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Is Moss Bad For Bonsai? (Does it Kill The Tree?)

Moss is so ordinary that most of us pass it all the time and don’t even think twice about it. 

But, when it develops on the trees we’ve worked so hard to perfect, it can get a bit scary. 

However, you’ll be glad to know that a bit of moss is not bad for your bonsai tree. 

But, remember that moss thrives in damp environments and requires a lot of water to survive. 

So, make sure the moss is not taking all the moisture and nutrients away from your bonsai tree to ensure your plant stays healthy. 

In this article, we’ll discuss whether or not moss will harm a bonsai and some possible benefits of moss. 

Does Moss Kill Bonsai Trees?

Moss will only harm a bonsai tree if it starts to take over and remove the moisture and nutrients from the tree. 

However, the likelihood of it completely killing your beloved bonsai is slim. 

Yet, if you feel your bonsai tree is looking a bit wilted, try to move some of the moss and give it some water. 

If there is still no improvement, you may want to consider some more drastic measures like re-potting or re-homing your bonsai tree. 

To prevent moss from harming your bonsai, simply ensure there is plenty of warmth and indirect sunlight available to the plant. 

Light and warmth will ensure the water levels stay under control and that the moss will use the moisture to photosynthesize rather than causing waterlogging. 

What Are the Benefits of Growing Moss with a Bonsai Tree? 

If you do it right, there are actually several benefits of growing moss with your bonsai tree

Moss can help with water retention, meaning you will not have to water your bonsai so frequently. 

Moss will also keep the moisture close to the surface of the soil. 

And while the roots of your bonsai will need water for the tree to thrive, having moss on the surface will help absorb any excess water. 

Additionally, moss will keep the soil’s surface moist, meaning you won’t have to water as regularly, avoiding conditions such as root rot. 

Moss also helps bonsai trees with insulation as it keeps the roots warm in the cooler seasons but cool in the summer. 

Therefore, moss can actually help maintain ideal growing conditions for your bonsai the whole year-round. 

How Do I Put Moss on My Bonsai Tree? 

Although not all moss will suit your bonsai tree, most moss species are an excellent addition to a bonsai pot. 

We’ll talk about the different types later on, but getting moss onto your bonsai tree is an easy and inexpensive process. 

And there are several ways to add moss to your tree.  

You can either grow moss with your bonsai from natural sources or purchase moss spores from most garden centers or online. 

Or, if you’re on a hike and come across a piece of moss you think would look great with your bonsai tree, you can simply: 

  • Take a cutting of the moss
  • Keep it moist
  • Lay it with your bonsai as desired
  • Mist it often

The moss will soon root onto the tree, and your perfect little ecosystem will blossom. 

Do Bonsai Trees Grow Moss on Their Own? 

In nature, moss prefers trees in wet environments with an array of vegetation. 

However, most people keep bonsai trees indoors and create the bonsai environment themselves. 

So, you will most likely need to add moss to your tree yourself. 

And as we’ve mentioned, you can purchase moss spores for a low price to make your bonsai tree look like it’s in its natural habitat. 

In fact, the bonsai art form was an exhibit of just that, creating miniature replicas of adult trees in their thriving environments, which sometimes included moss. 

Which Type of Moss Is Good for My Bonsai Tree? 

To select the perfect type of moss, it’s a good idea to measure the pH level of your bonsai’s soil first. 

If you find a type of moss that requires a similar pH value, this would be the ideal moss partner for your bonsai tree. 

Additionally, there are several types of moss you can get that vary in texture and color. 

Some common kinds of moss include Atrichum mosses, silver moss, and sheet moss. 

Lastly, make sure you do some research before you buy, but know that there’s a type of moss for any bonsai look. 


Generally, moss will not harm a bonsai plant as long as it does not take over the tree and steal its moisture. 

In fact, moss can be good for a bonsai tree because it helps the plant retain moisture.

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