My DIY backyard gardening adventures

Add Charm To Pots And Stones With A Little Moss

Each summer, I like to get the kids involved in a DIY project of some kind. At 7 and 5, they are still a tad bit young for the old hammer and nail but I always find “creative” ways for them to help me. This year, I thought it would be an excellent project for us to add a little age to some of the larger pots and stones in our yard with some artificially grown moss…to the dismay of my wife, she really loves that blender.

Pic 1 MossInGarden

We live in a home just outside of Toronto and are fortunate enough to have a fairly decent sized yard. Over the spring, I constructed a nice little rock garden in the corner of my property. Not to toot my own horn but I think that I did a fairly good job. The only problem was that I bought the stones from a rock quarry and they were clean which gave the structure a very “new” look where I was looking for more of a Stonehenge/Easter Island look.

Pic2 MossOnStone

I talked to a friend at work and he gave me his tried and true method for quickly growing moss on stone, brick, and pots.


1 Part Moss

1 Part Sugar

2 Parts Beer

Once you have all of the ingredients together, it’s time to mix them and that’s where the blender comes in. Puree the moss mash in the blender until it gets a creamy consistency. Then all that is left to do is coat the stones and pot surfaces with the mixture. Mist the surfaces every now and again to insure that they are moist. Moss grows best in the shade so try and move any treated objects as required until moss begins to grow. After about two months, all of the rock and pot surfaces that we treated had a very healthy patch of moss growing on them.

I was actually told that you can substitute the beer for yogurt or buttermilk. I felt that a yogurt or buttermilk concoction might get a bit stinky after a couple of days so I went with beer.

Finding moss shouldn’t be that much of a problem. I could have picked some up at work pretty easily but I thought it would be nice to make an adventure of it so I drove the kids down to a nearby wooded area. Some garden and landscaping stores will carry moss but you might have to go out and find some. We needed quite a bit of moss (and beer) due to the number of stones and pots that I wanted to cover but if you are looking to cover a couple of pots, it shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes to find enough in the woods or a nearby forest area.


living moss for your rock garden


fresh moss for your rock garden

It is also possible now to purchase garden moss such as these. As many commenters have expressed, it is illegal in many states in the US (and perhaps in other countries as well) to just pick up moss from parks and protected areas.

If you want to try this project, it is best to buy your own moss if you can’t find a free and safe source. (added by Chellet)

Guest Author:

Daniel works as a consultant for Greenbloom Landscaping in Toronto and regularly contributes articles and blog posts to their website. Greenbloom Landscaping offers a complete range of services for both commercial and residential clients throughout the entire Greater Toronto Area.


  1. March 17, 2015    

    I have tried this with another recipe and didnt have much luck. My kids would love to do this, when I last tried I didnt have them. How much of a shady area do I need for this to thrive? Im so excited to try this year! Thank you!

    • March 19, 2015    

      Hello, Matt.

      Thank you for visiting my blog. I am also excited that you’ll be trying this moss recipe with your kids.

      As for the amount of shade required, may I suggest full shade if you live in a tropical country where the sunshine is too hot during summer. Moss can grow under the sun, but can also dry out if it’s too hot (like here in the Philippines). The key to growing moss is moisture.

      Good luck!

  2. August 19, 2014    

    Great tutorial. We linked back to this on our site :) Post about moss decor up in Sept!

    • August 19, 2014    


      Thank you for linking to this blog post. You have very cool and sophisticated wedding planning website. =)

      Have a good day!

  3. Theresa's Gravatar Theresa
    July 9, 2014    

    You are absolutely right Deb. It is illegal to remove any plants from parks or forest. If caught, a person can receive heavy fines and jail time. The author is lucky not to be prosecuted. He is irresponsible for advising people to gather moss from a park.

    • July 10, 2014    

      Hi, Theresa.

      I really don’t want to make a huge deal about your comment, but talking about that here on my blog and seeing what you mean, I tried looking for Daniel’s (guest poster) contact info on the web. Seems he’s disappeared and out of reach.

      I’ve removed the part that you mentioned for everyone’s sake.

      Daniel, if you’re reading this blog, hope it’s alright with you.

      Thank you all.

  4. June 3, 2014    

    Definitely luscious in a garden! I’ll have to try this out myself! I also know that moss also helps with keeping the soil moist and nutrient-rich, so it’s more than just pretty!

    • June 6, 2014    

      Hi, Vanessa.

      Thanks for dropping by. Yes indeed, moss has a lot to offer.

      Glad you’ll try this project. Enjoy! =)

  5. Janet Ward's Gravatar Janet Ward
    May 10, 2014    

    As far as your ants are concerned, around your home and yard, you do have a solution that will irradiate the ants, and not be harmful to children or pets! Go to the grocery store and buy a bag of grits, the finer the texture the better. Then take the dry grits and go all around the base of your house, with a strewing effect, placing a somewhat thin line of grits up near the bottom edge around your home then around any mounds that are visible, you can even sprinkle over the mound and around its base quite sufficiently! When the ants become hungry, they eat the grits, which is food for them, then either water the grass or around the house or put shallow bowls, cookie sheets or whatever you have all around with small amounts of water in it, or just water the ground about a foot away from the grit line, the full ants go to the water and tank up on water and then go back to their nests where they have took the grits to young, and this time take water, within hours of the water all the ants will be dead! They will have drank the water, swelled the grits and basically exploded themselves when the grits expanded with water, and if you do this twice a year, spring and fall, you pretty much won’t have an ant problem anymore! This is a proven method,I use it every year! Good hope, & mighty blessings to you!

    • May 11, 2014    

      Hi Janet.

