Ghostwood, Cypress, Tree Fern Fiber, Peat Bricks, and Manzanita. The most important thing to remember about any choice you make is that the surface needs to be able to retain moisture in order for the mosses to germinate and grow. The chosen media will need to be kept extremely moist on a constant basis in order for the moss to do well.

Typically, it is recommended to mist the moss several times a day. This will vary based on your setup. The key to remember is that you never want it to dry out. If it does dry out, it is likely that the moss will not reanimate and you may need to start the whole process over again. One way you can help prevent dehydration is by replacing vented areas on top of your tank with glass panels. Keeping the moisture level high is especially important during the germination process. We cannot stress enough the importance of keeping it always moist and NEVER letting it completely dry out.

The last important factor is providing the moss with medium to high light. We highly recommend using Jungle Dawn 13w LED lights on your tank. These lights produce a great spectrum, and mosses do wonderfully under them. Other lights will work as well, though you may need to add additional light depending on the light bulb you choose. To keep it simple, if the moss growth you see is very stringy and sparse, you likely need to add more light to your terrarium. While it is true that some mosses do well in medium to low light, we get better growth when providing medium to high light.

Tips and tricks:

  • Moisture is your friend when it comes to mosses, DO NOT let them dry out.

  • If planting moss around slower growing plants, such as orchids, epiphytic ferns, Marcgravias, etc., do not be afraid to pull the moss off of them. If left to grow, the moss can actually grow fast enough to choke out some other plants.

  • Ferns, Gesneriads, Begonias and some other species also routinely pop-up from this moss mix. Some of these you may love while some you may hate. Do not be afraid to pull them out. If it leaves a small bare spot, the moss will quickly cover it back up.

  • This product does not provide an instant moss covering to your tank. It can take several months, so patience is a must.