Mood Moss 101: Growth & Care Guide (Dicranum scoparium)

Mood Moss is a fascinating species.

It’s affectionately named for its temperamental changes in appearance. When suitably watered, it’ll look vibrant and full, but when dehydrated, it can look kind of dull and lackluster.

A bit of a diva really, but nothing we can’t handle with some good care!

The clumpy nature of this moss makes it an excellent accent plant for terrariums. Plus, the textured windswept look is sure to really make your landscape pop.

Ready to dive deep into the wonderful Mood Moss?

Let’s go! 

mood moss (Dicranum Scoparium)

Where to Buy Mood Moss

See the links below to purchase from reputable terrarium plant shops and marketplaces (may include affiliate links). 

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Mood Moss Care & Growth

Plant TypeMoss
LightingMedium – high indirect light
Temperature60-80°F (15-26°C)
WateringInfrequent, even moisture
HumidityHigh humidity (60-90%)
Growth1-4 inches

Lighting

As with most mosses, Dicranum scoparium will do best with bright, indirect sunlight.

The brighter, the better, but be sure to keep it out of direct sunlight. That’s one surefire way to put it in a terrible mood… and you know, damage it irreparably.

In nature it grows on the shady forest floor (earning itself its other name – Rock Cap Moss).

mood moss close up
I prefer the name Mood Moss over Rock Cap Moss, it really captures the personality of this moss.

If you’re in doubt, you should be able to read a book comfortably but not feel any warmth on your skin. North-facing windows tend to be a good bet.

Alternatively, you can always use grow lights to maximize light intensity without risk.

Watering

Mood Moss does best when it’s consistently moist but never wholly saturated.

So, as with Cushion Moss, I like to prepare Mood Moss by giving it a good bath first. Let it soak for a few minutes to thoroughly saturate itself, then squeeze out the excess water. 

soaking mood moss
Always soak your moss pre-build!

How this moss looks and feels now is the desired state when it’s planted up too.

To effectively maintain this in a terrarium, give it a light misting whenever it’s starting to look dry.

watering mossarium
Spraying instead of pouring is the best way to prevent overwatering.

Ideally, use purified water of some kind (e.g., distilled, de-ionized, or even rainwater).

Substrate & Soil

Honestly, this isn’t particularly picky when it comes to where it grows.

It doesn’t have roots, after all.

Still, it does have root-like structures called “rhizoids” that it can use to anchor itself. So Mood Moss will happily grow on a range of terrarium substrates, as long as it can make contact properly. 

You can trim these brown fibrous elements, though. It won’t harm the moss and means you’re just left with the lush green stuff!

trimming mood moss
I pinch the green bits with my fingers or tweezers so I can directly place it in a terrarium from there.

A tropical terrarium mix should work a treat. Plenty of drainage to prevent it from becoming waterlogged and good water retention to help to maintain humidity in the container.

You can’t go too wrong with the classic ABG mix or any modern adaption of it. 

👉 Check out our tropical substrate mix – it’s a natural fit.

Temperature & Humidity

Despite being a temperate moss, Dicranum scoparium will thrive in the warm, humid environment of a terrarium.

Room temperature and anything above 60% humidity should be fine, and it’s pretty forgiving on both fronts.

That being said, though the hardy nature of this moss means it’s accustomed to drying out a little, it’s not going to survive for long in an open container unless you’re regularly misting it. 

Even then, misting only increases humidity for a very short period of time, so opt for a closed project!

mood moss in terrarium
Mood Moss is right at home in a terrarium.

Growth

As an acrocarpous moss, Mood Moss forms dense clumps. With the leaves growing upwards to give a wavy, fluffy appearance.

This gorgeous texture makes it a great choice for a moss terrarium – I always recommend using multiple types of moss for these projects to create maximum visual impact.

mood moss and hypnum moss
I got found these beautiful tufts of Mood Moss in a sheet of Hypnum Moss – how stunning?

It’s not a particularly quick grower and puts most of its energy into growing longer leaves rather than spreading out. Even then, it shouldn’t need much trimming.

The clumpy form gives it a lot of versatility. You’re to easily tear off chunks at the exact sizes that you need to place in different areas of your terrarium.

mood moss in tweezers
This tiny tuft of Mood Moss is ready to go!

Propagation

Dicranum scoparium propagates through spores. They form in capsules at the ends of long stalks and are released to the wind to settle elsewhere – forming a new colony.

mood moss spores
My Mood Moss arrived with spore stalks.

Though they won’t naturally get far in a terrarium with no airflow…

The easiest way to get meaningful propagation yourself is to divide it up and place it evenly amongst the space to maximize the spread. 

Varieties & Similar Plants

Dicranum is a large genus of mosses that all form the typical densely packed clumps with wave-like leaves. Variations include Dicranum fuscescens (Dusky Fork-Moss) and Dicranum bergeri (Waved Fork-Moss).

mood moss and dicranum majus
I got this beautiful Dicranum majus recently. You can see the windswept vibes are turned up x10.

Cushion Moss (Leucobryum glaucum) is another contender for the best terrarium moss crown. It’s somewhat similar to Mood Moss, just with shorter leaves.

👉 Check out our full guide to terrarium moss for more moss inspiration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Mood Moss spread?

Mood Moss does spread under the right conditions, but it’s a lot slower than sheet moss species when it comes to coverage. That’s why it’s more commonly used as an accent moss rather than a carpeting moss.

How Tall Does Mood Moss Grow?

Mood Moss can grow several inches tall if given sufficient lighting and care.

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