New Zealand a unique species of sphagnum moss known as Angel Moss is
actually farmed and sustainably harvested.
The moss is sterile, has amazing water holding qualities and is ideal
as a liner for hanging baskets and hanging planters. It is also used in
plant propagation, as a soil conditioner and even medically.
So successful are the farming techniques that Angel moss actually
fully regenerates every 3-5 years
Moss, Sphagnum Moss & Angel Moss
There are literally thousands of types of mosses – and new species
are being discovered almost every year. Sphagnum mosses form a distinct
sub-class within the moss family.
moss bogs form in areas with high rainfall and low temperatures, or poor
drainage. Under these conditions, nutrients are leached from the soil,
leaving an acidic (sour) soil condition that sphagnum moss thrives in.
There are many species of sphagnum moss.
S. cristatum, S. australe (antarcticum),
S. falcatulum, S. subnitens, S. squarrosum, and S. subsecundum are some
Sphagnum cristatum, known as Angel Moss is a unique sphagnum
moss found predominantly in New Zealand. Its shoots are up to 30cm long
and they vary in color from white to green to brown, though some moss
also has a reddish tinge.
Angel Moss is characterized by having bunches of branches, some of which
hang down and some of which are spreading, and also by its unique leaf
cells which enable the plant to absorb up to 20 times its own dry
weight of water.
makes it ideal for gardening application as in particular as a liner for
hanging baskets and hanging planters.
Constructed like a big sponge, sphagnum moss tends to retain the
water and by releasing hydrogen ions, maintains the high acidity. One
result of this release of hydrogen ions is that the bacteria which
normally breakdown plant matter can't thrive and the dead sphagnum moss
accumulates, eventually forming peat or as it is commonly known peat
The acidity of sphagnum moss inhibits most bacterial growth and was
used during World War One as a wound dressing, and Angel Moss workers
today report relief from such symptoms as warts, tinea and even skin
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photo shows Angel Moss being harvested. It is interesting to note that
the moss is harvested by hand, no machines are allowed into the
swamps lest they disrupt and damage the swamp. Then the harvested moss
is actually collected in large bags and flown by helicopter out of the
swamp to be cleaned, dried and further processed.
Environmental Concerns over Traditional Moss
As the moss traditionally has been harvested from the forest floor
and swamps by hand and by using large scale machinery including bull
dozers. Much concern has been raised
the sustainability of the mosses that are harvested, their regeneration
and the effect on the environment including insect and birdlife as a
result of harvesting.
So great is the concern that both the Royal Horticultural Society and
the American Horticultural Society have both recommended against using
traditional woodland mosses in their publications on hanging baskets.
Angel Moss Hanging Baskets & Preformed Liners
As Angel Moss is made up of long strands, strands between up to 3-8
inches in length it lends itself to being processed into liners.
Carefully dried and then formed using no glues or additives (this is
a patented process) into preformed and ready to use liners. These liners
are pliable and should be planted dry then watered.
Once watered the moss swells to 3-4 times it compressed size and
holds as much as 20 times its own weight in water – giving you more time
What a great ALL GREEN alternative to traditional woodland moss.
Below you can see a photo of the moss liner being dropped into a
hanging basket and then next to this a photo of a basket and liner set.
For more on moss and how Angel Moss is sustainably farmed click here.
For more information and to order these click here.
These great liners are revolutionizing the hanging basket industry
not only because they are sustainable – but because they are so easy to
use, have great water holding capacity and can be side planted so easily
as can be seen in these photos below.
Watch the video on making angel moss hanging baskets.