Taxiphyllum barbieri (Java Moss)

Java Moss

Taxiphyllum barbieri

Hailing from the Indonesian island of Java (and other SE Asian countries), Taxiphyllum barbieri is a versatile moss to say the least. This vibrant green tropical moss will happily grows just about anywhere as long as it has enough light and water. It’ll thrive as an aquatic moss, but will readily grow on land, or even attached to rocks and branches. It’s often mistaken for a variety of mosses, not least because it was incorrectly classified as Vesicularia dubyana for a long while.

At a Glance

Where to Buy Java Moss

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

Terrarium Plant Guide

Java Moss Care & Growth

Lighting

Java Moss is great for terrariums because it thrives in low light environments, but it’ll also do just fine with a brighter light. It’s commonly used in aquariums because of how easy it is to look after. A grow light may help speed up its growth somewhat.

Watering

Being a primarily aquatic moss, Taxiphyllum barbieri loves constant moisture. It will quickly dry out in an arid environment. Keep it wet or keep the humidity high (or ideally both).

Substrate

Just about solid surface will do for Taxiphyllum barbieri, we’re spoilt for choice. Though it tends to grow slightly better on surfaces that can hold some moisture i.e. wood over rock. It will work as a carpeting moss but it won’t be as neat as others.

Temperature & Humidity

Java Moss needs a very high humidity in order to thrive in a terrarium outside of water. It has no roots after all, so it needs to get all of its water from the air. It’ll need a humidity level somewhere up in the 90% range, so you’ll likely need a closed terrarium container to achieve this.

Growth

When submerged, Java Moss grows long and wild. Growth is a little more restrained above water, but it’s still a messy. Taxiphyllum barbieri grows very slowly, even under ideal conditions – so it won’t need a lot of trimming in a terrarium.

Propagation

Taxiphyllum barbieri propagates readily through simple division. You can split it into chunks to place around a terrarium. Or if you’re applying to rock or wood, you can chop it into a fine paste using scissors then apply that to a surface. Works a treat.

Varieties & Similar Plants

Other notable varieties of the Taxiphyllum group are both fully aquatic mosses. Taxiphyllum ‘Spiky’ (a larger moss with long grass-like stems) and Taxiphyllum ‘Flame’ which looks like a deep green campfire.

Common Problems

Java Moss is a pretty hardy plant, the only real issue you might run into is keeping the humidity high enough to keep it moist.