How to Make an Indoor Moss Garden

After working with moss for kodadama, I became intrigued with the delicate beauty of moss.  I recalled a favorite book, The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert.  The main character is a botanist who's lifelong study was that of moss.  I read an interview with the author who mentioned that in researching for the book, she read, Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses, by Robin Wall Kimmerer.  I immediately ordered the book and am enjoying it thoroughly.  In the preface, the author writes about a memory of being five years old and looking at a snowflake through a magnifying glass:  "It's the time when I first had an inkling that the already gorgeous world becomes even more beautiful the closer you look."   I'd made a moss garden but hadn't thought to look at it through a magnifying glass. Removing the lid and breathing in the earthly scent, looking through 10X magnification, the moss became a miniature forest; a birds eye view of another world.


  • potting soil
  • pebbles
  • moss (harvested from woods and shaded areas)
  • decorative rocks, agate, various elements to create desired landscape
  • shallow container (I used a glass pedestal piece which not only elevates the garden but the lid is useful to control the humidity)
  • mister for bottled, filtered, or collected rain water


  • Place a one inch layer of pebbles at the bottom of the container.
  • Add a one to two inch layer of potting soil.
  • Mound soil to create an uneven surface. (optional)
  • Add a variety of mosses and arrange rocks or other elements 
  • Be creative!

Use a mister on the moss once a week to keep moist.  Water lightly as needed. (moss does not like certain minerals so use the water mentioned above)  If using a container with a lid, alternate days with lid on and off.  Place in a bright spot with indirect light.