moss

Here in the Pacific Northwest we live in the land of moss. There are over 700 species of mosses in the area!

It grows everywhere, roofs, walls, sidewalks, trees, window sills, lawns and garden beds. A rolling stone may even collect moss here. Mosses are an ancient group of plants that reproduce from spores rather than seeds. This means they do not flower.

True mosses also do not have a vascular system for conducting and storing food and water, so they often live in moist places.

They are a very resilient group that can completely dry out when moisture is absent and then rehydrate quickly when rains return. Another interesting fact is that moss leaves are often only one cell thick. True mosses thrive in light to dense shade and often bare, acidic soil.

The soft rich greenness can add a sense of tranquility and coziness to the landscape. Thick, low growing furry mass just has such an appeal! Moss has many uses in the garden: to fill in the cracks of your pathway, patio, in between your trees and shrubs, around your bonsai, or in a fairy garden! They can look great in a container all by themselves for a soothing, modern look.

At Portland Nursery, we carry three groups of moss for planting outdoors.

Irish Moss

Irish and Scotch Moss: Sagina subulata

Light: Full sun – part shade

Soil: well-drained

Water: average to minimal once established.

Height: 4-12” tall. More sun exposure results in shorter plants.

Spread: Quickly, 12-24” in a year.

Hardiness/Zones: 4-8.

Despite their name and appearance Irish and Scotch moss are not true mosses. They are actually creeping, flowering perennials related to Dianthus. Irish moss is a rich emerald green. Scotch moss is a vibrant chartreuse. Tiny white flowers through summer. Both are evergreen with minor browning in winter. Scotch and Irish moss can handle moderate foot traffic, which makes them ideal for paths, patios and moderately used lawns.

scleranthus uniflorus

Australian Astroturf: Scleranthus biflorus & Scleranthus uniflorus

Light: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained, sandy or rocky soil.

Water: Regular water, drought tolerant when established.

Height: Scleranthus biflorus- 2-4” tall. Scleranthus uniflorus- 1-2”

Spread: Slowly, 6-10” in a year.

Hardiness:Scleranthus biflorus Zones 6-9, Scleranthus uniflorus Zones 7-10.

Another moss look-alike that is in the Dianthus family. These adorable cushion plants are ideal for rock gardens, patios and paths, fairy gardens and much more. Scleranthus biflorus is the fluffier of the two species. Scleranthus uniflorus is the densest and a bit lighter green. Both species are evergreen and can tolerate light foot traffic.

selaginella aurea

Spikemoss: Selaginella kraussiana ‘Aurea’ & ‘Brownii’

Light: Full to part shade.

Soil: Well-drained.

Water: Regular water, prefers moist conditions.

Height: 3-6” tall.

Spread: Selaginella kraussiana & ‘Aurea’- 12” in a year, ‘Brownii’-6-9” in a year.

Hardiness: Zones 6-9.

These are true mosses that look a bit like ferns. They hail from South Africa, but are resilient in our climate under the right conditions. The straight species, and ‘Aurea’ create soft spreading masses whereas the ‘Brownii’ forms more of a tuft. They combine well with ferns and mondo grasses.

Find the Best Perennials for your Garden

We have a wonderful selection of perennials year round, but if you are looking for a specific perennial we will have the best selection when it is in bloom around town. Note: Native plant pages will take you into the Native Plant section.

Perennials

Actaea: Bugbane

Natives

Native Actaea: Bugbane

Perennials

Agastache: Hyssop

Perennials

Anemone: Windflower

Perennials

Aquilegia: Columbine

Natives

Native Aquilegia: Columbine

Perennials

Artemisia

Natives

Asarum: Wild Ginger

Natives

Asclepias: Milkweed

Perennials

Aster

Perennials

Astilbe: False Spirea

Perennials

Bellium: Miniature Daisy

Perennials

Bergenia: Pigsqueak

Perennials

Brunnera: Bugloss

Perennials

Canna Lily

Natives

Camassia: Camas

Perennials

Chrysanthemum

Perennials

Coreopsis: Tickweed

Perennials

Corydalis

Perennials

Cyclamen

Bulbs

Dahlia

Bulbs

Delosperma: Ice Plant

Perennials

Delphinium: Larkspur

Perennials

Dianthus: Carnation

Perennials

Dicentra: Bleeding Heart

Natives

Dodecatheon: Shooting Star

Perennials

Echinacea: Coneflower

Perennials

Epimedium

Natives

Erigeron: Fleabane

Natives

Eriophyllum: Oregon Sunshine

Perennials

Erodium: Alpine Geranium

Perennials

Eupatorium: Joe-Pye Weed

Perennials

Euphorbia: Spurge

Natives

Fragaria: Wild Strawberry

Bulbs

Fritillaria

Perennials

Hardy Fuchsia

Perennials

Hardy Geranium

Perennials

Geum: Avens

Perennials

Helenium: Sneezeweed

Perennials

Hellebore

Perennials

Hellebore: Gold Collection

Perennials

Hellebore: Winter Jewel

Perennials

Heuchera: Coral Bells

Perennials

Hosta: Plantain Lily

Perennials

Iberis: Candytuft

Bulbs

Iris

Natives

Native Iris

Perennials

Kniphofia: Red Hot Poker

Perennials

Leptinella

Perennials

Leucanthemum: Shasta Daisy

Natives

Lewisia: Bitterroot

Perennials

Ligularia

Perennials

Monarda: Bee Balm

Perennials

Moss

Bulbs

Narcissus: Daffodil

Perennials

Paeonia: Peony

Perennials

Papaver: Poppy

Perennials

Parahebe

Natives

Penstemon: Beard Tongue

Perennials

Perovskia: Russian Sage

Perennials

Primula: Primrose

Perennials

Rudbeckia: Black-eyed Susan

Perennials

Salvia

Perennials

Santolina: Lavender Cotton

Perennials

Sedum

Perennials

Evergreen Sedum

Natives

Native Sedum: Stonecrop

Perennials

Sempervivum: Hen & Chicks

Natives

Sidalcea: Checker Mallow

Natives

Sisyrinchium

Blue-eyed Grass
Natives

Solidago: Goldenrod

Natives

Synthyris: Native Figwort

Perennials

Top Shade Perennials

Perennials

Top Sun Perennials

Perennials

Tricyrtis: Toad Lily

Natives

Trillium: Wake Robin

Bulbs

Tulip

Natives

Vancouveria: Inside-out Flower

Perennials

Vinca: Periwinkle

Perennials

Viola: Violet

Natives

Native Viola: Violet

Perennials

Zantedeschia: Calla Lily