Moss Art: The Plant You Can Actually Keep Alive

editor@purewow.com (PureWow)

If you’ve tried to keep every succulent, pothos and other houseplant deemed nearly impossible to kill, only to watch them wither under your care, there’s hope for you yet: Moss truly is nearly indestructible, and it can double as a modern work of art.

Now before I lose you, I’m not talking about putting some lumpy old moss from your backyard in a flowerpot. I mean framing various kinds to create moss art—which is way chicer than I just made it sound. Simply put, moss art is an emerging trend that brings the nature you crave indoors, without the hassle of watering and sunlight. High-end hotels, modern office spaces and luxury spas are especially taking note of this calming trend, and we are here for it.

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It’s a millennial trend for all ages

So who’s responsible for this art movement? Thank millennials. Millennials can’t get enough plants, and the National Gardening Association has credited the generation with helping to boost houseplant sales by nearly 50 percent in the past three years. Tech companies attracting more millennial employees are especially catering to their love of greenery with giant moss art in lieu of traditional paintings. Plus, research has shown that being around nature helps improve your mood, and the color green itself is also believed to promote relaxation and creativity. 

By mixing different hues and textures of moss, artists are creating one-of-a-kind moss “paintings” that give you all the good green feels. Moss comes in some 12,000 varieties, so you have a lot of options. For pops of color and different textures, some artists add twigs, flowers, ferns and other natural elements, like stones.

Taking care of your new plant bebe

The problem with having tons of green plants in your space is that it’s too easy to bring them to an untimely death (or if you’re like me, an instant demise). So much to manage: Lighting! Watering schedules! Soil pH levels! This is why moss art is the perfect plant for all you serial plant killers out there.

These pieces are super easy to keep green because they’re actually chemically preserved. This is typically achieved with glycerin and denatured alcohol, or a heat and mineral salt solution treatment. So technically, moss art is not really living anymore, but it keeps its lush shape and color. 

As a result, the maintenance is basically nonexistent. You don’t even have to spritz it with a spray bottle a few times a week.

All you’ll have to do is lightly dust it here and there if you notice it’s starting to look a little fuzzy or—gasp—you find a spider web. A filament duster or some handy canned air will get the job done. Just don’t do it too close or you might blow off bits of your art. Realistically, you probably won’t even have to do this for months or even a year, depending on your space and pet situation.

BUY OR DIY

You can buy or commission pieces of moss art from many amazing artists—check out California-based Planted Design or Kate the Earthling, in Philadelphia, for great options. Or, if you’re a DIYer at heart, you can give this trend a shot yourself. Here’s how: 

Gather your supplies:

  • A frame without glass. A deep shadow box works great, but you can also reuse any old frame that needs a new life.
  • Styrofoam block or sheet (optional, to create more depth)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Preserved moss, or faux moss if you want to make it really easy. (Even Amazon sells preserved moss.)
  • Accent elements, like preserved or faux twigs or branches, pebbles, succulents or flowers

Create your work of art:

  1. If you are using Styrofoam, glue it to the inside of the picture frame. You can add it to the entire frame backing or just the center, depending on how you want to frame the moss. You can also skip the Styrofoam, if you want to glue the moss directly to the frame.
  2. Starting with the flatter styles of moss, apply hot glue to the back of your moss or place the glue directly on the frame/Styrofoam and press on the moss. Add more moss as you go. You can create patterns by using different types of moss.
  3. Glue on additional accent elements and layer on moss to add more depth to the piece.
  4. Allow the glue to dry before hanging up your art.

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