      Thank you for this suggestion. As much as I don’t like to kill or hurt ants, they do become a bit troubling if there’s a huge colony around the home.

      I hope Cheryle will be able to read this, coz she’s the needs help in solving their ant problem before trying this moss project.

      Thanks again and have a great weekend.

  6. rigo's Gravatar rigo
    April 13, 2014    

    gosh, i love people that are interested in plants, and are willing to go far with them. Congrats.

    • April 13, 2014    

      Thank you for dropping by. =)

      Plants and gardening provide lots of benefits to many people. This guest poster who talks about DIY moss-growing is definitely passionate about it as he shares the experience with his kids, with us, and even took the risk of being scolded for using his wife’s blender. LOL But yeah, gardening is a positive activity that everyone should try at home and enjoy.

  7. Deb's Gravatar Deb
    April 10, 2014    

    it is illegal in most parks to remove any living or dead flora or fauna. Better to go into the woods somewhere and get your moss/driftwood, rocks, etc.

    • April 10, 2014    

      Good point there, Deb. I

      hope our guest poster (Daniel) got the moss in a ‘legal’ manner. Here in our backyard, we have naturally growing moss during the rainy season, so we don’t have to go anywhere else.

      Have a good day!

  8. Cheryle Caneda's Gravatar Cheryle Caneda
    March 29, 2014    

    Aloha, I love this idea of growing moss, I’ve never tried it before but my concern is the “Ant” problem I have around my property there all over. Its a battle controlling them with solutions store bought and handmade concoctions. So I was thinking after coating each pot or stone “Is it ok to put it in a container with a lid” and watch it until it grows, then bring it out?. I just don’t want the ants to eat all that solution I put on it. Please help me, Mahalo Cheryle

    • March 30, 2014    

      Hi Cheryle.

      Thank you for dropping by.

      I am glad you find this moss project interesting.

      I am not so sure about containing the pots or garden stones with the moss solution. However, what I can suggest is you use a basin with water and place the coated pot and/or stone in there. You can use other pots or anything as some sort of pedestal/platform to keep the coated pots/stones from getting wet. The idea is to use water in the basin to prevent the ants from getting into contact.

      I hope this helps.

  9. CAROL's Gravatar CAROL
    February 23, 2014    

    will this work on dirt between my paving sttones

    • February 25, 2014    

      Hi, Carol.

      Thanks for dropping by.

      I think it is possible. As long as the soil in between the stones is in the right condition – moist/damp and not directly hit by sunlight. Otherwise, the moss will dry up.

      I suggest you try applying some of the moss mixture on a small area just to see if the moss can adapt to the environment and medium.

      Hope this helps. And good luck!

  10. August 29, 2013    

    I have a recipe that uses buttermilk powder and water instead of the liquid buttermilk. I’ll have to experiment to see which method works best. I can easily find moss as it grows on the north side of our shed.

  11. Cathy's Gravatar Cathy
    July 19, 2013    

    Is there anything else to use other then beer

    • Chellet's Gravatar Chellet
      July 31, 2013    

      Hi,Cathy. So, sorry for my late response.

      Here’s an article about making moss smoothie and it calls for 2 cups of buttermilk, but can be substituted with a can of beer or 16oz plain yogurt. You can use an old, but still working, blender. But work outside because the concoction stinks according to the author.

      Good luck!

  12. July 4, 2013    

    Moss can be very beautiful ,if one the right ideas. And it seems incrediibly easy to do it too.
    Could you tell me about ferns, lichens and succulents ,so that one could some colour and excitement to the project. Thanks-

  13. Ruth Wickline's Gravatar Ruth Wickline
    July 2, 2013    

    This is very exciting! Can’t wait to try it on my rocks and pots! Thanks!

    • Chellet's Gravatar Chellet
      July 3, 2013    

      Hi, Ruth.

      I’m excited for you, too. Enjoy the project and hope to see photos of them. =)

  14. Vandna's Gravatar Vandna
    June 4, 2013    

    It’s interesting to know this activity.Hope it will work In the climate of NorthIndia.

  15. April 22, 2013    

    I love the moss in our yard and have been thinking about getting it started in other locations. I haven’t started a rock garden yet but was just talking about it with Jenny a couple of days ago. I was just going to try and move the moss but I like the idea of making a spread and pasting it on the rocks and pots.

    • Chellet's Gravatar Chellet
      April 24, 2013    

      Glad to hear that, James. Hope to see a photo of your garden with the strategically grown moss. =)

  16. twyla's Gravatar twyla
    April 21, 2013    

    I’ve always wanted to try to grow moss on my rocks. Excited about this. Can’t wait to try it:) Thank you!

    • Chellet's Gravatar Chellet
      April 21, 2013    

      You’re welcome. Thanks to our guest blogger – Daniel of Greenbloom Landscaping Toronto []. =)

  17. Linda k's Gravatar Linda k
    April 19, 2013    

    What happens when the moss freezes over winter

    • Chellet's Gravatar Chellet
      April 19, 2013    

      Hi, Linda.

      I personally haven’t tried this moss technique. But I guess repeating the process is the best solution if the moss is totally eradicated by the frost.

  18. Elisha's Gravatar Elisha
    February 11, 2013    

    How thick do you coat the rocks and pots with the mixture?

    • Chellet's Gravatar Chellet
      February 11, 2013    

      I’m not sure how much our guest author applied on his garden pots and rocks. But you can experiment by coating 2 pieces of rocks – 1 with just enough to cover the entire surface and 1 with a thicker coat of the moss mix. Don’t coat the undersides of the rocks that sit on the ground. See how much moss will grow on the two rock surfaces. Good luck.

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