How Fast Does Moss Grow? (Java, Spanish, Iris, Sphagnum)

Moss is a fascinating, low-maintenance alternative to grass, it is an amazing addition to any garden and it can also be used as a decorative plant for eco-graffiti, indoor designs, and landscaping.

These tiny plants are often underrated and considered weeds, but they are tougher than they appear. Not only do mosses have very brilliant potential, but they also thrive in extreme conditions other plants won’t even survive. 

While you are amazed at these intriguing features, you may also want to know how long it’ll take to grow mosses so you’d know when you can achieve your dream look. Mosses come in a very wide range of varieties, some species of moss grow faster than others.

Here, you’ll find out how long it’ll take to grow common species such as Java moss, Spanish moss, and Irish moss and how you can speed up the growth of this incredible plant.


How Quickly Does Moss Grow?

With sufficient water and nutrients, a typical moss can grow as quickly as reaching the maturity stage within six weeks, while other species may take up to two years or more. How quickly moss grows depends on the moss type, growing surface, and lighting.

Type of moss (pleurocarpous vs acrocarpous)

There are mainly two types of moss – pleurocarpous, and acrocarpous. Mosses in the pleurocarpous category such as fern moss, and sheet moss grow and spread much faster than acrocarpous mosses even in similar growing conditions.

Pleurocarpous moss has branches and grows in a creeping, rather than upright pattern, taking just six weeks to develop fully. They are also more tolerant of moist conditions and are easier to maintain than acrocarpous.

Acrocarpous types have to grow in an upright form before branching out. Hence, they are slow-growers, they require up to 6-24 months to stretch out and reach their maturity.

Lighting (sun vs shade)

As with other plants, moss needs light to survive. But very bright light can dry out and harm these tiny plants. Most moss varieties grow faster and thicker in the shade. Damp, sheltered areas provide a more suitable environment to encourage the growth of mosses. Hence, areas with partial sunlight would make a perfect spot for mosses. 

Growing Surface (soil vs solid surfaces)

How quickly moss grows would also depend on its growing media. Moss can grow anywhere, but it is typically grown on soil, water, or solid surfaces such as rocks, bricks, pots, and walls.

Generally, moss grows faster in ideal soil as mosses take longer to attach to a solid surface. Growing mosses on solid surfaces would also require more effort than in soil. Mosses need a lot of moisture to survive, so they can easily absorb moisture faster from the soil than from solid surfaces.

How Fast Does Java Moss Grow?

Java moss takes around 3-4 weeks to grow and establish itself. It is a species of moss that grows on land, solid surfaces, and tree trunks in tropical climates, however, it grows fastest in water. Java moss grows up to 1-1.5 inches per month under optimal conditions.

It is very popular among aquascapers and aquarium hobbyists, but it doesn’t grow as fast as other aquatic plants. If you’re looking for a carpet for your aquarium, java moss is an amazing option.

Java moss is a very hardy plant that thrives in low light. It’s almost impossible to get rid of this moss species. Java moss is also known as Triangular Moss, Dubious Bladder Moss, Singapore Moss, Mini Moss, etc.

How Fast Does Spanish Moss Grow?

Spanish moss has a slow but steady growth rate, it takes 6-8 weeks to grow to a centimeter. However, once the seed germinates and it begins to develop, it grows up to 10-20 cm yearly.  For Spanish moss, too much humidity especially in winter slows down growth and can cause sprout rot.

Spanish moss can rise to 5 feet above ground level, and as a result, some of its species have a very thick canopy. It mostly grows on trees like the yaupon trees and oaks. Spanish moss is best grown in well-draining substrates, it requires adequate air circulation and indirect sunlight for optimum growth. 

How Fast Does Irish Moss Grow?

Irish moss is a fast grower, it grows and spreads to several feet in just 6-8 weeks. This moss species require high humidity to grow very fast. This is why you’ll mainly find Irish moss growing in areas with high humidity and rainfall such as the tropical regions.

Irish moss is a species of red algae widely known for its moss-like growth on rocks. It’s not a true moss but similar to moss in appearance and growth.

How Fast Does Christmas Moss Grow?

A Christmas moss has a slow to the medium growth rate. It can take six to eight weeks or a little bit more to grow and reach maturity. This moss doesn’t grow too tall and prefers moderately cool climatic conditions.

The Christmas moss is sometimes confused with Java moss due to their similar appearance, and fast growth rate, but they are two different species.

Christmas moss grows more horizontally and denser than a typical Java moss but not as fast as the Java moss in attaining maturity. This moss species is also known as the Xmas moss and as the Brazilian willow moss in Japan.


How Fast Does Scotch Moss Grow?

Scotch moss has a relatively fast growth rate, it grows and spreads up to 2-3 inches yearly. It’ll need at least a year to spread out and create a healthy mat. It grows much faster with a bit of afternoon shade and adequate water supply or else it will remain stagnant.

If this moss is given adequate care, it’ll last for 8- 10 years. Scotch moss is a great option for stones and rocks. You don’t even need to prune this moss, it’s a low-maintenance plant. If you want to grow scotch moss in soil, you’d want to add compost to the soil to improve water retention.

How Fast Does Sphagnum Moss Grow?

Sphagnum moss has a very slow growth rate and can take about nine months or more to grow and reach maturity. This moss grows up to 0.75-4.75 inches yearly.

A very interesting feature of Sphagnum moss is that it can hold water like a sponge and can store and hold water about eight times its weight.

This plant is highly valued for its high level of nutrients, it is also used as a growing medium for other plants. Sphagnum moss can be grown in water and soil, but it grows better in water. It requires adequate lighting and water to grow optimally.

How Fast Does Sheet Moss Grow?

Sheet moss is a versatile moss species that grows very quickly. This moss species will attain maturity and spread within six weeks. It adapts very well to varying environments, it can be grown in both full sun and shade.

Unlike other moss species, sheet moss can even survive in areas with low humidity. Sheet moss is usually found growing on forest floors, it is an excellent choice for ground covers. It forms a sheet-like coverage on rocks and soil, hence the name Sheet moss.

Does Moss Grow Faster Than Grass?

Moss and grass have very similar growing speeds, however, most grass varieties grow faster than moss. Grass varieties, especially cool season grass, take 3-4 weeks to grow from seeds when given suitable growing conditions, while the quickest moss can grow is 6-8 weeks.

Grass also grows much taller, it has, on average, a growth rate of 0.5 inches daily. Hence, grass requires regular mowing and several other maintenance activities to stay attractive. Moss on the other hand doesn’t need to be mowed, you’ll only have to remove fallen leaves once or twice yearly to keep it healthy.

Both moss and grass have a lifespan of 10 years depending on their maintenance level and variety. For high-traffic areas, grass and moss are not great options. But high traffic will cause even more harm to moss than grass.

Moss is an excellent choice for your lawn:

  • If you are looking to save time, resources, and energy on maintenance
  • If you live in a cooler climate
  • If you’re looking for a low-growing plant
  • If your landscape is shaded

How do You Speed up Moss’s Growth?

Here are a few tips to help you speed up the growth of your moss:

  • Make sure to select an ideal moss species for your climate
  • Plant moss in early spring or late fall for faster and better growth
  • Ensure your moss gets adequate water to encourage growth. But keep in mind that too much water can cause your plant to rot
  • Sufficient lighting is also vital for plant health and growth. Plant moss in partial shade to speed up growth
  • Use a fertilizer that contains necessary nutrients such as Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorus, etc
  • Ensure a humid environment for this plant. When growing indoors, you can place a dome over the plant during its first growth stage or spray moss often to create a humid effect.

Share on:

About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.