Mood moss (Dicranum Scoparium) is a great vivarium plant to have in an enclosure with or without animals. As an acrocarp, this moss works well as an accent plant placed around the base of hardscapes and taller canopy plants. Mood moss is safe for pets but one I’d consider as an intermediate level moss to care for. This moss is an awesome plant for a hobbyist who enjoys responsive plants, Mostly because of its unique way of expressing itself when it’s not in ideal conditions.
Scientific Name: Dicranum Scoparium
Common Names: Mood moss, Broom moss, Fork moss, Windswept moss
Habitat: Moist, Woodlands
Height: 3 to 4 inches thick
PH Range: 5.0 to 6.0
Temperature: 60°F to 70°F
What Is Mood Moss?
Dicranum scoparium is a species of dicranid moss that grows in round mass clumps. Dicranum scoparium is commonly referred to as mood moss because of the way it changes aesthetics based on its surrounding moisture conditions. Under conditions where the moss has plenty of humidity… It’s fluffy and vivid with color, appearing happy. When the conditions are dry, it will appear thinned out and stringy… Giving off a more discontent emotion.
Mood Moss Facts
Besides mood moss, Dicranum scoparium is also commonly referred to as broom moss, fork moss and windswept moss due to the distinctive look of its leaf peddles. Many small inhabitants find mood moss to be a good hiding place from larger predators. Some species of fly larvae, moths and other insects will even use this plant as a source of food.
Mood moss has very uniquely curved leaves that are generally curved to one side. This plant grows to be about 3 to 4 inches thick and has a very coarse, almost wool-like feel to it. It’s top visible layer will range in color, from yellowish-green to dark green depending on its health. The inner clump is made up of dark brown stems and its bottom layer has rhizoids to absorb nutrients instead of a rooting system.
Mood moss is native to the northeast region of North America but can be found throughout most of the continent as well as Asia and Europe. This moss is commonly found in a woodland type of environment on the forest floor of areas with a low density of trees. The average temperatures in this native habitat will range from low 60’s to high 70’s.
Mood moss tends to prefer to be on the more acidic side of potential hydrogen. In the wild, this plant is often found on very acidic soil or rocks with highly acidic surfaces. Ideal PH levels will be in a range of 5.0 to 6.0 but mood moss can survive more neutral levels.
This type of moss will do great in a variety of vivarium types. When deciding if rather or not to use mood moss in a particular type of enclosure, Be sure to go with setups that have dry terrain areas. Here are recommended vivariums mood moss will do well in:
- Paludariums – Half aquatic/ half terrain based enclosure.
- Ripariums – Mostly aquatic based enclosure with some terrain features present.
- Terrariums – Fully terrain based enclosure with little to no aquatic features.
This moss is a terrestrial based plant. It will not do well partially submerged or fully placed under water. However, it does thrive in a moderately damp, well-drained substrate. Place this plant on the foreground of the vivarium floor between rocks around the base of plants. It will help retain moisture within the substrate and provide coverage for small insects like the cleanup crew.
Mood moss can grow on a number of surfaces due to its unique way of absorbing nutrients and shallow root structure. In the wild, this plant is typically found on damp soils and stones. The substrate or surface used should be firm and needs to have some type of drainage allowing excess water to run off or through the medium. wood, gravel, and cement are also sufficient textures mood moss can take sanctuary to.
The woodland environment Dicranum Scoparium is native to provides a realm of shade and some partial sun. exposing this plant to too much sun would dry out or burn this moss out. When setting up lighting within the vivarium for this moss, a high level of brightness would be ideal since the plant is indoors. The tank should not be in direct sunlight and preferably away from any type of artificial light that produces UV. Aim for cooler color lights that mimic a cloudy day or shaded forest, Like LED’s!
Buy Mood Moss
When shopping for possible Mood moss for sale, expect a few key indicators you are buying the best quality plant. The moss should be snail free along with any other type of pest. The source of moss will usually be sold in small tissue cultures, ready for you to propagate. The batch should arrive fairly moist and in fairly good shape. Click the image below to find out more about the current price and other relative info:
Mood Moss Care and Propagation
Dicranum scoparium, in general, are acrocarpous plants, meaning it grows upwards. When propagated correctly, it will sprout small stems with spores on the tips that blow off and allow new mounds to begin growing. If possible, try to avoid loose textured surfaces like sand or fluffy soil because it is more difficult for moss to latch on and establish itself properly.
How to grow
The easiest way to propagate mood moss will be to divide an existing mass into individual clumps. Spread out smaller pieces of moss to allow reformation to colonize. Once mood moss is established on the substrate it is pressed down on, it will begin growing into larger mounds again. use low ph water and moderate lighting to encourage growth and once acclimated, cut back on the amount of water given.
The best case watering scenario for mood moss would be to water when it appears dry. Allow the moss itself to dry out completely while only keeping the soil it sits on moist. This is a plant that does not do well in constant moisture. If using a mister or fogger, mood moss should spend the majority of the day dry with plenty of air flow.
Allowing mood moss to dry out periodically will help prevent rotting and mold build up. This type of moss is a pretty slow grower due to its upward growth pattern. It needs time to breathe to process nutrients received through watering.
Plants Similar To Mood Moss
Adding diversity to an enclosure is key to an aesthetically pleasing enclosure. Try mixing up the look of your vivarium with different flora that can easily co-exist in the same types of environment. Furthermore, if for some reason you find this moss hard to acquire or would like to consider something similar to this plant… Here are some other plants you might find may do well with or in the place of Dicranum scoparium:
My overall opinion about mood moss is that it is a great moss to use as an accenting plant to have in a vivarium. It can really give a genuine look to a wooded, forest style terrarium. I think that with patience and a proper understanding of this moss… It can be a pretty easy plant to care for once it gets going. I wouldn’t house this plant in a vivarium that would require a high volume of humidity like a tropical setup… Definitely wouldn’t want this moss for extremely dry, desert-themed builds either. I would, however, recommend it for moderately moist builds that want to go for that leaf littered, woodland look.