Growing moss between flagstones

Dear Moss Rock,

Your blog is the funniest and most creative thing I have seen in a while!  I loved the peep picnic photos -ingenious!

I have a very shady area that stays too moist for grass and I want to use flagstone with moss growing between the stone to create a natural patio. How long will it take to get moss growing ?  The spaces are planned to be about one to two inches wide.


Dear Beth,

Thanks very much for compliments, I’ll pass them along to Helen and the Peeps!

Growing moss between dry-set flagstone, in a shady area, is a natural combination. In a few years, some moisture, and  you’ll be good to go.

As with any mosscaping, our desire is to speed up the very slow process. Transplanting mosses into the spaces between the stones and following a regular watering schedule can establish healthy colonies in a few months.

Be sure to use pleurocarps and a soil substrate between the stones, especially if the stones were set in sand or stone dust. Even though mosses can eventually colonize a sandy substrate, it is usually after many years of detritus collecting and compaction before the mosses can overcome the shifting of the loose sandy substrate.

Mosses often colonize in harsh conditions where other plants find it difficult, which is why they have survived on this earth for so long. A small strip of soil in a sea of stone or concrete has become the expected home for mosses and where most of us recognize them. However, This natural combination usually occurs over many years or decades while we aren’t watching. Achieving this feat successfully can be as challenging as creating a moss lawn. The little micro-climate created between stones can provide shelter, but also rapidly changing moisture conditions, so pay close attention to a frequent watering schedule to insure the best chances of establishment.

As always with moss, patience is a necessity and even if it looks like some of the moss has gone south, continue to treat it as though it hasn’t. It only takes a few spores or living cells for mosses to regenerate as long as there is moisture to allow for growth.

Best of luck, Beth! – David Spain, a.k.a. Moss Rock.


Order your Moss Rocks!  online today.  Moss is grand.  Moss is green.  Moss is good. Make the most of it; order Moss Rocks! today.

By: Helen Yoest


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Unless otherwise noted, all photo are credited to Ken Gergle.

3 thoughts on “Growing moss between flagstones

  1. Matthew

    This post and reply have inspired me, a complete non-gardener, to undertake the project of replacing the annoying pebbles between my flagstones out back with moss. Since stumbling upon the site I’ve been obsessed with finding out more about moss and now find it a most captivating plant for its beauty, antiquity and simplicity. Having been so disenchanted with the pebble situation, I’d let weeds take over my back yard this spring thinking that I’d rip everything out and brick it all over, when I realized that the stones shouldn’t be blamed for the militant, antagonistic, foot-hating pebbles, so why not keep the stones and replace what’s between them with something botanical and foot-friendly? This morning I finished my first pass of weeding, which felt like running a marathon because I’m completely out of shape, and plan to dig down between the stones a bit tomorrow to remove some grass and roots. I’m taking pics as I go would be happy to send them along. Thank you so much for your site with its highly useful information and entertaining, beautifully executed photos!

  2. Gina

    Hi! Our balcony is made up of this blue stone (slate-like) with tiny annoying pebbles between each slab. I would LOVE to grow moss where the tiny pebbles lay but don’t know if the area is suitable for moss growth because our balcony gets a lot of afternoon sunlight. Any suggestions?

    1. David Spain

      Look for moss growing in sunny locations in the cracks of sidewalks. These sidewalk mosses are Bryum moss and well suited for the small spaces you have. ~David


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