A 1 x 2 foot patch of this fantastic moss came with the front yard when we bought the house. I left it alone, and it pretty much hibernated in the deep shade beneath the laurels there. The patch slowly expanded and at some point I attempted to divide it into other spots.
Amazingly, the transplants took off, probably because they weren’t under so much shade. Now I’m going wild, transplanting this stuff all over the front sidewalk and north side garden, anyplace with excess moisture.
Sadly, I’ve tried and failed to identify the species. The best I can gather is that it’s some kind of Haircap Moss (Polytrichastrum or Polytrichum), but it doesn’t look like any of the specific species photos I’ve seen online. And I’ve never seen it for sale at the nursery.
Whatever it is, it forms a compact, velvety mat of emerald green no taller than 1″, which helps block out weeds. However, perennials like black mondo grass will grow through it to interesting effect. When the soil inevitably dries out in late summer, the stems shrivel, but always open back up with a good dousing. I’ve never seen any of it die back in drought or freezing weather.
Hi! I'm Lorie and I wrangle plants in a muddy, feral shade garden in the Pacific Northwest. I built this site to serve as a gardening journal and quasi-accurate record of planting successes and failures. My goal is to help "future me" be a better gardener. I hope what I've learned along the way can be useful to you too. Thanks for visiting!