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Moss FAQ

As we try to replicate nature in a microclimate, there are few issues that can pop up in a closed terrarium.

My moss is dying, what can I do?

Look to see if your moss is still green and just dry OR if it is brown.

If still a deep green, it just needs a water. Mist well and it will re-hydrate within the hour. Generally speaking moss is very drought tolerant and can hold a lot of water before totally drying out and dying off.

If brown there could be a few other things to consider. Read on...

My moss is turning a brown colour, what can I do?

Moss needs a balance of light and moisture to thrive. Too much moisture along with heat and your moss is sitting in a sauna and probably won’t enjoy it. The next thing that will happen is mushy patches that are hard to recover.

Generally speaking, moss enjoys a cool, moist climate. So lets replicate this as best we can. The Sanctuary lid holds the moisture and dappled morning sun allows the moss to grow and photosynthesise. Water sparingly or as required.

As required means- when fronds and moss cushion is spongy but dry. If your moss cushion squelches out water then it probably has too much water in there already.

  • Regular, light mistings are the best!
  • Filtered morning sun is ideal, followed by a cool and shady afternoon.
  • Touch your moss to decide whether or not it needs a drink.

If your moss is sitting in water, in a hot spot for a long period of time, the generated humidity can turn the moss brown. Don’t do that. Give it some air straight away and let some of the additional moisture evaporate.

I can see mould, what should I do?

Mould can form on green or brown moss cushions and its cause varies. But we do know we need to pay attention and alter the environment.

Mould can come from an outside source, like a stick or decorative element, or be thriving due to humidity. Keep your Sanctuary or Biodome cool throughout the afternoons.

It is deceiving. In cooler weather, we sometimes turn up the heating to regulate our bodies and the room quickly changes. Your Sanctuary may begin to condensate very quickly. This is ok with ventilation but if prolonged airflow is lacking, mould can start forming.

What to do:

Wash off any mould. If moss is brown you may need to remove that piece. Put Sanctuary in a position that is cool and receives filtered morning light.

If you can pay just a little attention daily and catch the mould before its spreads, you can make a quick change to get your Sanctuary happy. In the perfect spot, Sanctuary will last for months without fuss and reward you with bright green growth.

My moss and foliage is brown on the tips, what to do?

Brown tips can indicate lack of water. On the contrary can also be caused by fronds resting against a wet glass lid. Remove any fronds touching the glass around the edges of Sanctuary or Biodome by trimming it back with scissors.

Can I use lichen sticks in Sanctuary?

Lichen sticks look beautiful in a terrarium. We recommend using lichen sticks in an open terrarium but avoid them in a closed scenario as they can be prone to mould. If you would like to decorate using sticks in a closed terrarium, choose something that has been in a moist environment already, such as sticks used in aqua-scaping.

Overwatering in Sanctuary M

In "Sanctuary M Rainforest" there is no need for regular watering as the terrarium is already maintaining moisture levels on its own.

"Sanctuary M Rainforest" is designed to hold the moisture longer. You won’t find the moss ever drying out in "Sanctuary M Rainforest" so the attention is on only watering when it really needs it. i.e lift the lid once a week, if the moss is dry to touch then water.

Moss is extremely tolerant to under watering and that is better than over watering and mould forming. It is very hard to revive the moss once it is covered in mould or brown. Sunlight can assist to kill the mould but the sheet will take a bit to recover and grow new fronds over the top. Although this happens often in nature as seasons change, new moss will happily grow over the old moss, it’s just that we are giving more attention to it in a smaller piece and it is preferable to have our moss super green all the time.

It is all about balance of light, condensation/watering and ventilation. The best sun is morning sun till about 10am then predominately shade for the rest of the day. This is true to most closed terrariums.

How much can you fit into one of your terrariums? How does it work?

It’s all about composition and less in more, not about cramming in as much as possible. 1 small plant, maybe 2 but try to plan ahead and use negative space to your advantage. A minimal design looks great in Sanctuary.

As you can see from our site we have the small Sanctuary S mossariums and the medium sized Sanctuary M which services 3 micro climates for moss, moisture loving plants and also succulents. Feedback from our customers was that they didn’t always want to just display moss… so we have adapted our designs to accomodate this. Choose water loving plants predominately but now with the 3 micro climates you can experiment with any small plant.

How long does it take to make a terrarium start to finish?

Sanctuary M Temperate, usually 10 mins but it depends on the design. The benefit of the Sanctuary design is that you create in the insert first, you don’t need to reach inside the glass bowl to manoeuvre your small plants. Just add the glass top and base at the end. This saves a lot of time and keeps all of the materials clean. We have based Sanctuary on the ‘cloche’ style terrarium.

Are Sanctuaries hard to maintain? Do they need watering etc?

The "Sanctuary M Rainforest" are great for low maintenance greenery. They will condensate a little more in warmer months and may require weekly ventilation- top off- depending on the plant and location of the vessel. The "Sanctuary M Temperate" need a little more care in that the water cycle is compromised by the open top but if you mist/water plants as required according to your plants needs it lasts and grows beautifully.

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