Lately, there has been a significant increase in the number of people going into the terrarium hobby. Probably, if there is one thing the pandemic brought us, it reminded us that there are still hobbies worth doing and can help us spend fun times at home to veer us away from the boredom of being confined in our homes.
With the growing popularity of terrariums, one design or type had always been the favorite of many—the mossariums. Yes, a Mossarium is an enclosure used to grow moss, or direct translation is “a clear container of moss”. Most likely because of the beauty the combined moss varieties create when they are inside a container, which mimics a plateau, a grassland, or a prairie of some sort if it is designed without a hardscape. A Mossarium designed with some rocks as a hardscape also mimics a mountaintop, or a cave, etc.
To share with you how we create our “Ugly Mossarium” Series, here are the simple steps we do in order to create one lovely mossarium that you can also do easily at home.
Reservoir (Pumice Riversand is highly recommended)
Substrate (any type of soil will do)
1 Piece of a Hardscape (The Ugly Mossarium Series use only 1 type of hardscape at a time)
Moss (the more varieties, the merrier)
2. Clean the glass enclosure first. This will ensure that the glass you are using can give you a maximum viewing experience later when you are done with the design. Also, during this step, you will have an opportunity to check for glass marks or stains and decide which part would be the front and the back. You can use a dry or wet cloth, paper towel, or cotton. Water or alcohol is highly recommended.
3. Put the reservoir first. You can use either riversand pumice, small rocks, pebbles, or gravel. However, we highly recommend the riversand pumice as these are small and can fit in properly in the small enclosure and can maximize the space of your mossarium since it fills in the bottom part uniformly.
4. Put in the charcoal as your filtration layer. The charcoal will serve as the filtration system for the water that drains to the reservoir, keeping the water clean for use in the water cycle inside the mossarium.
5. Add in your substrate. Any soil or substrate mix can be used. However, for our Ugly Mossarium Series, we regularly use pure vermicast as it is easy to use, and the color is consistent. It is not strict; however, you may use whatever is available in your area if you want to.
6. Put in the hardscape. The use of one hardscape is the consistent design used by the Ugly Mossarium Series. This is because we want to highlight the beauty of the moss, we are using for our mossariums. Especially these mosses were rescued mosses, so we maximize their usage in our mossariums and to give justice to their beauty altogether.
7. Add in more substrate to cover the base of your hardscape. To anchor the base properly, you can press the substrate to the base of the hardscape so that the substrate will become compact and support the hardscape properly.
8. Add in the center of attraction—the moss. Yes, this is the final touch. For our Ugly Mossarium Series, we put in any type of moss available in the nursery. We design the moss according to their height, so we put in the rather flat mosses in front and the ones that are taller and bigger sizes at the background to create a better viewing experience and for the mosses to be seen in a better angle.
9. And finally, for the finishing touches, you can add more moss depending on your gusto and the available materials. More moss does not mean nuisance. The good thing about the mossarium is that, more does not mean more. There is beauty in abundance here.
10. Once you are done with the design, mist the moss and the enclosure properly. You will know that the water level is appropriate if the moss is all moist, and that the first layer of the substrate is damp. You can and will never overwater the moss because naturally, they can accommodate more water and they tend to expand in doing so. If in any case there is an excess after all, the water will be drained in the reservoir so that your substrate will be free of excess.
And of course, once you are finished, give it a day or two to acclimate and then you will get to appreciate the beauty of your mossarium once the contents have acclimated and you get to see the moss grow inside. We also recommend that you add in springtails to make it a bioactive enclosure, but if you are too squeamish about it, you need not fret because there is a natural presence of bacteria and fungi in the substrate to help sustain your mossarium.